Finding yourself in need of a style audit lately? There comes a time in all of our lives when we realise the inevitable. It’s a harsh truth, but you can only rock the band t-shirt and jeans combo for so long. Despite what people say, appearances do matter. At least to a certain extent. We all judge books by their covers, even when we think we’re not. How we dress and present ourselves says a lot about us –– how we feel about ourselves, the first impression we want to make and how we come across to others. The clothes on our backs do more than keep us warm.
Style is an immediate expression of our personality and self-confidence, even when we don’t realise it. If you’re flaunting an oversized faded t-shirt and baggy jeans, it comes of no surprise that you’re giving your personality a bad rep before you’ve even opened your mouth. Compare that to wearing a crisp, well-fitting t-shirt and slim cut jeans. There’s not much between the two outfits in terms of the clothes you’re wearing, but the latter is more likely to make you look put together. We know which one we’d choose.
Make it mature stylish
One of the pitfalls of men’s style is trying to look youthful. If you want to learn how to look more sophisticated as a man, aim to look mature. That does not mean dressing like your dad. Put the cringey golf jumpers back in the box. A style that’s mature, demonstrates that you are an adult and have left your teenage trials and experiments where they belong –– in the past with questionable haircuts and personal hygiene.
This does not mean resigning yourself to a life of norm-core high street dressing. But it might be time to part ways with some of the pieces you’ve had since you first reached adulthood. Graphic t-shirts and band tops that have seen better days should be the first things to put to bed. Ill-fitting baggy or ripped jeans should be fast behind them. Followed by super skinny, muscle tees and hoodies.
Keep it simple
Establishing a sophisticated wardrobe shouldn’t be difficult. You don’t need a walk-in-wardrobe worth of clothes or to be blindly following each fleeting fashion trend. All it takes is building up a small wardrobe of reliable pieces that suit you.
Work out what shapes, styles and colours work for you. These should form a capsule collection providing the foundations of your wardrobe. This will help you create a timeless wardrobe that can outlive any seasonal trend, even if you don’t have all the pieces at once. After all, fashion is fleeting, while style lasts forever. If you’re ever in doubt, you can’t go wrong with navy.
Tailors are a man’s best friend
You may think that you don’t need a tailor. But you couldn’t be more wrong. Think of it like hiring a personal trainer. While you could workout without the guidance and expertise of a personal trainer and get on just fine, it may take a bit of trial and error to learn how to get the most out of your workout by yourself. Hiring a personal trainer from the outset means that you can guarantee that each workout is effective at targeting exactly what you want.
Many of us have become complacent in our clothing standards, blindly accepting standardised off-the-rack clothing that rarely perfectly fits anyone. By hiring and developing a long-term rapport with an experienced tailor, you can get so much more out of your clothing. Whether it's a simple white T-shirt or your go-to suit, a tailor can help you achieve the perfect fit with each and every item of clothing. Show off your best assets, conceal any areas you feel less confident about, extend the lifespan of your favourite items through vital repairs. Through after-purchase alterations, you can have a truly individual wardrobe that shows you in the best light every single time.
Good shoes, good glasses, good haircut; embrace the right accessories
Using accessories is not something that should be limited to just women’s fashion. By investing in a panoply of classy accessories you can make five outfits into twenty through a few small additions. A well-made, sophisticated watch is both a status symbol and timeless wardrobe accessory for the smartly dressed man. You only need one. Glasses that suit your face shape and personal style can be an easy way to smarten any outfit (but take somebody with you whose opinion you trust, buying glasses is one of the hardest things to do on your own). Premium made belts are a must in looking more sophisticated –– opt for at least two colours (black, blues and browns are reliable options). Then there are the endless options of bags, scarfs, hats and various other accessories. Go for timeless styles that are well-made and complement your already existing wardrobe.
Owning a whole collection of enviable accessories is a great start but make sure you don’t overkill it. The secret to mastering the art of accessorising is to learn how to incorporate them skillfully into your outfits. There are some simple rules that can help you learn this art form. A good place to start is by matching your belt with your shoes. This is a subtle way to create coordinated, put-together outfits. But be cautious of matching them too closely, otherwise, you could come across as too try-hard. To prevent this, ensure that your belt and shoes are the same colour, but adjust the shade slightly.
Rings and other types of jewellery should be approached with caution. Start small, with one or two pieces, then slowly add more over time. It can be easy to get carried away with all things shiny, then before you know it you’ll look like the wannabe extra on the set of Sons of Anarchy, Johnny Depp or if you really overdo it … Game of Thrones.
Looking after your clothes
Scruffiness rarely translates into a sophisticated style, unless of course you’re Keith Richards and you’ve already written your own style rulebook. If you do want to look smarter, it doesn’t take a wardrobe re-vamp, often it just takes a little more time looking after the clothes that you already own. Caring for your clothes, can be as important as the style. By taking pride in your appearance, being groomed and considered, you’ll exude a level of confidence and sophistication by default, whether that's city gent, boho shaman or as the DJ resident in Ibiza.
Invest in quality
From here on out, your new clothing maxim should be ‘buy better, buy less’. When you need to replace items in your wardrobe, invest in key pieces that will last. Men's clothing tends to lack diversity in styles, so by concentrating on the quality of the fabric, the yarn and cut of your clothes you can make you stand out from the crowd. It’s always better to buy one good piece of clothing than five bad ones.
‘Enjoy clothes and enjoy the experience of buying them. It shouldn’t be a chore. Find a store with personal services and sales staff with an opnion that you’d trust. Clothes have a transformative power, that can enhance your looks, well-being and credibility.’ –– Julian Turner, Co-founder of Archie Foal
Start building up a basic wardrobe of high-quality staple pieces over time. Find the perfect pair of jeans that suit you, and ensure that the back pocket sits on your backside, not the back of your knees. Baggy jeans are not a good look on anyone, let alone grown adults. Opt for slimmer cuts as opposed to skinny styles, particularly if you are over 40.
Other items like a well-cut suit in navy or grey, fitted, crisp white shirts, premium cashmere and merino wool sweaters in colours that complement your skin tones are all solid investment pieces. If you’re ever in doubt, opt for a suit and tie. Every man always looks better in a suit and tie. Or one of our jumpers, in fact.