If it was left up to men, we'd probably wear a worn in pair of Levi's, a comfortable t-shirt, and our favorite hat every single day of the week. Unfortunately, we have a social life, a job, or a significant other that just won't allow that. Although a lot of men skate by getting dressed with little effort (and I don't blame them), some men just wake up one day and decide they want to dress better.
Whether you're trying to get a few more looks from the females, looking to make great first impressions, or just get a kick out of when kids say you have "swag", this article is here for you. Here's some starter tips that will have you well on your way to being a local style icon.
Fit is everything!
Making sure your clothes fit you correctly is about 75% of the battle. Those who are fashion inclined can easily spot those with style simply by the fit of their clothes. Although its hard to stay on top of every trend and new fashion, if you can get your clothes to fit to a tee - you'll be getting nods from fashion heads in an instant.
An important thing to know about fit is that slim is definitely in. More and more of the top designers are making their clothes with slimmer, more modern cuts. That's not to say that your clothes have to be super skinny, but know that you should be looking for clothes that are more fitted. It's like a tailored fit.
In actuality, most men wear their clothes one size to big. We typically sacrifice fit (and therefore style) for comfort. Here's a quick guide to tell you if you're clothes fit properly.
When you're trying on a shirt, this is what you should look for...
- The shirt should hug you shoulders. Of course it shouldn't be constricting, but the shirt shouldn't drape off of your shoulders
- Make sure there is no extra clothing around your waist area. The top doesn't have to hug your waist like it does your shoulders but if you can grab an entire fist full of clothing, it's too big around the waist
- Long sleeve sleeve shirts and button-downs should go to the joints on your wrists. You have a little leeway here because you can always roll up your sleeves if they are too long are too short
When trying on pants here the fit you want....
- The pants shouldn't hug your thigh, but they should cut close to your thigh
- In the leg of the pants, go for a slight taper
- In the crotch area, by all means go for comfort! If you're willing to sacrifice comfort in this area, my next article may need to be on priorities!
When you're shopping, look for clothes that are labeled "slim fit" or "modern fit". Some brands run a bit larger; in that case you maybe can get away with a "skinny fit". For example, the Levi's skinny jeans fit more like most "slim fit" jeans.
Know thy body size! Keep in mind that we all have different body sizes, so that means these fit must compliment your body. If you have to shy away from some of the general rules to find the right fit, go ahead. Get to know what fits work best with your body. However, this doesn't mean that our larger males can't go for a slim cut. Big guys can rock slim clothes as well.
Start with the basics
As you dive deeper into the fashion world, you’re going to find a number of different trends and fads - some will work for you and some won't. However, there are some basics that ANY man can wear and instantly look stylish.
The starter kit for your wardrobe should be a few oxford shirts and some slim fitting chinos. These are two of the most versatile clothes you can wear. You can wear them together for a clean look that is stylish, or mix them in with other pieces.
Dress it up by wearing a pair of hard bottom shoes and a navy blazer. You can even wear an oxford under a suit as long as you don't wear it to a formal event. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can get a more laid back look by rolling up the sleeves. You can even dress down the chinos by wearing your chinos with a t-shirt and sneakers.
The basic color for oxfords that you should start out with is a blue and a white oxford - these are the classics. From there you can add colors. For chinos, start with khaki and navy colored ones. At the moment, colored chinos are in style so go for the light blues, reds, and greens if you’re feeling courageous.
A navy blue blazer is also a classic piece that all men should own. Go for a form fitting blazer that is unstructured in the shoulders. Once again, you want something that is form fitting. This is something that you can get a lot of wears out of and you can use it to easily dress up you chinos and oxford shirt look.
As far as shoes, you have a few basic options depending on personal preference and how dressed up you want to be. As a general rule, you want your shoes to what a slim silhouette, just as you would a top or bottom. That being said, stay away from square toed hard bottoms.
Instead here are some better basic footwear options…
- Oxfords - These are the most basic hard bottoms you can own. You can wear these with anything from jeans to slacks
- Wingtip brogues - These are the fancier cousin of the oxford. The difference is in the detail on the cap of the shoes. They are as versatile as the oxfords.
- Boat shoes - This staple goes excellent with chinos. They're a more casual shoe so save them for casual occasions.
- Loafers - I nice pair of narrow, slip on loafers is also a versatile piece as well. For dressier occasions, you can opt for one of the loafers classier cousins: the penny loafer and the tassel loafer.
Find a fashion role model to emulate
One of the most practical ways to improve your style is by finding a well dressed people you can emulate. Study what they wear and what works for them, and then try to recreate the look for you.
A good way to do this is to find a well dressed celebrity. Most celebrities have stylists, so by studying what they wear, you can benefit from a stylist without having to actually pay one. However, make sure you don't copy it to a tee (although you probably couldn't afford it anyways). Use their style to find your own personal style.
It's also helpful to find a stylish person who isn't a celebrity to emulate. Celebrity style isn't always practical to wear in everyday life. Although you may think Kanye West's leather pants is a good look, it's probably not the best look to emulate. For that reason it's good to know what regular people are actually wearing on the streets. Balance this out with some celebrity style and you'll be well on your way to developing your own style.
Find out what works for you
We've touched on this a tad earlier, but we'll dig a little deeper into it. Although there are some classic pieces that will work for just about anyone, every popular look isn't going to look good on you. Likewise, you may find some looks that the average person would stay away from that will look good on you.
You're job is to learn what does work for you and expand on it. Your clothes should compliment your body shape, your life style, and your personality. If your chest is the same size as it was before you hit puberty, it may be in your best interest to stay away from the deep v-necks (hell, everyone should stay away from deep v-necks)! If you're enrolled in an ivy league school your style will be more preppy than most. Find what works for you!
In order, to find what works for you, you're going to have to experiment a bit. If you don't wear different things, you may miss some looks that work great for you. Don't be afraid to step out of you comfort zone. At the very least, you'll at least know what doesn't work.
Wear it with confidence!
Whatever, you put on, wear it with confidence. When you wear your clothes confidently, it makes up for any fashion fails that are bound to happen. No matter how far out of your comfort zone you are, keep your head up and wear your clothes with pride. Trust your fashion sense!
This is also why it is important to be comfortable in the clothes you're wearing. You don't want to wear something that makes you insecure in what you have on. Now's not the time to second guess yourself. Make sure you're wearing clothes that you actually like, not something some blogger told you was cool. This will go a long way.
So there you have it, the starter guide to teaching you how to dress better. I'm sure by now there's a line of fashion bloggers waiting to snap a picture of your new found style. So congrats to the future Scott Disicks and Kanye Wests in the world of men's style. My last piece of advice is to not take style to serious. At the end of the day, they're just clothes - have fun and don't go overboard!