If you are like many young men, you may be embarking upon a professional career, but lack the wardrobe to fit your new position. The right selection of clothing is the perfect addition to your education, experience, and credentials, and can make or break the first impression you leave upon the people you encounter. The problem most men run across is that they find themselves sacrificing comfort for style – a prospect most men aren’t thrilled about. Whether you are starting a new job, are looking to ditch your daily suit, or just want to step up your game, we have included some simple ways to balance modern style with comfort.
Adding layers to your wardrobe is the perfect way to take a casual, or boring outfit, and turn it into a stylish business casual look instantly. It is as simple as replacing V neck undershirts with button up collared shirts. Ben Brooks recommends UnderFit brand undershirts. Now the same sweater is dressed up, and you haven’t sacrificed any comfort. Layering is essentially putting different items of clothing over other articles of clothes. Layering should be done with thin, to thick clothing, complimentary colors, and never with clashing patterns. Although some men find layering intimidating, once you get the hang of it, your wardrobe will vastly improve.
As much as love your sneakers, they are hardly appropriate for every situation. The same applies for dressy loafers. It is important that men wear the right shoes for the right occasion and function. There is an axiom in western culture that says “You can tell a lot about a man from his shoes.” The following shoes are the perfect balance of style and comfort for men:
- The brown longwings – This versatile leather shoe pairs perfectly with jeans, sweaters, V-neck undershirts, and even some suits.
- Desert boots – These boots are the perfect go-to option for a casual look, they have the feel of a sneaker, but are dressed up enough to give you some style.
- Plain-toe derbys – These shoes will add a little bit more style to your look for the days you want to dress up some more, but they aren’t stuffy.
Change your Denim
Jeans are a fashion staple, and a favorite among men for their versatility and comfort. You may think there is no way that you can wear your favorite jeans and still look stylish, professional, and well put together. When chosen correctly, jeans are a stylish piece of clothing that can be worn anywhere. Follow these tips for upgrading your denim selection:
- Dark and clean denim – If you have any light distressed jeans with holes, pack them away for the weekend or consider them a part of your “younger years.” While distressed jeans are fine for younger men, the look is often attributed to rock stars. As you move forward in stepping up your personal style, your jeans should be less flashy. A dark denim is the perfect transition, it is stylish, comfortable, and age appropriate.
- Mid-rise jeans- When it comes to men’s jeans, there are three types of fit’s-low rise, midrise, and high rise. Low rise jeans fall right below the belly button and cause sagging; this is typically a look that is associated with teenagers. If you have these types of jeans make a switch to a midrise fit, for an instant boost in style.
- Relaxed fit jeans – Ditch the skinny jeans and trade them in for a pair of relaxed fit jeans that compliment your style and make you look more classic and masculine.
Add a Blazer
Although you ditched the formality of a suit, blazers are a great way to put a little pizazz in your caj. You can purchase a casual blazer to be worn with sweaters, V-neck undershirts, or blazers with patch pockets and unstructured shoulders. Regardless of whether you choose a casual blazer or a formal one, these are a staple for almost any occasion. When purchasing a blazer keep in mind that it must fit well and shouldn’t be too tight or loose. After finding the perfect fit, consider choosing versatile and neutral colors like, tan, grey, and navy. Once you have selected the perfect blazer, you can pair it with a dress shirt and tie, cardigans, polos, and oxford, or your favorite pair of jeans.
We don’t expect you to overuse that perfect blazer, there are a few alternative coat selections that are stylish, comfortable, and ideal for any occasion. Sport a button up shirt with a thick, oversized cardigan, or you can try a thin sweater with a nice pair of jeans. Cardigans come in a variety of colors, and styles, but usually look best with a button up shirt underneath. A dark grey synthetic T-shirt under a black suit coat with jeans is a slimming and surprisingly stylish combination. If you are a casual guy, this is the perfect upgrade for you.
Upgrade your T-Shirts
Everyone knows the saying, “we only get one chance to make a first impression,” and in many ways, this rings true with the clothes we wear. An excellent way to do a complete style overhaul on your closet is to get rid of any T shirts that are not age appropriate. Graphic tees, band tees, t-shits, and sweatshirts tend to give off a casual impression. Instead, opt for a more adult look and swap out these shirts with henley’s, polos, and sport shirts. For a dressier occasion, add a fitted button down shirt to a pair of jeans of trousers.
Ditch the Tie
You will still need your ties for formal wear and important work events, and while they are stylish, they do nothing for comfort. You can still sport a semi-formal look without a tie with a blazer and button up shirt, or a thin sweater and trousers. If you feel more comfortable with a neckpiece, you can add a scarf, or accent your blazer with a handkerchief. For an even more casual look, consider pairing a blazer with a bold t-shirt, and a dark denim jean.
When it comes to staying stylish year round, gravitate towards classic, timeless pieces that will still be current years later. Unless you are fashion obsessed, don’t turn to current trends for advice on how to build your new wardrobe. Besides, the goal here is personal branding; we’re differentiating your style from that of your peers. To this end, conformity and uniformity are your enemies.
Understand Clothing Fit
From the most expensive suit in the world, to a $20 pair of jeans, it isn’t going to look good on you unless it fits your body correctly. Understanding the importance of the fit of your clothing is essential to both your style and your comfort. If you have ever seen a poorly fitted suit or pair of jeans, then you have likely seen the results, and know the impression it can leave. To ensure that you are stylish, and comfortable in your new wardrobe, follow these fitting tips:
Shirts and T-shirts
- Ensure that the shoulder seams are resting on the edge of your shoulders, and not on top or over them.
- T-shirts should never extend past your zipper.
- Raise your arms sideways to make sure that no more than an inch of your stomach is exposed.
- Your shirt cuffs should end at the crook of your wrist.
- Check to make sure that no fabric is stretching around your chest or the buttons.
- When you tuck in your shirt, there should never be excessive fabric around the waist.
- You should fit two fingers between the collar and your neck
Pants and Jeans
- Your pants should be comfortable around your waist. Ensure that they fit you well without a belt, but that they also don’t pinch your waist.
- Make sure the front of your pant leg has a slight break where it meets your shoes.
- Ensure that the back of your pant leg reaches the top of your shoe’s sole, and there is no excess fabric at the end of your legs.
- Check the shoulders and chest of your jacket to make sure it fits in all the right places.
Your lapels should all lie flat against the jackets front panels.
- The cuffs of your shirt should stick out a quarter inch from the jacket sleeves when your arms are relaxed.
- Ensure that no X shape is stretching when your top button is closed.
As a young man, it is important to take the time and effort to ensure that your personal style reflects your age group. Your clothes should draw positive attention, show maturity, and give a good first impression. You don’t have to wear a three-piece suit or sacrifice comfort to achieve these goals. By following these simple steps, you can find your own personal balance of comfort and style.