New Year, New Style
With every passing New Year’s celebration comes another set of promises that we make to ourselves. We pledge to eat healthier, drink less alcohol, and do more exercise. We promise to take up a new hobby, finally get around to that project we keep putting off, and meet up with our friends more. Depending on your resolve, some of these promises you’ll stick with, while others will quickly fall by the wayside.
But for a style-conscious man, there are some promises that are so sacred, it’d be unthinkable to break them. The promise that this year you’ll perfect the business-casual look. Or that you’ll step out of your comfort zone and invest in bold colours, prints and patterns. Or maybe that you’ll finally get round to creating the perfect capsule wardrobe, so you could get dressed with your eyes closed and still look great.
Not only are these promises a lot easier to keep than going to the gym three times a week, they’re – let’s be frank – a lot less tedious, too. That said, we appreciate that some of you may be new to the idea of making style-related resolutions, so we’ve split this guide down the middle: the first five points can be considered the fundamentals (i.e. tips for beginners), while the final five are recommended for the more sartorially advanced among us.
Beginners’ Style Resolutions
1. Step Up Your Foot Game
All too often we come across guys who have nailed almost every aspect of their outfit, only for the whole thing to be let down by a pair of tatty square-toed shoes, some withering trainers or cheap, cardboard-y boots. This must stop. Now.
Invest in quality shoes and they will pay you back in dividends. Whether it’s a pair of black Oxfords, tan brogues, luxe leather trainers or suede desert boots, well-crafted footwear provides a guaranteed and instant style boost.
Don’t forget to take care of them, too – polish at least once every fortnight for best results.
- Grenson Stanley Brogues In Tan
- Grenson Sharp Leather Brogue Boots
- Clarks Originals Suede Desert Boots
- Churchs Shannon Leather Derby Shoes
- John Lobb City Ii Leather Oxford Shoes
- Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Sneakers
- Jacob Jones Shoe Shine Kit Khaki
- John Lobb Wooden Shoe Trees
- John Lewis Multi Purpose Suede Brush Grey / White
2. Track Down A Good Tailor
We’ve extolled the benefits of being on first name terms with a tailor countless times.
Finding, and getting friendly with, a good tailor will revolutionise the way your clothes fit you. They can even aid you in some of your more experimental DIY and upcycling efforts.
3. Shed (Wardrobe) Weight
Get a head start on your sartorial spring cleaning. In truth, when it comes to dressing well, guys don’t need a lot of choices; they need the right choices. As long as you stick to fuss-free, classic and versatile pieces (think navy blazers, grey wool trousers, dark denim jeans, Oxford cloth shirts, neutral and well-cut t-shirts) then it’s hard to go wrong.
Throw out anything that you either haven’t worn in the last twelve months or have no intention of wearing again. Then, write a list of the ten items you want to purchase during the coming year and make a plan of where you’re going to find them.
Buy as high quality as your wallet permits. Doing this will gradually refine your wardrobe, removing any garments that aren’t giving you proper bang for your buck in the process.
4. Accessorise This
The devil’s in the details, and the details make the gentleman.
Provided you’ve paid the aforementioned tips some heed, you’ll have the core of your wardrobe sorted. Accessories allow you to personalise your look, add another dimension, and really bring it to life.
Think ties in textured wool, tweed or knitted silk. Think a wide assortment of pocket squares. An indulgent purchase such as a 100 per cent cashmere scarf or pair of buttery soft leather gloves. And never underestimate the impact colourful or bold patterned socks can lend to your look.
- Topman Navy Puritan Hat
- Paul Smith Odd Polka Block Socks
- Reiss Thorman Leather Gloves Dark Brown
- Reiss Fela Ribbed Block Colour Socks Blue
- He By Mango Paisley Print Pocket Square
- Austin Reed Paisley Pocket Square
- J. Crew Irish Birds-eye Wool Tie
- Nick Bronson Red Phil Birdseye Knitted Silk Tie
- Begg & Co Box Check Washed-cashmere Scarf
5. 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 makes two out of three things that are patterned; add any more to that and you’re playing with fire.
The same goes for using colour; always have one of the three as a neutral hue, in order to keep everything grounded.
Advanced Style Resolutions
1. Shop Smart
Remember, stylish does not equal expensive and expensive does not equal stylish. In fact, there are plenty of expensive brands and designers that aren’t stylish at all – honestly, they’re barely wearable in the real world – and paying hand over fist for a designer label won’t give you automatic style points either.
As long as the garments you buy fit you properly, you can get stylish clothes from the most unlikely of places: charity/thrift shops, TK (TJ) Maxx and bargain bins, to name but a few. A useful guiding principle is to avoid splurging on basic pieces like tees and shirts so that you’ll have more in the bank for investment items such as suits, overcoats and shoes.
2. In The Bag
Please stop carrying your gym bag to work with you. Get a quality duffle bag or holdall; just something more appropriate. And it’s probably best to 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. Don’t do it.
- He By Mango Leather Weekend Bag
- Barbour Leather Medium Explorer Holdall
- Blue Harbour Online Only Luxury Leather Holdall
- Reiss Corbet 24 Hour Leather Holdall Black
- North Coast Luxury Leather Holdall
- Mulberry Clipper Leather Holdall Bag
3. Get Inspired
Don’t just listen to whatever your favourite magazine or website is telling you to do this season. Instead, have a look for yourself. Check out what other people are wearing – if you like it, figure out why, and decide whether it would work for your own personal style. If not, is there a way you could incorporate elements of it?
Look far and wide. Why not, as several designers do each season, take inspiration from women’s fashion? Check out our previous article on the subject here.
It’s not just the people around you that can be used as sources of inspiration. Nature and your immediate environment can help influence the textures, colours and patterns you choose to utilise on a daily basis – whether you opt for florals in spring, bright sunshine yellows in high summer or mirror the hues of the fallen leaves in autumn.
Take Inspiration From The Stylish Men Around You
Men can learn a lot from women’s fashion
Why not let your wardrobe choices mirror your external environment?
4. Don’t Be A Slave To Trends
Fashion is cyclical, self-contradictory and, as plenty of people have been arguing in recent years, moving at a pace that’s potentially damaging.
Trying to keep up with it is likely to leave you tired and bankrupt. Stick with what you know works for you and then pick and choose whatever suits you from this season’s trends. It’s a damn sight easier to incorporate something that’s in sync with your personal style as it stands, rather than worlds apart.
For instance, are you a sharp and refined dresser? Why not introduce something as subtle as a tie or pocket square in an on-trend floral or polka dot print to your collection this year?
Make trends work for you via subtle accessory references
5. Don’t Take Our Word For Anything
Seriously, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There’s plenty to be gained from listening to the style-savvy, the aesthetics experts etc., but truly personal style is less about following rules to a T, and more about making your own statement.
The same goes for trends – the most interesting ones will almost always be the most divisive.
So, what will you be giving a shot in 2015? Care to share your own New Year’s style resolutions? Tried any of the above before?
Let us know in the comments below. And a very happy New Year!