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Fashion faux pas: 5 mistakes men make

Close up of feet with socks in flip flops1 / 4
AJ Wilson, manager at Halberstadt’s ND, says pairing one big print with a small print is an easy way to execute double patterns. Thinkstock / Special to The Forum2 / 4
Color blindness affects about 8 percent of men which can make picking out clothes a difficult task. Alexandra Floersch / The Forum3 / 4
Portrait of a male shopper looking at clothes in store4 / 4

Just admit it, men (generally) don't love asking questions.

Whether it's directions to their destination, where the bean dip is located in the grocery store or the who, what, when, where and how of upcoming plans, many men would rather take a pass.

That rule also applies to fashion.

"Guys typically don't come in asking for stuff. You have to get it out of them," says Mikia Albrecht, men's fashion and swim manager at Scheels in Fargo. "A lot of guys don't like to shop. Most of them want to get in and get out, so it's easiest just to tell them what they want."

But what Albrecht has found is that a few questions go a long way in avoiding the following men's fashion faux pas.

1. Fit (or lack thereof)

One of Albrecht's pet peeves is "not having jeans that fit quite right and then they're wearing a belt that's super tight with these baggy jeans and a dress shirt," she says.

Alex Dahl, store manager at Halberstadt's ND, says he notices fit is a common issue among men he helps.

"I think the biggest thing is oversizing," he says. "Most guys oversize themselves by at least one or two (sizes) in everything — their shoes, jeans, shirts, jackets. You could have the nicest shirt, the nicest suit ever, but if it doesn't fit correctly, it doesn't really matter."

Dahl says most men choose bigger sizes for comfort, which is normal, but different styles toe the line of comfort while still looking good.

2. Mismatched colors or patterns

According to the National Eye Institute, approximately 8 percent of men with Northern European ancestry suffer with red-green color blindness. Albrecht has noticed this about her customers and tries to guide them in creating outfits where colors don't clash.

"I try to tell them, if you're wearing dark on top, do lighter on the bottom," she says. "That helps a little bit so you don't look like one big blob of the same color."

Dahl says matching shirts and ties is often the hardest task for men.

"Most people think if it's a pattern tie, they have to do a solid shirt or if it's a pattern shirt, they have to do a solid tie," he says. "But patterns you can mix and match. It takes — to a certain degree — an eye a little bit, but in today's day and age most things have been done already so it's more just expressing yourself."

AJ Wilson, a manager at Halberstadt's ND, says there's a trick to pairing patterns.

"If you were to go with a big polka dot and a big plaid, that can almost look kind of clownish," he says. "But if you do a small pattern and then a big pattern, it contrasts itself nicely."

Wilson also recommends pairing contrasting colors — either light to dark or complementary colors — when pairing ties and dress shirts.

3. Failing to finish the look

"It's kind of a struggle to see guys wearing $100-plus jeans and then just wearing whatever for a shirt," Albrecht says. "We have so many T-shirts that are really nice for $25."

Men often forget to think beyond the pair of pants or shirt they were sent to shop for.

"As I'm helping guys in here, I get them thinking about all those things," Albrecht adds. "If they really do have an event they're shopping for, I ask, 'Are you going to have shoes that go with this? Do you have all the layering shirts and belt?'"

Thinking the whole outfit through is important.

4. Uncoordinated shoes

On the same note, part of finishing an outfit requires pairing shoes. Guys have a hard time "deciding what is a dress shoe and what is not," Dahl says. "I see some people who are in a suit or dress pants but their shoes aren't a true dress shoe."

Although Dahl admits in 2017 more fashion-oriented individuals can pull off a fashion sneaker — something a little dressier — with certain looks.

"People have been mixing that street fashion with suits or dress pants," he says. "Now even a nicer, leather dress shoe has been a lot more comfortable as opposed to what it might have been in the past. So you can still get that fashion with comfort and not have to go to something too casual for what you're wearing on top."

5. Getting behind the trends

In the Midwest, fashion is already a couple of years behind trends, but some men are even further behind than that.

For example, "there's so many guys that are still stuck with the super loose fitting jeans with the big, boot cut bottoms," she says. "Right now the biggest trend is the slimmer (jean) with the tapered leg."

Having good taste isn't simple but it doesn't have to be hard; sometimes it just means asking for a little direction, which isn't always as scary as it seems.

Dahl says helping customers feel confident is a rewarding part of his job.

"Each member of our staff has their own little taste but I think together we like and appreciate when (customers) ask questions and look for some direction," he says. "Ask questions and don't be afraid to try something different."

For the latest men's fashion trends, check out part two of this series next Saturday.

Alexandra Floersch

Alexandra Floersch has worked for Forum Communications since February 2015. She is a content producer and photographer who enjoys writing about finance, fashion and home.

(701) 451-5730
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