How To Tweak Your Wardrobe & Make It Your Own

Have you ever felt like everyone else is miles ahead of you when it comes to style? You shop, you invest – often even more than they do – but your look doesn’t seem to come together like theirs?

Your problem may be nothing more than a lack of attention to detail. From a simple turn-up to creative alterations, personalising your look is a lot easier and less costly than it may initially seem.

So, without going full-on Gok Wan, we’re going to show you how to take your wardrobe and personal style to the next level with just a few simple and easy tweaks…

Chinos & Jeans

The fit, length and colour/wash are perfect. Then what?

Selvedge Denim

If you’re a denim guy, going the extra mile means looking into details such as selvedge, a self-finished edge of a fabric woven straight from the loom.

The hallmark of high quality denim, selvedge keeps the fabric from unravelling or fraying, increasing its durability, and usually features a contrasting coloured stripe that runs all the way down the inside leg seam:

Selvedge Denim

Once you’ve purchased a pair of selvedge denim jeans, a turn-up is a great way to personalise and add extra detailing to your outfit, while also subtly showing off your investment in quality.

It’s a small touch that gets noticed by stylish individuals, trust us.

Selvedge Denim Jeans Turn-Ups Lookbook

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  • Unbranded Jeans Ub321 Straight Fit Heavy 21oz SelvedgeUnbranded Jeans Ub321 Straight Fit Heavy 21oz Selvedge
  • Levis Vintage Jeans 1966 501 Selvedge Customised Slim Tapered New RinseLevis Vintage Jeans 1966 501 Selvedge Customised Slim Tapered New Rinse
  • A.p.c. Mens Petit Standard Raw JeansA.p.c. Mens Petit Standard Raw Jeans
  • Uniqlo Men Selvedge Slim Fit Straight JeansUniqlo Men Selvedge Slim Fit Straight Jeans
  • Ted Baker Socroft Slim Fit Selvedge DenimTed Baker Socroft Slim Fit Selvedge Denim
  • Edwin Jeans Ed-71 Slim Red Selvedge JeansEdwin Jeans Ed-71 Slim Red Selvedge Jeans
Central Crease

Now, here’s a little touch you can add to both your chinos and jeans: a central crease.

Precious, maybe even slightly arrogant, giving your casual trousers a tailored twist is unexpected. Not only that, a central crease creates a lengthening effect by drawing the eyeline downwards – ideal for shorter gents.

Get your iron out and give it a go. You can always go back if you change your mind.

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DIY Alterations

For once, we’re not going to nag you about bad tailoring or how your clothes fit. You should already know better. These are simply some DIY alterations you can make to key pieces in your wardrobe to ensure they’re unique to you.

Suit/Blazer Linings

Whether suits are your daily uniform or an occasional need, there are countless ways to bring them to life. The lining of your jacket is one such opportunity. Any good tailor will be able to reline a jacket for you and it shouldn’t cost much.

Your choice of lining doesn’t need to match your tie, shirt or any other part of your outfit. It simply offers an unexpected flash of colour and personality once you remove or reach inside your jacket. With that in mind, why not think about adopting a specific shade – cobalt/sky blue, burgundy and racing green are all great options – as your style signature and getting all your neutral blazers relined in it?

Yet that’s not to say you have to stick to solid colours – printed linings can look superb. You can even show off your colour/pattern matching prowess by opting for a fabric that contrasts against or complements your suit material:

Coloured Suit Jacket Lining

Patterned Suit Jacket Lining

Switching Buttons

While you’re upgrading your suit/blazer, why not consider swapping the buttons (trousers and jacket) for a new set? Tortoiseshell, mother of pearl or transparent ones can help breathe life into any piece of tailoring, giving it a whole new identity and character.

In fact, almost any piece of clothing can become exclusive when you swap the standard buttons. Think about those found on your jeans, chinos and even your shirts/polos – especially if they come with those cheap white plastic versions that high street brands tend to use.

Our beginners’ guide to DIY tailoring even shows you how to change them yourself:

  • 15/30 Sets Snap Fasteners/press Studs15/30 Sets Snap Fasteners/press Studs
  • 100 Mother Of Pearl Round Buttons100 Mother Of Pearl Round Buttons
  • 20mm Hammer On Antique Denim Jeans Buttons20mm Hammer On Antique Denim Jeans Buttons
Trouser Length

Moving down to your lower half, have you any idea of how the length of your trousers can transform your look?

Seriously, something as simple as opting for no break on your suit trousers or purposely cropping a pair of chinos to mid-ankle will give any of your existing go-to outfits a whole new dimension.

For a more in depth look at this concept, read our guide to contemporary trouser lengths:

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Accessorising

Closely related to your newly shortened trousers or selvedge jean turn-ups, your socks – now very much on show – should have a voice.

Steer clear of thick sports socks and scruffy trainer liners and instead opt for fine cotton versions in rich shades or unexpected patterns from quality brands like Happy Socks, Pantherella, Paul Smith, Corgi and Falke:

happy socks ss13matalan ss13pull & bearunknownnext aw14unknown
  • Falke Airport Wool And Cotton-blend SocksFalke Airport Wool And Cotton-blend Socks
  • Falke Tiago Plain SocksFalke Tiago Plain Socks
  • Pantherella Ribbed Cotton-blend SocksPantherella Ribbed Cotton-blend Socks
  • Paul Smith Prism SocksPaul Smith Prism Socks
  • Paul Smith Shoes & Accessories Polka-dot Cotton-blend SocksPaul Smith Shoes & Accessories Polka-dot Cotton-blend Socks
  • Happy Socks Bold Striped SocksHappy Socks Bold Striped Socks
Burnished Toe

As they say, the shoes make the man. So, first of all, are they well looked after? Good, but you can do more.

Next time you get your tan/brown/oxblood brogues, Derbies or monk-straps shined, ask for a burnished toe: a luxurious finish that will make them look even more expensive.

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Switch Your Laces

Another easy alteration you can make to your current footwear collection, why not swap your standard laces for a pair in a contrasting colour?

This trick tends to work best on casual styles such as desert boots, trainers or boat shoes, but don’t be afraid to try it out on more formal silhouettes like suede Derbies or brogues.

Consider using a bold coloured pair in spring/summer, switching to a thicker, more textured pair during autumn/winter.

Coloured Shoe Laces

Coloured Shoe Laces

Coloured Shoe Laces

Replacement Belt

We’ve spotted some very brave gentlemen replacing their belts with a piece of fabric or rope recently.

The bold sash effect is definitely one for the more confident amongst us, but it’s hardly innovative. Back in the 1940s, the stylish Fred Astaire would tie a neck tie around his waist instead of a belt. You could try and replicate this statement with a scarf or tie. Think you can handle it?

Alternatively, and perhaps slightly more masculine, we have noticed more and more brands utilise pieces of rope in their lookbooks as an alternative to a belt, particularly within Riviera or nautical-inspired outfits. It certainly gives off a relaxed and nonchalant vibe that is perfect for summer:

angelo nardelli ss13angelo nardelli ss13sisley summer 2014lbm 1911 ss13
Pocket Squares

An accessory that we can all pull off is a pocket square. Yet why not make your own one of a kind version?

Creating one yourself is relatively easy to do and allows you to pick the exact colour, print and fabric you desire. Get down to your local fabric shop and let your imagination run wild.

Remember that anything you can cut into a 45 x 45 cm sheet and tuck into your jacket pocket is a potential pocket square, so why not consider turning old patterned shirts or tees into a new unique accessory?

Your Top Pocket

While we’re on the subject of pocket squares, why restrict them to the top pocket of your blazer? Stuffing one into the breast pocket of your shirt, overcoat, gilet or denim jacket can bring an unexpected sartorial flourish to even the simplest of ensembles:

suitsupply aw13gant rugger aw14he by mango fall 2014m&s best of british aw141gant rugger aw14reiss ss13

Without leaving your top pocket, can you think of other accessories you can carry in it instead of a pocket square?

From sunglasses and gloves to your pocket watch, it seems like anything goes these days:

massimo dutti october 2013massimo dutti pre fall 2014he by mango aw13massimo dutti september 2013
Style Tweaks

The styling tips below are perhaps the easiest to adopt. Adjusting your attire to the mood of the event or weather can be done in seconds, even after you’ve already reached your destination.

Tie-Less Button-Up

Ended up in your suit and tie at a trendy party full of stylish creative types? Lose the tie (and maybe even the jacket) and keep your collar buttoned up to embrace a minimal and modish aesthetic.

For more advice on going tie-less, read our style guide here:

austin reed x nick hart ss14austin reed ss14primark aw14bohemian ss14club monaco summer 2014burton ss14
Rolled Sleeves

Going straight from work to the bar for drinks/a date? Unbutton a couple of buttons, roll your sleeves up to your elbows and work your sex appeal.

Similarly, during high summer you can also give your t-shirt or short-sleeved shirt a couple of sleeve folds, which helps add a nice touch of detailing to your traditionally stripped back ensembles:

river island high summer 2014j crew 2014 style guideselected denim ss14reiss 1971 ss13club monaco ss14river island holloway road aw13he by mango ss14massimo dutti may 2014massimo dutti june 2014
Pushed Up Sleeves

Pushed-up blazer sleeves are back. Let a little bit of your shirt cuff stick out, or wear your blazer with pulled up sleeves over a t-shirt. If Miami Vice comes to mind, think twice. You don’t want to relive the trend exactly like it was first time around.

This tweak also works extremely well on knitwear or cropped outerwear:

El Palacio de Hierro ss14digel ss12lbm 1911 ss13he by mango ss13bally ss15allsaints ss13
Final Word

There you have it, some easy style tweaks you can make to your wardrobe and outfits to help create a truly unique personal style.

How do you make your wardrobe come alive? Any styling ideas you’d like to share?

Let us know in the comments section below…