Clothes, I think we can all agree, are a necessity. Society almost universally condemns those who refuse to wear clothes and indeed in most nations’ clothes are a must by law. Accessories, on the other hand, are less vital to the general day-to-day running of one’s life. This does not, however, mean that they aren’t important.

Belts

Belts are the most basic of accessories. Unlike many, they can actually serve a purpose, but that is not to say that the way they look doesn’t matter either. Those of you who might be less than inclined to use animal products might want to look at plastic alternatives if you want the same look as leather, or fabric if you’d rather go in a completely different direction. Either way there are a couple of things to be aware of: colour and buckle. The colour of your belt should always match the colour of your shoes, at least if they are leather. A brown belt with brown shoes or a black belt with black shoes will give you a well put together look, especially with a nice tucked in shirt. Be aware though, brown shoes, and by extension a brown belt, is usually a no-no with black trousers. Try blue instead, anything from denim jeans to a blue suit will look great.

Watches

Jewellery is a topic for a whole other article, but the humble wristwatch is always worth mentioning. A classic accessory for any gentleman, the watch does seem to be going out of fashion these days, now that everyone can check the time on their phones. But for those that do want to keep the tradition going, there are, as ever a few considerations. As with belts, leather strapped watches should be colour matched with the rest of your leather items. Alternatively, fabric or plastic strapped can be any colour. Go for a bright, bold colour if you want a statement piece, or a subdued greyscale design if you’re looking for a more understated item. Metal strapped watches are another possibility, and are very versatile, as they go with pretty much everything. Do try to avoid massive, sparkly metal watches though. In my opinion, even as a statement piece, they can come across as very ostentatious and unnecessarily flashy.

Neckties

More of an item of clothing that an accessory, but neckties are a sure thing for most guys in their lives. Many hate them, some don’t mind them, very few love them but, for most of us, they will be expected at least a few times a year. The main consideration here is always going to be colour. If you’re wearing a white shirt, it’s open season. You can wear whatever you like and it at the very least won’t clash with anything, though you do still have to consider the colour of your trousers and blazer, if you’re wearing one. For any other block colour shirt, your best bet is to go for a complementary colour different from the shirt. If you really want the same colour tie, make absolutely sure that the two are different shades at least. For shirts with a pattern, try to match the tie with the colour of the pattern and only wear block colour ties.

Much like colour matching, pattern matching is difficult as hell and often not necessary. Other than that, bear in mind a few other things: stick with classic knots, a Windsor or half-Windsor usually, and avoid super skinny ties. The ties of old that were half the width of your body might have gone out of fashion, but ties that are just an offcut of fabric about an inch wide all the way down are just as bad in the other direction. A tie with about three inches at its widest will be slick and modern without it looking like you tied a shoelace around your neck. Oh, and never wear a black tie with a white shirt unless you’re going to a funeral, or you’re a spy.