5 Ways to dress better (using stuff you already own)
1. Earth-To Neutrals
We’ve all got them: neutrals. Navy, black and grey as well as those on-trend earth tones – light grey, camel, white and khaki. But we don’t always think to match them or wear them all together. It’s an injection of ‘colour’ – that won’t burn the eyes, but rather freshen the fashion palette.
Going tonal with earth hues is one option: washed grey biker jeans with a matching grey bomber. But note the contrast in texture – suede jacket on cotton denim, to avoid a grey onesie look. Rust-brown boots anchor the look. For summer, start with white chinos – in a light weave – and colour block the top with a clay t-shirt. White sneakers or derbies keep the lower half light and nude socks are just dark enough – as is the tan belt, to not overpower.
2. Chuck On A Leather
Rev up office tailoring with a leather jacket. While not all workplaces will appreciate the cropped black coat, chuck it on come casual Fridays, or have it on tap – replacing a stuffy suit jacket – when off for post-work drinks. As well as the extra warmth it provides in winter, the leather’s sharp shoulder line, oil-slick colourway and metallic hardware and pockets make for a very masculine men’s casual jacket, that won’t derail your perfect fit suit.
Styling tip: keep the rest of your look fairly classic – blue button shirt, charcoal tie and trouser with black shoes to tie in the leather.
3. Back To School
It’s back to school this season. A backpack adds some high school hip to grown-up outfits. Again, you have two routes to take: chic and luxe or retro and charming. A black pebble-grain leather backpack is a sophisticated touch to a clean street look: washed slim jeans, white kicks and a graphic sweater layered with a white denim trucker jacket.
The other – in leather or canvas or canvas with a leather trim – riffs on the backpack you had as kid. But of course, with modern trimmings: zips and studs and a pocket for your smartphone tablet.
Backpacks are also an unexpected yet luxurious way to accessorise a suit. Just keep it neat, dark and minimal.
4. Tee ‘N’ Tuck
That basic t-shirt you’ve got shoved in your closet deserves to take the stage. Take a dark colour trouser – black, brown, charcoal – and forget that (obvious) collared shirt for a minute. Instead, match the wool trousers or cotton chinos with a plain white tee. But, tuck it in. And securely, but in a muffin-top-sense, so there’s room for the shirt to move naturally.
Opt for one a denser cotton so it holds its shape better and stick to crew neck, avoiding anything deep-V that will kill this Fifties James Dean vibe.
Style tip: the pants need to be slim but drape-y especially across the front (pleats do help). Switch in a Breton stripe tee in the summer and rock some lightweight wireframe shades.
5. Unlikely Layers
Another way of getting more out of your kit is switching the way you layer items. Particularly valid for the hard-to-dress in-between season, start layering with thinner, lighter pieces first, before working denser, heavier pieces in as you progress outwards.
A cool trick? Take a summer outwear piece – like a cotton double breast blazer – and wear it like cardigan or waistcoat – under a denim shirt jacket. Likewise, the collared shirt – in a jacket-weight fabric – is the perfect spring or autumn piece, worn open with rolled sleeves, taking the role of warmer weather outerwear garment. The old switch-a-roo, hey?
Author: Benjamin Fitzgerald