Feminine culture, with its numerous fashion magazines and television, has allowed girls to grow up to be fashion conscious and stylish women, giving them a leg up on men for decades. Although most boys are raised into a masculine culture that isn’t style conscious, the details we put into how we dress should not be ignored. When deciding to start dressing better, most guys end up asking themselves, “Where do I start?” or go out spending too much money on clothes that they think are stylish, but in reality are ill-fitting, too trendy, out-dated, or things they simply just can’t pull off. In reality, the solution to this problem is to start simple.
When looking to be a better dressed man, it is important to keep things simple. There are certain basics you’re probably familiar with, so let’s stick to what we know has worked well over time. It is essential to start off with basics not only because they look great and stay classic, but because they allow versatility.
The first basic to start off with is the Oxford Cloth Button Down shirt (OCBD). OCBD may sound like a mouthful, but it’s the most basic and recognizable masculine shirt. Start with white, a light blue, and then colors that compliment your skin tone.
Check out Target, Uniqlo, Gap, J.Crew, Banana Republic, or Brooks Brothers for great OCBD options.
The plain tee. The plain white tee has been cool and stylish for years now, but it is important to embrace other colors, and do away with all those tacky graphic tees and “funny” ironic tees. Stick with solid colors, navy and white will always look great on any guy, past that use colors that compliment your skin tone.
For a modern and affordable solid color t-shirt, check out Target, Gap, and J.Crew. In spite of a recent trend, I recommend sticking with crew neck tees instead of V-necks. V-necks already seem to be dying out and don’t hold over time in the same way that a crew neck does.
Pants. Classic slacks are always great of course, but for this post I’ll focus more on chinos. What makes chinos chinos, is the chino (cotton) cloth, but the way they are designed is very similar to blue jeans with the exception of detailing.
Hopefully these look familiar, maybe you even own a pair. As you can see, these offer great versatility, you can dress them up just as much as you can dress them down. They are great for a smart and casual look. For chino options check out H&M, Uniqlo, Gap, and J. Crew.
Dark wash jeans. Dark wash jeans have been in style for the last five years now, more or less, and for good reasons. Dark jeans have a more modern and sleek look in comparison to light wash and overly faded jeans. Overall, they are arguably more aesthetic. Depending on your size, I would recommend opting for a straight leg cut or slim-cut, both of these will be complimentary to your body. In contrast, I will say to avoid skinny jeans or jeans that are much too slim for your size, as well as avoiding boot cut, standard, or carpenter jeans, these are all counter intuitive if you are working towards developing a better wardrobe.
Jeans are often a bit more pricey, but you really get what you pay for with them. Start with Levi’s 511s, American Eagle, or Gap. If you want to fork out the big bucks, go to Imogene + Willie, they’ll make you custom-fit jeans that will last decades.
Coats/jackets. There a lot of different options here, and coats that even deserve their own post. To keep it simple, I’ll start by suggesting using coats according to the situation (although that applies to any form of clothes). Avoid wearing your north face skiing jacket as an everyday coat; save it for when you’re actually skiing, or when it’s unbearably cold and that’s your only option. Another jacket you need to be aware of is the sweatshirt/hoodie. Hoodies are not winter coats, save them for the gym or a spring/fall day, and stick with solid colors and modern fit and design when wearing one. Consider buying a pea coat; although often pricey, these coats are warm and last a long time. They will remain stylish over time, and even James Bond wears one. Because of such a large variety in styles of coats, I will suggest sticking with something that has a sophisticated yet casual look when it comes to coat options.
I love the tweed baseball jacket that Tim, from http://stayclassicblog.com/ is wearing. It’s simple, casual, and looks great in a very subtle manner. The pea coat is featured in the center, and Mark from, http://simplerman.com/ is sporting the timeless leather jacket.
Shoes. Last but not least are shoes. Shoes can say a lot about a person; they can reflect their personality, show off their taste, or give you an idea of what they do for a living. Picking out good shoes is one of the most essential parts of dressing well. For now, we’ll stick with a casual style and something that once again is simple, sleek, and allows versatility in your wardrobe.
Clark’s Desert Boots/(Bushacre). These are laughably over-recommended online, but for the quality to price ratio they are awesome, and have a great minimalistic design. I have had mine for over two years now and love them. With a variety in color, and a suede option, the difference between the Desert Boot, and Bushacre, is that the Desert Boot’s leather quality is slightly better, and it has a crepe sole. There are plenty of great boot options out there, but for starting out these are one of the cheaper options.
Boat Shoes. Here’s a classic that has been worn by men for decades now. With a resurgence over the last decade, these have a great casual look that work with shorts or pants. Just remember, socks aren’t necessary unless it’s a cold winter day. Sperry’s Top Sider is featured on the right, and to the left we have some from http://www.oakstreetbootmakers.
Canvas sneakers. Vans has successfully brought back canvas sneakers into our everyday wardrobe, although Converse never really went out of style. Canvas shoes often come in a very minimalistic design and look great with wear. It’s not easy to keep canvas sneakers clean, but I love the look of a worn out pair of canvas sneakers.
It will take time, but building a wardrobe starts off best with the basics and versatility. Looking at what the past has shown to be successful, we can start off with familiarity and move on from there into modern fits. With the combination of slick, sleek, sophisticated and casual options, I hope that you have gathered some insight to looking better.