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There was an article recently on The Art of Manliness that perfectly simplifies the principles of style that few men can figure out intuitively. Not knowing what looks good on you when you go shopping is dangerous, and can result in a closet full of regret buys and an empty wallet. Here's the synopsis of how to recognize whether you will actually get good mileage out of an article of clothing:

Boxy Oversized Mens Suit from Department Store
You won't even be able to take yourself
seriously in a suit that looks like it's
on loan from your dad.
The most important aspect of all is fit, which sits at the top of the style pyramid above fabric and style. Everything else about a look depends on how well it fits you. The best outfit can look awkward and unflattering if it is too tight or baggy.

Therefore, when buying clothes, keep an eye on pants width/length. The hem of your pants should skim your shoes, not creep beneath them, and the rule of thumb for pant leg width is not "two of your legs can fit inside one pant leg." You should just be able to fit a couple of fingers between the fabric and your thigh.

The bottom of your jacket should hit you just below the hip, never over your thighs. An over-long jacket is the best way to look shorter than you really are. Shirt sleeves should be long enough to go between your wrist and your thumb joint when your arms are at your side, and jacket sleeves shouldn't be more than half an inch shorter. Again, use the 1-2 fingers rule to determine what torso and arm width works best for you.

This second most important principle refers not just to the fabric of your clothes, but to the overall quality. The general rule to remember is that if it looks cheap, don't buy it (especially if it isn't cheap). You can determine the quality of fabric by the type of fabric (suits/shirts should generally be 100% cotton or wool, and blended synthetic fabrics shouldn't exceed 95%), the weight (too-light fabric will blow around stupidly, fall apart and wrinkle easily), and the quality of details such as weave (check for little imperfections or pilling), stitching (avoid lose or sloppy stitches), hemming (should be flat and even), and materials (buttons, rivets, etc. should be high quality and sturdy).

Properly Fitting Mens Suit Example
Get serious! Good looks are all up to you.
This is the last principle, and it is the most difficult to qualify. Everyone has a different style, but there are some rules you should adhere to for maximum clothing mileage. For instance, you shouldn't buy an article of clothing if you can't think of something that coordinates with it. What good are neon green skinny jeans if you can't even imagine a shirt that would go with them? That's right - before you can justify a clothing purchase, you have to visualize an outfit.

You should consider upgrading items of your wardrobe that are well-worn, out of style, or simply not age appropriate. Art of Manliness gives the example of handing over your high school Chuck Taylors for a grownup pair of suede saddle shoes (30 years of age is a good time to stop wearing sneakers with suits).

The great thing about getting your suit or shirt tailor-made by Tien Son is that you don't have to think much about the style pyramid. We take care of most of these principles for you by providing you with high quality clothes that are perfect for your body type. It's a no-brainer when you have a retailer you can trust to provide you with something good. The only question is what you want to add to your wardrobe next!

Let us know which style principles you struggle with the most in the comments section.

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