Yes, we’ve all been there – standing in front of our closet, bored (and naked). Feeling uninspired, we flick mechanically along the rack, coat after coat after dull-and-worn-out coat. Listen up, for five tips on what to wear when you’ve got nothing to wear.
Familiarity does breed contempt when it comes to the modern wardrobe. However, a little closet inspiration isn’t hard to find once we understand we have the power to energise our threads. Here are five style tips for men reworking the goods you already own, but sadly have forgotten how to use.
The Tested Casual Blazer & Jeans Combo
A slim fit blazer is a wardrobe staple and if you don’t own one, I can see why you’re pulling your hair out claiming you have nothing to wear. As for the rest, take the casual blazer that has served you so well – in navy, taupe, grey marl or black – and introduce it to another closet classic – the favourite jean.
I’m guessing they’re your go-to jean for their glove-like fit, light but sturdy denim, and their super-blue colour that pairs so effortlessly with anything. What’s missing from this ménage à trois is a white tee or open collared shirt. One, two, three throw it all together confidently. Now be on your way.
Layer For A Very Cool Look
You may own the same-old stuff but changing up how and what to wear with it will make your closet feel fresh once more. This winter is all about wearing your best pieces – at once. For work, take a white collared shirt and throw on a neutral waist coast, followed by a fine-gauge cardigan in muted hue.
Take a hefty tweed suit coat and then your light parka in earthy colour. See what’s just happened? Weather dependant, winter layering is all about an effortless piling-on, taking closet items you most definitely already own and wearing them together, until you don’t feel the cold.
Stylistically, leave a few buttons open on the cardigan and do away with the waist coat if you’re feeling too formal. The final, most important thing is don’t be afraid to mix fabrics, creating texture in the look. An easy one is a wool jacket with a cashmere knit over a cotton shirt paired with a silk tie. Now, you’ve made it. And with layering, it all looks like ‘this’ just happened by accident.
Men In Black
Not one for looking like a goth, black-on-black doesn’t have to look drab. The look is sleek, elegant and more importantly, easy to style. And I’m betting you have loads of the neutral colour in your current wardrobe.
Firstly, black looks better slim to relaxed – never Lycra tight, nor oversized to avoid looking like a hipster. As mentioned earlier, texture is everything for creating a ‘new’ look. Why not vary the shade? Changing from an almost-grey black to midnight. And because you’re wearing the same all-over colour, this tone and texture applies strongly to black outfits.
Depending on the season, pair chunky wool coats or jackets with linens and cotton shirts. And with the surge in sports-luxe this season, a black, satiny bomber over dark denim is super chic off-duty, as well as a nice leather biker jacket and patent leather shoes.
All-black also liberates, letting your out-there accessories do the talking. Now’s the time to wear that bold, metallic watch or boisterous signet ring in gold. Final word on what to wear: adjust your add-ons and layers to fit in with the occasion and in going from day to night. Black doesn’t play favourites with time or formalities, which is why you’ll always have something to wear with black by your side.
The Suit Split
Before you start separating the pants and jacket from your glossy tux or office-ready, sheeny suit in wool, let me lay down some ground rules. The suit split – that is, wearing the pants and jacket apart from one another – really only works on more relaxed suits like the single-breasted, in a classic fabric (like cotton twill, linen or tweed) and in a neutral colour such as navy, grey or black and even bold checks.
Why? All these elements refer to a more adaptable suit. The casualness of a cotton jacket in plain navy or window-pane check won’t look out of place when worn alone over chinos or denim. But a heavy, worsted wool jacket with Wall Street pinstripes would be too much on its own and feel out of place without its trouser buddy.
From here, the regular styling rules apply. Pair the jacket with classic black jeans and a crew neck sweater or blue button shirt for a cool, tailored look.
A clothes swap tends to be something only women do. But, from my wardrobe to yours, eliminate those thoughts of gathering around your clothes at home with mates. Instead, remember our forefathers who used swapping or trading goods as the common form of currency to get what they wanted. Trading things for things worked back then, and can work for your wardrobe today.
First, hone in on a friend who shares your size and you trust won’t ruin your gear. And then, it’s an open thing: trading like for like and things of equal value so there are no losers in the deal. Then, setting it up is rather easy: “You gonna wear that coat, mate? No? Good. [Grabs coat] I’ll take that for the weekend.”
Oh, and remember don’t leave your mate hanging. Give something back in return. Because an important style tips is to be fair and generous and unlike clothes, good manners never gets old.