5 beginner mistakes

5 Beginner Style Mistakes I Made

Whether you are just a beginner, a young man, a seasoned gentleman or a certified dandy, you have probably been guilty of one of these style mistakes at one point in your life. I’m no exception! Find out what 5 style mistakes I made in the past and how you can avoid them.

Young Raphael in a teddy bear tie

Young Raphael in a teddy bear tie

Mistake #1: Wearing Hideous Ties

The first big mistake I made, and I see a lot of other young men doing is to use ugly ties. Well probably they got their ties from their dad’s closet the last time he invested in neckwear was the 90’s, so we get this distinctly dated patterns that just don’t work with a modern suit or anything else for that matter.

The first tie I ever wore was a skinny red leather tie that I got out of my dad’s closet, and I wore it with pride then, but honestly it looked terrible. The problem is it was a leather tie, it was shiny, and there is a reason you hardly find them anymore. It was just a short trend, and it just looked hideous. Then as a 14-year-old boy, I wore a silk teddy bear tie. I know Hermes has featured animal ties, but most of the time they just looked childish and outdated.

Young Raphael in a suit and yellow tie

Young Raphael in a suit and yellow tie

Sometimes, I also see men wearing bold colored shirts in purple, red, green or really vibrant blue then paired with a shiny satin silk tie in patterns or solid and it is just too much and looks bad. You may think you look cool in those ties, when in fact, most people won’t take you seriously and you kind of look incompetent. You definitely want to avoid that.

Same is true for sports themed ties or any emblem of clubs or any logo for that matter. Just like Mickey Mouse ties or patterned printed 90’s ties that just looked very dated. Instead, you should invest in a range of classic ties that you can wear 20 years from now without ever looking outdated. If I could redo it all over again, the first two ties I’d get is a dark navy silk tie and maybe a dark red or burgundy grenadine tie. Those two ties will get you through weddings, interviews, formal events, informal events and anything you might need a tie for.

Young Raphael in a Silk teddy bear tie and leather jacket cut like a suit

Young Raphael in a Silk teddy bear tie and leather jacket cut like a suit

Mistake #2: Investing in Black Jackets and Suits

The second mistake I see young men making a lot is wearing a lot of black jackets and black suits. You are not alone. I made the exact same mistake. In fact, the very first time I had a jacket was a black leather jacket that was cut like a suit jacket and I wore it with my red leather tie. Most people think a black suit is the first thing they should invest in because they can wear it for business and you can actually wear it for funerals. But other than that, it has a very limited range of use.

Instead, you should invest in a dark navy suit or in a dark charcoal suit because they are more versatile and they are not all black and they are not so harsh but you can combine them in may different ways and that’s the choice of elegant gentlemen.

Don’t let the ubiquity of black suits fool you. This is a men’s style and fashion don’t, and if you know something about suits, you are not going to wear it in black during the day to the office.

Boxy shoe styles

Boxy shoe styles

Mistake #3: Unattractive Boxy Shoes

The third big mistake I made and many others do as well is to invest in boxy square toe shoes. My dad is from Brazil so we went there on vacation. They had shoes and they were rather affordable. And so we got these squishy leather soled, really wide toed boxy shoes and I wore them with pride. But in fact, I look back today and think, “Oh my god, those were so hideous!.” And I actually could only wear them for a year or two before I threw them away simply because was so extreme and made me look bad. This boxy style of shoes is exclusively found in low-end cheap shoes.

Mistake #4: Wearing Too Many Accessories At Once

The fourth mistake I see men who are interested in style and fashion make a lot, and it’s too have too many accents in one outfit. When you first get interested in style, you learn more about patterns and colors, and you want to mix them, and you learn about pattern matching. And so over time you just add up all of these different accessories that overwhelm your outfit and it’s just too much. People won’t be able to look you in the eye because you have so much going on that’s just a distraction.

Too many accents in the outfit

Too many accents in the outfit

I remember one point in time, I had a brown glen check jacket, paired with a bold white and orange striped shirt paired with a paisley tie and a loud pocket square. And I thought, “Man, I’m actually four patterns here.” and all is fine and dandy when in fact it was just over the top. If you go with one loud accessory like a green shantung tie, pair it with a plain solid shirt, a fine herringbone jacket in brown and a simple pocket square. That way it looks polished. It looks elegant, but not over the top. Once I realized that I was overdoing it, I really toned down my outfits. And I would say that today, I have much fewer accents in an outfit than I used to have back in the day when I just got started.

50% Suit sale

50% Suit sale

Mistake #5: Splurging On Sale Items

Mistake number 5, and that was an important one for me was buying things on sale exclusively. I grew up in a household where we bought a lot of things on sale. And so when I grew up and became interested in clothes, that’s what I applied to my wardrobe as well. So at first, I tried to find marked down items, but the problem with marked down items is that they are just marked down because they did not sell in the first place. So people weren’t that interested in it. And even if it is a well-made item, if it’s too special and it’s a strong color, you won’t get a lot of wear out of it and so the cost per wear can be a lot more expensive than the navy suit you buy for a regular price.

After a while, I also realized that the classic navy blazer or the charcoal suit hardly ever went on sale and only maybe if there was someone going out of business and even then it was not marked a whole lot. Once I invest on this classic garments, I realized that I could combine them, with lots of different accessories. I always look dapper and I covered a wide range of occasions that I could wear it to.

Now if you happen to find a steal, and it’s exactly the item you need, and that you want to buy, that’s okay. Go for it! But it’s much better to have a plan in place beforehand. So you’ll only buy the things you need and don’t just randomly buy the things on sale because those are the remorse buys that cost you a lot of money but don’t get you anywhere because the cost per wear is so high. And, you can hardly combine them with other things that you already have in your wardrobe.


One thing that I always found was that accessories such as ties or pocket squares sometimes look dated and so I would invest money in a good pocket square. I remember the first one I had was one with all white with a blue edge and I still have it today, 10-15 years after I bought it because it was such a good investment even though it was the full price not on sale.

5 Beginner Style Mistakes I Made & Young Men Make
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5 Beginner Style Mistakes I Made & Young Men Make
5 young men’s style mistakes or beginner mistakes commonly made and how to avoid them.
Gentleman's Gazette LLC
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16 replies
  1. John, The Bohemian says:

    Hi, I’m from Brazil. These boxy shoes are pretty common here, unfortunately. Greetings!

      • Octavio Berganholo says:

        Ferracini is still here, my dad uses the brand almost everyday…
        Most of the brazillians don’t care much about the shoe they use.
        Boxy shoes or tennis shoes dominate our country’s feet, unfortunately.
        Greetings from Brazil!

  2. Bruce Egert says:

    I appreciate the sage, sartorial advice. I am a lawyer in NY and NJ practicing nearly 40 years. Early on I decided that I could get an advantage over my competitors by dressing like a lawyer (along with acting, speaking and behaving like one is supposed). Whatever, I’ve spent on good clothing has paid off, ten times over. With men’s woredrobes becoming more casual and more careless, it makes it even easier to stay ahead on the curve. I recommend your books, websites and advice columns as being good for business and good for one’s life.


    I practiced criminal law in New York for 35 years, and the bad guys show more respect for a sharp dressed mouthpiece…More likely to pay the fee. However, my trial dress strategy was to dress as much as a conservative prosecutor as possible. I wanted the same halo in my head as they carried on theirs. Worked!

  4. Alexander_F says:

    The first tie a red skinny leather one. Oh my, there is another fellow victim. Thank God those things are not produced anymore.

    And then those boxy shoes. First leather shoes I bought. Well, we’ve all made our sins, I guess.

    Anyway, a really insightful article indeed, and also most encouraging, as we your readers now know you didn’t learn all the things you know on a day.

  5. shane says:

    I don’t often wear ties so i was safe from that one, but have to admit i have made most of these other mistakes. Thanks for the tips!

  6. Allan says:

    In my opinion the amount of accents you want to wear really depends on what you are dressing for. If you are dressing for the office or workplace, sure, tone it down, but if you’re out to have fun, your clothes can reflect that.

    The thing about sales I have to disagree a little. While I get your message, I often see that some items don’t sell that well here (Denmark) because the market itself is leaning to a conservative and rather monochrome side, and I’ve therefore been fortunate to find many great ties and other accessories heavily discounted.

  7. Joseph YIM says:

    My worse style mistake was being too lazy to dress up for the occasion.There are a lot of people in my country who do not care to dress up.Recently,my sister just got married.I saw somebody wearing shorts and a t-shirt.In my opinion,I find it disrespectful.This is a wedding,not a party at the beach.

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