21 Dec 2016

How to be a sharp dressed man

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 3:08 pm on 21 December 2016

A sharp dressed man in New Zealand used to mean long socks, wide ties and whatever was on special at Farmers.

Times have changed, and men around the world are becoming more conscious about what they wear, and their options are growing too.  

David Coggins is a writer and editor who writes about fashion, travel, art and fly fishing. 

He's written a book that features conversations with men of style about masculine identity and fashion - Men and Style: Essays, Interviews and Considerations.  

But it's not a book about what to wear, and it’s not about fashion.

Coggins, who lives in New York, says less is more when it comes to a man’s wardrobe and great pieces will endure.

“Fashion is something that evolves a little too quickly and style is something that’s ongoing and enduring, maybe something that was passed on to you by your father, something you don’t have to worry about because it involves something besides a trend.”

He suggests staying away from the latest styles when choosing a suit.

“Look at the suit and ask yourself: ‘Will I be able to wear this in ten years?’”

Confidence is the key, he says.

“A well-dressed man looks like himself, he has a certain amount of self-knowledge and I think that’s something that we all respond to.

“There’s something to be said for designer clothes, but you’re bigger than any designer. It’s you OK be sceptical about logos you don’t want to be affiliated with a company - you want to look like yourself.”

So how does a man get to know his look, what’s right for him?

“As you get older, if you’re curious and if you pay attention you’ll arrive at the right place.”

Don’t be afraid of the suit, Coggins says.

“I feel more comfortable in a sport coat, I like the pockets in sport coat, I think men look good in a sport coat. A good suit looks good on most men.”

And if you’re choosing just one – go for a classic.

“Classic suits are dark blue and dark grey. A beautiful blue suit or a beautiful dark grey suit is a wonderful thing.”

And always ask for advice, men come in all shapes and not every suit will suit.

“A suit should be your friend, and the man who sells it to you should also be your friend - like a good bar tender.”

Finally the shoes, don’t neglect them, he says.

“They’re Important. Ask any woman you know. I’ve never met a woman who does not notice a man’s shoes, shoes are important - get good ones.”

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