By Elizabeth Johnson

Visit the closet of any American man, and youre likely to be engulfed by an amazing number of T-shirts and an equally astonishing hoard of blue jeans. This is especially true of young men, but an increasing number of men of all ages have quite frankly forgotten how to dress like men.

There are undoubtedly times that a T-shirt and a pair of jeans is the right thing to wear a sporting event, walking the dog, or building a superhighway. This is also the right thing to wear for most rock-and-roll concerts, panhandling, and pumping gas.

But lets face it, folks there are many more events in life than these, and part of being a real, live, grown-up man in this country is knowing what to wear to a number of different places.

A jacket and tie used to be so de rigueur at restaurants that dining rooms of all complexions kept a few in the coat check room to ensure that if some rube who didnt know better wandered in dressed improperly, he could be kitted up enough to decently eat his steak with the other diners. While this dress code does not exist in most restaurants today, it only makes sense that if you are headed for a place nice enough to have a menu that is not illustrated with photographs and fun facts, you should dress appropriately.

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Every man should have at least one good suit, even if your job and social calendar never require you to wear one. If an opportunity opens up in your office for you to speak at a conference, attend an important meeting, or have dinner with the boss and his wife, you are going to need a suit. Furthermore, if you live a normal life, youll need a suit for weddings, funerals, christenings, and other such events.

If you dont need a number of suits and you dont plan on buying one every year, buy the best suit you can possibly afford in a gray or blue wool and two fine cotton shirts. It goes without saying that the suits and the shirts should fit you impeccably. It also goes without saying that the shirts must, absolutely must, have long sleeves. Along with your suit, you should buy a good black belt and a pair of black shoes. Remember when buying shoes that costs count cheap shoes always, always, always look cheap. Also remember when buying shoes that lace-ups are generally going to be dressier than loafers and are less likely to go out of style than most styles of slip-ons.

Certainly ties are a very quick and easy way to give a plain blue or gray suit a number of new looks. Blue suits can look great with ties that are predominantly red, green, yellow, orange, burgundy, or a contrasting but complementary shade of blue. Gray suits pair well with ties that are predominantly red, blue, silver, black, and even some shades of olive. A white shirt is the perfect plain canvas to make a tie in just about any color pop. However, you can coordinate a pale blue shirt with a red, yellow, or navy tie, or pair a pink shirt with a burgundy or navy tie.

If you choose to don a striped or checked shirt, match the tie to the most prevalent color. Most mens patterned dress shirts pair a color with a neutral for instance, a pink-and-white stripe or a blue check. Ignore the white and match the tie to the color. Also a plaid shirt is never meant to be paired with a tie. Think about how often Pa Ingalls or Grizzly Adams wore a tiealmost never. Why, you ask? Because plaid shirts dont go with ties!

Another way to step up your style is to add a pair of cufflinks. Cufflinks are worn with shirts that have French cuffs, and are always classic and eternally stylish in a way that button-cuffed shirts just simply cant be. If you dont have the need for a lot of different styles, pick something timeless such as a pair of silver engraved oval cufflinks, or even something squares in gold or silver. This classic jewelry will be in vogue for your lifetime, and are an excellent investment.

You could also pick up a pair of cufflinks that will shout to the world your penchant for your hobbies, favorite sports teams, cool gadgets such as levels and compasses, or your favorite animal. Themed cufflinks are always a bog hit. This is one area where you can pretty much go wild without stepping off the ledge into bad taste, so show your quirky side and know that youre still going to be one stylin dude.

About the Author: Whether your interests are in silver, gold, artistic, sports, or other theme-related cufflinks we’ve got you covered. Cufflink Aficionado carries a broad range of

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