A few years ago (i believe it was 2003), GQ had a small pamphlet on 25 tips on how to improve a man’s style. This was like my mini style bible. I haven’t looked at it since, but 6 years later they’re still very useful. The pictures might be outdated, though:
25 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR STYLE:
1. Buy a two-button suit. It will give you a slimmer, more streamlined look, and it will better show off your shirt and tie. The days of three-button dominance are over.
2. Chances are, you’re wearing your suit a size too large. Its shoulders should hug your shoulders (not jut out past them). And ask your tailor to size the sleeves so they stop at the hinge of your wrist (not halfway down your thumb) and to size the pants so they break once (not gather in a baggy mess at your heels).
3. Put toe taps on your leather-soled dress shoes. They will significantly increase the shoes’ life span.
4. Matching wood hangers will transform your closet into one of the sleekest, cleanest spaces in your house. Wire hangers belong in the trash.
5. If you’re going to own one sweater, make it a charcoal gray v-neck. It goes perfectly with a dark suit in fall or winter and with jeans or cords in spring.
6. A black belt works with khakis, jeans, suits, everything. It is the one belt every man should own.
7. A dark, slim tie will instantly give any ensemble a younger, cooler feel. And unlike wider ties, it looks as good with a jean jacket as with a suit jacket.
8. Your raincoat should be as trim and tailored as your suits. Buy a mackintosh by Jack Spade and you’ll look sharp in even the most inclement weather.
9. Invest in a classic one- or two-button tuxedo with peak or notch lapels. It makes no sense (stylistically or fiscally) to rent a tuxedo each time you attend a black-tie event.
10. Don’t waste money on a fancy lint remover. Buy a tape roller instead at your local drugstore—it works better.
11. Learn how to tie a bow tie. At the end of a wedding, you want to be the guy with an untied bow tie hanging around his collar, not a clip-on stuffed in his pocket.
12. Get a long, dark scarf and don’t wait till the temperature plunges below zero to wear it. Skip the parka and pair it with a suit or a sport coat and jeans.
13. Learn how to form a dimple in your tie. It’s the little things that make a gentleman.
14. Cordovan dress shoes are indispensable. Made from horsehide, they conform to your foot’s shape and last for ages.
15. If you want your suits to survive, dry-clean them infrequently. Instead, have them steam-pressed when they need shaping up.
16. Puffy or multipeaked pocket squares are dorky. Yours should be, well, square—like Sean Connery’s.
17. Always stow a dress shirt at the office. You never know when you’re going to sweat through a shirt in the dead of summer or spend the night out and not make it home in time to change.
18. Keep your dopp kit stocked and ready to go—ibuprofen, toothbrush, condoms, etc.
19. Tell your dry cleaner you want your dress shirts cleaned without starch and pressed by hand. It’s pricier but worth it—they’ll look crisper and last longer.
20. The gray crew-neck sweatshirt is an American classic that’s more versatile than ever. You can wear it on its own, underneath a jean jacket, or even with a suit and sneakers.
21. Invest in a great shoulder bag. If you carry a cheap one with a nice suit, it kills your outfit.
22. When you wear your trim two-button suit, leave the belt in the closet – you don’t need one. Going beltless lends the suit a clean, confident look.
23. Wear cuff links without a tie. It will give you a rakish yet elegant flair.
24. When wearing sunglasses with a suit or sport coat, wire-rimmed aviators are your most refined and understated option. Leave those athletic wraparound shades for beach-volleyball players and center fielders.
25. Sambas are the one sneaker that always goes well with a suit. But be sure to dress down the suit—nix the tie and go for a T-shirt, an open-collared oxford, or even a layered track jacket.