What Not to Wear. A Fashion Guide for Guys Everywhere.


Whether you’re a CEO looking at your wardrobe choices, a hipster wannabe pastor in search of cool threads, or a professional considering a look update, choosing what to wear can be daunting and, yes, even dangerous. I often get the question “what type of clothing should I buy, or what should I avoid?”  But while my teenage son might disagree with my fashion-forward mindset, I have learned some universal dos and don’ts when it comes to men’s fashion. Here’s my best attempt at helping guys avoid looking like dorks.

What not to wear Maurilio Amorim post


If you keep the following rules, you should be OK. Break them, and you’re on your own.

The Do-I-look-Stupid? Rule. If you have to ask it, don’t buy it and by all means don’t wear it. Don’t ever decide to wear something because you think that it will make you more relevant or “hip.” That usually backfires. I have seen guys wearing white belts that should never call attention to their stomachs. Last year I was carrying extra weight and should have left the white belt in the closet.

The Vintage Rule. You need at least 25 years of storage before any of your clothing becomes vintage. Most of the time it’s not vintage, it’s just badly dated. And it’s only vintage when a young person wears it, anyway.  If you don’t remember when you bought it, chances are you should donate it to Goodwill. The only person I know that can still wear his Member’s Only jacket from 1985 and look good in it is my pastor, Pete Wilson.

The Flag Rule. Horizontal stripes should only be worn by flags and really skinny people. If people salute you, get the hint and change shirts.

The Sausage Rule.  Tight clothing doesn’t make you look smaller, it makes you look, well, like a sausage. Sometimes when referring to pants that are too tight the sausage rule is also known as the Muffin Top Rule. This happens when your tight pants squeezes your larger mid drift creating the spillage syndrome called muffin top. It can be painful as well as unsightly.

Black not White Rule. Black covers a multitude of sins. The older I get the more I love wearing black. There’s no better friend to those of us battling middle age than a black shirt to combat all kinds of wrong, including the aforementioned muffin top. A black shirt or blazer is also a great help for those with moobs, aka man boobs. And for the love, men, don’t wear a white t-shirts unless your body fat is in the single digits.

I could go on, but I want to hear from you. What other fashion rules should men not break?

  • Carl Saddler

    Great Post!! Most guys forget the "Belt/shoe Rule" where your belt and shoes should be the same color. I've seen people wear black shoes with brown belts. Not good.

    • Good one Carl. Also men should know that they should wear socks that match the color of their shoes.


  • The extended version of The Sausage Rule is when the shirt and pants are both too tight…then its The Busted Can of Biscuits rule.

    • Awesome extention with a great visual. Thank you, Emily!

  • Please don't ever wear a blazer and tie with a short sleeve shirt (pastors do this all the time).

    Also, your Timex Ironman or Casio G-Shock doesn't "go with everything."

    • (giggle) My poor hubby is an airline pilot and they have to wear the short sleeves – especially in the summer months – or they suffocate. This drives me nuts!!!!

    • Don't wear a tie with a short sleeve shirt unless you're a pilot!

      • I suppose there is one exception to every rule. In this case, uniforms. Now watch someone argue that the pastor's coat and tie is a uniform.

      • I would go as far as 'don't wear a tie with a short sleeve shirt' PERIOD!

  • George Hoffman

    How about the "BULGING POCKET" rule? If your pants pockets flare out like Mickey's ears, and everyone can actually see the lining, chances are you should consider buying the next size up!

  • Steve Shantz

    I rarely shop alone because I don't trust myself! As someone who has shopped with you, I've been saved from fashion disaster by your Brazilian directness – "Steve, you look stupid in that!". I have heard comments though on items I have walked out of the store with such as, "That looks like a Maurilio shirt!". My response is "thank you"!

  • I LOVE this post!!!! As with you, consulting companies on their "image", dress often comes up. And I was blessed with a background in fashion – including men's ready-to-wear and designer clothing. Some men STILL don't get it – so thanks for offering this info – man to man!

    My biggest pet peeve is men who wear their suit jackets or sport coats too big. I've actually heard, "it makes me look stronger". NO – you look like a scrawny man (smaller than you really are) trying to wear his daddy's clothing.

    Please get fitted by a professional who can help you showcase your physical strengths.

    But beware – you may have to learn new skills in holding off those who suddenly find you irresistible.

    • Sports coats that are too big, specially on short men, makes them look even smaller. Great point: have your clothing altered.

  • My husband Scott, owner of New England HD and New England Multimedia, is the Black on Black guy. It's ALL he wears! When he was a youth pastor, they called him Johnny Cash.

    The only time Black on Black doesn't work is when it's high summer and he's shooting video — outdoors. He gets really, really hot. He won't change, though! Says he just loves black.

    I suppose it's the same thing as women wearing stiletto heels (I refuse). Suffering for vanity's sake? 🙂

    • I love black but outdoors in 100 degree with black on is not a good move: overheating and then the smelling.

  • JTLandry

    I'm always amazed when guys wear things that simply don't fit – whether it's too big or too small. A shoulder seam should be at the shoulder. That's why it's called a SHOULDER seam. Polo shirt sleeves should not come all the way down to the elbow. And more guys should get their shirt's hemmed if they want to wear them tails out.

  • 1) Black socks should not be worn with anything other than slacks and dress shoes.
    2) Shirts that look like they were a souvenir from Hawaii should not be worn unless you are in Hawaii
    3) A dress shirt with buttons should be accompanied by a white undershirt
    I say all this while looking at my own out fit at the moment: I'm wearing gray semi-dressy pants with a worn polo shirt with a bright orange logo and brown shoes and a brown belt…what was I thinking?

    • At least your shoes and belt match.

    • Amen to the white dress shirt needing an undershirt. There is nothing more disgusting than seeing chest hair and moobs through a white dress shirt.

  • Greg

    Any thoughts on calculator wrist watches? Just wondering…

    • Greg, I think they're making a come back. It's been over 25 years. 🙂

  • And the next post, male grooming.

    • There's a whole book on male grooming. But I think I need to tackle it. Thanks for the topic.

  • Mike

    Couple of things:
    1. If you go untucked, make sure there is not a tag on the front tail of the shirt. If there is, be sure to remove it. Not exactly an area where you want the eye drawn towards…especially if your job has you talking/singing in front of large groups.

    2. If there are buttons to button down the collar…button them! A real pet peeve of mine.

  • Great post Maurilio! Thank you.

  • My partner and I were talking about our encounters and life in general. It was then when I felt how much I'm in love to him and how he feels exactly the same way for me. It was then when we planned it's time for us to get married. I was on my way to visit a friend who is in a coma at the hospital after a car accident. While travelling a couple of miles I was able to think about how relevant it is to tell your loved ones each single day how much they mean to you and the relevance of life in general.

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  • Steven Shantz

    Hey Maurilio.  Since I’ve started trying to dress a bit more trendy and updated, I’ve noticed that men are paying more attention to me.  Is that a good thing?

    • Steve, at your age, I would take attention from anywhere it comes. Just sayin’. 🙂

  • Tyson

    There is a men’s fashion book titled “Red Socks Don”t Work.” That about sums it up. I’m a big guy, and I can also attest you look smaller in well fitting clothes. Squeezing into too small attire makes you look fatter than buying next size up.

    • Thanks for the affirmation, Tyson. And red socks only work if you’re Santa or one of his elves.

      • I think it’s okay for man to dare with their outfits, so why not red socks?

  • I actually like these pictured outfits… but could never wear them… I don’t have read socks either 🙂 I try to dress the same as my “walk” … just being me… lots of casual, down to earth tones… of course I could go on and on and on about shoes… Love Them!

  • peterjack12

    I think the worst fashion trend is mixing casual clothing with formal clothing – e.g. a well cut jacket with a pair of denim jeans., A suit worn with an open-neck shirt and trainers. It’s completely illogical – like wearing jeans, tee shirt with a top hat!
    Jeans with black shoes looks terrible. Trainers seem to be the only shoes that go with denim jeans.
    I think we have to remember,though, that most men don’t care. And that explains a lot!

  • NO PAJAMAS as pants. I loathe seeing men wear pajamas out as PANTS. Put on real pants if you plan on leaving the house.

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