When we think “street style star” there’s about a million fabulous fashion bloggers that pop into our heads—and for the most part, they’re all women. But our eyes have recently been opened up a little more to the world of male street fashion, and man, oh man, have we been sleeping on some major inspiration.
It’s safe to say that the colorful world of street style has more or less replaced the runways when it comes to trend-setting looks and outfits to copy. But if you want to stay ahead of the curve, here’s a hot tip: Male street style is where it’s at.
Sure, menswear has always been stylish, but in recent years, the looks have definitely been dialed up a notch as men become increasingly adventurous with how they dress—from jaunty accessories to bold color combinations. In fact, the looks are so good that ladies should sit up and take notice—and steal some of these outfit ideas for themselves.
Menswear is kind of a perfect playpen for fashion lovers: Whereas the world of women’s fashion can sometimes feel like the wild, wild west in terms of aesthetics—no boundaries, a million moving parts—menswear has set wardrobe staples and conventions for every day that are more or less universal, like a suit. As such, menswear is like a great sonnet—it’s how one plays within a set structure that really allows the wearer to show off his (or her!) personality.
Here are 12 style rules you can steal from the boys.
1. Aim for effortless
By all means, never look like you spent hours getting ready in the morning. Leave something a bit rumpled; something else a bit un-tucked or un-buttoned. Don’t over-think things.
2. Rocking one color from head-to-toe is seriously elegant
Consider the suit, which has many moving parts and options. Opting to keep the palette uniform—whether it’s gray or cobalt—gives an outfit a really cohesive feel.
3. Be strategic—and brave!—with your use of prints
Print-mixing in women’s fashion is on the verge of jumping the shark, but menswear takes a more targeted approach. Opt for an over-the-top blazer, and then keep the rest of your outfit neutral, or take a more subtle outfit and let your accents do the mixing.
4. Fit is everything
No man expects a suit to fit him like a dream straight off the rack—a trip to the tailor is baked into the buying process. Why should women expect any differently of a dress or a skirt? Change your mind-set, and start treating everything you wear like a great menswear staple. Make your tailor your best friend, and don’t settle for anything that doesn’t fit you like a glove.
5. Have a sense of humor
There’s a delicious sense of whimsy in menswear—a touch of cheek in a goofy print, a subtle wink in a flash of hot pink under a collar or shirt sleeve. Don’t take your clothing too seriously! Invest in something that makes you smile.
6. A great, high-fashion suit is a worthy investment
Sure, this axiom is especially true for men, but a truly fabulous suit can work for men and women, given the right fabric and fit. (Plus, women have the added perk of choosing between a pants suit and a skirt suit.)
7. A suit doesn’t have to be a suit
Hello! This is why suits are such an excellent investment—they’re two perfectly-fitted staples that you can rotate into your wardrobe in all kinds of ways. Pair a suit top with a pair of crisp white jeans or a suit pant with a killer linen suit jacket. The embellishments—hats, handkerchiefs, et al—are what make the outfit.
8. It’s the little things that allow your personality to shine
Sometimes, a whisper is more powerful than a yell, and in the case of fashion, it’s often more effective to show your style through elements like a bold printed sock, a cheery pocket square, or a flower on your lapel, rather than a look-at-me printed dress or a color-packed outfit.
9. Ankles are dead sexy
Seriously! Case in point:
10. A crisp white tee and jeans can be all the uniform you’ll ever need
Emphasis on crisp. These guys make us want to buy a 12-pack of ultra-white tees stat.
11. A great pair of sneakers can go with everything
Sure, we dwell a lot on accessories when it comes to making an outfit, but that doesn’t mean they have to be expensive! Sneakers can take the “fuss” out of a formal suit, or give a sporty spin to a crisp ensemble.
12. Hats. Get one. (Feather optional)
They’re like a killer statement necklace—or statement earrings!—except less fussy.
All photos by Imaxtree
Originally published June 2014. Updated August 2017.