The Big Mistakes That
Wreck Your Style, Part 2

A few weeks ago, Nicolas from the men’s fashion blog Kinowear gave us the first part on the mistakes men make when it comes to their look and the surprisingly simple ways to avoid them.

He also taught us to recognize fashion brands by their clothing quality and not their marketing campaigns.

Today’s sequel continues with more common mistakes and how to remedy them.

Wearing worn out shoes

I know I already spoke about shoes in the first part of the article, but I must persist.

While you don’t have to be extremely careful with your pants or your top, shoes are the foundation of an outfit.

You’ve got to let them go...
You’ve got to let them go…

I don’t want to sound like a snobby Parisian, but your shoes often show your sophistication or lack thereof. We make inferences about your qualities and flaws based on them. I wish it weren’t true but this is how people’s minds work.

What do you think of a guy who’s over 30 and wearing beat up Vans? You assume he’s probably still stuck in his adolescent ways. We have difficulty seeing him as someone particularly interesting based on a first impression. And when you factor in that most people stick to their first impressions…

Nice shoes (that also match your style and personality) should be a priority.

I sincerely advise you to invest in a decent pair of shoes (on sale).

Nice shoes are essential to a masculine and elegant outfit — which is sexy in itself. You don’t have to limit yourself to shiny, pointy shoes but instead look for a pair that complements your style and that you feel comfortable wearing.

What makes a good pair of shoes has little to do with the design. In fact, the shape of a great shoe can be simple. It’s more important to have quality leather, balanced proportions, and consistent color.

Things to avoid

  • A cluttered design. You should avoid shoes with excessive visible seams. Seams that are merely decorative and do nothing for the construction of the shoe.

  • Exaggerated shapes. Very round, pointed or square toes.Square_Toe_Shoes
  • Soles with thick edges on the sides. We prefer finer soles.

  • Leather shoes that are a hybrid of sneakers and dress shoes. Designs that try to work everywhere, don’t work at all. Instead, invest in a pair of sneakers and a pair of dress shoes.Sneaker_Dress_Shoe

Now let’s look at some classic, go-to designs.

The desert boot. I’m presenting this first because it’s the ideal shoe for a first pair of everyday shoes. If you’ve never worn anything but sneakers on your feet, you’ll find them casual yet elegant.


Oxfords. The essential shoe for a dressy style.


Ankle Boots. For a virile, masculine style. They’ve got no laces. Some great models at N.D.C.


Sneakers. For younger guys mostly. Older men can wear sneakers too but need to be very picky. In both cases, it’s best to go for very understated design, simple colors, simple shapes. So mainly white and grey leather. You’ll see great examples from Common Projects or Wing + Horns.


Combat boots. For a striking and super masculine style (with the ‘wild side’ touch that comes with them.)


Maybe you don’t want go shoe shopping but you should know that loads of girls are sensitive to a man’s style. In particular, they pay attention to your shoes.

One of my female friends told me something that speaks volumes: “You see the effect that a girl has in a nice pair of pointy stilettos? Well, its the same for us when a guy has nice shoes. It doesnt embellish his physique, but it does give him a real extra something.”

Failing to balance outfits with subtle touches

I often see outfits that are far too safe (a plain pair of jeans with a grey sweater, for example) or things that are too ostentatious (white trousers with shiny shoes for a Saturday evening).

When it comes to your look, you’ll achieve the maximum impact when you master subtlety — the balance between nonchalance and elegance.

Don’t create outfits that are completely composed of basic items

Sure, this look works, but don’t you think it could use a bit more punch?

That said, it’s better to have too little than too much. You’ll never look ridiculous with an outfit that’s too safe, unlike if your outfit is too much.

Start with your basics. I’m talking about neutral colors (gray, beige, white, navy) and understated designs — plain raw jeans, plain white shirt, and a plain gray jacket.

With these items, you’re guaranteed to have a solid starting point.

To give it a stronger look, add one or two bolder pieces. That can be a bright colored sweater, an old denim jacket, or a scarf.

If you want to learn more about the men’s basics read this post on Kinowear.

If you look like this guy, you’ve gone (just a touch) too far.

Never playing with contrasts

This a fundamental notion that all fashion fanatics are familiar with. It’s about combining a dressy item with a more casual item. For example: a plain grey jacket with a tailored checked shirt or dress pants with sneakers.

Pages and pages of men’s fashion magazines are full of this kind of style contrast…you just have to open your eyes for inspiration.

An interesting outfit thanks to the contrasts of style (large check shirt with dress pants and a sweater), different materials and colors.

Wearing fancy pants

Accentuate your shoes or torso rather than your pants. A busy design will detract from your outfit.

For your jeans. Instead of buying jeans that have already been distressed, get a pair of raw jeans that will fade naturally over time.

Artificially faded jeans look like detergent has been haphazardly applied with a paintbrush in random areas. Raw denim, however, will gain a subtle fade wherever there’s frequent rubbing on the fabric.

Artificially faded jeans.
Raw jeans worn for several months.

For your pants. Avoid bright primary colors or patterns. Keep them in neutral colors such as beige, navy, gray, and black. My favorite non-denim pants are chinos — they come in a handful of colors, the most classic being beige.

Going too far with accessories

A leather bracelet, watch, or pair of glasses can all elevate your outfit.

But accessories are not meant to be noticed when you enter the room. They should never be showy or convey extreme wealth (no bling!).

Their role is to cheer up your outfit by showcasing some of your personality.

Bracelets and watches

More and more guys are wearing something around their wrist. Go for items with a simple yet tasteful design — leather and metal usually work well together. Ditch the Hot Topic thick leather wristband and large curb chains.

Minimal yet classy wrist accessories.

Accessories shouldn’t be the primary focus of your outfit.


Wearing something around your neck is the easiest way to accessorize your outfit. Scarves add a touch of color, spontaneity, and casual ease.

During the winter, make sure your scarf is warm and long enough. Stick to solid colors with large stitching. Big weaves really play an important role in the way your scarf will fall around your neck.

Masculine winter scarf with big weaves.

During the summer you’re free to use more color and patterns. Go for a combination of a neutral and bright color.

A scarf, when worn well, makes the shoulders look more muscular

Take pride in your image! You’ll quickly see the benefit in not only how you feel, but how women look at you.

Who is Nicolas?

Nicolas Kinowear

I’m the author of this post and editor at

At Kinowear we help men choose pieces of clothing and put together simple yet stunning outfits.

Join me on the blog to learn how to dress well or take the free Kinowear Crash Course.