We ’ve always been told we should rip up the rule book, right? Living in the age of disruptive start-ups with ‘move fast and break things’ as their motto has taught us that rules and conformity are firmly outdated, and that to succeed thinking outside the box is essential – and if that means disregarding a few stuffy social conventions along the way, so much the better. Life already contains too many rules and we don’t need to add to them.
When it comes to style however, it turns out that a few rules can be a very good thing indeed. Although fashion is about having fun, trying new things, and finding out what makes you look and feel good as an individual, doing this within the framework of a few sartorial guidelines often gets a much better result than just going completely freeform. Personal taste comes into it – if you adore athleisure you’ll find joy in sourcing Supreme clothing from The Upperroom Boutique, whereas others will find their natural fit in Savile Row tailoring and Brora cashmere sweaters. But working to a few time-honored rules doesn’t have to mean the death of fashion creativity, or of individual style. It can simply help you to adapt your look and preferences to suit the occasion that you’re dressing for. After all, part of looking stylish is feeling comfortable and confident in the clothes you have on, and if these are right for the situation that is going to happen effortlessly.
As menswear becomes ever more experimental and the choice just keeps growing, it’s easy to doubt ourselves or be confused about what suits. In any case, we all have far too much mental clutter these days, and having a few fall-back, failsafe outfit combinations always prepped and ready to go can mean there’s one less thing to worry about on a busy day. History teaches us valuable lessons on clothing that we can distill into modern life , whether you’re a corporate career ladder climber or a fitness freak – focusing on great fit, high quality fabric, and versatile garments is advice that will never go out of style.
Wear The Hell Out Of A Suit
Even if your style as a whole is more on the casual side, there will be occasions in your life where it’s expected that you wear a suit. Indeed, some gents find that they delight in tailoring, which does so much to make you look pulled together and flatter your body. Wearing a suit well, however, is a whole other ballgame – we’ve all seen that guy who looks ill at ease because his sleeves are half an inch too long or his jacket is pulling too tight across the shoulders. You can get plenty of great suits at a lower price point, so it doesn’t have to be about spending a fortune – but it is all about fit. The main thing you should focus on when getting a suit off the rack is how it fits you across the shoulders. That’s because it’s almost impossible to change after the fact, whereas you can have the chest and waist altered fairly easily by a decent tailor. Find a local service for alterations and use it – a small amount invested her can take a suit from mediocre to sensational. If you don’t wear suits often focus on adding just one or two to your collection and go for dark, single-breasted suits with minimal detailing – this way, you’ll get something classic which is likely to last you for years to come. However, if you get a taste for tailoring, there are lots of ways to express your personality, so don’t think suits equal boring – with almost limitless fabric options, plus the chance to play with accessories such as a pocket square or a sharp pair of cufflinks, there’s a lot to go at. Think of your suit as a blank canvas allowing your shirt, watch, shoes and other elements to shine.
Get Your Denim Right
No matter your style, jeans are a staple basic of most wardrobes, and as such, they can often get overlooked. Many of us just don’t know how to buy good jeans or what to look for. Go for versatility when it comes to investing in your denim – these are the workhorses of your clothing collection, and can span many outfits from smart-casual to off-duty. Choosing cuts can be confusing, but a slim tapered style is the most universally flattering and useful addition to your closet. It sits wider on the thigh than a skinny cut, so it’s comfortable to wear, but the legs are narrow enough to look current and to work well with both sporty kicks or a smarter shoe like a brogue. This makes them easy to dress up or down to suit any need. Go for a mid to dark wash and break them in. Denim tends to get better as it ages, like real leather or a fine red wine!
Don’t Miss Out On Color
If monochrome is your vibe, then that’s totally fine, but play it up as a deliberate choice and you’ll look way more stylish. Don’t hide away from using color or fall into drab shades by default. Color can feel quite challenging, but used well it will really set your look apart. Don’t be intimidated by things which aren’t navy or grey. A salmon polo against navy can pop, while for tailoring fans, a burgundy suit can add warmth and style, but still looks classic enough. If you feel like introducing color is a lot for you, just focus on adding a couple of key pieces in slightly brighter shades of your most worn hues, such as a bolder blue or a hit of red. Just one piece is enough to completely lift your outfit and change your look.
Take Care Of Your Garments
If you’ve chosen to invest in high-quality items, then you need to take care of them properly or they’ll soon lose their shine. Purchase wooden hangers to keep your shirts and jackets from losing their shape, have your suits dry-cleaned and pressed or buy a garment steamer if you hate ironing, avoid tumble drying woolen sweaters and try to wash by hand and polish up your shoes. The devil is in the detail and taking care of these small things really makes a difference to how you look overall.