The tree has finally come down and all the leftovers from Christmas dinner have been eaten. You’ve even managed to force yourself to eat the Bountys from the tin of Celebrations you received. And everyone knows they are the worst.
So with a pot belly and a shaky withdrawal hand, you’ve decided it’s time you sat down and made your New Year’s resolutions. And this time around you definitely intend to keep them. No, seriously, this year it’s going to be different!
While you’re struggling to decide whether that yearly gym membership you’re about to sign up to will be worth it, or if you really need to open a savings account in your twenties, why not start making a few sartorial resolutions as well? Let’s face it, they’re a lot easier to stick to and way more fun to implement.
Of course, I appreciate that a lot of people who read this will be at different stages in their style development, so I’ve decided to split the list in half. The first five are for the beginners (and a refresher course for the more experienced) and the last five are for the more advanced men out there.
So without further ado, let’s get resolving shall we…
By which I mean look after and maintain the shoes that you purchase. It’s the first sign that you’re starting to take your appearance seriously, because this is the one thing that so many guys neglect.
Whether it’s simply making sure they are stored with shoe trees or polished every other weekend, it’s something we should all start doing. It helps to wear in your shoes during the early weeks and can really extend their shelf life, which is great if you’re dropping more than £100 on a pair.
For a complete guide, I recommend reading Will Colman’s superb article on the subject.
Getting into men’s fashion can be fun when you first start out. So many styles are available to you, it feels like there’s no limit to what you can buy and then put together.
However, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have staples in your wardrobe at the very beginning – such as a navy blazer, white dress shirt and some khaki chinos. These are the sort of pieces that can be paired with just about anything, for any occasion.
They are classic, simple and versatile – everything you want from an item of clothing. You’ll find your wardrobe will come together a lot quicker once you start building it around these timeless pieces.
If you don’t have a tailor, get one. Then make him your best friend. It will change your world.
Please stop carrying your gym bag to work with you. Get a duffle bag or a holdall; just something more appropriate. And buy it in leather too.
A beat up gym bag or briefcase can ruin a look just as easily as a bad pair of shoes, and is probably a more prevalent problem these days. Don’t do it.
This is just another way of saying experiment while you have the chance. Don’t be afraid to take a few risks when it comes to putting outfits together. Step out of your comfort zone and try out pieces you wouldn’t normally try.
It’s a great way of finding out what works for you and you can really narrow down what your personal style is, by defining what it isn’t.
After a while, it will help you understand what pieces work for YOU, and where you can go to buy them. Because, as with style in general, once you know the rules you wish to abide by, you can then learn how to bend or break them – which is pretty much the name of the game.
Start thinking about a seasonal wardrobe. You should already be at a stage where your wardrobe is pretty much complete in terms of timeless basics.
This is the perfect time to start investing in seasonal pieces. They’ll keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. They will also last longer because they won’t be used all year round.
And who can deny the excitement that seasonal change brings, when you get to dig out your favourite pair of tweed trousers or madras shirt from the vault?
Nearly everything you wear has a traditional use or reason for being created. For example, wools and tweeds were made to keep you warm – so it would be a bit strange to be seen wearing them during the summer.
The same can be said for accessories like tie bars, collar pins and braces. In the modern day, the bastardised use of these is increasing, and incredibly stupid. The main function of a tie bar is to keep your tie in place – so it doesn’t get caught in objects, get in your face, etc. With this in mind, there’s no need to wear it when you’re already wearing something that serves the same purpose, like a waistcoat or a cardigan.
The same goes for wearing a collar pin without a tie (it’s meant to elevate/emphasise your tie knot) and clip-on braces with a belt. All it shows is that you’ve copied something out of a book without understanding what its true purpose is.
With SS13 approaching rapidly, it’s important to remember an essential rule regarding taste – the rule of two out of three.
When looking to incorporate patterns into your outfit, introduce no more than two per look. For example, a fine striped blue shirt and grey plaid tie combination, paired with a solid navy suit. That’s two out of three things that are patterned – any more and it gets out of control.
The same goes for using colour; always have one of the three as a monochromatic hue, in order to keep everything grounded.
Quite an American term to use, but it sounded better than ‘look in charity and/or vintage shops’. These places are gold mines for great finds at unbelievable prices.
I’ll be covering this more in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, watch this video for homework:
Basically, start to think for yourself. I’ve noticed that as I’ve become more interested in tailoring and classic menswear pieces, the amount of magazines, blogs and tumblrs I devotedly read has slimmed down significantly.
Think about what it is that your style represents and start to develop it for yourself. Of course, still read our site daily in order for inspiration and to see what trends you might want to incorporate, but just don’t follow our advice word for word. If it’s not for you, then don’t do. If it is, then do. Simple.
Truly stylish people know themselves and simply cherry pick from what inspires them.