Because the Church has chosen the American businessman as the ideal model of dress, I base my advice on the same model. These are not rules and you don’t have to follow them, I’m just offering some tips for those who are looking to button up (har!) their look a bit. For the most part these are generally accepted ideals for how a man should dress when dressing up, I’m just passing them on to everyone else.
Fit your clothing to your real body, not your ideal body. This is easily the most common faux pas men make when buying clothes. Well-fitting clothing isn’t a fad, just too many men haven’t matured beyond what they were wearing in junior high. A good rule of thumb is that if someone who weighs 50 lbs more than you could fit in it comfortably, it’s too big for you.
1) The shoulder seam of your shirts (and blazer/suit jackets, coats, everything) should land on the corner of your shoulder, not three inches down your arm.
2) Sleeve length should end where your wrist ends and your hand begins. And no sleeve-puff above the cuff!!
3) Your arms should fit comfortably (not spandex but not swimming) inside the sleeves. If you can fit both arms in one sleeve you’re WAY off.
4) When wearing a suit/blazer, your shirt cuff should peek out about 1/4″–1/2″ beyond the suit/blazer sleeve. Same when wearing a dress shirt under a sweater.
5) Chest/waist fit of shirts and suits should be comfortable (again, not spandex but not loose). A well-fitting suit will go slightly in at the waist and go back out at the hips.
6) Neck should fit comfortably (not choking but not loose). And always button that top button.
7) Ties should end just above the belt.
8) Your pants should fit to the thickness of your legs, not Lance Armstrong’s. Avoiding pleats helps this.
9) Pant length should end right above the tread on the back of your shoes.
10) Get leather. And shine them. Often.
11) Get leather soles if you can afford them. They’ll last much longer and they usually look much better.
12) Black shoes with black suits. Brown/caramel shoes with navy suits. Other colors can be mixed and matched with a little more freedom.
13) If you’re going to wear tennis shoes to church they better either be Classic Vans or Stan Smiths (Adidas).
14) Tie, shirt, pants, socks and jacket should all be considered when deciding colors and patterns. They should compliment each other (but that doesn’t mean they need to match).
15) Iron your clothes. A wrinkled shirt eliminates all other efforts to look nice.
16) Wash your clothes. If your white shirt is grey or yellow, it’s now a colored shirt and you’re no longer a righteous priesthood holder.
17) Speaking of white shirts, no short sleeves unless you’re on a mission near the equator or younger than 14.
18) Suits require long sleeved shirts and a tie. If you’re not going to wear a tie, wear a blazer (or no jacket at all).
19) Collar stays!!
20) Never button the bottom button.
21) Regarding ties: no clip-ons or cartoon characters for anyone over the age of 12 and no bolos for anyone who doesn’t herd cattle for a living.
22) Regarding socks: absolutely no white socks (church is neither a gym nor the temple); sport socks are not church socks, you know the difference; colors and patterns are great as long as they compliment your shirt/tie.
23) Match to your belt to your shoes.
24) Pocket squares are great if they compliment the rest of the ensemble. Pocket protectors are for stake clerks (kidding…)
For more general mens Sunday fashion advice go here.