This has nothing to do with dressing up – but everything to do with standing up.
Watch it – it will move you.
The Elevator Pitch of How to Start Dressing Better
A few weeks ago while out with friends and acquaintances I was asked a familiar question when the fact came up that I blog about men’s style: “How can I start dressing better?”
This isn’t an easy question for me to quickly answer and is beyond the attention span of most people in the course of a free-flowing conversation — especially over beer at a bar. While I’m happy to talk about the subject at length, I do try to avoid chatting someone’s ears off about my various obsessions.
Entire books are written about the subject and an overwhelming amount of resources are available on the Internet. Even Jesse’s 25-pieces of basic sartorial knowledge is tough to rattle off when you may only have enough time to tell someone a few sentences.
What I needed was the “elevator pitch” of how a guy can begin to dress better — an idea that he can act on and sets the ball rolling.
Now I suggest one simple thing: “Wear nice shoes.”
Ugly shoes can ruin an otherwise acceptable outfit and nice shoes can elevate an ordinary one. While it’s no shortcut to having better style, it does begin the process to get a man thinking about the subject.
Learning about nice shoes implants the idea of aesthetics and higher-quality purchases in a guy’s head. At the very least, guys who take this advice will stop wearing ratty gym trainers and rubber-soled “sporty” hybrid dress shoes.
I think that once a guy starts down this path, he will eventually broaden his view toward the rest of his wardrobe. If he’s wearing nice shoes, then perhaps he begins to think about getting a few nice shirts. Or a sport coat and proper fit.
And maybe one day he’ll become too self aware about his pocket square collection to know that he doesn’t have any seasonally-appropriate ones for his tweed jackets and spends an hour looking for the right one that blends burgundy and tan.
Or maybe not. It may just be enough that he’s wearing better shoes, which I think is a good thing. So, that’s my new pitch: “Wear nice shoes.”
Lady Gaga in her dressing room after the show.
Real People: Colorful dressing
As part of an ongoing series, Put This On will be featuring real men with great style.
I first noticed Ingemar from Sweden when he posted a photo of himself wearing a pair of headphones from UrbanEars that were covered in Harris Tweed fabric, which I thought was a rather unique use of the material.
But once I checked out his Pinterest page, I really enjoyed his sense of style that injected color into his wardrobe of tweeds and heavier wools. His use of layering with colorful waistcoats and v-necks to provide contrast to his jackets reoccurs many times and I think it’s a great technique. Framing the complimentary color with the jacket provides a pleasing visual counterbalance.
Sometimes, I find color distracting, but Ingemar does a fantastic job of bringing a cheerfulness to his outfits with it that doesn’t overreach.
Dressing for New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve is here, and it’s one the few occasions men can dress to the proverbial nines without feeling out of place. If you’re going to a ball tonight, go out in black tie. For that, you can read Jesse’s post, Kiyoshi’s series, or Peter Marshall’s Black Tie Guide (a rather extensive resource on the subject). If you’re headed to a nice restaurant or bar, show up in a dark navy suit, crisp white shirt, and shiny black oxfords. You can accent your ensemble with a navy or black satin four-in-hand necktie and a white silk pocket square. If you need something less formal still, reach for the tried and true navy hopsack sport coat, grey flannel trousers, freshly polished black oxfords, and a crisp, white, semi-spread collar shirt. Mark the occasion as being special with a black bow tie and white pocket square.
However you do it, dress up for New Year’s Eve. As Paolo said at Suitology (the latest addition to my short list of favorite menswear blogs): “Any reason to get drunk is always also a reason to get dressed properly.” Indeed.
Happy New Years!
(Photo from LIFE)
hey there! i enjoy your blog and your twitter loads. i admire your style a whole lot. i was wondering if i could ask for advice if it’s not too much? i’m 18 years old, residing in NYC for college. i’d like to start dressing a bit older, a bit more formal. right now, my tomboy style consists of nothing but men’s clothes/shoes (with the exception for women’s skinny jeans) and i seriously need to stock up on some nice women’s tops/shoes that fit me, haha. know where i can start? thanks!
Hey! Thanks! For basic tops Club Monaco and J. Crew are both great. For shoes, it really depends but I’d go for quality because in NYC you’ll walk A LOT. But to start: A good pair of sneakers (I like tretorn nylites). A pair of flat high boots (I like riding boot silhouettes because they don’t go out of style). A pair of cool black ankle boots (i’m kind of obsessed with these right now). And a pair of super comfy loafers. A lot of people will say black flats but i just dont wear them so I’m the worst person to ask about that but I’m sure there are a gazillion options out there. Hope that helps . – M
Work with what you’ve got
In dressing well, we all have constraints and obstacles, particularities dependent on ourselves that dictate what works and what doesn’t. I am very fair in complexion, with a dark beard, which means very dark navy or grey tends to make me look like a corpse, but I am also heavy, which means very light colours are a challenge. Regardless of what I see in magazines or on others, I have constraints particular to myself.
Jake has a different set of issues, with a pale complexion and red hair. The colours he tends toward show a keen eye to that, and he wears shades of rich blue, bitter chocolate brown, olive and forest green beautifully.
Dress for yourself.
When it comes to dressing for business, finding a balance between personal style and dress code is the key to success. While you may opt for solid navy or grey suit on the day to day, finding a slim piece of outerwear to compliment it can seriously improve your look in these colder months.
A navy cashmere topcoat is exactly the sort of piece that will feel familiar in a business setting, but the luxurious fabric and great fit will earn you more than a few compliments.
Shop our Trento coat here.
Back to Business
For those dressing for business, heavier wool suits may not be an option. When you’re running out from meeting to meeting—or coffee run to coffee run—you’ll want to add an extra bit of warmth and there’s no more time tested accessory for this than a wool scarf.
Throw on one of our baby alpaca scarves just as you’re leaving the building to keep from getting too chilly, all the while staying perfectly appropriate when you run into your boss on the streets.