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The ABCs Of Men's Fashion

Style school is in session.

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A is for Accessories

My Soul Insurance / Via Flickr: my_soul_insurance2004

DO: Ascots. Just kidding. But don't be afraid to punch up your outfits with a little something extra, whether that's a pair of sunglasses, a hat, a watch, a pocket square, a knit tie ... look at David Gandy up there. Just remember to keep it simple.*

DON'T: Do puka shell necklaces and arm parties.

*This should really be the final tip, because accessories should be the last thing you put on ... but they're not called z'accessories.

B is for Belt

Polo Ralph Lauren / Via

DO: Know where your waist is and wear your pants at it. Even if your pants don't need help staying put, a brown leather belt adds that extra touch of, "Oh, you're an adult," to an outfit.

DON'T: Be Justin Bieber. There's a reason it's called underwear ... it's not meant to be seen outside of your pants.


D is for denim

Gap / Via

DO: Find a fit that works for your body type. Just like ladies, guys' bodies range from bean pole to apple, and there's a style that's most flattering for each. Dark denim looks good on everyone, and is easy to dress up.

DON'T: Call your jeans "distressed" if they're really just an old pair you ripped when you fell up a flight of stairs.

F is for fit

NBC / Broadway Video / Via

DO: Try on clothes. You may think you know your size, but sizes vary from brand to brand. In fact, they vary within brands.

DON'T: Be afraid to buy a larger size. It's more important to have a shirt that fits correctly, than to know a tag only you see says "medium" instead of "large"


G is for grooming

Aveda Corporation / Via Flickr: avedaphotos

DO: Take care of yourself. Have two eyebrows. Moisturize. Trim where needed (you know...). If you're going to grow a beard, keep it in line. No neckbeards.

DON'T: Call it manscaping. We've moved beyond that as people. Also, don't grow facial hair if you can't. A wispy beard has never looked good.

H is of Hair Products

American Crew / Via

DO: Style your hair. Pay money for a haircut – you can get a decent, salon cut for $20, and the person who cuts your hair will tell you what you need to maintain the look. Unstyled hair makes you look like a 4-year-old boy.

DON'T: Plaster your hair. Helmet head is never a good look.

I is for Investment

G Morel / Via Flickr: fatseth

DO: Spend money on wardrobe staples. Coats, jeans, dress shirts and suits shouldn't be impulse buys.

DON'T: Pay retail. Investment doesn't mean you have to break the bank. When you know you need something, keep an eye out for sales.

J is for Jackets

H&M / Via

DO: Start a collection. Jackets instantly enhance what you're wearing. Need to dress up a T-shirt? Jacket. Need to cover your love handles? Jacket. Want extra pockets? Jacket.* Having a variety of jackets to choose from will help extend the versatility of your looks, and transition your wardrobe between seasons.

DON'T: Just own North Faces. Yes, we all need weather-appropriate outerwear, but you also need jackets that you don't have to take off inside.

*It's fun if you say this like Kristen Wiig as Suze Orman in your head.


K is for Khakis

Bonobos / Via

DO: Own a few pairs in different shades. Khakis are the most versatile pants – they go from the office, to the bar, to church seamlessly ... though hopefully not all in the same day. There's a reason why Esquire dubbed them "the most underrated pant."

DON'T: Buy pleated pants. They bulk up your business region.

L is for Layering

Warner Bros. / NBC / Via

DO: Add depth to your outfit by layering pieces together. Sweaters, an open button-down over a T-shirt, vests – layering can help hide bothersome body flaws, if you have a little more to love here and there, a short waist, etc.

DON'T: Just toss on a scarf. That's not layering, it's poorly accessorizing, and you're not Johnny Depp.

M is for Magazines

Details / Via

DO: Get a subscription to at least one men's fashion or lifestyle magazine. There's Details, GQ, Esquire, even Men's Health does fashion. Getting a glossy once a month will help inspire you to try out new looks and shop your own wardrobe. You might get an idea of how to wear something you already own in a different way.

DON'T: Rely solely on the mags' websites. The print publications are much richer and informative, and for the most part, articles will be printed before they're posted online.

N is for Necessities

oatsy40 / Via Flickr: oatsy40

DO: Have a wardrobe of basics. Yes, this tip could've been called "basics," but the alphabet doesn't have two Bs, now does it? Every guy needs basic white and black T-shirts, a solid-color zip-up hoodie (preferably gray), solid-color Oxford shirts – all the things you could layer over/under statement pieces, like sweaters and jackets.

DON'T: Think basic is a bad thing. Basics are the foundation for your outfit. Yes, this tip could have also been called "foundation pieces." Let's move on.


O is for Oversized

Fashion Citizen / Via

DO: Go big. Sometimes. Oversized coats and patterns are in, but tall-t's? No. Pick just one item to go big on, don't do a whole oversized outfit.

DON'T: Look like you're a little kid wearing dad's clothes.

P is for Pattern

SHK / Via

DO: Shop trendy stores for bold prints that you can cycle out of your wardrobe after a season. Think H&M, Gap, Forever 21 (yes, there are actually men's clothes there). People remember patterns, so you don't want to wear the same shirt for too long.

DON'T: Do paisley. That print is scary as hell.

Q is for Quality

I ♥ Old NY / Via

DO: Pick quality over quantity. It's better to have one amazing pair of pants than 20 craptastic ones.

DON'T: Think a high price tag equals quality. Feel the fabric, inspect the construction, pull at the seams. Make sure what you're buying will stand up to your life.

R is for Razor

Mommy Savers / Via

DO: Use razors ... on your clothes. If your sweaters or knits are pilling – those annoying little fuzz balls that appear after washing – you can shave them off with the same kind of razor you'd use on your face. Just make short, gentle strokes.

DON'T: Use the razor on your face after you've used it on a sweater. That's dumb.


S is for Scent

Tom Ford / Via

DO: Smell good. Everyone should seek out a signature scent – and once you find it, keep it a secret. The last think you want is for your friend to jack your cologne.

DON'T: Think Axe Body Spray is cologne. You're not in middle school anymore.

T is for Tailoring

Hello Turkey Toe / Via Flickr: helloturkeytoe

DO: Get clothes tailored. Simple alterations, like taking up hems and tapering sides shouldn't cost you more than $20. Tailored clothes can instantly take pounds off your frame.

DON'T: Be afraid to have clothes let out. Chances are you'l gain weight at some point, and you don't want to look like a sausage in a casing while wearing your favorite pants.

V is for Vintage

http://Brad.K / Via Flickr: stopbits

DO: Visit your local thrift store – there's treasure there! Yes, you'll have to dig through a lot of crap, but you never know when you're going to stumble on a vintage crewneck or a never-worn coat.

DON'T: Forget to wash the clothes you buy. No need to walk around smelling like somebody else's B.O.


W is for Wrinkles

peapod labs / Via Flickr: peapodlabs

DO: Iron your clothes. And if you don't have time to iron your clothes, toss your shirt in the dryer with an ice cube or two for a few minutes for an instant steam.

DON'T: Leave your house looking like a mess. It's a dead giveaway you just rolled out of bed. Again, iron.

X is for XYZ

Jeff Belmonte / Via Flickr: jeffbelmonte

DO: Examine your zipper. You probably thought "XYZ" was an easy way to get out of the final three letters, but no. It's a reminder to be aware of your appearance. Something like an unzipped fly can ruin your look ... and your day.

DON'T: Pull a Ben Stiller in There's Something About Mary. Ouch.

Y is for YouTube

View this video on YouTube

GQ / Via

DO: Seek out channels for style tips, tricks and inspiration. You can check out professional tips from the likes of GQ, or style vloggers like JairWoo, who post seasonal video look books.

DON'T: Forget to subscribe. That way when you log in, new videos from the content creators you like will be waiting for you to watch.

Z is for Zappos

Zappos / Via

DO: Stock up on shoes. Yes, using the shopping site Zappos was a way to work in footwear. You need a variety of shoes: dress, sneakers, casuals, boots – Zappos is a great place to shop around and compare styles.

DON'T: Wear your gym shoes all the time. They stink.