Inspiration & Pieces
Black men style. It’s a world unto itself. The majority of the style world isn’t concerned with it…
But for black men, of course, it’s the main event. It's all we can think about. I'm no exception, I'm just like yall!
In a style / fashion society, we’re ignored for the most part.
What do we mean by that?
The majority of fashion and style magazines, for the most part, contain white male models. Black male models are, relatively speaking, few and far between (in comparison).
So that’s where WDB comes in…
We wanted to put together a page as an overview for black men style.
May as well start from the very top: what truly defines black men style?
People will debate black men style all day long…everyone has their own take on it. As you might imagine…it gets touchy sometimes.
At WDB, we just wanted to get the big areas together. Use it as a resource.
If you’re paying serious attention to your style for the first time, great! It can be overwhelming when you’re starting out.
Been there and can understand your pain.
On the other hand, no matter how experienced you are with black men style. It’s always good to audit your wardrobe. It’s easy to lose sight of the essential rules and pieces, so – this page will benefit you too.
Let’s get going…
The look is on point top to bottom.
Between the oxfords, the chinos and the layered sweater, the entire outfit is pretty dapper.
What separates this look, I think, is the addition of the beanie.
Now this is what I call smart casual.
The “paper-boy” cap is one thing, but I love the blue-green shade of the denim dress shirt.
Usually, you should avoid mixing the same fabrics multiple times in in the same outfit, but the off-color shade of the shirt makes it work.
How do you take a fairly casual / standard outfit and make it catch someone’s eye?
Toss in a clean par of white sneakers (go with anything), layer a jean jacket over your sweater, and toss in a hat.
The result is clean as it is eye catching.
Now here’s a sporty look I invite anyone to try this summer….
Love the combination of brighter striped shirt and solid dark blazer.
The combination is effortless.
Another example of how far a blazer can take you.
While the buttons aren’t done quite right, big ups to the coordination and the willingness to get out of the comfort zone.
I’d suggest dropping the tie in this instance, but the outfit is eye catching.
Love the look. Simple.
Three pieces, three colors.
While dark jeans would have worked a little better, I love mixing in the bright red-brown desert boots at the bottom.
This is great.
Again, a cardigan and white dress shirt underneath is a good start to any outfit, as is the light blue denim.
One eye catching accessory is a good practice.
In this case, homie goes with the bow tie.
And fit is on point.
A sporty, street style Cali vibe that I can get behind.
The layering of a dress shirt accented white, with a white shirt underneath, is dead on.
I’d suggest dark red or white shoes to match, but this kills it.
Simple, but elegant.
The mixture of patterned, light grey is great paired with a darker button up.
Simple style is good stuff.Toss in an accessory or two and you can't go wrong.
Being careful not to mix too many patterns (overkill) in an outfit is essential.
One of the best, simplest, dapper-est outfits you can put together.
The blazer would be perfect if it could just match the dress boots...
Aside from that, it’s clean and simple.
Layering in a crew neck sweater pushes it up a notch.
There’s a variety of ways to go about dressing yourself.
You can choose to dress with trends in mind, or you can stick to timeless staples that are guaranteed to still look good in another decade.
The staples in a classic man’s wardrobe are consistent.
Polos, ties, chinos and dress shoes.
Considered “classic” man style, this aesthetic is easily recognizable and involves classic staples like sport coats, vests, and ties.
You know preppy when you see it...more on the European end of the spectrum.
Comfort first. For less formal evenings, or outfit looks for the non-work.
These are clothes and outfits that are ideal for being out and about where fit and durability are key.
Good casual wear embodies wardrobe basics, leaning more towards streetwear fashion than anything else.
The trick to dressing casually is to fall back on wardrobe staples that aren’t specific to any season.
Fit, quality materials and outfit coordination all plays a key.
Also, typically encouraged in the office, smart casual refers to a wide range of preppy dress styles that are a couple of steps below formal.
Think the next step below business casual, where people can mix a blazer with a shirt and jeans.
Building minimalistic outfits that can be complemented by good brands and eye-catching accessories.
Sneakers, the main focus of a streetwear outfit, include high tops, sneakers and trainers.
Fit trends towards the loose end of the spectrum.
Streetwear style may be silly to some, but it gives you the chance to express yourself and break away from the daily routine.
Putting together these looks will have people turning heads.
Monochrome outfits, usually in slim and dark colors (although you can variate this with brighter colors).
An offshoot of streetwear in which outfits are as simple as possible with no patterns.
Monochrome with simple, plain shades...the focus is on athletic brands with prominently displayed logos, along with comfortable jogger type pants.
Very dependent on your build - you need to be lean and have muscle mass.
Black men style heats up with the weather right about now…
Whereas the cold weather months are all about layering, spring’s warmer weather lets you shift the focus. So, hang up those coats and vests.
Now that you've made it through the winter, it’s time to break out the shorts and the floral print. Get creative. Experiment!
Since you have less layers and less pieces to make a statement, you need to get bold with the pieces you do wear.
On days where it does snap back to being a bit chilly, bring out that bomber jacket.
If you’re not used to dressing out of your comfort zone, spring is a great time to begin.
Why not try something a little different than what you're used to?
If we had a black men style theme for spring, it would be brighter color palettes, particularly for darker skinned folks.
That means brighter, patterned button downs, a par of non-cargo shorts you like, and statement shoes like boat shoes or low-top desert boots.
When the calendar flips to summer, you know its time to show out.
So, how do you stay fresh despite the high temperatures?
First and foremost, stay cool. No need to over layer and then sweat trough everything when you’re outdoors.
It’s all in the details as your outfits become more and more minimal to account for hotter temperatures.
We’re seeing fellas get minimal more and more. Put your focus on color coordination and good fit and you’re good to go.
But, don’t forget at least one eye-catching piece in your outfit…
The summer months bring about more of that outdoor flair, including shades, boat shoes, hats and other menswear staples. Blend these essentials into the outfits you rock.
You can still accessorize.
Why not mix in a straw hat, aviator shades, or a lighter colored belt that matches your shoes?
You can keep cool and stylish at the same time - all you need is a bit of imagination.
With a bit of creativity, black men style doesn’t need to come to a halt during the hot season.
Summer starts drawing to a close and things start cooling back down. Temperatures start dropping, meaning its time to go back to the drawing board.
Plenty of folks hate the colder months of the year and I can’t blame them….
But every season brings about a change in outfits and fall isn’t no different.
I always look forward to fall because typically, by that time, I’m ready to transition away from shoes and low-cut desert boots in favor of jeans, chinos, and long sleeve pullovers.
Once again, it’s time to switch things up with your outfits and start adding a layer or two. Our recommendations on black men style in the fall:
Spring fashion and fall fashion are similar in some ways… start slow and simple when it comes to bringing on an extra layer. Layering fall outfits is an art form…
Here’s how to casually bring layers back into your outfit:
Start slow by mixing in a light bomber jacket on a breezy day… Yes sir!
Or a shirt jacket or sweater that contrasts nicely with the shirt you have underneath.
If you live in a colder region where fall is an extended timeframe (we’re talking several months) of cooler temperatures, you can go the extra mile, and start thinking about mixing and matching fabrics and patterns into your wardrobe.
Get dapper and consider a blazer or V-neck sweater that you can rock.
Winter is where you bring out the big guns.
This is the season where you really separate yourself from the pack. Most men are dressing for comfort and warmth first and foremost.
Think big boots, heavy overcoats and bulky, under-used sweaters. That’s boring and the opposite of eye-catching… So, pass on that.
Our doesn’t need to be derailed by these cold temperatures. In fact, if anything, it’s the opposite.
Like a math equation, here’s what we think:
Black men style + colder temperatures means a focus on high-contrast layering.
Being uncomfortable or cold goes against the focus. You definitely need to bundle up.
So, what does this mean for your style inspiration?
It’s too easy to get wrapped up into the routine, boring winter outfit. I get it – most folks only have one winter coat and have to use that.
But winter’s the time to take risks - inverting layers, sticking to brighter high-contrast color palettes, and rethinking the fabrics and patterns you rock.
You need a peacoat, no exceptions. And while many men prefer black ones, I’ve always loved to rock a brighter grey peacoat to contrast against my darker skin.
I like to build outfits from the outside in during winter.
Yep, you need to get back to those standard warm comfort layers - blazers, vests, and jackets. But why not be creative, even now?
Give it a shot!
Many younger men have no idea how to dress themselves. Well, not black men so much, but still a few.
So, if you’re just a little bit savvier when it comes to black men style then you have a leg up. No mixing and matching…take a minute to grade your outfit for the day.
Long story short, young men can wear whatever aesthetic they like, as long as there IS an aesthetic. From streetwear to dapper style.
Go ahead and push the boundaries of fashion. You’re young and can shake off any mistakes!
Now’s the time to be creative - whether that means copying some of your favorite outfits on the gram or assembling a vintage / thrifted wardrobe.
I would say now is the time to experiment a little and figure out the best combination of what looks good on you + what you like wearing.
As long as you’re ready to own it - and back it up with their personality.
Can’t be rolling up to the party with a loud outfit…and be the quiet guy in the room!
Nah, something about fashion I’ve always found – if you look fresh, people wanna check if the personality goes along with the outfit.
So, that ties back to our advice, find what best suits you. The goal is to experiment.
Since younger men are still learning the boundaries of men’s style and what looks good, our advice is to take notes of stylish outfits you see in the street.
Then recreate them yourself.
On the other hand, if you have a good understanding of what looks good when it comes to fit, color and fabric, then get to pushing the envelope right away.
What’s good in this decade?
As you mature, classic black men style comes more and more to the forefront.
Sure, you can still get away with rocking trends.
At this point though, you should be moving in the direction what looks good 365 days a year on you, not what’s hot right now.
By now, you should have settled on the aesthetic you like – usually a more grown and “dapper” one. And you’ve already honed in on what’s good on you – if you experimented in your 20’s.
At this point, you should focus on being an established man and your wardrobe should reflect that. And now’s definitely a decade to have a good suit in your wardrobe if you don’t already have one.
The 30’s are a great decade to dress. You can blend youth with maturity, and staples with a few choice trends.
Fit and color coordination is key - particularly fit. Men’s focus on good fitting apparel begins to fall off this decade.
That ties back to your body shape. Keep it in mind first and foremost.
If you’re on the lean side, keep a few more flattering fits in your wardrobe. Going the extra mile this way really separates you from the pack.
If you’re built heavy, you can still dress sharp. It’s to be expected as you mature!
So, take your favorite styles, and take them to the next level. Mix in new patterns and fabrics and test them against what you already have.
You can keep pushing the limits of style in your 20’s, 30’s and beyond.
Now we’re really talking.
At this point, you should have pushed the boundaries of your personal style when you were a bit younger already.
As you mature and learn to sweat the smaller stuff in life much less, you also care less about trends and what’s hot.
Gone are the trends of the year, along with the poor-quality pieces that you may have incorrectly purchased earlier.
Dressing down is also out. Say goodbye to tank tops, sneakers, artfully ripped clothing and backwards hats.
No longer should you be wearing novelty / graphic tee shirts, poor quality baggy jeans, etc. At this point, the staples in your closet should both fit you well and be made to last.
You should also have a bit more of an advanced wardrobe, with the classic menswear broken out by fabrics, patterns, and the right fits.
You’ve got the high-quality pieces, as well, adjusted by a smarter color palette.
Now you know what looks good and how you like to dress, and you’re ready to stay in your lane so to speak.
All you need to do is maintain on this. Style in your 40s tends to be more about conservative staples, fit, and good color selection.
As your body changes in posture and size, make sure to monitor these staples for fit. They may have been form flattering younger, but now work less as you age.
It’s time to dress like a mature man, and black men style reflects this in your 40s.
The 50s & Up
Now’s the time to niche down even further…
As you mature, it’s tougher to find relevant fashion and black men style tips, as most brands, catalogs etc. seem to be catering to younger men.
Many of these styles don’t play well as you mature.
Instead, focus on retaining all of the benefits that being a sharp dressed man provides.
If you aren’t taking care of your appearance, including health, grooming, and so on…
People might see you as a senior citizen - no longer giving any effort to your appearance.
On the other hand, if you focus on staying sharp and on top of things, people now see your gray hair as symbolic of being distinguished.
Charisma, maturity, and wisdom - all the positive qualities associated with being a mature man.
Keep inching down on the brands that are your favorites - ones that look consistently good on you- and try to build your wardrobe around high quality, long lasting staples.
Stay proactive when it comes to the right fit. Keep on testing the different pieces of your wardrobe, especially the ones you haven’t worn for several years.
Focus as well on classic accessories - aviators, straw hats, etc.
Things that nod towards traditional menswear. Most men don’t pay attention to this, and don’t have eye-catching pieces in their wardrobe anymore. Stay on top of accessories!
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