7 Of The Worst Style Mistakes That Make Men Look Like Boys (And What To Do Instead)

Personal style trumps following trends, in my opinion, but there are a few fashion faux pas that otherwise put-together guys are still guilty of committing. Are you among them? Find out with these 7 head-to-toe no-nos that cheapen your image plus ways to get your swag back on track.

Wearing shorts too often

Everybody knows a bro who wears shorts year round. There’s a blizzard outside and this joker is running errands in half a basketball uniform. Bare calf enthusiasts aside, Patrick Kenger, image consultant at Pivot Image, suggests limiting shorts even in summer.

“Many hardcore menswear advocates will tell you that shorts are hardly ever acceptable,” he says. “I don’t take things to that extreme, but I do think men often default to shorts as their casual option.”

To upgrade your everyday style, Kenger adds, find neutral colored chinos (available almost everywhere you shop) that will pair well with anything. You won’t sacrifice comfort for style, and they’re made of breathable cotton that’ll let airflow easily so you don’t burn up down there.

Ill-fitting clothing

When I was in high school – smaller than I am now – I wore medium and sometimes large shirts. What can I say? – it was the ’90s. Now in my late 30s, however, I prefer clothing that fits well and complements my body. That could mean extra small when I’m trim and athletic, or small when I’ve let the hibernation months get the best of me. But I don’t throw out the smalls when I lose weight. Instead of buying new clothes, I take what I already have to the tailor to be taken in. Saves a lot of money on new wardrobe staples while I get more mileage out of what I already own.

On another note, you’ll be taken more seriously in fitted clothing – like you mean business – which will work in your favor professionally. As they say: Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.

Sneakers with suits and tuxes

Take a look at the guy second from the right. He’s at the 2018 Academy Awards dressed like his garage band just got its first gig at a semi-private country club. He also looks like a fool. People judged him that night for wearing Superstars with his tux, and people will judge you if you try this, too. Especially women.

“I think one of the biggest mistakes men make when it comes to style is to wear sneakers to a black-tie event,” says beauty influencer and pageant queen Raquel Riley Thomas. “I see this so often and I have to admit that this is a no-go. Leave the sneakers at home and try a Cole Haan shoe. Their shoes feel like sneakers inside yet they look stylish on the red carpet. This is a win for both the gentleman and his date who does not have to look at him in sneakers while she is in a long-gown.”

This advice applies to formal and semi-formal situations where red carpets aren’t present as well. In the meantime, you probably have a buddy who thinks this look will charm the guests at his upcoming wedding. It won’t. Be a friend; stop him before it’s too late.

Athletic clothing as your go-to

This is primarily a comfort thing, but you should always dress for what it is you’re doing, Kenger says. If you’re not going to the gym or exercising, you shouldn’t be in athletic clothing. Get dressed in your regular clothes for errands, brunch, and other activities. Personally, I find it helpful to spend an hour on Sundays putting together my outfits for the week, ironing everything, and having them ready to go when I get out of the shower in the mornings. This tactic keeps me looking fresh, my clothing gets rotated consistently, and I’m ready to go anywhere – which is not always the case when I’m underdressed in my athleisure wear.

Socks that extend above the shoe

Socks that extend above the shoe just enough to creep out are immature and frumpy looking. Go for no-show socks or full crew socks, suggests Kenger. My two cents added – cool it with the black mid-calfs hiked up; you’re not a high school lacrosse player (no matter how much you wish you were).

Branded T-shirts

I get all my tees from J.Crew Factory, which come in a full spectrum of colors across all seasons and cost anywhere from $9 to $15 each, depending on what sales and discounts are available. There’s always some promotion in store or online. They’re versatile, and I like wearing those as my only top in the summer for a get-up-and-go sort of style while building the rest of the look with my shorts, shoes, and accessories, like shades and a hat.

Not dressing with a sense of occasion

If you’re going somewhere special, put in the effort. Because you’re an adult, and you should show up looking like one.

“Grown men understand the importance of looking the part for events they attend and don’t fear dressing formally,” explains Kenger. “If an invitation states ‘black tie optional’, it means “black tie.”