So I have discussed the easier and more basic accessories in part 1 of this blog post, so now it is time to step up your game. All the best dressed and most stylish men know how to incorporate the more advanced accessories into their look. These items are the ones that really add that pop of colour, that contrast of texture and most importantly allows you to express your individuality with the subtlety needed to remain stylish. Each and everyone one of these accessories, has the ability to step up your style game from smartly dressed to the sharpest dressed man in the room.
Aside from having your clothes tailored or at least altered to suit, very few subtle things can impact your style game as much as the advanced accessories. But beware, such items as these need to be worn with an editing mindset, in other words, its not just the actual items that create the impact but how you wear them. It is all too easy when first delving into using these types of accessories to go over the top and wear them all. This instantly takes you from stylish to try hard, a look that impresses no one. I speak from experience, as, like many who are delving into the world of accessories, I wanted to wear all my favourite new pieces at once. Remember, these really are the accent pieces.
So what type of pieces am I talking about? Well, there are larger pieces like hats and scarves, small pieces like tie bars and bracelets and those accessories like pocket squares that can be used to add vibrant pops of colour or contrast.
Hats. Like many of the advanced accessories, the wearing of hats by men can have the effect of having you look like a fool. Myself, I like to wear flatcaps with my casual dress and own a few different ones. I have lightweight ones suited better for the warmer summer months and thicker woolen ones that work well in winter. I have tried other hat styles but for the most part, I find that they don't suit me that well.
So lets look at some of the hat styles available without going into too much detail, or we will be here for days. I've already mention the Flat Cap which I feel to be so much classier than caps like Flat Caps, Golf Caps and Trucker Caps. They can be worn with smart casual attire and suits but pulling that look of can be difficult. The most well known of the wide brimmed hats are the Fedora,Trilby and Panama, there is also the more formal Homburg but this is rarely worn today. The Fedora and Trilby have become the hat of choice for many a 20 something festival goer, the result of which is the proliferation of cheap Fedoras everywhere. This in turn means that for the most part, wearing a Fedora or Trilby is associated more with 20 somethings and are no more considered stylish accessory for the 50 year old gent. However, a good quality or vintage Fedora can rise above the mediocrity and can be a great addition to your wardrobe. Add to the list styles like Western/Cowboy, Newsboy, Pork Pie and Stingy Brim and there is a vast array of styles to choose from. My advice though is to buy quality and try every hat on before buying, as you need to find a hat that suits you.
Scarves. Scarves are a wonderful way of adding both texture and colour to your outfit. Obviously the primary reason for scarves are warmth, but they can also be used to add an extra something to your attire. Scarves can be quite thick or very lightweight and may come in vibrant colours or neutral tones. As a general rule, choose scarves that do not have long tassels on the ends as they look more feminine. There is quite a few ways to wear a scarf, The blog Real Men Real Style has a wonderful infographic on tying a scarf. It is well worth checking out their blog.
Jewellery items. So what do I mean by Jewellery items? Well this includes things like rings,cuff links, tie bars, necklaces and bracelets. I myself at the moment, am not a big wearer of jewellery beyond bracelets, the last ring I wore was my wedding band.
Cuff links and Tie Bars, really only belong with a suit, I have both but rarely wear a suit. The things to remember with tie bars is to never wear a bar that is wider than your tie and that its main purpose is to pin your tie to your shirt.
Like all jewellery, rings and necklaces need to be worn using the KISS principle, do not over do it. The Mr T look was ridiculous in the 80's, so do not try to emulate it now. Think of the size and chunkiness of your jewellery pieces in comparison to your own size. A thick , chunky gold chain will look ridiculous on someone with finer features.
Bracelets. Bracelets are one of my favourite style accessories and come in a variety of styles both hard and soft. I will be honest here, I have not spent much money on my bracelets, there are many sites online where cheaper bracelets can be purchased. However, bare in mind that I am not going for a high end look of luxury. There is 4 types of bracelet that I wear and I will generally mix and match them. There are the softer Rope and Anchor/Hook, Braided Leather, Stainless Steel and finally Stone Beads. One point to keep in mind, is to not overload your wrist, a good rule of thumb would be to wear bracelets together no wider than your watch, if you are wearing a bracelet against your watch then keep your other wrist free.
Pocket Squares. Often referred to as hankies or handkerchiefs, pocket squares are small squares of material worn in the top pocket of your suit jacket or sports coat. I like them as they are very much an accessory you can have a lot of fun with. I purchase mine online for less than $10 each, often as little as $2. The only real rule would be to not wear a matching tie and pocket square set together, rather use your square as a contrast.There are many ways to fold a pocket square, some more formal than others, I myself push my finger up through the centre, then invert it so that all four corners are poking out of the top of my pocket( As can been seen in the photo in the pocket of the jacket on the right) . Once again Real Men Real Style have a wonderful infographic on folding pocket squares.
Wearing accessories can take confidence, do it well and nail your style and confidence will come naturally. Feel free to experiment and develop your own style. Start small, buying inexpensive pieces before you know fully what works for you, but most of all enjoy.
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Divorced and nearly 50 I rediscovered who I was.