Should socks match pants or shoes? — And 10 other men’s style question – Beckett Simonon
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Should socks match pants or shoes? — And 10 other men’s style questions answered.

How to Menswear Knowledge

Should socks match pants or shoes?

Traditionally, socks were meant to match pants in color. Mainly because it creates a unified length line, resulting in a more flattering look. However, looking “right” isn’t always synonymous with looking good. Colored or patterned socks are stylish and fun. Plus, they are one of those pleasant surprises that can earn you style cred without being too loud.

Should belts and shoes match?

It’s advisable that your shoes and belt be on the same note, and—true—this can be easily accomplished by tone-matching accessories. However, if the occasion allows, you can also up your belt game by adding different textures, like woven leather or cotton needlepoint, to the mix. What matters is how well they complement each other, not only in color but also in style.

What’s the ideal length for shorts?

It really depends on your body type but, as a general rule, going two to three fingers above the knee creates a neat look. Just to be clear, anything below the knee falls off the “shorts” category entirely. And while we are at it, we should also mention that socks and shorts are like oil and water. If you really need them, be warned: invisible socks or shoe liners are the only acceptable way to go.

Should bags and shoes match?

No! This age-old adage has gone the way of the old wives’ tale. Your bag should only match your personality. Leave the matchy matchy trend to young ladies and adults with a dress code. If you wear a suit every day and you’re looking to keep it in the safe zone, a classic black or brown leather briefcase will never go out of style. If you are on the casual side, a bright tan leather or navy cotton messenger bag will make a nonchalant statement.

Is it ok to go tieless with a buttoned-up-to-top shirt when wearing a suit?

We’re sitting on the fence when it comes to this one. Some people get away with it flawlessly, but trust us when we say these lucky folks belong in artsy environments where traditional formal attire is not expected. This controverted style can often be a bit more dressed up than an open collar, but it’s never a safe bet. Unfortunately, invisible ties do not replace the real thing. We’ll make an exception if your first name’s David and your last name’s Lynch (or Byrne).

Where to place a tie bar?

It’s up to you and your personal style. Back in the day, tie bars were worn between the third and fourth buttons of a shirt but nowadays it's more common to wear them between the second and third button. That’s—personally—where we prefer to place it. Just in case you’re new to the trend, make sure your tie bar also clips your shirt placket and never wear a tie bar that's longer than your tie is wide.

How many buttons should I leave open on my shirt?

This is a matter of personal taste and it varies from shirt to shirt and from country to country. However, as a rule of thumb, wearing your shirt with the top two buttons unbuttoned will be well accepted almost everywhere. Opening more than two buttons is a daring step into challenging territory. With the exception of Keith Richards, very few men own the style to sport such cleavage and still look good.

Cuffs on dress pants? What’s the ideal length?

Cuffs on suit pants are pure engineering: they may seem decorative but they are more about function than anything else. Cuffs add weight and anchor your pants, resulting in a better hang and a sharper look. There’s no golden formula to determine perfect sizing and it will usually depend mostly on your height. If you are still unsure of the right fit, 1 ½ to 2 inches will often do the trick.

What’s the best color for a first suit?

Congratulations, a man’s first suit is a definitive step into adult life. You will be in good company with solid charcoal grey or dark navy blue. Black is not a good starting point as it’s very limited in shirt and tie options and rarely looks sharp during the day. Plus, we are sure you don’t want to be mistaken for a priest. Or a waiter. Or a Zara sales guy.

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