Fashion tips for men
A whole set of tips to transform yourself to a new smarter you
Gaining a reputation for being stylish and well dressed is all down to your wardrobe. It doesn't need to be huge, but it does need to be thoughtfully planned.
The trick is to stop, think about your life and then build a wardrobe around the clothes that make the most of your physique and bearing. Easy.
Well, no it isn't. The trick is not to be too swayed by the latest trends: just stick to some tried and tested basics. You can add a few pieces here and there to reflect your personality and perhaps a couple of inexpensive on-trend pieces each season that can be dispensed with when their time has passed.
One other point worth emphasising is that you should try to buy pieces that fit well, are well made, from materials that are as high quality as you can afford. If you spend your cash on a few better-quality pieces, rather than loads of cheap ones, you will really get better value for your money.
So what exactly do you need? You can narrow it down to these basic categories.
Wearing the same pair of Converse everywhere doesn't quite cut it when you're a grown-up. Pick a decent pair of black brogues or Oxfords with a toecap to go with that suit. If your office dress code is suit-based, add a couple more pairs, perhaps adding loafers, or a pair of tan or brown shoes for variety.
When you need something casual, the aforementioned Converse are a classic standby, along with a pair of Adidas shell-toes or Stan Smiths - tennis shoes from any brand are a good basic trainer.
If you rarely wear a suit, go for an all-purpose plain navy, single-breasted one that will be perfect for formal occasions: the jacket can also be worn with jeans when you need to be smart. However, if you wear a suit every day to work, you'll need to add one in grey, plus another, either pinstriped or black (which can double-up as Hollywood black tie for very formal events).
You can't do wrong with a couple of smart plain white dress shirts in your wardrobe, even if you don't need to wear a shirt to the office every day. If you do need a shirt every day, mix up some plain ones with striped, checked and gingham options. Button-down collars are a matter of preference, as are French cuffs (for which you'll need some decent cuff links).
If you're looking for casual shirts, plaid is a good standby and, in the summer, a couple of patterned short-sleeved shirts add an air of relaxed cool. Just remember not to tuck casual shirts in - and don't untuck formal shirts.
Depending on your lifestyle, you can actually get away with not owning a pair of trousers that (a) doesn't belong to a suit and (b) isn't a pair of jeans. Chinos are useful and flexible: a well-cut pair (always flat-fronted, never pleated) can be teamed with all kinds of shirts, sweaters and shoes.
Jeans should be straight-legged and dark indigo, so they can be dressed up or down: avoid fashionable cuts, washes and ornamentation.
Alternatively, pick up a pair of corduroys for some variety.
Worn with a suit and shirt, a tie adds an air of smart formality: for work, have plain, striped and patterned options. Don't buy anything too wide or too skinny, so you can wear them with any shirt-collar style. Whatever you do, never, ever wear a tie with a short-sleeved shirt.
You should also own a good leather belt, which should match the colour of your shoes (if you have black and brown shoes, a leather belt in each colour is necessary).
You should also own a decent pair of sunglasses, for purely practical purposes, especially if you drive regularly.
A couple of V-neck sweaters in a good-quality wool (cashmere or merino) are a useful addition to any wardrobe: you can either wear them with a shirt (and tie) or casually with a T-shirt underneath. A crew-neck sweater also works in casual situations with jeans. A turtleneck (especially in black) has a certain air of boho style, but leave well alone if your face and neck are a bit chubby/flabby.
Go for plain grey, black or navy if you can only afford one or two sweaters: if you do decide to introduce a splash of colour, ensure that it's one that goes with your skin tone.
T-shirts should be 100% cotton: a couple in white and another couple in black are a good place to start. Be careful with printed T-shirts: avoid anything that tries to be humorous and try not to be too much of a kidult.
Sweatshirts and hoodies in plain grey marl are classics that go with almost anything in a casual context, but keep joggers for the gym.
Polo shirts (best in cotton pique) are a casual staple and can be dressed up with a tailored jacket or dressed down with jeans or shorts. Lacoste (the original polos) or Fred Perry are classic brands that you can't really go wrong with, as long as you again choose the right colours for your skin tone.
Coats and Jackets
A good woollen, single-breasted winter overcoat in navy or black is both practical and stylish: it will keep you warm, go with either a suit or with jeans, and should last years if it's made from a good-quality wool and you look after it.
The same goes for a good waterproof macintosh or trench for warmer months: you can wear it over a suit or with a sweater and jeans.
As a more casual winter coat, a decent parka is your best option: pay enough and it will keep you totally toasty for years.
A leather jacket is a classic: a biker or bomber in black adds a slight sense of danger when worn with jeans and boots (rock chic) or a pair of Converse (punk). But don't wear it with a formal shirt or shoes - you'll look like an off-duty accountant trying to be edgy.
Image credit: Reuters
Source: Craig Thomas/MSN HIM UK