Dress to impress, the old adage goes and the truth is, if you're looking good, you usually feel good too and that means you're exuding confidence. Chances are, that'll help you get ahead in all endeavours.
But it's not always easy to know how to put the perfect outfit together. Instead of mucking about, we've gone straight to some of Australia's best-dressed men and ransacked their wardrobe top tips for you.
Let's face it, we don't tend to make our best decisions in a pre-coffee blur and sometimes life gets in the way almost as soon as the alarm goes off, with emails pinging and mobile's ringing. Our sartorial experts agree that if you want to achieve your best look, plan it out the night before or at least make things as easy as possible for the morning.
1. "I have a look at the forecast for tomorrow's weather and then if it's a bright sunny day, I'll bring out the loafers and pick a lighter colour suit with a more colourful pocket square," says digital marketing professional Johnny Li, founder of men's accessories brand Dappertude. "If it looks like a rainy day, the double monks and darker colours come out to play."
2. "First I work out which suit or blazer I want to wear and then build the outfit around this, the night before," says men's fashion influencer and town planner by day Steve Tilbrook. "If the suit/blazer is plain this leaves open more options with shirts, but if the suit/blazer has a loud pattern a plain shirt is best."
It's like owning a car. You just have to keep tweaking and working on your wardrobe.Shaun Birley
3. "I'm at a function most nights after work, so I mostly plan my style on that day's special event, so if it's a theatre opening night, you need to bring a little touch of glam," says Melbourne Fringe CEO Simon Abrahams.
Know where everything goes
Funnily enough, crushing your clean laundry into any given space is not conducive to a well put-together outfit. A little bit of discipline in the way you organise your wardrobe space goes a long way.
4. "My wardrobe is colour coded and divided into seasons," says St Ali maestro and hospitality guru Salvatore Malatesta. "De-clutter to enlightenment. Throw out everything you haven't worn for a 12-month period. Mimic a retail experience; have space between garments."
5. "Everything needs to be visible," says sharp-suited tailor and fashion designer Carl Navè. "Whether hanging or folded, if you can't you see it, you won't wear it."
6. "The only clothes I fold are jeans and jumpers," says Sydney-based interior designer Greg Natale. "Everything hangs on the same black coat hangers. I've got custom-built drawers containing little boxed sections to store my ties and belts. It's neatly arrayed and easy to find things."
Tailor your choices
Men come in all different shapes and sizes and anyone can look mighty fine with a little help from the professionals.
7. "Straight up, no suit will fit you better than one tailor made to your measurements, especially if you're someone who isn't what you would call the 'typical' body type," insists model, all-round trend-setter and manofstyle.com blogger Sam Wines. "Luckily for us gents, there is a myriad of amazing Australian tailors with a range of price brackets."
8. Entrepreneurial fashion importer and exporter, blogger and sometime model Shaun Birley agrees. "You can now treat yourself to customised suits specific to your measurements cheaper than off the rack prices. InStitchu is a personal favourite of mine. They design suits with fabrics for all occasions that are synonymous with your character."
9. "I have a preference for a slim and snug silhouette in my suits," says Navè. "I opt for two and three button single-breasted jackets and I like a soft and natural shoulder, so I avoid pads. Trousers should be tapered with very little or no break on the shoes. Cloth selection is important too, as this will determine the drape of the garment and how it sits on your body."
Take good care
It's all well and good forking out on a tailored suit but if you don't look after it, what's the point? Scuffy, holy sole shoes, aren't likely to get you past the door.
10. "It's like owning a car," Birley says. "You just have to keep tweaking and working on your wardrobe. Those minor repairs need to be done quickly or you'll find you'll never do it and your outfits slowly loose their aesthetic appeal."
11. "I recommend semi-regular dry cleaning for your suits, about every 4-6 months, to keep them looking fresh," Navè says. "Every man should know how to sew a button onto a shirt, but for major repairs take them to your tailor. An unkempt dresser is not stylish."
12. "Potentially invest in a steamer for your suits, because dry cleaners tend to use harsh chemicals," Wines reveals. "Upkeep and repairs of shoes and other leather products is crucial in maximising their longevity. It would be well worth investing in good shoe polish and leather conditioner and even shoe trees."
Accessories maketh the man
Increasingly, men are flirting with the idea that a smart suit and shoes are not enough. Accessorising smartly can make a classic look pop. Just don't go too over the top…
13. "A good tie and pocket square combination is a no brainer, and some decent wrist candy such as a watch can help make an outfit," Wines says. "Lapel pins, tie bars and collar bars are becoming much more commonplace, giving men even more room to personalise their attire and show some flair."
14. "Ties, bowties, pocket squares and braces give the chance to show your personality with florals, dots and stripes," Abrahams says. "A splash of colour or something bold is best in an accessory."
15. "Online makes shopping for accessories quick and now super affordable, so you all have no excuse," Birley challenges. "It's a great way to differentiate yourself from the group."
16. "One thing to consider is that sometimes less is more," suggests Tilbrook. "One or two bracelets with a nice watch are enough for any wrist."
17. "I would never wear a pocket square that's the same colour or design as my tie because it just looks too 'matchy'" Li warns.
18. "Please don't try too hard with the bracelets, lapel pins and watches," says Steve Calder, founder of Neapolitan-made menswear label, Calder. "You want your personality to do the talking, not your orange shoelaces!"
Read the invite
Dress codes might not be as strict as they used to, but it's worth figuring out what sort of crowd an event is likely to attract and double check the ticket/email just in case – no one wants to rock up to a black tie ball in slacks.
19. "The impression I want to make always remains the same: subtle elegance, with a focus on fit and effortlessness without over-accessorising," says Calder. "Of course different occasions will call for different dress codes, but within reason I always make sure my own personal taste governs my outfit, as opposed to what others expect of me."
20. 'It's always better to be over than under dressed, as that will get you noticed," tips Navè. "If the function is held in a city-based hotspot, then I'll apply an evening wear dress code, whereas if the event is held beach side or in the gardens, I'm more likely to opt for smart but relaxed attire."
21. "For special events, I might lift the look with a velvet blazer," Natale says. "I've got a blue one by Joe Farage that I love and I'll team it with black pants or jeans and a white shirt."
All the best-dressed men have their own style heroes, so don't be afraid to borrow bits and pieces of their inspirational ensemble.
22. "I am quite a visual person when it comes to planning outfits," admits Wines. "Quite often I'll use Pinterest or look at other menswear bloggers accounts on Instagram if I'm going to test out something new. Usually I'll plan an outfit in my head, then only really see it properly once I've put it on."