April 20, 2017
Some guys might think that style is something you either have or don’t, or that improving yours requires spending hundreds apiece for shirts you saw in fashion magazines. I used to live in graphic tees and shabby jeans, partly due to personal preference in younger years and partly because style enthusiasm seemed difficult and expensive. I’ve come to find that its easier and cheaper than it looks if you follow a few simple guidelines.
Fit is everything
You’re probably wearing a size bigger than you need to right now. I’m not encouraging skin tight getups, but you should look for slim (not skinny) cuts unless you’ve got a linebacker’s build and maybe drop a shirt and waist size if you’re walking around with a bunched-up excess of fabric. This goes for inseam length, too, if your pant leg is swallowing your shoe. Every other improvement will be for naught if your fit is weak.
Don’t think you have to go straight from Big Lebowski to Bruce Wayne in order to dress better. Small steps such as swapping items in favor of a nicer substitute can go a long way. Think fitted dark denim or five-pocket twill pants instead of “Walmart blue” jeans; casual boots or classic sneakers like Vans, Chuck Taylors, classic Adidas instead of basic runners; and solid or patterned tees or even a casual button front shirt instead of that Under Armour or free-from-a-campus-event tee.
I wear polos sparingly at most because of the risk of looking like a bro or golf dad, but if you’re confident can pull them off, then go for it. Consider anything from crewneck or v-neck sweaters to cardigans to classic casual jacket styles like the bomber or field jacket.
Mix and match wisely
If you really love that red checked shirt you saw, then buy it. But when you’re getting started with reinventing your style, think interchangeability. Solids and easily-mixed colors like tans and blues are your friend. When in doubt about what goes with what, use your eye and trust your instincts.
Thrift stores are a wonder if you have patience. There’s a lot of junk to pick through, but if you persevere you’ll find hidden treasures every once in a while. Find brands that fit you well off the rack and suit your tastes, and stock up when sales or coupon codes are on. Old Navy, Gap, J. Crew Factory, Target and Uniqlo are solid and pretty affordable names to look into.
A sharp yet affordable watch is a simple yet powerful step, and as an added bonus will allow you to check the time without getting caught up in the slew of notifications on your phone. Ditch the gym socks and pick up gray dress socks, and a few zany printed pairs if that interests you.
If this article inspires you and it all starts to seem too easy, look to the internet for ideas. Some great resources are Dappered, Primer Magazine, Effortless Gent and Valet for starters.