Don't Make These Casual Clothes Mistakes

If you ever walk into a store to buy food, only to be told the town dump is down the road, it might be time to update your casual clothes. As comfortable as a torn T-shirt and duct-tape-covered sneakers may be, they never create a good impression.

Sweatshirts and sweat suits are good only if you plan on sweating. Painting shirts are good only if you plan on painting. You can find plenty of stylish, yet comfy, casual clothes for men. Jean selections alone are enough to keep even mall-phobic men shopping for an entire hour.

T-shirts are the all-time champion holder for popular casual tops for men. The most important thing for making a T-shirt seem stylish is its overall quality. Shirts that are faded, ripped, stained or worn paper-thin look cheap. Colors should be vibrant, the material should be whole and the overall appearance should be crisp.

If you prefer T-shirts with pictures or messages, remember to consider the situation before you wear it. The only time it is stylish to be offensive is if you're famous and making a political statement. You can still wear your favorite band logo or cartoon picture, but anything tacky should be left at home.

When it comes to button-down shirts, polos, sweaters or other men's tops, stick to what you're comfortable with and look good in. However, polos don't go with cargo pants; they work with cleaner trouser lines, like regular-fit denim jeans.

Sports jerseys are stylish in the following three circumstances:

  • The sports team is on an all-time hot streak.
  • You're at a game for the specific team.
  • You own the sports team.

Otherwise, jerseys tend to look juvenile.

As far as sleeve length is concerned, it doesn't matter, just as long as the arm is actually there. Tank tops are worn for physical activity, not for grocery shopping. The style is too informal for most situations, with the exceptions of working in the yard or getting in some time at the gym.

When trying on, or wearing, a shirt, make sure to wear it properly. As a basic rule of thumb, shirts with a flat and square bottom, like a T-shirt, can be left untucked. More formal shirts, where the front and back are oval-shaped and the cut is curved up at the sides, should be tucked in.

Untucked formal shirts can appear sloppy rather than stylish. So any casual, untucked, formal shirt style should be handled carefully. The one exception to this rule is a flannel shirt. Unless you're a lumberjack, most flannel shirts look strange tucked in, even if a flannel shirt has a formal style of shirttail.

Almost any style of denim jean is ideal for men's casual clothing. Relaxed, regular, skinny, boot-cut or baggy, they all can look good. Like most casual clothes for men, the most important goal for stylish jeans is overall quality.

Quality jeans should never have ripped pant cuffs covered in a fringe of broken strings, and ripped jeans are generally best avoided completely. If you want rips, stick to the rock-star look with torn knees. Fashionable men's jeans with huge rips in places other than the knee, or back pocket, went out with the 1980s. As far as cut-offs are concerned, if you want denim shorts, just break down and buy a real pair.

There's more to men's casual clothes than just jeans, though. Cargo pants, linen slacks and khakis work as both stylish trousers and shorts. For a slightly more sporting style, use convertible hiking pants with the zipper around the knee. These give you a pair of comfortable pants that quickly transform into shorts.

Twill, tweed and houndstooth pants have jumped from golf course to punk rock to mainstream. Even a pair of relaxed corduroy trousers paired with a plain T-shirt, vest and nice belt looks good.

Hoodies can be fashionable, as long as they're in good shape. However, they're stylish only when worn as a means to keep warm, not as a means to create a statement. Treat hoodies like a casual coat.

Sweatshirts are neither shirts nor coats; they're workout clothes. Anything you play basketball in counts as active wear, not casual wear. Warm-up tops, workout tops and martial arts tops are all out of play for a stylish casual look as well.

For a sure-fire hit, it's hard to go wrong with a nice leather jacket. Biker-style or Italian-tailored, a dark and rich leather coat goes with almost any look. Leather lasts if properly cared for and jumps from casual to semi-formal with ease. Don't go overboard, though, and keep the leather pants for the movie stars.

Whatever you choose, make sure it really works for you. Since confidence is a big part of style, any clothes you feel awkward in are more likely to make you look awkward. So don't completely abandon your personal style to be fashionable. Just alter your style a little in the right direction.

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