New Year’s Style Resolutions

So Christmas Day has come and gone, the decorations are soon to be back up in the loft and you’re considering the very real possibility of having to go up a waist size. And as you try to shake the lingering taste of pigs in blankets and eggnog from your lips, it’s time to start preparing for a new year.

For most people, this will include the usual suspects: join a gym, check. Drink less, check. Eat healthier, check. All perfectly good resolutions that you and I both know – as sure as there will only be Bounties left in a tin of Celebrations – come February will be ancient history.

However, as any sartorially-inclined gentleman will tell you, there is a different set of New Year’s resolutions that are held in a much higher regard and can never, ever be broken: your style resolutions.

With that in mind, I thought I’d put together a little list – what’s an end of year article without one? – of style tips and tricks that we can all look to incorporate into our lives and wardrobes in 2014. Let’s face it, they will be a hell of a lot easier to stick to than eating more broccoli and training for Tough Mudder.

Of course, I appreciate that a lot of people who read this will be at different stages in their style development, so I’ve decided to split the list in half. The first four are for the beginners (and a refresher course for the more experienced) and the last four are for the more advanced men out there.

So without further ado, let the resolving begin…

1. Clothing Care

This should be a priority for anyone starting out on their journey to a more stylish lifestyle. Without proper care your clothing will simply not last as long as you want it to. This can be especially frustrating when you have spent good money on new shoes, statement pieces or suits.

For example, investing in a good clothes brush and brushing down items like suit jackets, shirts and trousers before and after use will help extend their lifespan.

The same goes for cedar shoe trees for your footwear – they help to absorb sweat and maintain the leather’s original shape.

For more tips and advice on wardrobe maintenance, check out these related guides:

Maintenance Essentials
  • Suede Brush. Cleaner And Restores Nap On Shoes Boots Coats Finest Brass BristlesSuede Brush. Cleaner And Restores Nap On Shoes Boots Coats Finest Brass Bristles
  • Gloss Wax Shoe Polish BlackGloss Wax Shoe Polish Black
  • Churchs Norfolk Wood And Metal Shoe TreesChurchs Norfolk Wood And Metal Shoe Trees
  • John Lewis 3 Way Clothes BrushJohn Lewis 3 Way Clothes Brush
  • Punch Leather Cream 100mlPunch Leather Cream 100ml
  • Travel Size Lint Roller And 2 RefillsTravel Size Lint Roller And 2 Refills
  • Osborne Gentlemens Attire Pack Of Three Wooden Coat HangersOsborne Gentlemens Attire Pack Of Three Wooden Coat Hangers
  • Smith & Canova Shoe Kit BlackSmith & Canova Shoe Kit Black
  • Gentlemens Hardware Shoe Shine KitGentlemens Hardware Shoe Shine Kit
2. Honour Thy Tailor

I seem to say this one every year, but it really is that important. A good tailor can be the difference between looking good and looking great.

The chances of clothing fitting you perfectly off the rack are slim enough as it is, but with the help of a good tailor you can start creating looks that appear as if they were made specifically for you.

As long as the piece fits you in the important areas – for example, focus on neck, shoulders and chest with shirts – everything else can be modified to your specific shape and/or taste.

If you truly cannot afford to get key items tailored, why not try adjusting certain pieces yourself?

3. Experiment With Patterns

Pattern mixing really isn’t that hard to do as long as you stick to one simple rule: always vary the size.

Make sure the pieces you combine are in varying scales (in comparison to each other) and you can’t put a foot wrong.

For instance, why not combine a fine pencil stripe shirt with a wide striped tie, or add a bold polka dot tie to your pinstriped suit? Even something as simple as throwing a paisley scarf on over a plaid shirt can look great.

Just remember not to go to crazy and pile patterns on patterns on patterns (more on that later).

Pattern Mixing Lookbook

Men's Pattern Mixing Lookbook

unknownlbm 1911 aw11scapa sports winter 2013brunello cucinelli aw13scapa aw13barneys new york august 2013boss hugo boss aw13hugo boss ss11m&s aw13
4. Fashion Fades, Style Is Eternal

Or, in other words, don’t be a slave to trends.

When you’re starting out, focus your attention on classic menswear staples that are simple, neutral and versatile. This way you know that every piece you own can be worn together and, theoretically, you could get dressed in the dark.

If you concentrate on trend styles – which are often meant to be incorporated into an already established wardrobe as statement pieces – you may find that you don’t have a lot of items that work well together.

That’s without even considering the fact that you’ll have to buy a whole new wardrobe in six month’s time when those trends fall out of favour.

Classic Looks

Men's Classic, Timeless Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

burton aw13he by mango aw12river island aw13mac ss13zara edition 2013banana republic ss14calibre ss14joop aw11he by mango november 2012selected jeans aw13he by mango aw12he by mango aw13
Classic Wardrobe Staples
  • Reiss Bless Short Sleeve Basic Crew Neck T-shirt Navy Cable-knit Wool CardiganReiss Bless Short Sleeve Basic Crew Neck T-shirt Navy Cable-knit Wool Cardigan
  • Minimum Oxford ShirtMinimum Oxford Shirt
  • J.crew Crew Neck Cashmere SweaterJ.crew Crew Neck Cashmere Sweater
  • He By Mango Cable-knit Wool CardiganHe By Mango Cable-knit Wool Cardigan
  • Asos Slim Fit Blazer In 100% WoolAsos Slim Fit Blazer In 100% Wool
  • J.crew Check Cotton Button Down Collar ShirtJ.crew Check Cotton Button Down Collar Shirt
  • Acne College Loopback-cotton Jersey SweatshirtAcne College Loopback-cotton Jersey Sweatshirt
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Dark Steve JeansHe By Mango Slim-fit Dark Steve Jeans
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Premium Cotton ChinosHe By Mango Slim-fit Premium Cotton Chinos
  • John Varvatos Silk-cotton Polo Shirt 181855John Varvatos Silk-cotton Polo Shirt 181855
  • River Island Dark Brown Suede Desert BootsRiver Island Dark Brown Suede Desert Boots
  • Asos Brogue Shoes In LeatherAsos Brogue Shoes In Leather
5. Focus On Your Neglected Areas

If you follow my articles, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of blazers, waistcoats and seasonal trousers. This often means that my wardrobe is stocked full of tailoring and items that complement it – like shirts, ties and formal shoes.

However, recently I’ve been focusing more on casual pieces that I don’t normally consider such as t-shirts, jeans and trainers. I personally feel it’s important to try new things and experiment once you’ve established your own signature style, because what you originally considered to be your ‘look’ when you first started out may no longer apply.

Now I tend to lean towards the casual end of the spectrum when I go to a club or out for drinks with mates as I feel it communicates a slightly more relaxed and easy going vibe, when compared to a shirt and blazer.

Also, my dry cleaning bill was through the roof thanks to spilled drinks, sweat and cigarette smoke. So these days you’ll find me in selvedge indigo jeans, a crew neck t-shirt and my trusty Levi’s trucker jacket.

6. Grooming

It’s all too easy to focus on the details of your clothing while neglecting the details of the machine that’s holding the whole thing up.

Whether it’s an improved skincare regime, getting rid of those emerging eye bags or updating your haircut, why not check our grooming and hairstyles sections for ideas on how to upgrade your current routine and/or products. It really will make the world of difference to your overall appearance.

7. 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’s two out of three things that are patterned – any more and it gets out of control.

The same goes for using colour; always have one of the three as a monochromatic hue, in order to keep everything grounded.

Two Out Of Three Lookbook

Men's Pattern and Colour Mixing Lookbook - Two Out Of Three Rule

Ravazzolo aw13m&s aw13scapa aw13ted baker ss13Clements and Church aw13Togs & Clogs aw13suitsupply aw13digelted baker aw13Schneiders ss14digel aw13ami ss14
8. Reassess Your Journey So Far

We all know how easy it is to become a menswear addict in this day and age. There’s always something new to drool over and more pieces that need to be added to your ever-growing lists. But take some time to reflect on just how far you’ve come since you started on this sartorial journey.

First and foremost, it’s a nice little confidence boost to see just how much better you dress now compared to then. And secondly, it also helps to see if what you’re doing is still working. After all, your body shape and size can change dramatically in a year, along with your personality and taste.

What was working then might not be working now. Is it time to go for a more masculine, fuller cut to accommodate all that lean muscle you’ve been gaining thanks to our fitness articles? Or is it time to rein in the bold colours and quirky prints and focus on menswear classics, now that you’ve got that grown up job?

I’m not talking a complete style overhaul like when you first began, but a few choice tweaks here and there can be just what you need to freshen up your approach to style in the new year.

Final Word

There you have it, a few New Year’s resolutions that we could all consider.

I know there’s plenty that I’ll be sticking to, but as always I’m interested in hearing what you have to say: what did you think of these resolutions? Have you made different ones? And are you the weirdo that actually eats the Bounties in the Celebrations tin?

Let me know in the comments section…

Matt Allinson