How To Dress Sharp | 9 Tips For Young Men

9 Tips For Young MenToo many young men are starting their professional lives without a clue as to how to dress.

This needs to change; young men are the future leaders of society and dressing professionally is the first step towards becoming professional.

And although clothing does not make the man – the right clothing can give him precious seconds to make his case and influence others.

It’s important to note that it is worth paying some attention to your clothing as a young man even if you’re working in a field without strict dress codes. Crisp, clean, and well fitted clothing – wherever you are at in the world – encourages others to take you more seriously.

Below are 9 Tips for Dressing sharp as a young man.

Tip #1 for Sharp-Dressed Young Men: Dress Your Footwear Up

Starting from the ground up, appropriate-fitting footwear is the first step to dressing sharp. A traditional school of thought that’s still alive and well claims you can judge a man by his shoes. If you’ve never owned really good shoes before, brace yourself and get ready to pay a significant amount of money for well-made, classic footwear. You may be shocked at the sticker price for well-crafted shoes, but the quality and comfort pay dividends down the road. A good pair of dress shoes will last you years and stay good-looking with nothing more than some light cleaning and the occasional shine. Quality leather footwear isn’t a luxury for the excessively rich — it’s a necessity for any man.

Classic footwear is just as important as classic clothing

Tip #2 for Sharp-Dressed Young Men: Dress to Look Older

The way you dress is the way you are perceived. If you’re still wearing clothes that scream “student days” you’re going to be treated like a boy with no experience in the real world. Buck the trend, age your look a little, and get the respect you deserve from older men. That means raiding your wardrobe and getting rid of the majority of your ultra-casual clothes: T-shirts, cargo pants, jean shorts, sweatshirts and sweatpants, baseball hats, and athletics. Save a few for yardwork and exercise — but donate the rest of it to charity and start replacing it with dressier clothes that speak to your maturity.

Mark Zuckerberg’s not hurting for cash, but it’s still hard to see him as a grown-up in jeans and performance fleece.

Tip #3 for Sharp-Dressed Young Men: Ignore Fashion Trends.

Main-stream fashion trends change too fast to make useful wardrobe staples. Most young men don’t have the budget to buy new pants every month or two — so stay away from pants that are only presentable during an “in” season. Distressed or bleached jeans are a great example; several different designer labels briefly managed to sell the image on the public, and then the fad changed and left a lot of people with very expensive jeans too beat-up to wear in public. Stick to classic clothing staples for the core of your wardobe and avoid anything that’s too far out on the cutting edge — even if you see something that makes it look good.

Models get paid to make goofy clothes seem reasonable. Don’t fall for it.

Tip #4 for Sharp-Dressed Young Men: Take Care of Your Clothing.

Generally speaking, being young means having less money to throw around. That means making your investments last. If you’ve shelled out for a few pieces of good, quality clothing — a custom suit, a pair of expensive dress shoes, what have you — it’s worth a few bucks more to keep the clothes in good shape. That means using good hangers for your suits, shoe trees for your shoes, and a little tender loving care with the washing machine.

A good hanger is way cheaper than a new suit. Spring for it.

 

Some of your clothes can come from thrift shops, if you’re lucky enough to have a reasonably common body type and some well-to-do neighborhoods nearby. A few adjustments from a tailor can turn a five dollar thrift-store suit into your dress wardrobe staple. Just take care of it and protect your bigger investments with some proper maintenance!

Tip #5 for Sharp-Dressed Young Men: Have at Least One Good Suit in the Closet

SuitNo matter what your job is, you’re going to need a decent suit at some point. If you’re in a field where you’re going to wear one regularly you should look for a variety of colors and styles; if you just need a single suit for infrequent dress occasions stick with a classic single-breasted, two-button suit in charcoal gray or navy blue.

If you’re buying off the rack take the time to have the suit adjusted. A few department stores still offer the service, but you’ll more than likely need to find a tailor independently. It’s worth the effort — sized suits are made to general measurements, and not all of them are going to be a perfect fit for you. A good tailor can make the small changes that take your suit from looking mediocre to perfect for you.

Tip #6 for Sharp-Dressed Young Men: Build from White and Blue Shirts

Men's dress shirtWhite and light blue cotton dress shirts are the backbone to a sharp wardrobe. Much of this lies in the fact both of these colors make up approximately 90% of the dress shirts sold worldwide and that either color looks good on most complexions and body types. Being so popular, these shirt fabrics are also available in a wide range of style and sizes anywhere int he world, making acquisition at a value price likely for the man on the lookout for sales and discounts.

Patterns can liven up the basic white and blue color palette, and there’s nothing wrong with branching out into some other colors as your personal style evolves. Just have a good core of white and blue dress shirts. As long as you have one clean and hanging up in the closet, you’ll never be completely out of decent-looking things to wear.

 

Tip #7 for Sharp-Dressed Young Men: Have Some Dark, Fitted Jeans — and Know When to Wear Them

JeansJean styles are always changing: rips, tears, acid and bleach washing, distressed, stone washed, boot cut, wide leg, low rise, skinny; baggy. Keep it simple with and stick to fitted jeans in a dark color, sans fading or rips. You can wear them with a fitted T-shirt for a relaxed, casual look or dress them up with a buttoned shirt and a sport coat for a business-casual style.

 

Tip #8 for Sharp-Dressed Men: Look beyond Denim

Slacks Well cut and classically styled trousers will make you look a little sharper at social occasions than jeans. They’re less common in a young crowd, so you’ll already be standing out, and a good pair of slacks has a drape and crease that looks much crisper than denim. You can also get wool or cotton trousers much lighter than blue jeans, which is a blessing in any kind of warm weather.

Tip # 9 for Sharp-Dressed Young Men: Replace T-shirts with Polos and Sport Shirts

Wearing T-shirts to the gym or when you are performing house chores is fine. But wearing T-shirts to social events or to work is a no-no, especially when the shirt is too big and made from a shoddy fabric advertising the company who gave it to you a decade ago. A good polo in a simple, dark color is always presentable and always flattering if it’s fitted well. You can also opt for buttoned short-sleeved shirts in the summer, ranging from Carhartt work shirts to seersucker dress shirts. If you do wear a T-shirt, make sure it’s new, clean, close-fitted and in a solid, dark color.

Like the list? Got a tip of your own for young men? If so, leave a comment in the comment box below and help strengthen the community of sharply-dressed men!

RAW Transcript

How to Dress Sharp_ 9 Tips for Young Men

[0:00:00]
Hi. I’m Antonio Centeno, the founder of Real Men Real Style. And today, I’m going to be talking about nine style tips for young men. All right. If you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel. We’ve got a lot of great videos out there on men’s style. In addition, if you want to read the article, the link should be right below this video. So, without further ado, let me jump in. Okay. What is the first style tip for the young man?

One: he needs to pay attention to his footwear. So many young men, we get away with wearing running shoes all the time. And occasionally, we have to wear a suit, and we wear a dress shoes. But between the running shoes and dress shoes, we have no idea. You need to learn more about good-looking, casual footwear. Put the running shoes to the side. And unless you’re running, put them off. And sandals do not count.

Sandals should be over here, when you go to the beach. Look for, you know, casual leather shoes that look good. You know, start off, you know, go ahead and go for a rubber sole. But, you want something that’s leather, that looks great with a pair of jeans and it’s going to be immediately noticed. So, go out there. You’re going to spend probably at least a $100. But, update your casual footwear. Okay.

Number two: dress like a man not like a boy. What’s the difference? Okay. Boys wear T-shirts all the time. They don’t pay attention to how they look. They just look sloppy. They don’t tuck in their shirts. They wear running shoes with jeans. I mean, that’s how boys in college dress. Men understand that people are making first impressions every time they meet and that they need to present themselves professionally. Men throw on a sports jacket. Men wear colored shirts. Men pay attention to how they look. So, start to dress like a man.

Number three: ignore fashion. You can’t afford it. Okay. So, fashion-what’s in free fashion and style? I’ve talked about it in other videos. But fashion is fleeting. It moves all over the place. You can’t catch it. I mean, even these female style icons or, you know, divas, they can barely stay on top of this stuff. So, as men that really don’t pay much attention to this-and believe me, I don’t actually pay that much attention in fashion.

Style is great because you can look at your grandfather and you can see what worked for him. And in fact, look at some pictures of your grandfather. And you’ll notice that he could actually come to the year 2011, walk around and actually his suit and everything unique, you wouldn’t actually look half bad. And in fact, you would be able to fit in. They’re called the iron wearing [0:02:36] [Phonetics].

I could wear this 15 years from now and I’m still going to fit in. I’m still going to look good. This is style. Fashion, it doesn’t look good a year from now. So, those Crocs-yeah, that was fashion. Okay.

Number four: take care of your clothing. Okay. So, if no one has explained this to you, clothing is made from different fiber types. And you have to treat it and you have to care for it differently. A suit jacket, you can never throw in a washing machine. That wool sweater, you cannot throw it in the washing machine. You have to carefully wash wools. Now, cottons, totally different story. You can be much more rougher with cottons.

But then, there are, you know, garments which are a mixture and you’ve got to be very careful. Learn to read the tag. Pay attention to the tag. And unless you have someone there with experience, be very careful about washing your higher-end garments. You know, your best bet is going to try to keep everything you own cotton up until your dress clothing. All right.

Number five: you need to own one suit. Charcoal gray is probably going to be the safest fabric for you-a solid charcoal gray suit. Keep this style classic and-but you have to have the suit. And don’t think that you’re going to get a suit when you need one. Because when you need one, you‘re going to have to like [0:03:59] [Phonetics] 24 hours. And you don’t want to spend that time, you know, when all your buddies are out having a great time at the…at the bachelor party.

You’re out, you know, trying to track down a suit and sweating about it. Or, if it’s a big interview, you don’t want to be spending your time looking for a suit when you could be preparing for the interview. Every man, whether he be a mechanic, whether he be a janitor, whether he be a banker, he needs to have one complete, great-looking suit that fits in properly. Okay.

Number six: shirts. Start off with whites and blues. Your first five shirts-three whites, two blues. Not too dark of a blue because that makes it a bit casual to two light blues, three whites-make sure they fit your properly. Focus on the fit. Make sure they fit you in the collar, they fit you in the cuffs, have them darted in the body to remove some of that fabric. And the great thing is that those shirts will be interchangeable with that charcoal gray suit.

[0:05:00]
You’re going to have five outfits. So that’s what you want. After you have those five basic shirts, then you can expand off into other colors and try to experiment.

Number seven: need a dark pair of fitted jeans. Now, these are not distressed jeans. These are not jeans that are stone-washed. Dark-colored-they almost look like, you know, very dark indigo or black. And what you’re looking for here is something that you could wear with one of the shirts. Gives you a bit more of a casual look. So, we’re starting to build an interchangeable wardrobe.

Number eight: expand beyond denim. So, notice I said only, you know, have one pair of darks. You can have two pairs of darks. You can have three pairs of darks. But, no matter how many pairs of dark jeans you have, you need to have something else besides jeans, you know, when it comes to trousers or pants. So, look to incorporate khakis. Wool flannel trousers are great.

They’re not this, you know, so wool flannel trousers, they’re not the same as suit trousers. They’re something different. Khakis have various styles. Look to have something else besides denim. All right.

Number nine: don’t always wear a t-shirt. Look to wear a shirt with a collar. If you’re wearing t-shirts six to seven days out of the week, we have a problem. Incorporate polo shirts. Take out some sport, you know, some dress shirts or there are some work shirts or sports shirts, something with a collar. That’s what you want. That’s how a man dresses. I mean, a collared shirt just looks so much better. And pay attention to the fit. Okay.

Those are my nine quick tips for the young man. If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel right above here. If you want to learn more, check out the article and check out our website, Real Me Real Style. There’s a lot of great information out there for young men, for older men, for medium-age men. [Laughs] Hope you enjoy it. Take care. Bye-bye.

[0:07:04] End of Audio

  • http://www.MensStylePro.com Sabir M. Peele

    Hi Guys,

    I wanted to add in regards to trends, it is okay to follow trends because at some point in many of today’s staples were at once “trends” in menswear. Be conscious of what trends are suitable to pull details from to add to your wardrobe at your on discretion.

    Best,

    Sabir
    http://www.MensStylePro.com

  • Mark

    Hi Antonio

    What are some appropriate brand names for shoes to look for?

    Mark

  • http://twitter.com/ATailoredSuit Antonio Centeno

    Mark,

    I’m hesitant to suggest brand names as quality standards seem to migrate south over time – but if you’re looking at dress shoes Alden, Allen Edmonds, Church footwear, Cheaney are all good options.

  • http://twitter.com/ATailoredSuit Antonio Centeno

    Sabir,

    I see where you are coming from, but I feel a man has to have a solid foundation in the classics before he buys into a trend.  Otherwise he’s spending money on an item that may be out of trend in a year.  

    Of course it could become a classic – but it’s also likely to go to the back of the closet and then goodwill.  You have a great blog though Sabir – so any man thinking of going with a trend would be wise to check with you:)

    R/S

    Antonio

  • http://twitter.com/BenRobinson_ Ben Robinson

    Antonio,

    Thank you for this post.

    As a 23 year old, I really enjoy dressing sharp and classic, even though my profession (Photographer) traditionally gets away with a more casual approach. 

    I’m very close to purchasing my first pair of Alden’s, your post on Demystifying Dress Dress was so helpful and gave me the right information.

    Thanks again!

    Ben.

    Australia.

  • Adrian

    Hey guys,

    I’m 19 and I want to look like I’m 23. I’m still in college so I don’t want to tuck in my shirts but I still want to look sharp.
    Do you have any tips for me?

    Adrian

  • themodernchap

    Here’s a tip: tuck your shirts in. I finish university in a few months and I’ve been dressing like a man for about 9 months, it makes a huge difference to the way people perceive you, and its a positive one.

  • Brooks_gorden

    Antonio,

     i heard you say in one of your other videos that you were from the Midwest. i think it was that. anyway. i am from the south and i dress like a cowboy. is there a way that i can pull this off while still dressing “well”?

  • MattAu1

    I’m in high school, but recently received a plethora of my uncle’s hand-me-downs. These hand-me-downs were my entrance into the world of men’s clothing and style. These clothes were J.Crew, Banana Republic, Alfani: all names I had never heard before. Since then, I’ve learned about style and looking older than one is. This video really aided my want to look like a man, not a child.
    Thanks!