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1. Too many colors
Too many colors draw attention -- but not the kind of attention that gets you dates. Limit each of your outfits to just three colors or shades to keep things as simple as possible.
Also, find a color wheel online or in a book. Colors opposite each other on the wheel are "complementary colors" (i.e. purple and yellow, orange and blue). Colors adjacent to each other are called "analogous colors" (i.e. orange, yellow-orange and yellow). When putting together an outfit, stick to complementary and analogous colors.
You can also avoid a lot of mistakes simply by matching pale clothes with pale shoes, and dark clothes with dark shoes.
2. Too many patterns
As you'll see in the previous article on identifying and matching fabrics, the key is to wear no more than three patterns, or to match just one or two patterns with one or two solid colors.
Of course, the easiest thing you can do is find one pattern you look good in (like chalk stripes or herringbone) and stick to it.
3. Too many fabrics
In the minds of many, fabrics exist in a certain "class." Silk is generally considered more formal than denim, while linen shirts don't exactly scream "corduroy pants!" Leather will always be more masculine than, say, tweed.
You can dance around many of these fabric mismatches by simply keeping your winter and summer clothes separate. Winter fabrics tend to be heavier, denser and rougher, while summer fabrics are mostly made of natural fibers, single-layered and airy. Keep them away from each other and you should be fine.
4. Stained clothes
It's always a good idea to have a stain stick to use on soiled clothes before they hit the wash.
Make it a daily routine to inspect your clothes when you take them off. Likewise, examine them when they come out of the wash to make sure you didn't miss a spot.
5. Dressing for the wrong season
If you live in a warm climate, you're lucky; all your clothes only need to be for one generic spring/summer season.
If you're like most, though, and you live in an area with varied weather, I recommend picking up a couple of clothing storage containers to store off-season garments. As the old saying goes, "Out of sight, out of mind." The further away from your pea coat you keep that linen shirt, the less likely you are to match them together accidentally.
The right length for pants and T-shirts, grooming issues and more.
6. Pants that are too long or too short
Always try on pants before buying them, even if you're sure of your measurements. Different brands can have slightly different lengths.
And remember these rules: Khaki and dress pants should end at the top of your shoe's heel. Jeans can be worn to the bottom of the heel. Anything longer -- for all types of pants -- is too long.
Pants should not reveal any sock when you walk. When you sit, they should not expose more than a couple inches of sock.
7. Pants that sit too high
If you're short-waisted (i.e. long legs and short torso), wear low-rise jeans or khakis/corduroy pants with front pockets rather than side pockets. Another trick is to buy pants with a slightly bigger waist size and a slightly smaller inseam than you normally wear. This will let the pants hang low without tripping up your feet.
8. T-shirts that are too long or too short
If it's long, make sure to never tuck it in your pants; that's a big no-no. T-shirts should end about midway down your fly. Anything longer is just too long, and anything shorter will make you show lots of skin when you bend over. The key is to find a brand that fits your body type. I find American Apparel's tees and Banana Republic's fitted crews to offer the best fit for your buck.
9. "Busy" T-shirts
Stick to T-shirts in solid colors or two colors (ringer tees), and avoid shirts with garish designs, logos or obscene language. In the long run, simple colors will actually give you more mix-and-matching options with regard to jackets, button-downs and sweaters.
10. Wrinkled button-downs
It's as simple as this: You need to own an iron and an ironing board. But if you're traveling, you can do a quick-and-dirty ironing job by lightly spraying water on the wrinkles, heating the area with a blow dryer and smoothing it with your hand. I've even seen guys do this trick in public restrooms with hand dryers! It's a desperate move, but it works.
11. Ties that hang awkwardly
Ties should reach the top of your belt buckle and have a dimple in the center of their knot. The best way to get this all-important dimple is to place your index finger on the area right below the knot as you tighten the tie. TieGuide.com has more info on mastering this sometimes tricky move.
12. Socks with sandals
For starters, get rid of the socks. If you need socks but still want to take advantage of the warm weather, get some ankle-length socks and wear them with canvas sneakers or moccasins.
13. Missing a spot when you shave
Use clear gel when shaving so you can see your skin, or buy a hand mirror and investigate your face up close after you shave to find any missed spots.
14. Sporting a unibrow
Once a week, pluck or gently shave the area between your eyebrows. Of course, you can always go for laser removal. One or two sessions will likely clear you up for life.