Good style is intentional –
And it can take effort.
But dressing yourself stylishly shouldn't take hours.
If you cover the essentials…
it's easy to be stylish –
Even if you're busy.
Let's face it: unless style is their field of expertise, most successful men don't get where they are by slaving over their appearance. They have more important things to invest their time into.
So do you.
That said, it's worth learning how to make it easy to present a successful image of yourself.
In other words, get your personal style down to a science.
Here are my top ten tips for becoming effortlessly stylish:
#1. Fit is King
Fit will make or break your outfit and your wardrobe. A perfect fit makes even a plain outfit look incredibly stylish. A bad fit makes even a thousand-dollar suit look like a little boy's dress-up clothes.
It's important to be realistic about fit. Buy – and have your tailor adjust – for the body you have right now, not the body you plan to achieve in the next few months. When you lose that weight or gain that muscle, you can get items readjusted or buy some new ones – but you owe it to yourself to look good in the meantime.
#2. Wear Jewelry With Confidence
Many men are hesitant to wear jewelry because they're worried it looks too fussy or too feminine. That means that a guy who knows how to pull jewelry off is certain to stand out from the crowd.
Shop jewelry designed to go with a man's wardrobe and try a few pieces out. A simple pendant or bracelet can become the touch that elevates an otherwise low-key outfit.
#3. Level Up Your Base Wardrobe
Take a look at what pieces you wear most often. Could they use an upgrade? If, for example, your go-to piece is a pair of patterned cargo shorts, consider swapping them out for a more grown-up option – solid khaki shorts without cargo pockets.
You can apply this principle to any item in your wardrobe. If you're always in a hoodie, try a blazer … or both?. If you wear a plain polo to work every day, try a nice button-down or add a few accessories. Whatever you reach for out of habit, push to be one step better. You'll be amazed at the difference it makes.
Try to buy clothes that all go with each other. If you focus on building a collection of, say, three pairs of shoes, three shirts, three pairs of trousers, and three jackets that will mix and match easily, you can get dozens of outfits out of just a few items.
If you have perfect interchangeability between the twelve items I named above, you have eighty-one possible outfits you can wear – and when you get dressed in the morning, you basically can't go wrong as long as you're choosing from the pool.
#5. Signature Pieces
When a man finds a single style item that really works for him and wears it over and over, it becomes his trademark (think of Jack Nicholson and his Wayfarer sunglasses). This can be an accessory, like a watch or a hat, or a versatile item of clothing, like my sport jackets.
What we don't think about when we see celebrities rocking a look that's become indelibly associated with them is that having a trademark makes things incredibly easy. If you have a single go-to item, you don't think about how you're going to accessorize or complete your outfit – and that becomes part of your mystique.
#6. Upgrade Your Footwear
Trade in your sneakers for a pair of dress boots, or your flip-flops or sandals for a perforated leather shoe. Think about your needs and the shoes you usually wear and then start wearing the classiest and highest-quality version of that. Shoes are the one accessory you pretty much can't leave the house without, so trading them up can have a huge impact on your day-to-day style.
#7. Have A Personal Uniform
Taking signature pieces one step further, have a basic idea of what you're going to wear each day – a broad template like “dark jeans and an oxford shirt” or “khakis, a dress shirt and a sport coat”. This can save you a massive amount of time and virtually eliminate wardrobe decision fatigue from your life.
When you find a certain item that really works for you, look for variations on that theme. I love navy shirts – I own a number of shirts all the same color and general style but with different materials and details. Since I already know that navy shirts basically always work well for me, there's no guesswork with any of them.
#8. Own Less But Better
Allocate your wardrobe budget wisely. Choose the best you can afford of basic items that you'll get a lot of mileage out of. Sure, you could have ten styles of shoes to choose from and a rainbow of shirts in your closet, but if all of them wear out after a few years, you're left with nothing presentable to put on.
A few dependable pieces that are versatile and well-made will serve you much better. Go with quality over quantity.
#9. Only Hold Onto Items You Love
The corollary to the above: if you don't love it, don't buy it. You could own the best-made jacket on the planet, customized to your exact measurements – but if you just don't feel it, you either won't wear it or you'll wear it and you won't vibe with it.
Part of buying for quality is buying what makes you really like the way you look. Don't compromise.
#10. Routine Maintenance
My final tip for effortless style is to automate your regular maintenance. What do I mean by that? Shine your shoes at the same time every week so they're always ready when you need them. Iron things that need ironing straight out of the wash. Schedule a standing appointment with your barber.
If you're not prepared, then you'll dash out the door looking less-than-stylish the first time you don't have an hour to get the details of your look right. But if you integrate style maintenance into your regular schedule, you can become the guy who just seems to magically always look good. And trust me, you want to be that guy.