Transitions are tough.
High school to college.
Moving to a bigger city and living a new lifestyle.
Getting a better paying job that requires changes to your wardrobe.
A big part of these transitions is updating your style.
Dressing better makes you feel more confident.
You stand out to your professors and your peers at college.
At work, your boss considers your opinions more seriously and your colleagues treat you with respect.
But you are hesitant because you don’t want to deal with sudden, drastic changes in style that could make you uncomfortable in front of your friends.
And yet you want to impress the new people you meet.
The change doesn't have to be drastic. A few simple changes to improve your appearance.
Start with these 7 style upgrades to make this transition an overwhelmingly positive experience.
#1 Upgrade Key Pieces In Your Wardrobe
Wearing a suit every day could be overkill for you.
Develop a smart business casual look with a few key pieces. Your task is to upgrade, not to replace.
Select versatile and timeless pieces of clothing at a slightly higher standard of dress than the ones you’re currently wearing. Stick to classic clothing staples for the core of your wardrobe and avoid anything that’s far too cutting edge.
Start your wardrobe transition with the addition of a few pieces of clothing that are versatile and timeless.
- Navy Blazer: A well-fitting blazer has the ability to elevate a basic t-shirt and jeans combination to a much more stylish level. As a bonus, a blazer with its silhouette-enhancing effect creates an illusion of broad shoulders and a trim waist.
- White Shirt:The white shirt is the ultimate menswear staple. Subtly flip the script on this essential clothing item by using a spread collar white oxford shirt instead of a casual button-down.
- Gray Trousers: A versatile color like gray compliments just about everything in your wardrobe. It is easy to maintain and can be dressed up for a formal occasion or worn more casually with loafers or chinos with a V-neck top and a sweater.
#2 Replace Hoodie With Sweater
Hoodies began as an athletic clothing item. They are generally paired with sweatpants. The oversized nature of this top makes them appear very casual.
Swap your bulky hoodie for a smart sweater (or cardigan). Sweaters aren’t just for your granddad anymore. Well-textured, simple knitwear maintains a mode of classiness without sacrificing the comfort of wearing a hoodie.
Choose one in a thin fabric that is cut tighter to the body than the standard senior citizen model. A high neck or a shawl collar ensures you don't look like you escaped from a retirement home.
Sweaters are also a great option for layering in the cold months.
#3 Old Crew Neck Graphic T-shirt To Sharp V-neck
Graphic prints are distracting and loud. And they tend to exude a casual vibe.
Update to a plain t-shirt with a V-neck for the following reasons:
- These are more easily paired as a layer under jackets and sweaters.
- The natural shape of a V-neck t-shirt does a great job of framing and bringing attention back to your face.
- A V-neck tee shows off a little bit of your chest (which is a good thing if you've been hitting the weights regularly).
Steer clear of a deep V-neck and opt instead for a cut that does not show too much chest hair.
#4 Upgrade Your Watch
Accessories are the small details in your outfit that have a large impact on your appearance. Sometimes, the smaller details are the easiest way to improve your look.
Accessories double as icebreakers and story-makers. Sunglasses, cuff links and a statement piece of jewelry can enhance your style. But the first accessory you need to own is a quality watch with a leather or steel band.
Consider your daily outfits before selecting a watch. If you prefer lighter-colored clothing, like denim, white shirts and beige chinos – then go for a brown or gold watch. The less intense color compliments your look without creating a stark contrast.
Prefer darker tones in your clothing? A black or silver watch keeps your outfits neutral. The cool finish of silver goes great with darker colors and adds a subtle contrast to the overall look.
#5 Replace Running Shoes With Leather Sneakers
Leather sneakers can elevate your outfit – even when worn with jeans. A smart pair of sneakers can offer a casual look but with a little confidence can also be worn with a suit.
Pick a pair in a solid color like black. In busy outfits with colorful and patterned clothes, they serve a contrasting role. In monochrome outfits, the sneakers add to the minimalism.
Along with the sneaker upgrade, add a touch of elegance to your footwear by pairing them with dark-colored socks. They are easier to match and easy on the laundry. Save your white tubesocks for the gym.
Bonus Style Upgrade #1 – Loose Distressed Denim to Well Fitted Dark Denim
Nothing screams I don't care like lounging around in far too relaxed denim.
Make it your aim to find a pair of well-fitted pair of jeans. Slim-fit or straight leg often do the job, but remember to try them on before purchasing. The main goal is to get a pair that fits your current body shape (not the future jockey version you're striving for).
You should be able to walk up a flight of stairs Good jeans shouldn’t be baggy enough to allow you to run comfortably in them, nor so snug that they impede your ability to walk up a flight of stairs with ease.
A darker pair of denim is more versatile and smarter than a pair in a lighter color. Indigo denim is an always acceptable staple.
Bonus Style Upgrade #2 – Get The Perfect Clothes Fit
Finally, the simplest upgrade you can make to improve your appearance is to wear clothes that fit you.
How well a piece of clothing fits is by far the most important factor to consider. A few minor adjustments to your clothes will ensure compliments on your newly improved sense of style.
A simple slacks-and-polo (or even jeans-and-T-shirt) outfit looks infinitely better if the trousers are well fitted in the groin area (vs hanging too low and shortening your leg line), if your pants are hemmed at the proper length forming a slight break at the cuff, and your shirt lies flat on the body and the sleeves encircle the arms without hanging loose or pinching.
- Have your clothes adjusted by a tailor. For anywhere from $10 to $150, a tailor can ensure that your clothes fit you right. A small price to pay for a big impact. Whether you need to adjust the length of your trousers, the sleeves on your shirt, or the waist on your formal blazer, a good tailor can save you money in the long run, while ensuring that your clothes look more stylish.
- When shopping, buy clothing that actually fits you. Avoid impulse shopping at sale event. Even if an item is reduced by 60%, don't buy it if it doesn't fit you.
- Donate old, baggy clothing to charity. Don't leave them in your closet to take up valuable space. You are likely to end up wearing them some day when you are rushed and feel too lazy to do the laundry.
Being a stylish man does not require tremendous effort. A few simple upgrades will help you make the transition from your current state to a more stylish version of you.
Expect a few jabs from your friends when you improve your dressing.
Laugh it off or join in the joke and poke fun at yourself. Eventually, your friends will realize the benefits your new improved style provides you and the joke will no longer be on you.