Whether it’s the festive season, tax bill time or a case of Monday-morning-money-blues (spend a little bit too much over the weekend?) sometimes finances are not our friend. But that shouldn’t set you a handicap in the style stakes – whatever the reason for the season.
You may recall 7 small (but powerful) style updates that cost nothing earlier in the piece. Now, it’s time for six more quality, cost-free fashion tips. They are trickier than the prior fashion upgrades. But with all those Christmas presents to buy and extra mouths to feed (give it up to the stylish dads), most of us have no choice but to be a little frugal with ourselves. Beggars can’t be choosers, right?
Play With Proportions
Nowadays, it’s not all about the slim-fit. While a rakish suit jacket and sharp cut coat will earn you big style points, learning to play with proportions is the next level for the veteran fashion male.
The key is balance: whatever you do to your top, reverse it on the bottom. A snug black t-shirt tucked into relaxed-leg trousers in wool (for winter) or light cotton (in the summer) is a stylish play on proportions; the slim-fit shirt accentuated by comfy, tailored trousers.
Alternatively, a slouchy shouldered jacket teamed with straight-leg chinos or jeans is a cool urban look over low-cut sneaker – no socks. Big versus small proportions not only creates a cool visual contrast, it also shows an understanding of the fashion rules, and how to bend them – ever so slightly – in your favour.
Search High & Low
Combining another fashion contrast – formal and casual clothing – into one outfit is a great cost-free approach to style. Give edge to a stuffy business suit or dapper audacity to a played-down street wear look. And again, it’s all about striking the balance.
Try swapping a blazer for a tailored bomber jacket or minimal blouson coat – perfect for casual Fridays or a commuter-style weekend look. Or why not try a tailored cotton shorts – instead of trousers – paired with a cotton blazer, waistcoat, shirt and tie.
A big change up this season is suit accompaniments – swapping button-down shirts for clean-line cotton t-shirts – and donning streamline leather sneakers in the place of leather lace-ups. Both high and low variations aren’t corporate options; rather more sophisticated takes on casual suits. So use wisdom before you bend, again – the fashion rules.
Mixed texture has given rise to the term – mexture. As good as moisturising is for the skin, mexturising is certainly nourishment for your clothes. With a focus on wearing tonal colours paired with contrast textures – be it prints and patterns or the fabrics themselves – a lost in translation monochrome outfit suddenly becomes visually dynamic.
Knitwear is an easy texture feat – especially of the cable-knit variety or waffle knit for simpler subtleties Then, pair it with flat-fabric cotton chinos and suede desert boots; opting for a silky neckerchief to offset the rugged texture of the sweater.
Other texture wins? Velvet dinner jackets for the party season and corduroy for an old school style – be it trouser, blazer or dapper waist coat. Then, mexturise: a crisp cotton shirt for formal gatherings, or Breton stripe for the casual weekend.
Go For Growth
Big, scruffy beards are on their way out (and all the anti-hipsters said? “Hooray!”) In line with this season’s most defining facial hair trends, going for some growth on the face is a cost-free way to look better.
Stubble is the quickest facial fix. It’s a great way to show off a square jaw line. Rounder faces should reign in the corners the stubble (not too perfectly) at the neck base, creating a jaw. Styling as the leaner gent? Grow the beard a bit longer – like a centimetre’s length on the cheeks, shortening a tad on the chin and then sweeping down toward the throat.
Once you have the growth, trim the strays and greys when necessary and keep the skin underneath well-moisturised using some beard oil. But don’t over apply or you’ll break out.
While accessories are the easiest (and most common way) to inject interest into your outfit, off-beat fashion items are a second vehicle to spice up a standard look. We’re talking things like a denim jacket layered under a topcoat – and fastened – for a waistcoat-vibe over a business shirt and tie.
Or why not try a short scarf or neckerchief instead of a traditional tie? Another garment jilt is to dig out that bold print t-shirt you bought on a whim and then rocking it instead of neutral (boring) t-shirt, piling on cropped casual jacket (bomber, biker or varsity) and a favourite pair of jeans. Just add Cons.
Every tried a waistcoat over a short-sleeve shirt? Sounds crazy, but it works. Play around with irregular items (statement prints, vintage pieces and active fashion items) and then mental-bank them for future style investments. That way it’s stress-free the next time you’re about to dress and head out.
Make-Stylish The Must-Haves
Can’t see to save your life? When the time arrives to either get your first pair of prescription spectacles – or a frame update, make it a stylish choice.
Make sure the colour of the frames complement your skin.Then, assess the shape of your face: round usually it’s round frames for angular face types and square frames for the circular visage.
The frame should follow the shape of the brow line too but not completely cover your eyebrows. And pick a frame weight that feels comfortably weighted on your nose.
For the practical things in life, it’s sometimes hard to see the opportunity to enhance our personal style. So get a vision for each and every piece and how it can add value to your wardrobe: even boring glasses have a role to play.