We all get up most days wanting to look our best. We shower, shave, brush our teeth, comb our hair. Ironically, some of the most important elements of looking our best are decided way before we start our morning routine.
A huge part of looking your best is having the right wardrobe, that allows you to dress appropriately for any scenario. Knowing you can get up and face the day with the right choices in what to wear takes a lot of the stress out of the decision making process. If you know how to mix and match, and have a few key pieces, you can look great regardless of the setting.
Having the Right Mix and Match Pieces is Key.
1. Start with the basics- lace up dress shoes in both black and brown, coordinating belts.
Add in whatever elements are relevant to your lifestyle: Sneakers, suspenders, etc.
2. Socks are a great way to add flair to your wardrobe.
A fun pair of socks can be your secret- adding some personality to your outfit even if you are the only one who knows they are there. This is especially helpful when you need to wear a subdued or monochromatic ensemble.
3. Shirts are the most memorable part of most outfits.
Think of the last three people you spoke to. If you can name one article of clothing they were wearing, what is it most likely to be? Typically when we are thinking of what someone has on, the color and style of their shirt is top of the list: “he had on a red hoodie and… pants.” make your shirts represent you. Have plenty of solid colored basic dress shirts and polos, but if you are a loud personality, some shirts with flair will always help you stand out.
Look for patterns that speak to you, or find dress shirts with hidden elements like different colors or patterns inside the cuff that let you change the look by rolling up your sleeves- two shirts for the price of one!
4. Have appropriate pants in neutral tones.
To mix and match effectively, and always have a fresh look that you can feel comfortable in, keep the following items on hand: A pair of dark jeans, a pair of comfortable chinos that coordinate with several of your shirts, and a few pair of dark dress pants in neutral colors that pair with the largest array of your shirts. As your wardrobe expands, adding in more color on your lower half can be a great way to show a little personality.
5. Own (at least) one great suit.
Even if you seldom need it, you should own one suit “for marrying and burying”: ie. weddings, funerals, and other more formal occasions. Choose a classic single breasted suit in navy, black, or charcoal gray, preferably in wool or a wool blend. This will be the most versatile option. You can also use it as a mix and match element- use the coat as a blazer with some coordinating chinos or even dark jeans if the cut is right.
Wear Clothes That Fit!
Obviously, all of these guidelines are generic. Your lifestyle and profession will impact these decisions, but none of them matter if your clothes don’t fit properly. It is impossible to look your best if you are tugging at collars and straining at the seams because your clothes are ill fitting.
Know your shirt size- Men’s dress shirts are sized based on your neck size in half inch increments, and your sleeve length, from the top of the ball and socket joint. Always know the
best inseam pants measurement for yourself, as well as your waist measurement at your actual waist.
We all want to look our best. Follow these simple guidelines to maximize your wardrobe, and you will!