How can you stand out from the crowd and make a good first impression without saying a word?
The answer isn't wearing a suit everywhere like Barney Stinson. What you need to do is use attention to detail to subtly stand out as a cut above the men around you.
Start by understanding the dress code and then take it up one notch. Some places like bars might not seem to have casual or formal dress codes but they do. After all, would you walk into one naked?
Let's see how you can level-up each part of an outfit for casual and formal settings, from shirts and belts to tailoring.
Stand Out From The Crowd #1 The Shirt
First up, what kind of shirt are you going to be wearing? Hit these points and you're off to a flying start:
- Wear a collared shirt
- Choose an interesting pattern
- Think about your shirt's weave
- Tuck your shirt in
If everyone else is wearing a t-shirt, just wearing a casual collared shirt will instantly set you apart without looking out of place. For less formal occasions, go for a button-down collar and for more formal events opt for a starched collar, maybe one which requires metal stays (sometimes called stiffeners).
One of the largest parts of your outfit will be your shirt so going for an interesting pattern is an easy way to draw eyes toward you and keep people interested. For casual meet-ups, go for tartan or paisley patterns.
More formal occasions might mean showing more restraint but subtle patterns like gingham are still an option.
Also consider the weave of your shirt as a way of adding some interest. This is a great way of separating yourself from the crowd in very formal environments.
Even with a solid-colored white shirt, a visible houndstooth or herringbone weave add visual interest without stepping outside the bounds of what is acceptable.
Last but not least, tuck your shirt in! Easy, right? But many men forget to do it. Tucking your shirt takes seconds and will instantly elevate you above other men who arrive at events looking like they've just been woken up by a fire alarm.
Don't let this be you.
Stand Out From The Crowd #2 The Trousers
Shake things up by wearing trousers from one of these materials: corduroy, flannel, tweed, slub denim. What do they all have in common? Texture. The makeup of these materials gives them a more three-dimensional look. This makes them more interesting to look at and feel.
What makes these materials work? Let's take slub denim as an example for taking a casual outfit up a notch. The ‘slub' in the name means the cotton strands which make up this material vary in thickness.
This means the fabric does not appear plain and uniform with small ups and downs giving it an interesting look and texture which instantly sets you apart from someone wearing a standard pair of Levi's…
Stand Out From The Crowd #3 The Shoes
What's on your feet is potentially the first part of you someone will look at so it's important to make a good first impression. It doesn't have to be a pair of blue suede shoes, just an extra element of detail to take you one notch above the rest.
If you're having a barbeque and most of your friends wear sneakers, try a pair of heritage work boots. To take it up another level, go for a pair of semi brogue shoes on them or a top grain texture.
Another easy step many men forget: polish. How often do you polish your shoes? To make sure your shoes get you that good first impression and also preserve the investment you made in them, polish them at least once a week.
If you know you are going to an event or meet-up give them a polish the night before. Polishing is a great way to keep smart dress shoes looking smart but also a subtle way of dressing up more casual boots.
Stand Out From The Crowd #4 The Accessories
There are three essential accessories for leveling-up how you look:
- Glasses (if you wear them, like 75% of Americans)
- A quality watch
- A micro-adjustable belt
Everyone knows glasses add an intelligent look. But, did you know the symmetry they add to your face makes you better-looking because the human eye is drawn to it? Choose a pair of stylish men's frames that work for your face and wear them with confidence!
Apart from wedding rings, men don't have a lot of opportunities to wear jewelry which elevates their look. Watches are the exception and make great conversation starters for those in the know.
There are lots of interesting men's watches out there so you don't need to go to a watch event to justify wearing one. A good-looking watch is a detail anyone looking at you will take in subconsciously. At the very least, they know you are someone who arrives on time!
Stand Out From The Crowd #5 The Fit
So, you've got a shirt with an interesting pattern, color or weave. Plus, your trousers have a three-dimensional texture to them. Are you done? No, the final step is getting to know your local tailor.
Think about it, why is it actors' clothes always fit them perfectly? Are they better than you at picking shirts off the rack? No, everything they wear in a film is tailored to their unique body.
Even small adjustments will make a shirt noticeably fit you better and unless you're hitting up Saville Row it is often cheaper than you might think.
In summary, taking each part of an outfit up a notch will make the overall look more polished and attractive to others. Follow these steps and you will stand out regardless of whether you are meeting your friends for drinks or attending a professional networking event.