The Haute Écriture Gentlemen’s Guide to Dressing Well

Dressing well sounds like something that should be easy and something that everyone can do but there are some simple things that people don’t do when they try to dress well. So, I thought I’d come with a guide to help other people who have either tried to dress up and it didn’t go well or who want to dress up but don’t know much about formal wear. Follow these tips in my gentlemen’s guide to dressing well and you’ll look not only well dressed, but knowledgeable about what you wear.

Wear Clothes to Fit

This is the first and most important rule to follow in any gentlemen’s guide to dressing well and any outfit, whether it’s formal or casual. Wear clothes that fit you well. Your shirt should not be very wide or very long nor very tight or very short. The same thing goes for your jacket, pants, and any other piece of clothing you have. Clothing should always compliment the shape of your body and highlight the attractive attributes of it as well. This does get a little more complicated, though, so let’s get a little more detailed.

Avoid the “X”

For many people, myself included, wearing a jacket that is slim fitting is the best way to compliment their shape. Though, some people who would look better wearing a regular fit blazer think that wearing a slim fit jacket automatically means they’ll look better. It doesn’t. If you wear a jacket that’s too small you might get the “X”.

The “X” is the shape your blazer makes when it’s too small and starts pulling at the button. The “X” is more noticeable in a one-button blazer but two and even three-button jackets can get the “X” if it’s tight enough.

The same thing goes for double-breasted jackets and dress shirts. While you may not get the “X”, the fabric will pull at the buttons and that does not look good.

Quarter Breaks to No Breaks Look Best

What is a break? A break is the amount of creasing you get when your pants meet your shoe and depends on the length of your hem. Pants with no breaks means that there is no creasing where your pant legs meet your shoes where a quarter break, or slight break, means that there is little creasing where your pants meet your shoes. While you can find pants with a quarter break in stores, you’ll probably have to get your pants tailored for no break.

This style is what looks best for formal wear. It makes you look very neat and clean.

What doesn’t look good is a half break or a full break. Half breaks give some creasing and may be passable if you’re not doing anything too important, though the should still be avoided, but a full break has a lot of creasing and makes you look sloppy. Never wear pants with a lot of creasing at the bottom.

Take a look at all the different breaks here, in this guide on how pants should fit.

Buckle Belts in the Middle

Your belt is another important part of your wardrobe. Of course everyone knows that your belt should fit you well, but what most people don’t know is that a good, well-fitting belt always buckles in the middle hole.

This is best because it helps the excess leather stay within the first belt loop of your pants. It isn’t so long that it goes past the first belt loop to the second belt loop and isn’t so short that it doesn’t even get to the first belt loop either. The excess leather should sit in the first belt loop.

If your belt is too long, you can always take the buckle off and cut it. Most people take belts to a tailor for this but if your belt comes with a screwed on buckle, you can take the buckle off, cut the belt to size, and put it back on. That, or you can invest in a belt from Coach.

No Cuffed or Rolled Sleeves

Everyone should know this but it’s surprising how many people don’t. Never wear cuffs on your sleeves or your pants when dressing formally. You can dress formally without a suit and while it often does look good to wear your button-up shirt sleeves or jeans cuffed, it doesn’t work well for formal wear. Even a black, tucked in sweater shouldn’t be cuffed or rolled up, even if it looks good.

You shouldn’t do this because cuffs give any outfit a more casual look but the reason why cuffs give outfits a more casual look is more important. Cuffs imply that you are working and doing labor in that rolling up your sleeves and jeans was originally a way to keep dirt and mud off of your clothing. You’re not working, or at least not doing any labor, so you shouldn’t cuff your sleeves or jeans.

Even if most people don’t know this, and they don’t, it still portrays this. That’s why it works well for casual outfits.


Always Wear Genuine Leather

Never wear or carry faux leather. Faux leather never looks as good as genuine leather and it is easy to tell when it’s genuine or not. Genuine leather, especially well-age and cared for leather, gives any outfit a much more sophisticated and mature look. Faux leather will do the opposite. So, always wear genuine leather. It will always look better.

Wear Fragrances Properly

I wrote a guide for buying and wearing fragrances last year but I’ll give you a quick look at how to do this properly here in my gentlemen’s guide.

Never wear too much fragrance. This seem simple but many people wear too much cologne or perfume. A fragrance is supposed to compliment you and should only be able to be smelled of someone if standing next to you or in front of you. Applying the correct amount will help you do this but that amount depends on your fragrance. Knowing the difference between an eau de toilette and an eau de parfum as well as where to apply your fragrances will help you wear the correct amount.

Also, wear fresh, citrusy, and floral scents in the Spring and Summer and wear spicy, warm scents in the winter. This isn’t something you have to do but it works well for people who are just barely getting into wearing fragrances or people who don’t have a signature scent.

Always Take Care of Your Shoes

This one is actually quite simple and most people do it but I think I should talk about it anyway.

Always take care of your shoes. Shoes that are properly and well cared for will always make your outfit look good. Shoes that have scuffs or dirt on them will make you look sloppy, much in the way that pants with a full break will, regardless of how well the rest your outfit looks. Keep your shoes looking clean and you’ll look good.

Those are the tips in my gentlemen’s guide to dressing well and while I’m sure there are more I could include, these are the mos important ones. Also, I know a lot of the tips in this guide seem like a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it because most formal pieces of clothing are investments and if you haven’t invested in any clothing yet, you should. Then, follow my gentlemen’s guide and you’ll look very well dressed.

So, what do you think? Are there any more tips I should’ve included my gentlemen’s guide? Let me know in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to get new posts sent directly to your inbox and follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

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