There are some style rules you need to adhere to – no squared-toed shoes, no socks with sandals, no budgie smugglers this summer, or any summer, until the sun explodes - while others, are made to be broken.
Especially those anachronistic ones that might have been the word of law for upstanding Edwardian gentlemen, but have no place in the fluid modern world of mens style.
Here are six to forget you ever heard.
1 | No brown in town
This dates back to a time style was only really a concern for the landed gentry, and it was the height of bad taste to wear ones country attire (tweed, plus-fours etc.) in the city, most pertinently your brown brogues. Now though, the tables have turned, and I would say that a brown leather shoe is the modern man's best friend. Wear brogues with denim or smart separates, elegant one-cut shoes with navy and charcoal suiting and boots – be they suede Chelseas or hefty lace-ups – with denim and knitwear.
2 | Everything must match
If you're the kind of man that chooses his socks depending on his tie (or worse, his pocket square), then you have too much time on your hands. It's not that it looks bad, it just looks affected. If your suit is cut properly in a good fabric, then I don't think you need much embellishment. But if you must go for a few extra fripperies, then think in a tonal theme rather than rigid doctrine of colour or pattern. The Italians preach Sprezzatura - a sort of studied carelessness. That's what you should be aiming for.
3 | Wear clothes that fit
Now, let me clarify. Your clothes need to fit, of course they do. In fact, that's the most common style mistake we see (and the easiest to avoid). What I mean is that you should feel free to play with proportion and drape. Tailoring, for example, is going through a soft, unstructured period, and with the summer slowly creeping through the door, it might be wise to test a few billowy, loosely cut, oversized looks. Trousers can be baggy, jackets can be longer and less sculpted, but fabrics still need to be of the utmost quality.
4 | Black Tie means Black
Though a black dinner suit is perfectly acceptable for an event that calls for evening wear, it's a touch uninspired. Midnight blue is a much more interesting colour, and it looks more luxurious in low light. Then, as men such as Matthew McConnaughey and Jared Leto have proved in the past, white can be a good option too, but only for the jacket – few of us can go full KFC colonel and get away with it.
5 | Wear less when the sun's out
On the rare occasion it actually gets hot here in the UK, it's tempting to swap trousers for shorts, shed suit jackets and don the flip-flops. But resist (especially the bloody flip-flops). You can (and should) still wear suits, shirts and lace-ups, you just need to mix up the fabrics. Linen, for example, is your new best friend, but it does have a knack for creasing, so pieces cut from a mix of linen and cotton or silk are preferable. Shoe-wise, plenty of brands offer exceptionally light, breathable and comfortable alternatives to your Goodyear-Welteds, such as these from Private White VC. Check out our 10 commandments for summer dressing for more tips.
6 | Actually give a damn
Finally, don't stress too much. Yes, take time to consider your outfit, but go with your gut and wear what feels right when you put it on. Nothing looks better than an aura of being at ease.