10 Ways To Breathe Life Into Your Style

Bored with your own style? Need help breathing life into it? This article is not about what you need to buy, what you should ditch, or even about trends you’re probably too shy to embrace. Let’s work with what you already have in your wardrobe, shall we?

Today is all about polo shirts, chinos, jeans, that old tweed blazer – those items you wear every day, continually replace with more of the same when required, and have a really hard time letting go.

But, luckily, there’s no need part with them, replace them or rethink your choices if you don’t feel like it. We’re just encouraging you to look at these core pieces with fresh eyes and mix things up a bit.

We’ll show you how in ten easy steps…

1) Adopt A Blazer Over Virtually Anything

And we mean everything: jeans and a t-shirt, chinos and a shirt, shorts and a polo. It really doesn’t matter if you’re wearing trainers, your tee has seen better days or all your mates will be in hoodies.

That navy blazer you keep saving for special occasions will make a great new staple. Even when you think the occasion doesn’t call for a tailored jacket, it will instantly take your look up a notch in an effortless way. So long as your legwear is cut slim and fits you perfectly, you can’t really go wrong.

Give it a go when you hit the pub this Friday and let us know how it went.

Navy Blazer - Layered Over Multiple Outfits - Men's Lookbook Inspiration

jigsaw ss14selected homme denim ss14club monaco summer 2014he by mango ss14allsaints aw13he by mango summer 2014
2) Upgrade Your Cargos

Those new streamlined cargos you added to your wardrobe this year, which you’ve been wearing with a boring t-shirt and trainers to go shopping for groceries on a Sunday afternoon, may just be the perfect replacement for your chinos in smart-casual situations.

They’ll give you a new, refreshed casual Friday look and eliminate the dorky-factor from your go-to chinos and jumper getup. A nice woven belt, Oxford shirt and pair of brogues are the perfect accompaniments.

Make sure you adopt this change the next time you visit the supermarket too.

Men's Slimline Cargo Trousers Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

matalan ss13reserved 2014ami ss13he by mango spring 2013he by mango september 2012zara ss12
3) The Jumper Tie

They look great layered over a shirt/t-shirt, keep you warm when temperatures drop and finish off any good look. Of course, we’re talking about your trusty collection of jumpers. Yet rather than replace your existing versions, the change we want to make here is purely to the styling of them.

When faced with changeable or unpredictable weather conditions, which we’re likely to experience during the transition from summer to autumn, draping/tying your jumper around your shoulders/waist will help add a nonchalant, preppy touch to your casual attire.

this technique works with shorts, chinos, jeans and even cargos, which we’ve already recommended, and means you are always prepared for a sudden drop in temperature.

Men's Tied Jumpers Around The Waist Or Draped Over Shoulders Lookbook

he by mango summer  2013ovadia & sons ss14ovadia & sons ss13harmony aw14tommy hilfiger summer 2014reiss ss13
4) Trust Your Basic T-Shirts

The majority of us will often feel we need a collar, long sleeves or generally anything smarter than a t-shirt when getting dressed in the morning. Then we put on a shirt, and end up thinking we don’t look cool enough, especially for casual occasions.

Aside from a suit, men generally look their best when wearing a simple jeans and t-shirt combination. Classic, masculine and slightly rebellious, this go-to pairing has stood the test of time and been sported by everyone from James Dean and Marlon Brando to David Beckham and Alex Turner.

With this in mind, take your basic white or grey (black/navy also work) t-shirt, combine it with dark wash jeans and wear it to social occasions, on show. Make sure it fits you perfectly – sleeves should finish mid bicep, while the body should be cut slim through the torso and end a couple of inches below the waist – and you cannot go wrong.

To give the look a contemporary twist, try a pair of white jeans or layer it under a piece of outerwear – whether it’s a rugged leather biker, sharp mac or military pea coat – with nothing else.

Men's Basic T-Shirts Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

reiss 2012j crew style guide 2014burton ss14reiss ss14allsaints aw13allsaints ss14
5) Dress Up Your Jeans

We mean really dress them up, with a blazer, shirt and tie, fine brogues or even a dinner jacket. Wear them on a big night out or dress-down Friday in the office to stand out from the tailored chinos/trousers crowd.

This unexpected styling twist will break down any sense of stiffness you might be subconsciously sending out at the moment.

Men's Smart-Casual Jeans Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

massimo dutti march 2014burton ss14matalan ss14new look aw14dolce & gabbana ss14massimo dutti october 2013
6) Dress Down Your Tailoring

At the other end of the spectrum, as the weather cools down, wearing your trusty summer suits with a roll neck jumper, long-sleeved Henley or v-neck cotton knit will stretch the wear you’ll get of them and open up a wealth of new styling opportunities.

This dressing down tip extends to swapping Derbies, Oxfords and monk-straps for loafers or minimal trainers, losing the belt, going tieless and even pushing up your sleeves.

Men's Dressed Down Tailoring/Suiting - Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

burton ss14he by mango fall 2014he by mango ss14reiss ss14next aw14j crew style guide 2014
7) The Classic Sweatshirt

Your new best friend. We don’t mean the oversized one you lounge around in at the weekend, but that well-fitted grey crew neck one, preferably with that ribbed triangle detail just under the collar.

Got it? It looks great worn with nothing underneath, paired with jeans, chinos or trousers. Think of it as a replacement for your casual shirt.

However, because it’s a rather warm piece, save this tip for autumn and make sure you don’t try it with a fleeced version, which will quickly become uncomfortable against your skin.

Bonus Tip: Layer your best coat over it as we progress into winter and finish with a charcoal/grey beanie.

Men's Grey Sweatshirts Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

allsaints aw12jack wills aw137 diamonds ss13reiss aw13pepe jeans aw13he by mango august 2014
8) Go Sockless

You might hear more conservative gents saying you look sloppy, but showing a bit of ankle skin before it gets too cold is a bold styling move.

It works with everything from selvedge jeans to tailoring, and should be done if your trousers are already slim-fitting with a minimal break (turn-ups on jeans also accepted).

Bonus Tip: This will call attention to your feet so, please, good shoes are mandatory. You will also want to invest in some invisible sock liners and talcum powder in order to keep your feet dry and comfortable.

Men's Sockless Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

tommy hilfiger summer 2014sisley summer 2014jigsaw ss14de fursac ss14h&m style guide 2014he by mango spring 2013
9) Create Your Own Unique Layers

Yes, you already rock the tried and tested shirt and v-neck jumper combination, along with the aforementioned classic jeans and t-shirt pairing. But what about a canvas over shirt on top of a roll neck jumper, a denim jacket under your blazer/overcoat, or a leather jacket over your shirt and tie?

Make sure your attire has a surprise element in one of the layers – something that takes you to whatever the occasion is with a hint of rebellion and individuality. Again, it doesn’t hurt to be the odd one out whenever possible.

Men's Creative Layering Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

simons fall 2014j lindebergriver island holloway road aw13he by mango fall 2014digel 2012he by mango fall 2014m&s aw13ramsey aw13lab pal zileri aw14
10) Accessorise. Freely.

Why not reinvent your look by offsetting the prim and proper styling? We’re sure your bright belt is dying to meet your grey flannel trousers, and that your canvas rucksack would love to go for a spin on the back of your smart double-breasted overcoat.

Try out some unexpected pairings and see what works for you:

  • Uniform Wares 104 Series Brushed-steel WristwatchUniform Wares 104 Series Brushed-steel Wristwatch
  • Johnstons Cashmere Woven ScarfJohnstons Cashmere Woven Scarf
  • Paul Smith Prism SocksPaul Smith Prism Socks
  • Ted Baker Handhal Leather Document BagTed Baker Handhal Leather Document Bag
  • Ted Baker Rafton Dot And Line Pocket SquareTed Baker Rafton Dot And Line Pocket Square
  • Andersons Green 3cm Woven-suede BeltAndersons Green 3cm Woven-suede Belt
  • Ted Baker Klow Leather Document BagTed Baker Klow Leather Document Bag
  • The Kooples Classic Leather BeltThe Kooples Classic Leather Belt
  • Austin Reed Viyella Navy Textured BracesAustin Reed Viyella Navy Textured Braces
Final Word

There you have a few out-of-the-box ideas to help you make the most of your all-time favourite pieces.

Yet this list is not exhaustive, so do you have a particular trick you want to share? Jot it down in the comments section below. After all, even bad advice is good advice for those stuck in a styling rut…