nymanstyleThe road to achieving your own signature style is paved with a few basic rules handed down from generation to generation to ensure you always look classically effortless. Rather than restricting your style, these Rules lay the groundwork around which you build your own personal style. Trends in menswear come and go, but the Rules always remain the same. Learn the basic Rules and you’ll never go wrong. After all, you can’t properly break the Rules until you’ve mastered them first. Herewith three random rules in our ongoing series, The Unbreakable Rules of Style.

Style Rule #3: Leather Accessories Need to Match

The general rule for business and formal dress is to match your belt to your shoes. Brown shoes with a brown belt; black shoes with a black belt, it’s pretty much that simple. Extra points for matching your leather watch band to your shoes and belt. Of course, when dressing for work, you should be wearing a thin leather belt. If, for some reason, you think it’s a hassle to own two belts, you can always get a reversible one, like this stunner from Salvatore Ferragamo. For casual dress, the rule of matching your belt to your shoes is still in effect color wise, but you don’t necessarily need to stick to leather. A preppy web belt with khakis and brown suede shoes would look great on Casual Friday. For sportswear, if you’re wearing jeans and sneakers, a belt that’s not a leather dress belt is pretty mandatory. Never wear a thin leather belt with jeans and sneakers. Let the belt loops of your pants dictate the width of your belt; dress pants have thin loops for a thin belt, jeans have wide loops for a sportier belt. This isn’t by chance, follow the tips your clothes are giving you.

Style Rule #9: When Not to Wear a Button Down Collar

You should never wear a button down collar with a suit. Most likely you would wear a spread collar with your suit, though there are other acceptable collar styles, the button down collar isn’t one of them. That said, you can wear a button down collar with just about anything else, including a sport coat and tie. The button down collar shirt is not the villain here, it’s just simply not a dress shirt. With a suit, you need a dress shirt, period. Save your button down collars for casual outfits where they excel.

Style Rule #12: How long is too long?

A tie is the ultimate men’s accessory, bringing style and individuality to your suits. The length of your tie is just as important as the impeccably tied knot up top. Sartorially speaking, even if you have everything else together, a poorly tied tie will destroy your look, and probably your credibility, faster than anything else. Maybe that’s going too far, but do you really want to risk it? Remember this Rule: Your tie should just graze the top of your waistband. Even if you have to re-tie a couple times in the morning, don’t get frustrated trying for the perfect length, and don’t succumb to the devil on your shoulder that says ‘it’s fine!’ when it’s too short. It isn’t. When your tie is perfectly tied, with just the right amount peeking out of the bottom of your expertly buttoned jacket, it says to the world you care about the details and that you’re confident enough to pull them off with flair. See how important a tie can be to your success?