Jan 13, 20171957 views

Stepping Up My Style... Where to start?

Hello everyone,
A couple of weeks ago I came to the conclusion I need to step up my style. I'm a 25 year old web developer living in Europe and dressing casual every single day. This means, graphic tees, hoodies, zipped hoodies, sneakers, jeans (I do own a pair of Red Wing Iron Rangers, but that's about it).
I feel at this point in my life I want to dress more professional, not like a 18 year old anymore that just graduated college. I've been reading a ton of articles, watching a load of videos etc about Men's Style and I know the direction I want to go in. However, I can't afford to immediately spend € 1000+ on an entire new wardrobe and would like to gradually change my style.
My idea is to start at the feet, and get myself a nice pair of Chelsea boots, followed by all-white sneakers (maybe immediately, maybe a bit later). After that I'd like to invest in a good pair of dark-washed jeans and some well fitting chinos.
I'd love to hear some opinions on this 'game plan'.
- swain
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Pablo Trujillo Morales, ltopper, and 14 others
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Put salt water in your socks, it's cheap, fast and easy.
I'm not sponsoring, but i recommend subscribing to teachingmensfashion on youtube.
Start with the following.
1. Focus on Fit-This took me some time to understand. It will not always be the most comfortable, but you will look good.
2. Shoes-Buy quality shoes. Even if they cost a bit more. They will last longer and look better in use than cheap shoes.
3. Be creative and have fun! Don't be afraid to be different. Everything doesn't have to match or follow the rules of style. Let you eyes and attitude lead you. If it looks good, and you feel good, wear it.
I'm 20 and working on upgrading my wardrobe. Aside from shoes, which I will always buy new, I look on ebay for quality used clothes and thrift. Saves a ton of money for the same look. (30 bucks instead of 400)
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Congratulations. Good job making a plan and having the courage to own it. You have started on a path that only good can come from. Stick with it, take chances, everything can't be a winner, but when you get it right, you will notice results that you will like. When you catch an attractive woman stealing a look at your shoes, or when people look you up and down then give the unconcious nod of approval you'll know you got it right.
Brooks Brothers Advantage Chino Pant are great quality, catch them on sale or better to get a new with tags someone else paid the retail on. I don't have any Chelsea boots, but the Thursday Boot Company boots are so sweet. I have the Cap toe boots ( Captains ) in Black and Brown. Paid retail on Amazon for one pair, got the other on ebay for 50 bucks in like new condition. All white sneakers are on offer from all the sneaker makers. Adidas shell toe's are pretty timeless.
TL;DR 1) Always be fuckable 2) Fit is the single most important attribute 3) Get value for your money pay for quality material and finishing 4) Attention to detail 5) Continue to improve yourself
For your fashion end state, how do you want to present yourself. My answer is to have a put together, clean, appearance with clothes that flatter you. Rule number 1 " Always be fuckable " in your appearance and in the way you carry yourself. Whether you are dressing casual or dressing business. Wear clean clothes with good quality fabrics that smell good with colors that have depth, no stains, no dirt, no snags, Clean shoes, Clean haircut, smell good not overpowering or bad, wear a good looking high quality belt that complements the shoes and a watch that goes with both.
Fit is rule number 2. You need to know your Chest, Neck, Sleeve, Waist, and Inseam measurements so that you can buy clothes that will fit regardless of the manufacturer. You tube videos and instructional web sites for how to measure are good sources for the how to part of taking measurements. I like lots of different fit's from fitted suits to loose fit hoodies and joggers to compression and under armour clothes for workouts. What matters is the fit should flatter your body and be complementary not clashing.
Value is rule number 3. You pay for the name but you should be paying for the quality. You can shop brick and mortar thrift stores, auction web sites like ebay and poshmark for NWT or new with tags clothing that is fractions of MSRP. Find local sources that you can get good value from.
Attention to detail is rule number 4. For example Shoelaces should be high quality not dirty or dingy. Shoes should be dirt free, clean and look good. Women pay attention to your shoes. They make judgements about how you take care of yourself based on how you take care of your shoes. There is no end to attention to details ie; Knot types on neck ties and knot type on shoe laces. Learn shoe cleaning / polishing techniques, colors, mirror shines, edge dressing. If you have good quality shoes, they should last forever. I had some 8 year old Red Wing Engineer Boots re soled for 80 bucks just recently and took them on a camping trip. Awesome. They looked killer.
5. Continue to evolve. Take a selfie in a full body mirror daily so that you can see what works and why over time.
Some of the things I try to do are to read red pill on Reddit. Watch Alpha Male video's on you tube, recently I've been watching Kirby Allison videos on you tube from the hanger project. There is so much to work with I'm still working on learning the color wheel, how to match colors and learn about what is complementary and what is clashing.
Try some different shoes and boots to see what you like. I love Allen Edmond's mens shoes, Thursday Boot Company Boots, Under Armour sneakers, Red Wing Boots, Tim's. Best of luck to you on this journey.
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@rayf I have a lot of stuff that has somebody else's name on it that's mine. People die, stuff lives on. If you are talking about women though, I agree. One good way to catch a shotgun blast to the face is to mess with another mans wife. Thus the military saying. Trust you with my life but not my money. liquor, or wife.
MikeinMaryland
Perhaps you’re confused? We’re only speaking about clothing here, no military, no wives (but perhaps a little liquor...). And just to be clear, the names I'm referring to are the Designer's or the Manufacturer's names. If, on the other hand, your mom still writes your name on your underwear, well, that's something I'm willing to overlook ;- )
Style is how you combine your clothes; and dressing professionaly is a mode for fitting into an environment. They're separate (but not mutually exclusive) things.
For example: I like to wear wingtips/brogues with jeans. That's a style choice, but doesn't make me look more professional.
If I stick with the wingtips/brogues and switch my jeans for a pair of dress pants, I might look more professional but probably less stylish. The combination is moving more towards expected behaviour.
Now, I like the look of a plain white dress shirt with jeans too. Matched with brogues, it's definitely a style choice in the part of the world where I live- most others are in tevas, fleece, and rockclimbing pants.
If I switch the jeans out for the dress pants now, it looks terrible- as though I'm a half-dressed businessman!
It's important that you like the clothes you wear, and that you feel *good* when you wear them. Start by changing one element. It sounds as though this will be your shoes. Wear them with your current clothes, get comfortable with them. Then go shopping, and find something that you think goes really well with item#1. Could be trousers, might be a belt, or even something as (formerly) mundane as socks.
Once you've gotten to the point where you're matching your underwear to your outfit, I think you can officially recognize a change in the way you're dressing :)
Hope this helps,
Y_nU
You don't need to suddenly dress up. Start with less rather than more - this applies to anything. I would suggest "muting" your wardrobe first (basic, versatile clothing). Also never buy things on impulse.
I think having some idea of what you like definitely helps. For me, I like a mix of style and practicality. I don't like babying clothes, I want clothes that I can wear every day and not worry about that also happen to look good. Good basics for this philosophy are chinos and oxford shirts. Nice and easy to wear, machine washable, and you look sharp.
Another tip I'd say is to spend a little more time and effort into shopping. I know that might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I find it truly beneficial to get it right. For me that means when I'm looking at something to buy, I try to think of at least 3 other outfits I already have that it can go with. If you keep doing this, eventually everything you have goes together and getting dressed in the morning becomes effortless. Then finally, spend time in nailing the fit. You can spend thousands on a suit, but if it doesn't fit you well, it's no different from an off the rack suit you can get in a mall.
Stick with the classics. A black and a brown leather jacket. Belts , shoes, and boots that match the leather jackets. Clarks desert boot bees wax. Match socks to shoe or pant. Flat front slim chinos. Raw selvidge denim. A nice watch. Nice wallet. Some nice buuton down shirts, but not to many prints. Plaid is over done. I also wouldn't go too bright in colors, except for a nice royal blue. Some corduroy is nice. Keep it simple. There's alot of fasion advice on you-tube.
Whatever you do don't go for a generic look or blindly follow style forum group think.
Build a wardrobe that has garments appropriate for what you need to do.
Your Jeans ....Tees and hoodies are versatile and comfortable and grayman.
I'm old and never wear pants. Heck. I just bought my first pair of denim on MassDrop. I don't even own a single dress shoe. Matter of fact, I'm typically barefoot. I wear a T and shorts to interviews. My beard is never shaved. My hair is a middle of the road Mohawk. And I don't care. Because when I show up, people smile or laugh. And that's good enough for me. Its worked this long.
Do you dude. If you think you need a change in attire. Do it. Try stuff. I am. Can't wait to own denim that I'll probably end up never wearing. :D that's the point. Have fun. Be easy. Good luck.
I would recommend not buying a ton of stuff immediately. Gradualism is huge when it comes to clothes. When I was younger I bought a lot of stuff I ended up never wearing. Still, that's part of the learning process.
I would view it as an experiment where you're constantly trying small new things and analyzing the result.
That said, you're talking about "investing" in dark jeans like, several steps down the road . . I think if you're wearing a t-shirt and jeans every day you can move faster than that.
Personally I don't like Chelsea boots but to each his own. I recommend upgrading from a t-shirt first . . . t-shirts are really underwear. That's how they began.
I recommend getting a collared shirt. The most versatile thing I own is a blue oxford button-down. I have three of them, actually, and wear them out and replace them all the time. You can wear it with jeans, with chinos, with sneakers, with nicer shoes, etc. You can roll up the sleeves in hot weather. You can put a sweater over it in cold weather. It's an all-season item. J. Crew's slim regular-weight oxford is great.
I don't really recommend getting a blazer unless one is appropriate at your workplace. I think blazer says "try-hard," unfortunately. There's just not a lot of call for it in everyday life. There are probably people making it work. You should probably work your way up to that though.
So I say start there and you can still wear your jeans and sneakers, etc., but then upgrade from there. I don't see how Chelsea boots would work with the other stuff you're wearing right now, whereas a nice button-down would.
A couple things I'd say:
(1) "Professional" is relative. I work in tech in San Francisco, if you wore a blazer to work everyday you'd definitely be "That Guy". Maybe you're comfortable with or even relish being "That Guy", but you should be aware of the choice you're making.
(2) Resources like Male Fashion Advice on Reddit are great for inspiration and education, but do tend to fall into a bit of group think. If you want to develop your own aesthetic, you're going to need to experiment. I found second-hand thrift shops great for doing this with minimal cost. I tried a bunch of looks, I ultimately found out I looked a combination of super casual (well-fitted graphic tees, jeans, casual kicks), rugged-ish (work boots, chambray/denim work shirts), and formal (dark colored suits with traditional styling) worked best for me. Preppy, not so much. I also found out I really don't give a damn about selvedge and raw denim, but I did care a lot about suit construction and shoe stitching. But it took me a lot of trial and error to get there.
Lose the hoodies and get yourself a blazer. That should be step one that works even with sneakers and even (dark-topped) keds. Forget about white sneakers. Chinos and Chelsea boots should be step 2.
You're gonna have to define what "professional" means to you, and tell us more about your professional/social context. If you're a web developer and don't have a lot of face-time with clients, for example, then wearing a suit to work will make you seem out of place.
Don't spend a lot of money to start, you'll end up with a lot expensive mistakes. In the sort term, you can swap out your graphic tees for plain tees in white, grey, navy, burgundy. You can swap out hoodies for a nice light jacket, maybe something in the Harrington style. Don't wear pre-distress jeans, go with a pair of dark denim. There's currently a drop for the MDxAE chukka, get on that. Start small and build on it slowly.
Hi Swain, nice to meet you, I'm Muni 33 years old, living in China, I graduated fine art school in London many years ago, self style is a long way you need take, but the real mission is finding youself. When college time, I only wear Bape (Japanese Hip-Hop style), lot's of camo graphic, loose fit hoodie, jeans, sneakers... Many years later I still wear hoodies, sneakers, but going black white grey, going tight. Now I am a father, jogger pants, NMD I wear everyday, I just wanna tell you, don't let situation changing you, evo your styles by youself...
Unless you job demands it, I'd start with the opposite end of your body, which is your top. A nice blazer (especially with a pocket square) can quickly "formalize" any tee and jeans casual look. Throw in a polo or plain/gingham shirt to replace the tee and it will add more formal look.
From there you can add a tie (if you're wearing a shirt) and replace your sneakers with a leather shoe. Unless all you have are ripped jeans, it would be last piece I'd change. Most often than not, nowadays a lot of workplace have started to accept more semi-formal wear unless your job is strictly client facing.
arislan
Good advice. Id like to add that the fit of the pants would be important as well to give balance to your whole figure. Of course it depends on your body shape but if you are kinda more on the slim side, go for slim fits, it will draw more attention to your shoes too. For starters, you could try to get one off-shelf, great brands such as Uniqlo offer free tapering. Then later one, have them tailored to your specific fit.
I think the move from boy's clothes to man's clothes needs to be faster and bolder. At this point it doesn't help you just to buy more expensive casual stuff. You're ready for shoes that are NOT sneakers, pants that are NOT jeans, and a jacket you can wear with a tie.
The other suggestions people have given are a good path to follow--get some clothes you can wear in a professional office setting like a sport coat, dress shirt, (slim) chinos, and oxfords. In Europe you can use Massimo Dutti as a starting point--their dressy stuff is low quality, but at least it mimics a quality look.
I think Chelsea boots are a joke--really, elastic boots??--but I may be alone on that.
Depends on what you mean when you say "Professional"
You typically have two avenues in Menswear; Classic Menswear ( Suits, Sportcoats, Shoes, Shirts, etc) and Streetwear ( Tees, Sneakers, Denim, Casual Wear)
They can intertwine as people mix sportcoats with denim and boots, but when you say professional, I assume you are referring to the former?
If that is the case, I think a Navy blazer is always a good versatile piece to own. Try to stay away from the trendy items with skinny lapels. Make sure the shoulders fit well. If you want something really versatile, try something unstructured with no lining, as you can layer the jacket with other items and go from the office to the bar.
Also a nice charcoal grey suit is another staple piece. A white poplin cotton dress shirt, a blue oxford cloth dress shirt are always staple colors/fabrics. A navy grenadine tie or silk knit tie is also a good piece that doesn't look too formal. Make sure your suit/ sportcoat has some sort of horsehair canvas and is not fused. If you can pull the layers of fabric apart, it is not fused, which is a good sign. A fused suit is usually stiff and will end up forming bubbles over the years.
Pocket squares- you can never go wrong with solid linen, or you could always do something in a fun print to throw in your jacket even if you don't wear a tie. These can be 100% silk, Wool/Silk blends, or cotton. Go for the ones with rolled edges.
A solid pair of brown/ tan cotton trousers are also a good start- typically in cotton canvas or cotton twill.
For shoes- I started out with a pair of tan semi-brogue oxfords, which I wore with suits and denim. You can also never go wrong with a pair of chocolate suede chukka boots ( something I prefer over the chelsea and is a classic, my first pair were from Crockett & Jones) You can find cheaper variants but i've had my C&J's for almost 10 years and they look beautiful.
My advice is its better to spend the money on a few good classic items, rather than purchase cheaper clothes that you'll end up getting rid of because they are trendy or fall apart, and end up having to spend more money in the long run anyway.
hope this helps. best of luck!
If need be, (and if you are in a larger area), there might be a second hand gentleman's store that sells quality used bespoke suits and the like.
Button down one color shirts. Get them altered/tailored. Pair of khakis and slacks too. Its a start.
Sounds like a pretty good plan! I'm definitely no men's style expert, but getting a good pair of raw denim that you can start breaking in/wearing daily is also a good next step. Some dark denim can really spiff up a look (in my opinion) and you can really style them up or down. Cheers and good luck!
Tyler
What's makes raw denim better than, for example a pair of Levi's (dark washed)?
iamswain
I don't have a ton of experience with Levi's dark washed jeans, but I know that I prefer the weight, quality, and overall feel of a pair of raw denim to the Levis I own. If you like cuffing, raw denim is also generally easier to achieve that clean fold. It's also just fun to go through that process of wearing daily/breaking in!