The Next Five Steps

So let’s assume you read my article a few months ago on the top 5 rookie mistakes guys make when dressing themselves, be it work or play. After going through it and realising that it was pretty much describing your current personal style, you decided to make a change. You started wearing the right size suit, tucking in your dress shirt on nights out and threw away that mad collection of square-toed shoes (because your feet are NOT square my friend).

But where do you go from here? It’s easy to learn from your mistakes – because a lot of the time they’re easy to pinpoint and simple to correct – but progression is difficult. Let’s face it, now that you’ve fixed the most glaring and/or offensive faux pas, there’s something comforting in continuing what you were doing and playing it safe.

However, the reality is that taking the next step isn’t as hard or daunting as it may initially seem. If you follow the five simple rules below then you will be well on your way to a more fashionable and stylish you.

1. Fit Is King

I don’t just mean your suits. This is rule No. 1 of style – all day, every day.

Men’s style comes down to creating clean lines and strong silhouettes, and these are impossible to achieve if you are swamped in excess material. Always try on clothes before you buy them to make sure they fit you properly and think hard about the purchase if they don’t.

Find yourself a decent tailor and things get even easier. With just a few nips and tucks, a tailor can make even the most basic of pieces look like they were made for your body. Along with getting the fit right in the shop, these guys are the missing link between making an inexpensive item appear very expensive.

2. Branch Out From Denim

There’s a whole new world out there away from your trusty pair of 501s. GQ USA recently did a fantastic run down of what else is available in regards to the trouser department, and I couldn’t agree with it more.

A pair of neutral chinos or some grey wool trousers work just as well with all the pieces you normally wear with your jeans but provide variation, style and a point of difference when thrown together.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Jeans Alternatives Lookbook

Ted Baker AW12He By Mango SS13Ted Baker SS13Closed AW11H&M SS13Digel SS13Calliope AW12AllSaints SS13H&M Spring 2013
Key Pieces
  • Asos Slim ChinoAsos Slim Chino
  • Asos Skinny ChinoAsos Skinny Chino
  • Topman Khaki Skinny ChinosTopman Khaki Skinny Chinos
  • Shore Leave Burgundy Carrot ChinosShore Leave Burgundy Carrot Chinos
  • Topman Brown Check Skinny ChinosTopman Brown Check Skinny Chinos
  • Reiss 1971 Yale Grey Chambray TrousersReiss 1971 Yale Grey Chambray Trousers
  • Reiss 1971 Ashcroft Soft Washed ChinoReiss 1971 Ashcroft Soft Washed Chino
  • Folk Washed-cotton TrousersFolk Washed-cotton Trousers
  • Ami Slim-fit Cotton-gabardine Cargo TrousersAmi Slim-fit Cotton-gabardine Cargo Trousers
  • Burton Tapered Slim Sand ChinosBurton Tapered Slim Sand Chinos
  • Easy Herringbone Five Pocket Casual TrousersEasy Herringbone Five Pocket Casual Trousers
  • New Look Beige ChinosNew Look Beige Chinos
3. Beware Of Trends

This is one you should be very careful with because trends are everywhere these days in all shapes and sizes. When you’re first starting out on your sartorial adventure, I’d suggest staying away from them all together and focusing on simple, classic and versatile pieces.

A truly stylish man keeps up with trends but doesn’t follow them blindly – and although you should be willing to break style rules, be clever about what risks you take and consider factors such as your job, personality and body shape before diving head first into them.

When you are ready, why not read up on some of the easiest key trends to incorporate into your current looks:

4. Embrace ‘Feminine’ Colours

Pink is not just for girls! And come to think of it, neither is lavender, coral or peach. They all work really well with the staple colours you already own, like navy and grey, and can add a seriously masculine, confident edge to your appearance.

Whether it’s a shirt, knit or trouser it’s time to get involved.

Lookbook Inspiration

Traditionally Feminine Colours Lookbook For Men

Drykorn SS11H&M SS13Ralph Lauren SS12Ben Sherman SS12H&M SS13Gap SS12Calibre SS13J. Crew SS13MAC SS13
Key Pieces
  • Reiss Hamilton Cuff TrouserReiss Hamilton Cuff Trouser
  • A.p.c. Pleated Cotton-twill ChinosA.p.c. Pleated Cotton-twill Chinos
  • Topman Pink Chino ShortsTopman Pink Chino Shorts
  • Ted Baker Polo With Contrast PocketTed Baker Polo With Contrast Pocket
  • Asos Chino Shorts With Acid WashAsos Chino Shorts With Acid Wash
  • American Apparel Fine Jersey Short Sleeve T-shirtAmerican Apparel Fine Jersey Short Sleeve T-shirt
  • Topman Purple High Roller T-shirtTopman Purple High Roller T-shirt
  • Loro Piana Linen ShirtLoro Piana Linen Shirt
  • Reiss Hinks Merino V-neck JumperReiss Hinks Merino V-neck Jumper
  • Reiss Preacher Two Button Patch Pocket BlazerReiss Preacher Two Button Patch Pocket Blazer
  • Reiss Monroe Silk Polka Dot TieReiss Monroe Silk Polka Dot Tie
  • Topman Pastel Ribbed 5 Pack SocksTopman Pastel Ribbed 5 Pack Socks
5. Don’t Believe The Hype

I.e. do not be a sucker for brand names. The amount of guys who assume that because they have Gucci or D&G on their clothing they’re now fashionable is almost criminal.

Before you decide to purchase an item, be honest with yourself and ask if you’re buying it because of the brand or because you love the quality and style? Good fit and quality construction/design can be found at all price ranges if you’re willing to put in the effort.

Final Word

Now I appreciate these are extremely general beginner steps for those of you just setting out in your sartorial adventure. If you’re looking for more information in regards to specific items of clothing, then I suggest you start typing them into our search bar and reading up.

There are also probably plenty of you out there who were already nailing all of these steps anyway. But it’s always nice to have a little refresher and help out the new guys, right?

As always, FashionBeans is about sharing knowledge – so why not leave a comment and let us know what you think? Did any of these steps help you at all? What advice would you give to someone looking to become a more stylish version of themselves?

Matt Allinson