Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, or so Andy Williams told us. Firstly, there’s the food (because who doesn’t love being holed up for days on end with no one wagging their finger at how many sausage rolls you’ve consumed?). There’s the sales (all the year’s best pieces at a fraction of the price – eh, yes please). And, then there’s the brief but delicious abandonment of all things buttoned-up (this is the one time of year it’s legitimately acceptable for a grown man to stay in his pyjamas past noon).
As for resolutions, forget about the gym – that’s not going to outlast dry January. And speaking of dry January, forget that too. After all, what’s the year’s gloomiest month without a little liquid spirit? Instead, pull yourself up by the bootstraps – or slippers as the case may be – and leave all your sartorial sins in 2015.
1. Buy Less, Buy Clever
This first resolution isn’t so much a pearl of wisdom as plain common sense. Before you even think about investing in the latest burgeoning trend in early 2016, have a long think about whether or not you’ve covered your basics first.
Buy the black trousers that will go with everything, or the Oxford shirt that can be dressed up or down, and don’t be afraid to splurge on them either. They’ll last longer and you can wear them with practically everything. Take your cue from ol’ man Clause himself: make a list, check it twice and make sure that your wardrobe actually has all of those ‘classics’ you hear so much about standing the test of time.
2. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
The phrase ‘If the cap fits, wear it’ might be a roundabout way of telling somebody that they’re a fool, but taken literally, it’s also a pretty solid piece of style advice to live by.
There’s no shame in admitting that no, you do not stand comfortably northwards of the five-foot mark, nor is it an epic shortcoming to finally accept that your arms won’t ever rip T-shirt sleeves. What you can change though, is how you dress what the man above has given you – and this is never more important than when wearing a suit.
“Go for a suit that flatters your shape,” says Alex McCart, Men’s Formalwear Buyer at Selfridges. “For example, a double-breasted suit is a good choice for tall, slim men, while a single-breasted design is a classic all-rounder. And if you’re on the shorter side, it pays to remember that vertical stripes [i.e. pinstripes] add height.”
Work with what you’ve got, not against it.
3. Dress For Your Age
We’ve all cringed at Madonna’s peculiar inability to reconcile her actual age with an age-appropriate wardrobe. But we men are often no better. And whether in the grip of a midlife crisis or a misguided attempt at looking mature, our wardrobes often end up being the giveaway.
Dress according to your decade. In your twenties, it’s still acceptable to experiment. In your thirties, it’s important to begin dressing like you’re a grown-up (even if your life choices to date say something else). In your forties, you should consider putting your rebellious days behind you (no slashed denim and studded leather jackets please). And in your fifties, recognise that the fit of your clothes is just as important as how comfortable they are (Jeremy Clarkson, we’re looking at you).
The truth is, it doesn’t matter what age a man is – he can still look sharp and on top of his sartorial game.
4. Be Swayed By Suede
Suede jackets used to be the oxymoron of the luxury fashion world; incredibly expensive to produce but almost always naff in their design. Those oversized, shapeless vintage versions you see haunting charity shops? They were just as shudder-inducing in their heyday.
In 2016, however, suede should be taken wherever you can find it. There are summer suede jackets, winter suede jackets, suede overshirts, shoes and bags to take your pick from. And it’s not just run-of-the-mill shades of brown, stone and tan that it comes in now, either – 2016’s suede is a veritable rainbow of touchably soft luxury.
“Soft and supple to handle, suede gets better with age and its velvety surface means it shows the best of both deep and soft colour palettes,” says Alex Field, Head of Menswear Design at Reiss.
Just don’t take it out in the rain.
Mango Man SS15
- He By Mango Flap-pocket Suede Jacket
- Kilgour Suede Bomber Jacket
- Reiss Salamanda Zip Suede Jacket Stone
- Asos Chelsea Boots In Suede
- Topman Black Suede Brogues
- Kurt Geiger London Ginger Suede Loafers
- Maison Margiela Leather-trimmed Suede Holdall
- Reiss Tanner Suede Tote Bag Charcoal
- Yeezy Season 1 Dark Brown Suede Holdall
5. Don’t Divide Your Wardrobe Into Smart And Casual
Your mother may still be of the opinion that owning a pair of tracksuit bottoms is tantamount to being a card-carrying member of ‘the wrong crowd’, but if there’s one thing to take notice of as we close the door on 2015 and look ahead to the new year, it’s how menswear is relaxing.
Trainers with tailoring? Right on. Tapered joggers and Derby shoes? Absolutely. Try mixing and matching tailored and relaxed pieces for surprisingly versatile and stylish combinations that you might not have previously thought of.
Just stop short of trying to pass your gym kit off as night-out wear.
6. Accessorise All Areas
Got your basics collection completed and live in a uniform of black, navy and grey? Yes, you may look well put together, but without a spark of originality, you risk blending in with the rest of them.
Make 2016 the year you invest in accessories. The appeal of accessories is that you can choose a level of commitment that suits you. Tentatively show off your originality with a subtly patterned scarf. Feeling braver? Add a few points of difference to your tailoring (a quick glance at any stylish Tumblr will spotlight the infinite combinations).
In short, it’s an easy way to upgrade your look without breaking the bank.
- He By Mango Polka-dot Scarf
- Timex Weekender Chrono Oversized Watch
- Allsaints Bronson Fedora Hat
- Reiss Lorenzo Flower Lapel Pin
- Drakes Paisley Silk Pocket Square
- He By Mango Mirrored Lenses Sunglasses
- Polo Ralph Lauren Reversible Scarf
- Lanvin Leather-trimmed Flower Lapel Pin
- Reiss Eagle Metallic Tie Clip
- Tanner Goods Double Wrap Wristband
- Le Gramme Le 7 Matte Sterling Silver Cuff
- Topman Brown Puritan Hat
7. Keep Your Shirts In Check
The shirt is the unsung hero of a man’s wardrobe. But come the end of the day, this workhorse usually sits crumpled at the foot of the bed. In 2016, take due care of this timeless staple – follow these tips and reap the dividends:
- Wash a shirt at no more than 40 degrees Celsius.
- Wear your shirt only once before washing.
- Take your shirt off carefully, folding once lengthways and then sideways before putting into your washing machine.
- Use a fine cloth (such as linen) to place between your shirt and the iron to prevent damage.
7a. Master The Military Tuck
For a crisp finish when wearing a shirt, try deploying the military tuck. Once you’ve buttoned up your shirt, and with your trousers left unbuttoned at the top, tuck only the front of your shirt into your trousers, making sure there is no bunching of fabric.
Then, pinch the side seams of the shirt and fold back against your torso, tucking in and smoothing the back of your shirt. Keeping everything in place, button up your trousers.
Hey presto, you’re looking sharper than David Gandy’s six pack.
Which of our style resolutions will you be sticking to in 2016? What are the style sins that you think should be banished to 2015?
Share your thoughts below.