19 Things Men Should Never Wear

I know some of you will say, in this day and age, I can wear whatever I want, and you’re quite right! Today, you can wear whatever you want at the same time, you can also inhale asbestos, or you can drink water from lead pipes. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

19 Things That Should Not Be In Your Classic Wardrobe


They look particularly bad when you combine them with socks but even on their own, they may be something that people who are really into outdoor stuff wear, however, if you consider yourself stylish or if you care at all about your outward appearance, sandals will always make you look less smart and immature.

The same goes for flip-flops. Unless you’re at the pool or at the beach; a self-respecting man should never wear flip-flops in public. It’s always easy to say what not to wear but what should you wear instead? Well, for summer, I think an ideal shoe is alpargatas, they’re actually shoes that are originally from Majorca. Sometimes they have some rubber added to it and then it’s fabric sometimes it’s woven, sometimes it’s very thin. In any case, it’s a summer shoe, it’s airy, it serves the same purpose of sandals or flip-flops. Yes, it’s a lot more stylish.

If you want to go a notch up in formality, go with perforated punch holed leather shoes, or maybe even linen because it absorbs the moisture from your feet and it looks very summery and elegant.

2. Cargo Shorts

They just make you look like a douche bag, and I know some people love them because they’re functional. Having items in a cargo shorts pockets make you look asymmetrical and because of that, it sends a subconscious signal to others that you’re just not as well put together and they can’t put their finger on it but in any case, they will think less highly of you.

3. Matching Tie & Pocket Square

Oftentimes, they come in sets; usually in ugly, shiny satin and sometimes they even pre-fold pocket squares or pre-tie ties that you clip on and if you wear this, it just looks so cheap and like you don’t know what you’re doing, that you’re better off skipping it altogether. Of course, wearing a tie and a pocket square makes you look dapper and you should do that, however, you should always tie your own tie and fold your own pocket squares. If you’re not sure on how to do that, we have a whole series on different tie knots and how to tie them, as well as how to fold pocket square the easy way, please check them out.


4. Short Socks

My fourth style pet peeve is wearing a suit with short socks. No one wants to see your hairy calves and even if you shave them, it’s just not appropriate especially in a business setting or an office setting, and if you go with a suit, or with long pants, or trousers, or dress pants, you should always have over the calf socks.




5. Unbuttoned Dress Shirt With A Necktie

It just looks sloppy and the sole purpose of wearing a tie is to make you look more dapper and elegant. There’s no functional, no practical reason why we wear a tie, having a top button undone just looks like you don’t care about how you look and you should either wear the tie and wear properly, or not at all. So you find yourself in a situation where it’s too hot, or you feel uncomfortable around your neck, take out the tie, roll it up, put it in a pocket and unbutton the buttons, that looks much better.

6. Big Shirt Collars

I see them all over the place and sometimes you wear them with neckwear which leads to puckering because when you tighten your tie knot, there’s too much fabric and it just leaves unsightly waves. The golden rule of thumb that you read all over the place is that you can put two fingers in your collar and it should comfortably fit. The problem with that is, I’ve never found a collar where I couldn’t put two fingers in because your neck is flexible, because of that, you should wear a collar that doesn’t leave any visible gaps when you stand still. Usually, if your collar is too big, you’ll find that there’s a gap in the front and it should sit snugly against your neck, that will give you a proper look and it’s just dapper.

7. Square-toed Shoes

Usually, it’s what you find in lower end shoes under $100 and they’re just plain ugly and they show everyone around you that you have no clue about dressing well. When I grew up in Germany, there was a company named Lloyd’s and they sold tons of ugly shoes and they were actually a little more expensive so people consider them to be quality dress shoes and for that reason, that style was perpetuated. Fortunately, there are lots of other good companies out there that offer a nice round toe or if you want something a little more square, go with a chisel toe that’s very elegant.



8. Tennis Socks

Unless you’re at the gym, there’s really no reason you should ever wear them. Wearing white tennis socks with brogues, or with long pants, or even with shorts, in a public setting that is not the gym, make you look like a peasant.

9. Windsor Tie Knot

I know it’s one of the most popular tie knots around because it’s symmetrical and it’s big. The problem is, most people wear it with cheap shiny ties and it makes you look like a used car salesman or an insurance salesman, that is just very sleazy and not pretty competent instead, I suggest you look into the many different tie knots that are out there including the half-Windsor that look much better in my opinion, and are much better suited to an elegant gentleman.

10. Satin Silk Ties

Especially not for day wear! If you want something for the evening, or you want a little bit of shine, I could see that; but most of those ties you get at Walmart or a cheaper outlet like Men’s Wearhouse, and you name it, just look like it, and it will always identify you as a man who doesn’t have a clue about dressing well. Sure you’ve seen those ugly striped ties in multi colors and they’re just so plain ugly, I can’t even find words for it.

Instead, go with a tie that is silk, maybe wool, maybe cashmere, maybe some texture if it’s also going with the jacquard weave, or a print. Look for something more matte that is timeless that will stand the test of time and will always make you look dapper. Case in point, the tie I’m wearing here right now is vintage, I’ve had it for years it’s probably fifty years old but I can still wear it because it’s not shiny, it’s a classic small paisley pattern, and it just always looks dapper.



11. Sports Sunglasses

Yes, you know what I’m talking about. Those mirrored sunglasses that you maybe wear when you’re outdoor, sometimes they have rainbow colors, and they’re just not something you should ever wear with a formal wardrobe in public. Instead, go with classic sunglasses; they’ve stood the test of time such as maybe a pair of aviators, maybe Wayfarers, or maybe you want to be like Steve McQueen, the king of cool.

12. Jerseys

By that, I mean sports jerseys that usually only wear if you go to a sporting event and you want to support your team, otherwise, they’re wholly inappropriate and just always make you look very immature. Instead, go with any other kind of shirts you can find but a jersey is just bad.

13. Slogan T-Shirts

They just make you look like a 13-year-old boy who wants to express himself but doesn’t know quite how and it’s not just immature but it makes people laugh about you and that you actually wear the shirt. I”ve seen men actually wear t-shirts that say douchebag or haters will always hate and while that may be the case, it’s just better to not wear it, plain or in bold colors on your shirt, but to write or talk to people in person.

Edward Norton in a midnight blue, slim notched lapel tuxedo with flaps and black neck tie - the only thing he got right is the patent leather shoes

Edward Norton in a midnight blue, slim notched lapel tuxedo with flaps and black neck tie – the only thing he got right is the patent leather shoes

14. Regular Neckties For Black Tie Events

You see it on the red carpet in Hollywood every year around the Oscars, and it’s just plain wrong. This is a formal dress code and it looks like you don’t know what you’re doing. I created a video about how to find the right black bow tie for your tuxedo on your situation.



15. Belt With A Vest

A vest should be either worn with just side adjusters or suspenders because a belt will create a gap between your waistband or your pants and your vest and it just looks unsightly. You should also never have a tie that peaks out underneath of it or maybe a shirt that pokes underneath of it when the vest is too short and the rise is too low because that simply shows that you don’t know what you’re doing.


I think only school boys should wear backpacks, otherwise, there’s no place for them in public unless you go hiking, or to a expedition where that’s kind of the only practical thing to carry, otherwise, with backpacks it’s very easy to hit people without even noticing it which is not just rude, but just not polite the same time, it makes you look like a schoolboy and you rather want to look like a grown man so get a leather satchel instead, a briefcase, maybe a canvas one, or something that suits your style, and leave the backpack with schoolboys.

Trump on inauguration day Jan 20, 2017 wearing a dark overcoat and a red shiny satin tie that extends way past beyond the waistband pointing at his crotch - not very flattering

Trump on inauguration day Jan 20, 2017 wearing a dark overcoat and a red shiny satin tie that extends way past beyond the waistband pointing at his crotch – not very flattering

17. Incorrectly Sized Ties

The problem is, they come underneath your jacket, and if you don’t wear a jacket, they even accentuate your balls which is just not where you want people to look at. Ideally, they look at your face and not at your crotch. Now, I get it, all the ties are too long and especially if you’re a shorter guy it’s very hard to find a tie that actually works for you because otherwise, you have this gigantic tie knot with your tiny head and it just looks goofy so instead, buy ties and the right length for you. I think we’re one of the only stores that offer the entire threefold classic neckwear range in short, regular, and long, so every man no matter the height can find a tie that works for him.

18. Large Armholes In A Suit / Jacket

Not only do they make you look like a football player, but they’re also uncomfortable and they restrict your movement. Instead, go with smaller armholes.



A large watch on a small wrist can be unsightly

A large watch on a small wrist can be unsightly

19. Big Wristwatches

The 19th thing you should never wear as a self-respecting man are big, gaudy wristwatches that just scream for attention. I know they’re really popular these days but a smaller watch is just more sophisticated especially if it’s slimmer, and it serves the same purpose, and it’s just a hallmark of an elegant gentleman.


What are your style pet peeves?

19 Things Men Should Never Wear
Article Name
19 Things Men Should Never Wear
Discover Sven Raphael Schneider's 19 fashion pet peeves and be convinced to get rid of these items in your wardrobe.
Gentleman's Gazette LLC
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80 replies
  1. David K. says:

    If I didn’t know better, I’d think that Raphael was trolling with this list. I predict a lively debate below!

    As for me, I’m never giving up my Windsor knots. I love the symmetry, and if you don’t want a huge knot, simply get thinner ties.


    • Hugh Pham says:

      David – I agree with you and use both Windsor and 1/2 Windsor
      Dear Raphael – You might need someone who can iron your shirt better, it looks all wrinkled, my friend.
      Cheers – Hugh

  2. Luiz Felipe de Araújo says:

    I have to disagree with the SANDALS issue. Nowadays there are some very elegant sandals and depending on the occasion and where you are, they’re very welcomed. About the SQUARE-TOED SHOES, I had a situation once where my (big) toe nail was actually coming off due to my round-toed shoes, ever since I can only use square-toed shoes. It’s a health issue.

  3. Chuck Bowers says:

    Thanks for all you do for all of us. Any advice on dress shirt collars? The spread collars just make me look like I have been rolled out flat. What’s wrong with straight collar?

    • Ricardo says:

      You have to consider your structure. If you have a round face you don’t want to wear a spread collar as that will continue the consistancy of the roundness, Try the classic spread or the English spread. Also if you have a very squared jaw and a long face you do not want to go with a classic collar as it will make your face look even longer.

  4. Ron Drasser says:

    My biggest pet peeves is seeing someone wear black socks and dress shoes while wearing shorts, totally tactless and uncool!!

  5. Bruno H. says:

    For the sandals, I suggest another alternative: Sanuks. They’re just like sandals or flip flop (for the base material and comfort) but they have been dressed up. Granted some of the models looks sloppy more like for the surfboy on the beach (and that’s what they are for) but they have some models that I find very elegant and sober. They are not too pricey, usually pretty durable and extremely comfortable. Of course, no socks. To me it is a great shoe for summer (or at home). And no, I’m not paid by them. Note that other companies are providing similar models nowadays.

  6. Tristan Shout says:

    We’ll have to agree to differ on the Windsor knot, because with a quality tie, it is just the best. The writer may be airing his wrath against the knot with infers quality ties, though.
    I am surprised that the writer does not include baseball caps in his hit list though. Sartorially speaking, there’s only one thing that annoys me more than a baseball cap, and that’s a baseballl cap being worn backwards or sideways. Men should have grown out of this practice by the tine they reach 16 years of age!

  7. Steve P says:

    – Sweatpants, hoodies, and athletic sneakers (when not working out)
    – Ankle-length socks (especially with trousers)
    – Vests with neckties and no jackets (makes you look like a waiter or valet)
    – Ball caps when there’s no sun to shade your eyes from (or when worn backwards)
    – Brown belts with black shoes (or vice versa)
    – Neck chains and bracelets
    – Capris
    – Skin-tight clothing
    – Sleeveless shirts
    – Denim on denim
    – Man-buns

  8. David Roberts says:

    I disagree with the sandals. It’s probably the only appropriate shoe to wear with shorts. Perhaps we should rethink shorts…

    • Stefan Scheiben says:

      While I do not favor shorts in general, I think in most combinations a pair of casual loafers or boat shoes might work even better.

      • Michael H. says:

        I agree with Stefan. Although I own a pair of sandals, Loafers or boat shoes are my go-to 99.99% of the time.

  9. Jason Ainsworth says:

    Oh wow, how I have violated this list at times before I knew better.
    To add:
    French cuffs without a suit and tie. (sorry, blazers and sport jackets don’t count) And especially with an undershirt showing.

  10. Stefan Scheiben says:

    I think sandals, backpacks, hell yeah, even cargo shorts, are not pure destilled evil, but functional wear confined to activities that call for such extreme measures. I would consider them equipment, not clothing. They can be very useful and comfortable when hiking or trekking, but this is where they belong. Not in town, and certainly not at the workplace. The same might be true for tennis socks and sports sunglasses, which belong on the tennis court or the ski slope.

    As for the matching tie and handkerchief set, unfortunately department stores cater to this kind of “taste”, using the all too human flaw that people do not want to think by themselves. If the manufacturer says it looks good, it automatically does? Finding a handkerchief that really complements the tie is more like an art form, or a game, if you like.

    For me personally, finding a neckerchief that matches one of the colors of the necktie’s pattern (not the main color), while seeming not to similar (mostly, but not necessarily a different pattern), will do the trick with most of my outfits, although fine tuning parameters as pattern width and fabric luster can be a challenge when materials like tweed or linen come into play.

    I also confess I am still a fan of the Double Windsor Knot – although definitely not to every collar form. It is a big, wide knot that needs a matching stage to play on, so I prefer it combined with wide spread-collars. When you try to squeeze a double-windsored knit tie under an elongated Kent collar, all you will archieve is to look like your shirt is to small. Sometimes a simple oriental knot might have been the better choice.

    • Bruce T M says:

      Windsor knot with a knit tie – big mistake. Windsor knots make you look like your mother tied your tie for you before sending you off to school. It looks like you’re trying too hard.
      Deck shoes wth shorts every time. Canvas shoes never look good.

  11. Tim Cogswell says:

    The ‘Tie Size’ thing (#17):
    I too have noticed the extra length of President Trump’s ties and may only guess why he prefers that extra length. But one other thing about his dress that bugs me even more, is the point that he never seems to button his jacket; especially for staged photos or more ceremonial events (I think I have noticed his jacket buttoned only twice during his term).

    The ‘Big Watch’ thing (#19):
    Though I own a number of watches, I find that I only wear three; one is a “chunky” Submariner that I do often wear for more than just with dress jeans; usually, less formal blazers or ‘British shooting style’ wear (e.g. tweeds). For suits and business wear I have a simple antique and very slim fine gold watch that fits quite nicely under a French cuff (I have never seen another). The third is a very cheap (plastic fake diver) that I wear for outdoor work and wear, and if I break it… it’s $15.

    • John Greyson says:

      Regarding length of tie, crass and classless individual that Trump is, he wants to draw attention to his crotch. Also his suit sleeve length doesn’t exhibit any shirt cuff. Nor do I believe that a well dressed person should wear any Trump branded menswear – just tacky!

      • Andrew says:

        He does often accessorize his look with one of those re “Make America Great Again” ball caps. It’s not an elegant look.

  12. Mark in OZ says:

    Dear Raphael,
    For me there is a #20; that is those heavy fragrance after shaves , some of which are hugely overpriced and sold on the pretext you will have women being dragged out from under you . Give them a miss lads.
    The cut away collar looks like an accident going somewhere to happen .

      • Paul Breslin says:

        I agree. I dislike heavy perfume and overpowering after shave lotions. Also, the stench of cigar smoke. Paul

        • Andrew says:

          Agreed. I think the whole “fragrance” thing is a very expensive waste of time being foisted on us by marketing. Many of these items just make me sneeze.

  13. Rico says:

    I have been very annoyed by the current “fashion” in men’s suits. Jackets and pants that are too short and tight emphasizing the crotch area as opposed to drawing attention to the face.

    I may face criticism for not being “with it” but there is a difference between the temporary state of fashion and the time tested rules of style.

    • Andrew says:

      I so totally agree. I just attended a job fair in Hong Kong, where the majority of men were in those tight “bellhop” suits. I wore a more 1930s style chalk stripe three-piece suit with a fuller drape cut and was constantly complimented all weekend for my sene of style. It seems many people recognize a classic suit when they see it, but don’t know what to ask for when they shop for one.

  14. Mike says:

    It all looks good sensible advice to me. Not only do the items bestow effortless ugly – but they’re also boring. A match made in hell or maybe Marks and Spencers

  15. Alex says:

    I followed everything except “Belt with vest”

    I wear a vest with my business suit, not just my formal suits. I love vests. Why should I either a) stop wearing my vest, or b) ditch the belt?

    • Michael H. says:

      Traditionally, vests are worn with braces instead of belts. IMO it makes for a much more coordinated look.

        • Andrew says:

          What is impractical about braces? I find they work and feel better than a belt with all suits. And a belt definitely throws off the lines of a vest in me experience. But I don’t see how braces would be an inconvenience, unless I was for some odd reason trying to change my trousers while still wearing my jacket, which seems unlikely.

  16. Fred Decker says:

    What a fun list! Informative too! I respectfully disagree with the current trend toward high arm hole suits. I think these style of suits make men look like androgynous European teenagers, not like men. I like the old style fit that builds up the shoulders and the chest. This style of suit projects authority! Thank you Sven Raphael Schneider for all the great content you share!

  17. Valentina says:

    I greatly enjoyed your list. However, I strongly suggest you find an editor/proofreader to make careful adjustments for you before you post. Your intelligent insights are very painful to read due to the many mistakes made in grammar and syntax. Glaring example: point #16 is one run-on sentence of over 20 words; the word “otherwise” is used twice in it besides!
    Perhaps you don’t care; since most people tap on tiny keyboards to communicate these days, misspelled gibberish is almost standard and I fear we all may end up grunting and using acronyms at some point. I am assuming you do care very much how you come across to others, hence your lists and spot on advice. consider bringing your written word up to those standards as well. Cheers.

  18. Flin says:

    My online mentor Will Boehlke favors dark satin neckties for evening (they emulate the facings on a dinner jacket). For dinner in the City, I sometimes wear a navy satin tie with a white shirt and navy suit. I think it’s a good look.

  19. David Lovegrove says:

    As an Australian I am a bit bemused by this list. We are very much outdoor people and our attitude is more relaxed towards fashion. Cargos and t-shirts are d’rigeur for picnics and the beach.
    Many of us like to dress up and dress well at the right times but
    I’m afraid that much of this list seems somewhat effete from our perspective.
    I suppose it’s a Southern Hemisphere thing as we have much in common with South Africans and South Americans fashion wise.
    A time and place for everything I guess.

    • Michael says:

      Please don’t portray Australians as vulgar. Cargo shorts and sandals are truly offensive. There is a range of sophisticated attire one can wear to the beach and remain comfortable.

  20. Don says:


    I am sorry I am. It on board with #9 and the double Windsor. The symmetry makes it clean and elegant. The gargantuan knots come with our shorter brethren making adjustments using inferior neckwear.
    The sandles, cargo shorts backpacks, the situation sometimes calls for them. In Newport Coast we are so fortunate to be able to enjoy the Pacific all year long. The sandy shore does not lend itself to always be a dapper Dan. Casual, comfortable and functional are the rule of the day my friend.
    Thank you for your dedication and offerings.

  21. Blakesby says:

    I disagree with the Gentleman’s Gazette’s often narrow view on style, but I find it just as laughable that people stand by full Windsor knots. “But the symmetry of the knot” only proves your great ignorance on the subject of style, as there are many knots which are just as symmetrical that have been around well before the Windsor knot. I feel like anyone defending it clearly does so for a lack of knowing better. They’re comfortable with their awful knot, and they’re too lazy to look into anything better. Hilarious.

  22. Dennis says:

    I agree with most things, except for the no-belt-with-vests rule.
    Vests that sit well won’t be bothered by a subtle belt, one with a subtle buckle. Bracers are EXTREMELY unpractical, especially if bodily functions of a dirty kind kick in.

  23. Markus says:

    Raphael, thank you indeed! Finally, someone brave enough stood up and officially declared square toed shoes to be among the ugliest items a man can wear (No. 7). It has been the German men’s disease ever since manufacturers started offering them, and until to date no cure against it has been identified. Donald Duck, bare footed, is more of a gentleman. With all due respect, here is my short amendment and a possible No. 20 on the list: Refrain from wearing suits cut much too tight (like poor Danny Craig is showing in the last James Bond movies) as it not only delivers quite a childish look but will also make you appear as if you forgot to pay your tailor. Cheers, Markus

  24. Myron Moore says:

    20. Denim shorts (a style abomination).

    Classy leather sandals are legitimate resort wear, though, in my humble opinion.

  25. Simon says:

    You forgot to add: cheap suit jackets that have a tiny strip of white cloth sewn into the top of the breast pocket to make it look like you have a pocket square. Always a favourite…

  26. Mark D. Gershenson says:

    sleeveless shirts of any sort.
    board shorts unless you are surfing
    down parkas over suit jackets
    the top button buttoned on any shirt if you are not wearing a tie
    pre-worn-out (i.e., intentionally ripped at the factory) jeans
    clothes of any sort that scream out your sexual orientation
    digital watches with anything more formal than athletic wear or clothing to do dirty chores in
    untucked dress shirts
    tucked t-shirts or polo shirts

  27. Jan Tölva says:

    I would say that about the sandals there is no clear yes or no. It is all about context. While it is a clear no in most contexts, a good pair of Birkenstocks (preferably the Arizona style) can be an option when you are moving in a very casual and(!) summerly context. Also in case your house is not too cold they also make good shoes for inside – at least in summer and preferably when you are alone with yourself or your loved ones. Because otherwise, if it is cold, you would need socks and, yes, socks are a no-go!

  28. John says:

    Wow, I liked GG until they hired a woman to write about Men’s style. Big, Gaudy wristwatches? Full Windsors are for douche bags? REALLY?! Have you reviewed the language you used or your format? I feel like I am reading a column in Teen People, or worse than that: AskMen.

    I love your Style feature, but your writing is a flat bore. I guess we still have PG.

  29. Hubertus L says:

    I am perfectly fine with basically anything on that list, except the backpack. My spines health is way to important to me to be worn on either one or another side jut because i would be wearing a briefcase.

    • DNT says:

      That’s fine. Just don’t wear it with a structured jacket like a suit, sports jacket or blazer. Nothing will destroy the shoulder’s faster than a backpack.

  30. Tomas Jonsson says:

    I agree with several of the items on the list. White tennis socks, big wristwatches, and sports sunglasses especially.

    But backpacks, come on! They are not meant to make you look elegant, but to be practical. Do you put your sweaty t-shirt and your wet towel in your briefcase when leaving the gym?

  31. Booney Jones says:

    Finally, there is someone who cared to post such a good article. Sleeveless shirts of any kind, neon printed trousers, white tennis socks, silk ties are some of the things I want to include n your list and I personally don’t feel like wearing. Thanks for sharing this.

  32. Iron_Pencil says:

    The windsor knot is perfectly acceptable. It shouldn’t have made this list.
    Theme ties (fish, Christmas Trees, star trek, Homer Simpson). Gawd. No. Never. Ever. Period.
    Knit ties. This site showcases some of them but they still reek of late 1970s pimple faced teenagers.

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