How to Dress Better for Guys: The Complete Guide to Sharper Style

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Despite all warnings to the contrary, people absolutely judge a book by its cover—and a man by his style.

When your look is well put together and on-point, you not only look better, you feel better.

So dressing better won’t just help you sharpen your style and strengthen your confidence, it will also help you stand out from the crowd and command respect in return.

In this post I’ll layout everything you need to know in order to dress better, step up your style and put your best face forward.

The Three Facets of Sharper Style

How to Dress Better for Guys
Image via SuitSupply

To help you look your best (and make the metric shit-ton of information in this post a little more digestible), the post will be divided into three sections.

In Section 1 you’ll learn how to sharpen your style instincts and understand what makes a man look good.

If “Spidey sense” is for superheroes who want to detect danger, I’ll show you how to cultivate a dressing sense for men who want to develop dapperness.

In Section 2 we’ll get into the nitty gritty, and I’ll lay out a comprehensive list of specific style strategies and men’s dressing tips that you can use to dress better and make yourself stand out.

And in Section 3, I’ll share strategies you can use to dress well without breaking the bank, by showing you how to dress better on a budget.

Use the principles and tips outlined in this post to make sure each aspect of your look is on point, and you’ll quickly find that you look more polished and put together than 90% of other guys.

How to Dress Better for Guys

A 3-Part Plan for Looking Poised, Polished and Put Together

Section 1:
Sharpen Your Style Instincts

How to Develop a Dapper Dressing Sense for Men

There are some specific strategies you can employ to dress better, which we’ll cover in detail in Section 2.

But the underlying element that really allows you to look your best is developing a strong understanding of what men’s style is, and – most importantly – what it is to you.

Let’s start by examining a few ways you can do just that.

Get Inspired By Icons

How to Dress Better for Guys

There are plenty of examples of icons whose most stylish days were decades ago, but whose sense of style was so timeless, it still looks sharp today.

Steve McQueen, James Dean and Paul Newman all come to mind.

The debut of Mad Men in 2007 (and its meteoric rise to smash-hit status) brought a similarly vintage style back into the mainstream, ushering in a classic menswear renaissance that we’re still feeling today.

Any guy wondering how to dress better would do well to start by taking his cues from some of the most classically masculine styles of all time.

But it’s important to keep in mind that in the 21st century, dressing better doesn’t just mean re-creating the exact outfits worn by classic movie stars.

Instead, it means choosing clothes that are modern updates of their classic style. You’re going for inspiration, not imitation.

For instance, James Dean famously wore a red jacket, a white t-shirt and blue jeans in Rebel Without a Cause. If you were to wear the exact same thing and style your hair like his, you’d look more like a guy in a Halloween costume than a well dressed gentleman.

Instead, you could take one piece from the look, the red jacket, and wear it over top of a different outfit – maybe a white button-down shirt with a black tie and black pants. That way you evoke a style icon without aping him directly, and you make a staple of his style your own.

Consistency with Sense of Self

How to Dress Better for Guys
GQ once named Future the Most Stylish Man Alive, and rightfully so. Does that mean my pasty ass should try to pull off ANY of this? Of course not.

Another key to dressing well is dressing in a way that’s consistent with who you are and how you feel.

For instance, GQ once named rappers Drake and Future as two of the most stylish men alive, and they certainly are. But if I personally were to try dressing exactly like either of them, I would feel even more ridiculous than I would probably look.

Even if my clothes were exactly the same as theirs, my overall look wouldn’t convey confidence in the way that theirs do. Instead, I’d give off a decidedly uncomfortable vibe, which would make me look as awkward as I felt.

When you’re looking to dress better, I recommend starting with what I call a Personal Style Profile.

Essentially you ask yourself: who are my style icons? What looks do I think are cool? And, crucially, how do I want to look and feel?

There are literally thousands of menswear options to choose from, but identifying your own personal style goals will make it easy to decide what’s for you and what’s not.

Situational Appropriateness

How to Dress Better for Guys
This is a great outfit for attending a black tie wedding (or possibly saving the world), but a terrible outfit for grocery shopping or a first date at a bar

This one is often overlooked, but may just be the most essential element of dressing better.

There are a lot of ways to look sharp. James Bond in a tuxedo? For my money, it doesn’t get sharper.

But in my 35 years on this planet (exasperated sigh—shit I’m old), I can think of maybe one or two times in my entire life where a tuxedo would have been appropriate attire.

When I’m out grocery shopping, going to work in my business-casual office, meeting my friends at the pub, or doing any of a million other regular things, wearing a tuxedo would look downright ridiculous.

That’s why it’s important to have a sense of what’s appropriate for a given situation, and then aim to dress 10 to 15% sharper than what’s expected.

How to Dress Better for Guys
I don’t dress like this at work because I have to, I do it because I want to. (I put it in black and white because I have to—fluorescent office lighting is NOT my friend.)

For instance, in the business-casual office I mentioned, I can easily get away with a polo shirt and jeans.

But I like to wear a button down shirt, a knit tie and khakis (all tailored or otherwise well fitting, of course) to stand out from the crowd a bit.

When I do, my colleagues compliment me, and I feel good about myself and hold myself up a little higher.

As a result, I project even more confidence, and in turn look even more sharply dressed.

And at the end of the day, I think that’s the real key. Being better dressed means wearing whatever it is that makes you look and feel content, composed and confident.

Here are a few other strategies you can employ to help further refine your sense of style.

Other Ways to Hone Your Instincts

Subscribe to Style Media
How to Dress Better for Guys

The magazine industry is a shell of its former self, but there’s a reason why venerable titles like GQ and Esquire are still at the forefront.

Both mags serve as trendsetters, and include a mix of high quality journalism and highly inspirational style/fashion advice.

If you want to step up your style game, I highly recommend subscribing to one or both, so you can stay up to date (and in most cases, ahead of the curve) on the latest style trends.

They only charge between $15 to $20 per year for a subscription, and your subscription gets you a digital edition you can read on mobile devices in addition to the physical magazine.

Peruse Online Menswear Stores
How to Dress Better for Guys
Scroll through the websites of your favorite stores for instant style inspo

Remember earlier when I bragged about mentioned how I try to dress a little sharper than the other guys at my office?

What I didn’t mention was the style hack I use for finding inspiration for my outfits.

My move? I browse through the men’s sections of websites like Banana Republic, SuitSupplyThe Gap and other stores whose styles I love.

Scroll through the shirts or sweaters section of any decent menswear store, and you’ll essentially be perusing a look book of sharp, modern styles.

When you find a look you like, you can either re-create it with pieces from your own wardrobe, or, of course, just buy the actual piece.

Constantly Watch Your Colleagues, Friends and Even Strangers*
*In the least creepy way possible, obviously
(That is obvious… right?)
How to Dress Better for Guys
[image: studiostoks / Shutterstock]

Alright, maybe “constantly” is a strong word. But you know what I mean.

Competition can be healthy (in certain doses, of course), so if you want to dress better, keep an eye on what other guys are doing.

As noted above, you don’t want to steal somebody else’s style, but there’s no shame in learning from the guys around you and taking inspiration from where ever you can find it.

Now that we’ve addressed some of the more fundamental, underlying strategies for becoming better dressed, let’s get into specifics.

Below I’ve laid out some proven, actionable strategies you can implement today to start looking better.

Section 2:
27 Specific Style Strategies

Use These Handsome Hacks to Dress Your Best

Focus on Fit

How to Dress Better for Guys

If you only have the time, energy or interest to implement one piece of advice from this post, make it this: focus on fit.

When it comes to menswear, fit is king. A perfect-fitting, $150 suit will make you look much, much sharper than a $1,500 suit that’s too big, too small or otherwise ill-fitting.

Generally speaking, you want your clothes to hug your body fairly closely, but not seal you in like a sausage stuffed in a casing.

For instance, your shirts should fit closely enough that they reveal the shape of your shoulders and chest, but not so closely that they reveal the shape of your nipples.

Likewise, your pants should fit closely enough that they reveal the shape of your quads (you have been working out, right?), but not so closely that they reveal the shape of your di—well, you get the idea.

Here are a few tips that will help ensure you spend your money wisely and buy clothes that fit you properly:

Take Your Measurements

To make sure you know exactly what size you are, you can either go to a tailor and get him to measure you (most dry cleaners will also be able to help) or take the measurements yourself.

Getting someone else to do it will probably be more accurate, but doing it yourself is certainly not impossible. If you decide to go this route, Wikihow has a handy little guide that walks you through the steps.

Either way, save your measurements in a note on your phone so that you can refer back to them anytime you’re shopping. Most sizing guides will explain how a small, medium or large fits by comparing it to actual measurements in inches (e.g. a medium sweater usually fits guys with a 40 inch).

Make Note of How Certain Brands Fit

In a separate note on your phone, keep track of what size you are in the styles/brands that you’ll wear the most.

For instance, I know that the Uniqlo merino wool v-neck fits me perfectly in a medium. But at Banana Republic, I usually opt for sweaters in small, as American brands tend to run slightly larger than European and Japanese brands.

Every time I pick up a new piece I make a quick note of the sizing, which helps me save time (and money) the next time I go back to that store.

It also makes online shopping easier and faster, as I can order without having to worry that I’ll have to take a trip to the post office to return it.

Step Up Your Sweater Game

Man wearing white shawl collar sweater
[image: Banana Republic]

Sweaters have been a staple of men’s wardrobes for decades, and in today’s more casual climate, when even a blazer would be “too dressed up” for many office environments, they’re more important than ever.

If you really want to look your best, I definitely recommend checking out my post about the most stylish types of sweaters for guys, which includes tips about where, when and how to wear them.

But if you only follow one rule when it comes to sweaters, make it this one:

Never wear a hoodie outside of your house.

To be fair, hoodies are undoubtedly comfortable, but if you’re trying to dress better, settling for comfort alone isn’t enough. (My bathrobe is plenty comfortable, but I wouldn’t look great wandering around the mall in it…)

Instead, any time you’re tempted to wear a hoodie, try swapping it out for a shawl collar cardigan or a rugby shirt instead.

Like the hoodie, both looks convey casual comfort. Unlike the hoodie, neither implies that you’re a preteen or an Old Navy employee.

Hit the Gym

How to Dress Better for Guys

John Mayer was wrong (about a lot of things, probably, but definitely about this):

Your body’s not a wonderland. It’s more like the foundation of a house.

And just as the most expensive furniture and fanciest window dressing can only do so much for a dilapidated house, your clothes, grooming and other style strategies will only go as far as your body allows for.

To put it more bluntly:

The better shape you’re in, the better your clothes are going to look on to you.

By no means am I saying that you need the body of an Avenger to look sharp and stand out (read below to find out why), but there’s simply no denying that sharp style looks even better when it complements a strong body.

If you’re new to fitness, click here to find out how to start a workout plan (and stick to it!). And if the idea of even setting foot in a gym seems too nerve-wracking, click here to find out how to get over “gymtimidation.”

Dress For Your Body Type

While it’s true that strong bodies often lead to sharper style, it’s important to be honest with yourself and dress in a way that complements the body you’ve currently got, not the one you used to have or the one you wish you had.

One guy who I think does a great job of this is the talk show host and actor James Corden.

There’s no question that Corden’s a bigger guy, but he dresses in a way that flatters his physique as much as possible.

And because his haircut, grooming and other details are always on point, they tend to get noticed more than some of the things that he might not want to draw as much attention to.

Does Corden look as good in a suit as, say, Daniel Craig does? No, I wouldn’t say he does. But does he look way better than 99% of guys with his BMI and body fat percentage? Absolutely.

That’s why I recommend creating a Personal Style Profile as a great first step.

The key to the Personal Style Profile is that it’s, well, personal, and helps you make choices that both feel and look good to you.

Understand Color Pairings

One of the biggest mistakes I see guys make is wearing clothes that all look great as individual pieces, but don’t combine well.

Nine times out of ten, the main culprit is colors that clash, rather than complement.

This is especially a shame because understanding the science behind color pairings doesn’t have to be complicated.

Learning even the basics of complementary colors and how to make them work for you will put you miles ahead of most guys.

Plan in Advance

How to Dress Better for Guys
Image via @brooklyndukeandco on Instagram

Am I saying you have to lay out tomorrow’s outfit on your bed each night before you got sleep? No.

Am I saying you should? Definitely.

Even if you don’t want to go quite that far, giving a little forethought to what you’re going to wear over the next few days can help you prepare.

Need to throw in a load of laundry before that big date Thursday? Better get on it today. Want to have your suit dry cleaned before your job interview next week? You’ve still got time.

The more time you give yourself to select your get up, the better you’ll look.

Opt for Dark Jeans

Light color jeans have made something of a comeback in the fashion world, but still evoke a “mid-90s sitcom dad” vibe in the eyes of many—myself included.

Home Improvement was a staple of my youth, but I can’t in good conscience recommend you dress like Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor.

How to Dress Better for Guys
With all due respect to the Tool Man, ditch the dad jeans and stick with dark, classically masculine colors

Stick to dark blues for a classically masculine look that never goes out of style, and try mixing a black pair into your rotation for another strong option that often appears a little “dressier” than classic blue jeans.

Learn to Layer

Unfortunately for those of us not named Jon Snow, layering isn’t as simple as wrapping a fur cape around your armor and setting off to defend the realm.

If you want to dress better when the weather cools down, learning how to pair different fabrics, colors and fits in a way that forms a cohesive and overall appealing look is key.

The Art of Manliness put together a great and fairly comprehensive guide to layering.

Don’t Ignore Outerwear

As you learn to layer, keep in mind that a well put together outfit won’t do you much good if you cover it in an ill-fitting or situationally inappropriate coat.

Consider your coat as part of your overall get up when you’re getting dressed. Outerwear is one area of menswear where it’s worth investing in, especially if you live in a colder climate where you’re going to get a lot of use out of it.

Below are two key pieces to help you get started. The first is, in my humble opinion, one of the single most stylish men’s peacoats ever designed: 

The Billy Reid peacoat that Daniel Craig’s 007 wore in Skyfall (and that Craig himself wears in real life).

The second is a timeless grey top coat that you can layer over almost any get-up.

My (somewhat unhealthy) obsession with topcoats is well documented, but all sane menswear aficionados agree that having at least one great topcoat is an absolute must.

Invest in (at Least!) One Good Pair of Shoes

I like to say that shoes are the secret weapon of menswear, but at this point I think the secret’s out.

The right pair of shoes can elevate an otherwise average look, while the wrong pair can bring a fairly dapper get-up down a few pegs.

Shoes represent another area of menswear that’s worth investing in, but the good news here is that you can find plenty of stylish options without having to break the bank.

To start building your stylish shoe rack, check out my list of the eight most stylish and essential types of shoes for men.

To begin with you can look for low-cost versions of the five basic types listed there, then expand your budget as your knowledge (and hopefully, your bank account) continues to grow.

Do the Same for Boots

How to Dress Better for Guys

Everything that I said above about shoes also applies to boots, and doubly so if you live in colder climates where boots can be worn for six to eight months of the year.

If you’re not sure where to start with boots, I highly recommend picking up a pair of chukkas. They’re both durable and versatile, can be dressed up or worn casually, and if you pick the right pair, they’ll last a long time.

I put together a list of the best men’s chukkas boots available online, which can help you get started, and another list of eight other stylish types of boots that look great with jeans.

Once you’ve got a good pair of chukkas in your wardrobe, I recommend adding a pair of brogues. When you pick a pair with a sleek toe shape like the Beckett Simonon model below, brogues add both ruggedness and refinement to your look.

Step Up Your Staples

Make your tees, jeans, polos and other staples fit like a glove, and take care of them the same way you would a sweater or jacket that costs twice as much.

How to Dress Better for Guys

But because they can be found for cheaper, don’t be afraid to replace them when necessary – even the best-fitting white tee in the world won’t make you look good if the collar’s gone yellow and there are pit stains under your arms.

Keep Patterns to a Minimum

Wearing a striped tie over a plain shirt is an easy, classic move. Wearing a striped tie over a striped shirt might make you look like an optical illusion.

To keep it simple and classic, only wear one patterned piece per outfit. As you get more experienced with style, you can begin to experiment with ways to layer in complementary patterns.

Accessorize Appropriately

How to Dress Better for Guys
If you’re wearing brown shoes, then you better be rocking a brown belt, too

With accessories, the key is that less is more.

For example, if you want to add something to your suit to help it stand out, you could go for a lapel pin or a pocket square, but going for both might be overkill.

The other important thing to remember is to keep accessory colors in the same family.

For instance, with leathers, if you’re wearing brown shoes, you’ll want a brown belt and brown watch strap to match.

Same goes for metals. Is your belt buckle silver? Then so should be your watch, your tie clip and your sunglasses (if you’re wearing metallic frames).

Sock it To ‘Em

How to Dress Better for Guys
“And if you’ll just take a look at this tablet, you’ll see — why yes, these ARE new socks. Thank you for noticing.”

To play it safe, match the color of your socks to the color of your pants.

For shorter guys, this will help make you look (a little) taller because it has the effect of making your legs look longer.

To stand out, try mixing in a pop of color or a fun pattern.

It can be a great way to add some character to your look without compromising the complementary aspects of your other layers.

Take Care of Your Clothes

Want to dress better not just today, but everyday?

Well, it’s going to be a helluva lot easier if you have a closet full of well cared for clothes to choose from.

By being just a little more conscious of the well made, well fitting clothes you’ve chosen to invest in, you’ll get a lot more out of them—and look better for a lot longer as a result.

Follow Laundry Instructions

Ignoring the proper laundry instructions that literally come sewn into your clothes is the quickest way to ruin them.

And I should know: there’s a Good Will bin by my house full of stylish sweaters I foolishly shrunk in the dryer, which stands as a living testament to how important those instructions are.

When you buy a piece, give the instructions a quick read. Then, when laundry day comes around, group your clothes based not just on color, but on how to care for them.

Everything that can get thrown in the dryer goes in one pile, everything that needs to be air dried is in another, everything that’s dry-clean-only in another, etc.

Fold Them Properly

So you’ve successfully washed and dried your clothes without ruining them. Way to go, genius.

(Sorry, just a bit of jealousy seeping in. I really liked those sweaters.)

Now it’s time to store them in a way that will keep them in pristine condition.

There are a ton of different ways to fold your clothes, and ultimately how you do it is up to you. The important thing is that you do it.

If you’re used to throwing your clothes in your loosely in your drawers, or leaving them in a pile on your floor, then I can tell you two things for sure: you probably look like a rumpled mess a lot of the time, and it won’t be long until your wrinkled clothes become ripped clothes and have to get tossed.

Do yourself a favor and avoid that fate by getting into the habit of folding your laundry as soon as it dries.

Don’t Over-Wash Them

This one is deceptively tricky.

As you start paying more attention to the way you care for your clothes, your first temptation will be to start washing them more often than you used to.

But not so fast. While washing or dry cleaning your clothes is definitely the best way to clean them (actually, come to think of it, those are the only ways to clean them), they’re not necessarily synonymous with caring for them.

The more you run sweaters, jeans and other pieces through the wash, the more their colors start to fade. And depending on the settings of your washing machine, you may risk ripping or tearing clothes by putting them through too many cycles.

A lot of pieces don’t need to be washed after every use. As a general rule, if it doesn’t touch your skin for most of the day (think sweaters and top layers), or it’s made from a versatile fabric like denim, you can probably just refold it.

But things like shirts, socks and underwear that are subjected to your skin—and more to the point, your sweat—all day definitely need to hit the hamper after each use.

Be An Iron(ing) Man

Remember what I said about looking like a rumpled mess all the time? It applies just as much to guys who fail to iron their clothes as to guys who fail to fold them properly.

Ironing can be a pain in the ass, but it doesn’t have to be. Do it in front of the TV, or throw on a podcast while you’re at it to make it a lot more bearable (and depending on what you’re watching/listening to, maybe even fun).

Get a Lint Roller
How to Dress Better for Guys

This one’s self-explanatory, but picking up a standard lint roller will especially benefit guys who (like me) wear a lot of dark colors, or guys who (not at all like me) frequently find themselves covered in pet hair.

You’d be shocked at how much better a shirt or sweater can look when you clear off all the fluff and stray fibers that end to build up over time.

If you have a pet like a dog or cat, you should treat lint rollers like you treat gum: you should have one in your desk drawer at work, one in your bag, and a bunch at home. You’re going to need them.

Use Wooden Hangers
How to Dress Better for Guys

In the age of Amazon prime and discount houseware stores like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, all of which offer quality hangers at bargain prices, there’s simply no excuse for not using real wood hangers.

In addition to looking more masculine in your closet, wood hangers are more durable and can handle heavier garments like winter coats and three-piece suits.

And unlike plastic hangers (or worse, the wire kind you get from the dry cleaner), wood hangers won’t leave a weird crease in your clothes that you later have to iron out.

Plus, again: they just look friggin’ cool. Drawing your clothes from a handsomely appointed closet gives you a little shot of inspiration each morning, and further entrenches your desire to dress your best.

Use Cedar Shoe Trees
How to Dress Better for Guys

If you think wood is good in your closet, trust me: you’re gonna love shoving it into your shoes. (And yes, I’m aware of how weird that sounds. Leaving it in!)

Shoe trees help your shoes maintain their slightly elongated shape when you’re not wearing them, which is what keeps them looking sharp for years.

While plastic shoe trees work fine for maintaining the shape, cedar shoe trees have the added benefit of absorbing moisture from the shoe, helping them stay dry and (crucially, for some of us) smell better.

Plus, again: they look cool as hell.

Shine Your Shoes

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: shoes are the secret weapon of style.

And shining your shoes? Shining your shoes is like… well, I don’t know enough about weapons to properly complete this analogy. But it’s super important.

Even the best-made, sharpest pair of shoes will look mediocre if they’re covered in dirt and dust.

Cleaning them regularly, or at least semi-regularly, will help keep them looking their best, and keep your overall appearance looking more (sigh, sorry but I can’t resist) polished (I’m the worst).

But don’t feel like you have to be super diligent here. Pick up a basic shoe shining kit and keep it at home, then give your most-warn shoes a quick shine a couple times a month.

Use the 10% Rule

I alluded to this one above, but it’s worth elaborating on. A big part of dressing better is dressing appropriately, which is why I stressed the importance of considering the situation before you consider your style.

But once you’ve determined what would be appropriate to wear to a given event, the next question you should ask yourself is: “How can I go a bit beyond what’s ‘appropriate’ and dress 10% better than I have to?”

Aiming to dress just 10% better will help you stand out from the crowd, while still allowing you to maintain situational appropriateness.

Section 3:
The Keys to Dressing Well on a Budget

Find Out How to Look Good Without Breaking the Bank

Not too long ago I wrote a post about how to cultivate the Neal Caffrey wardrobe and dress like the dashing thief from TV’s White Collar.

When I shared it on Reddit, one user (understandably, if inaccurately) lamented, “I don’t need to open the link to know that step 1 is ‘Have a boatload of money for expensive suits.'”

How to Dress Better for Guys

Unfortunately, this is an all too common misconception. Money may help you buy nice things (or at the very least, expensive things), but that doesn’t mean you need a lot of money to look good.

If you scroll back up and examine the tips, tricks and principles above, you’ll see that none of them require you to have a high net worth in order to sharpen your style.

In fact, you can out-dress the other guys without much income at all. Below are a few tips you can use to look great without breaking the bank.

Watch for Sales

My friends and I have a joke about Banana Republic, one of our favorite stores.

The “real” price of their merchandise isn’t whatever the tag says – it’s whatever the tag says, minus 30%.

Why? Because Banana Republic runs so many sales and offers so many promotions, that you can almost always find a way to get their merchandise at a discounted price.

And the same thing goes for most stores. Here are a few ways to maximize your odds of minimizing the price of most retail clothes and merchandise:

  • Shop on weekends. Most stores run promotions of some kind from Thursday to Sunday.
  • Look online. The websites for your favorite stores will often have online-only sales on the same merchandise sold in stores.

How to Get Bonus Deals

Email Newsletters

When you head to your favorite retailer’s website to look for sales, make sure to sign up for their email newsletter.

You can usually get an extra 5, 10 or 15% discount just for signing up, and that’s often in addition to any other sales or promotions they happen to be running at the time. (Plus, you can always unsubscribe after your order arrives if you don’t want to be bombarded by sales emails.)

Discount Retailers

If you’re not a big online shopper and you’re looking to get a big discount IRL, try discount department stores like Nordstrom Rack, Marshall’s or TJ Maxx.

These stores all carry major brand names and high quality pieces, but sell them at huge discounts (in the realm of 40 to 50% off) compared to buying them from regular retailers.

The catch with these stores is that their inventory changes constantly, so you never quite know what you’re going to find on the shelves.

If you see something you like, you’re better off grabbing it and thinking it over at home then leaving the store without it—it probably won’t be there next time you go back.

Shop for the Long Term

How to Dress Better for Guys
Before shelling out for topcoats and other big-ticket items, ask yourself, “Will I really want to wear this in 5 years?”

Hunting for deals is an obvious way to dress well on a budget, but a less obvious and more long-term strategy is to think long term when buying clothes.

When buying a new piece of clothing – especially the type of piece that could potentially last for years, like a suit, a top coat or a pea coat – ask yourself:

“Will I really want to wear this in 5 years? Or is this a fad that will probably fade out quickly?”  

I’ve always advocated avoiding trends and crafting a Personal Style Profile so that you can feel confident in your clothes without having to follow the (often ridiculous) fads of the fashion world.

And the other benefit of crafting your own personalized style is that in the long term, it will save you money. Once you hone your Personal Style Profile and know which kind of clothes make you look and feel your best, you’ll be a lot less likely to jump on whatever this year’s hottest trend is and waste money on pieces you’ll just give to Good Will next year.

Don’t Fill Your Closet With Fast Fashion

This one kind of follows naturally from my advice to shop for the long term, but it’s worth expanding on.

The styles at places like H&M, Zara and their ilk can be pretty on point, and the prices are often irresistible. But it’s important to remember how they keep the price so low: by offering lower quality clothes, for the most part.

At first glance this isn’t always obvious. I have a merino wool v-neck r from H&M that looks almost exactly like my beloved merino v-neck from Uniqlo.

The difference?

After only two years of ownership the H&M one has three holes in it, while after four years of ownership the Uniqlo one is still going strong.

Was the Uniqlo one a little more expensive than the H&M one? At first, yeah. But because of the holes I now have to replace the H&M one with a Uniqlo model in the same color, so ultimately I’m paying much more for it. I would have been much better off going with Uniqlo from the jump.

To be clear, I’m not saying you should never buy anything from these stores. (I still maintain that H&M’s workout gear is a great deal, for instance.)

But be smart about it. These stores can be great for basic things like tees and sweats, which are often over-priced at other stores.

But be beyond that kind of stuff, be wary; you’ll probably be better off if you invest a little more in another brand, and get a lot more out of it in the long run.

More Resources:
Men’s Style Advice From Irreverent Gent:

About Dave Bowden

Dave Bowden

Founder, Irreverent Gent
Author, Man in Command and Stop Doubting, Start Dating
Writer, Really Wordy Author Bios

Dave Bowden is a style blogger, menswear expert and best-selling author (in Canada—but still!) whose advice on how to look good and live well has been featured in New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Men's Health and more.

When not obsessing over style and self-improvement, he can usually be found spending time with his wonderful wife and two amazing sons, indulging in a hoppy craft beer, or sobbing over the woeful state of Toronto's sports teams.

Check out Dave's Style Story to find out how a chance encounter with his friend's step-dad taught him the value of looking good and living well (don't worry—it's less creepy than it sounds!), or email him at [email protected] if you want to get in touch.

4 thoughts on “How to Dress Better for Guys: The Complete Guide to Sharper Style”

    • Hey Brian. Pretty much everything above still applies to a guy your size, but one specific piece of advice I’d offer is that when it comes to fit, you want to strike a balance so that your clothes are form-fitting without being so tight that you look like you’re bursting through them.

      To give you a specific example, with jackets and blazers you’ll obviously want to make sure they fit properly in the shoulders, but when having them tailored you might consider two different styles of fit. You could have some that fit perfectly when buttoned up, which is the obvious move.

      But another good move could be to have a few jackets that are take in just a touch too much, which you’ll only wear unbuttoned. Taking the jacket in and then leaving it unbuttoned will create vertical lines that run down your torso, which will cut a strong silhouette and have a slimming effect.

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