Don't Sacrifice Style for Comfort

Man leaning in woven grey shorts, and a white dress shirt, with the sleeves rolled up.

Dressing comfortably should be a pillar of every man's fashion—how your clothes make you feel dictates how you look. The manner in which you present yourself differs greatly depending on how the clothes fit you and how confident you are in your fashion choices. Preferences play a big role, so wear what’s true to you. This article will show you what is still stylistically appropriate and prove that you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort. 



Man in grey slacks, and a grey overcoat pulling a suitcase.


When discussing the balance of style and comfort, travel is typically at the forefront. Though we are all tempted to resort to a hoodie and sweatpants, taking the extra step in style doesn’t necessarily mean you must sacrifice convenience. Travel is already a hassle, so use the opportunity of fashion and its practicality to ease the pain. Whether your preference leans more towards business or casual, your main focus should be on fabric and fit. For instance, non-wrinkle, moisture-wicking dress shirts are the absolute holy grail. If you aren’t opposed to synthetic fabrics, such as polyester or nylon, and find the stresses of travel materializing as sweat, this shirt is essential. Otherwise, opt for a shirt that has wool woven into it for a more natural wrinkle-free look. 

This brings us to the next point: some of us run hot, while others run cold. Whichever is relevant to you, cotton is the most breathable option, but every fabric depends on its weave. A loose weave will allow more air to pass through the fabric, while a tighter weave will retain heat. To differentiate between weaves, bring the fabric up to a light, and check how much light passes through. Removing an extra layer is always better than having one too little. In light of this, I recommend investing in a cashmere sweater or one of similar quality. Yes, this may be a hefty investment, but it’s absolutely justified. Though cotton and merino wool are apt choices, cashmere is simply unparalleled in its softness… seriously… try one out and you won’t go back. When it comes to shoes, the options available to you are plentiful as it just comes down to the pair you’re most secure in. However, there are options that are more practical, such as slip-on. Whether it's a loafer or a Chelsea boot, slip-on shoes provide general comfort to your trip and a swift escape from the TSA.


Business/Formal Occasions

Man in a black suit, and turtleneck, tying his white sneakers.


For formal-oriented looks, comfort seems like a privilege. Still, I recommend you control as many variables as possible and chase them. Fit is a wildly underestimated aspect of men’s fashion, when done properly, you’ll feel better, and look better. Too loose, and you look sloppy, too tight and you’re just… off, finding a perfect balance is key. Every man's physique is different, so what I can suggest are general markers for a flattering appearance. For a slim-fit look, make sure that you’re not restricted and retain a general “V” shaped silhouette. For a classic fit, make sure that each item drapes without flailing in the wind, while still obscuring your physique. 

Now onto fabric choice. Sure, an oxford shirt is a staple and will do fine in any scenario, but why settle for “fine,” if you can opt for “perfect?” The most ideal option is brushed cotton, as it appears to be just like any other shirt, but is softer than any other dress shirt on the market. However, don’t limit yourself, as the options are vast. So next time you’re in a store, don’t be shy to be “that guy” and set your paws on as many shirts as you can. In terms of pant options, other than controlling the fit, options can seem limited, but they aren’t. A perfect example is the drawstring pant. They look like regular slacks, but have an elastic waistband… and no one will ever know.

Finally, consider alternate shoe options. Today, you can incorporate most shoes into a business look, it comes down entirely to how you pair them. For instance, matching a sneaker to a suit is no longer a rare sight. If you’d prefer to be more subtle, there are various hybrid options, some identical to traditional dress shoes and some that don’t hide it at all. The thick, athletic sole is your friend. If your job requires a lot of standing or moving around, this option is ideal. 


Casual Dress

Man on a beach leaning in a twill light-blue shirt, and yellow patterned shorts.


Casual wear is the least restrictive. Take this opportunity to experiment and expand on your style. Minimalism is a great canvas for this, as the simplicity of a white tee with jeans will be long unmatched. The accents and attention to detail are what will elevate your look. You could tuck in your shirt, or keep it untucked. Roll up your sleeves, or keep them buttoned. Taper your jeans, or have them gather. These personal tweaks to your looks are noticeable and will separate you from the masses. Many shy away from wearing a uniform, but having a perfect combination that gives you ease as you head out for errands is a must. People take solace in patterns and familiarity, so don’t hesitate to have that go-to safety net. 

Now, if you like, discard absolutely everything above, and just wear whatever you want. Ultimately, your comfort depends on what makes you feel good, mentally and physically.






Elliot Russ
Stately stylist, writer, and designer based in Los Angeles, CA