Warning: Brand Clothing Can Make You Look Tacky

At least he gets sponsored for it.

You know how they say branded clothing makes you look like a walking advertisement?

Well, when I was young and stupid, I looked like Times Square on legs. I carried more brands on my person than a formula 1 race-car driver.

I was wearing logos from head to toe, which is something I now refer to as billboarding.

I’ve since recovered from my billboarding ways, but I see so many guys still doing it.

And when I see one of these guys,  it just makes me fall to my knees, throw my hands up in the air, and scream “WHY, GOD, WHY?!”

Guys should know by now that wearing big logos on their person is a big fashion no-no. It just looks tacky.

So why do guys still do it?

Why Do Guys Wear Gigantic Logos on Their Clothes?

I totally understand the brand’s perspective for producing these clothes. The more their brand gets seen, the more they get recognized. It’s not just free promotion for them. It’s promotion they get paid for.

But why do we choose to put them on?

If you do a search on the web for most-common men’s fashion mistakes, you’ll find billboarding is included in almost any list. (See here for example) So you’d think that any guy, at one point in his life, must have read about it. It’s just that common.

So what’s the deal? Why are so many guys still wearing a big logo on their chest?

Reason #1: They Want to Show Off

There’s one type of guy who just wants to show off that they can afford brand clothing.

If you’re one of these guys, here’s a piece of advice: Stop, you look like a jackass.

It’s never a classy move to show off your wallet. It just comes across as compensation for your insecurities, which is never attractive.

Reason #2: They Want to Belong

The other type of billboarder just wants to show people they belong to a certain social group.

Social groups tend to have their own style of clothing, and they often have specific brands that they wear.

  • A preppy guy could be seen wearing Ralph Lauren, Lacoste or A&F.
  • A hip-hopper could be seen wearing Karl Kani, Evisu or Phat Farm.
  • A jock could be seen wearing Nike, Reebok or Adidas.

So when someone wants to be recognized as a hip-hopper, or if they want to be accepted into the hip-hop community, a big fat Phat Farm logo across their chest just might do the trick. But I don’t recommend it.

hip hopper
An Obvious Prep

Even if it’s not your intention, wearing giant logos comes across as show-offy.

You look tacky.

And I’m sure this is not how you want people to perceive you.

Besides, do you really need to put a label on yourself, to tell people who you are?

Instead of Relying on a Brand’s Identity, Create Your Own

The clothes you wear communicate part of your identity.

When you go around billboarding, you’re communicating some company’s identity instead. Wouldn’t you rather communicate your own?

Then you need to find a style that’s you.


What’s Your Identity?

Okay, calm down. I can almost hear you thinking, “But Robert, I don’t know what my style is!”

And I hear you…

Finding your style takes time and lots of introspection, but a good place to start is to stop relying on brands to paint your identity for you. Get creative and experiment a bit.

You don’t need to get your style perfect today, because if you do it right, it will keep evolving anyway. Over time you’ll hone your style sense more and more. You’ll know what looks good on you and what doesn’t, and you’ll develop likes and dislikes for certain clothes.

But that also doesn’t mean you can’t work with what you know now. Use what you know and just give it your best shot. That’s the only way you’ll learn.

And as a first step, I suggest you…

Get Rid of Clothes with Excessive Branding

Throw them in the trash. Don’t even donate them to charity, because even poor people don’t deserve to look this tacky. (I’m only half kidding)

And then just STOP buying clothes with excessive branding. A tiny, subtle logo is acceptable, but I suggest you try out some clothes that only has branding on the tag.

And don’t feel ashamed if you’re a billboarder. I’ve been there myself, as have many other guys. You’re actually lucky, because you can now take a very easy step to improving your style, by simply ceasing to billboard…


  • Justin says:

    How do you feel about a very small logo on a v neck tshirt?

  • David says:

    Robert, you can’t posssibly be saying that it’s tacky to wear tee shirts with your college logo, are you? Your college football team is what I’m mainly referring to. Tee shirts with some type of logo make up 90% of my gym attire. Also weekends during the day or sporting events.

    • Robert says:

      Nah, they’re not as tacky as the average logo T-shirt. They’re certainly acceptable for the gym and sporting events.
      I’d still suggest getting some other tees for your weekend casual wear though.

  • Jen says:

    I had to read the last line, “seizing to billboard” three times before I figured out what you were trying to say. I think you meant “ceasing”?

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