The European Style Cheat Sheet

Anyone who has traveled in Europe or even leafed through a European menswear magazine is likely to notice that the men look better put together and more stylish than American men. Yet they don’t look overwrought; if anything, part of the appeal is how relatively effortless their style comes off. Their clothes look sleek, comfortable and sexy, and exude overall quality. How do they do it? Is it culturally ingrained from centuries of practice? Perhaps to some extent, but as most of us don’t have that much time to wait, here are some tips for a quick catch-up.
The first and most important thing is FIT. Selecting clothes that are well-tailored and fit you properly is essential. Obviously, bespoke clothing is not practical for every man, so it’s worth the time to try different designers and find the one(s) that fit you best. If your clothes still don’t fit you as well as they could, find a good tailor who understands cut and fashion, as well as what is most flattering for your body type. Shop around for one, or ask for a recommendation - the investment will prove worth it. (Of course, Nick Graham takes all this into account and can save you all the extra footwork.)
Short of working out, hanging around at home, or running out for toilet paper, forget baggy clothes. European men eschew them, and for good reason: they’re not flattering or sexy. Whether it’s a suit, a shirt or a pair of jeans, they should have a slim silhouette that works with the lines of the body. Lose the baggy shorts, low-hanging pants (or else you literally might). You rarely see them on European men. If a skinny cut isn’t flattering for your body type, then go for a simple straight cut. The only wide-legged pants that serve are resort styles, such as drawstring or linen, and only in a summer leisure setting. As for Athletic wear, remember there’s a reason why it’s called that, so keep it that way. Sweat pants? Only if you plan to sweat.
The Suit
Rather than several cheap suits, opt for a couple of better quality ones. Even just one great suit will prove as if more versatile, when coordinated with a diverse range of shirts and ties. A great suit is such an easy, dependable dress-quick fix – even with just a T-shirt – and should make for a relaxed, elegant look in any situation. What’s more, a well-made suit actually presses and wears better than a cheaper suit, so that ultimately the investment pays off in lower-maintenance. (Wait until you see the suits from Nick Graham’s upcoming collection – unmistakable style and tailored fit at optimum value.)
You may have heard it said that the most telling part of your attire is your shoes – and there’s good reason for it. Looks aside, you need a well-made pair of shoes to support you properly through the day. But a quality pair of shoes will also support your entire look from the bottom up. As with suits, you’ll do much better with a couple of great pairs of shoes than with half-a-dozen bargain ones. Cheap shoes tend to look generic, while a well-crafted pair looks distinctive, whatever their style. When taken care of, they will also last you much longer and still look classic ten years from now. As for athletic shoes, while generally speaking they should stay in the realm of athletics, a great pair can also prove versatile. If you’re style is eclectic, you can even pull them off with a suit. (Nick Graham has been working white sneakers with a suit for years.) Same holds for a beautiful pair of sandals, provided the season is appropriate. Flip-flops, are for the beach or a casual jaunt – not for a suit, or even smart casual.
Ties and Bow Ties
Yes and yes. Ties and bowties are the definitive accessory for ramping up your style. While you can hardly own enough of them, Nick Graham makes it easy to have a compact collection that gives you ample wardrobe coverage.
For added European flair, a scarf is a stylish man’s best friend. Knotted around the collar, looped, or tied ascot-style, you can completely change the effect of your attire with this versatile accessory. Make sure to own one or two in summer fabrics as well. Year-round, formal or casual, a scarf is an easy add-on for instant style. Oh, and it can also keep you warmer when needed.
Nick Graham
Nick Graham knows the importance of cut, fit and style. He designs clothes that fit men the way they should - right off the rack, and at prices that any man can afford. Whether it’s a shirt from the online collections, or a suit or jacket from the upcoming collections, Nick Graham gives you the fit you want. Not to mention, the unbeatable selection of ties and bowties. Nick Graham makes pulling it all together not just easy, but fun – proof that you don’t have to be European to get it right. (Nick should know; he’s Canadian.)
White Athletic Socks: Maybe on the basketball court.
Baseball Caps: Okay if you’re a hip-hop-star. Admittedly, certain men can get away with wearing one with a suit, but never backwards. Europeans already see them as synonymous with Americans, so why reinforce the stereotype?
Fanny Packs: no fanny packs ever – end of story.