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Ditch your boring old wardrobe: 3 key steps to reinventing your style

Out with the old, in with the new — style upgrades for the modern man

Man in glasses
oilyy / Freepik

The calendar switches to a new year, the seasons change, the months tick by, and even Mondays signify change. New beginnings can happen at any moment, and you need to be ready for them. A stale wardrobe can make you look and feel like you’re stuck in the past. Aging skin can make you feel past your prime. If you’re still wearing the same clothes or looks you wore 10 years ago, 5 years ago, or even last year, it may be time for an upgrade. Here are the key steps to reinventing your style.

Man in a tan suit on bridge
Dorota Zietek / Shutterstock

1. Wardrobe

When you think about reinventing style, you almost always think of the clothes you wear. While the clothes are a big part of it, remember that fashion is *what* you wear, and style is *how* you wear it, so fit and quality matter. Having said that, here are a few ways to immediately elevate your style.

Invest in a quality suit

Of all the items a man can have in his closet, the suit is one of the most essential pieces. Whether a job interview, a wedding, or a funeral, events will always pop up that call for a good suit. While there are plenty of options for a cheap suit, this year is a great time to invest in something made to last. Consider going into a store and conversing with an expert to ensure you get the right fit instead of shopping online. Check out this guide for where to start when building a suit wardrobe.

Pick up a light gray cardigan

While you’re building a quality wardrobe, versatility is going to be something that you will want to focus on to ensure you get the most use out of your pieces. A light gray cardigan pairs with almost anything and makes a great top layer for the cooler months.

One of the most integral aspects of men’s style is layering. Whether you’re sliding a cardigan over a button-down, a jacket over a sweater, or a button-down over a v-neck t-shirt, you will never be over or underdressed. When shopping for yourself, think about what other items in your wardrobe you can pair with the item you’ve selected to make usable layers. This is where that light gray cardigan will come in handy.

Elevate your denim

Speaking of versatility, there will be no more versatile item in your wardrobe than a pair of dark-washed dress denims. They can be dressed up with a sports coat and dressed down with the cardigan mentioned above. Make sure you select a slimmer profile with a tailored look to ensure you can pair them with a tailored jacket for dressier situations. Handy tip: Many of the places you go shopping for that suit will either sell great options for dress denims or know a great place to pick up a pair.

Invest in an upscale watch

Watches are one of the areas where the price tag can vary from the $50 impulse buy to a lifetime investment that can cost thousands. If you’re like most men, the $50 impulse buy is probably the option that fills your collection. Unless you’ve made significant financial gains in the last few years, you shouldn’t spend thousands on a watch, but you can upgrade and choose a more luxurious one. There are great options between the $50 Timex and the $5000 Rolex. Look for something between $200 and $500 for a beginner upgrade, and move up slowly as you feel comfortable.

Get yourself some luxury shoes

Just like watches, shoe prices can vary widely. The differences in the more expensive shoes are comfort, which can’t be understated, and longevity. Just like a suit, it’s easy for men to buy something cheap to make do when in a pinch and then do that more often because the shoes don’t last long. Upgrading to a more luxurious dress shoe will be an investment as it will last longer the more you wear and break it in. A tan shoe will go with everything from a blue, grey, or charcoal suit just as easily as your dress denims.

Man spreading arms

2. Body

It doesn’t matter how high quality the siding is on a house; if the frame is falling apart, the whole thing will crumble around you. Taking care of your body is essential to elevating your style. There’s no point in investing in high-quality clothing if you don’t look or feel good wearing it. Here are some ways to take care of the frame to keep the siding looking great.

Start a skincare routine

Consider your skin as the base layer of your image. While most of us immediately think of our wardrobe when considering our image, the truth is that it begins well before getting dressed. Even if you’re dressed to the nines in the best of the best, your skin will distract from the look and steal all the attention (in the wrong way) if you don’t take care of it. A good skincare routine can reduce eye bags and clear up acne.

Switch to high-quality hair products

For a man, there are endless choices in hair care products, most of them being the all-in-one type. If you ever feel that your hair is uncontrollable or doesn’t do what you would like it to, it’s most likely because you’re not using the right products. Shampoo and conditioner have different goals for your hair, so it isn’t likely that one product can do both, much less act as a body wash. Make it a point to ask your stylist what products are best for your hair and how to take care of it.

Commit to a workout regimen

There’s no worse feeling in the world than having a fabulous wardrobe in your closet but having to replace some of your favorite pieces because you let yourself go. Just going to the gym doesn’t mean you will bulk up out of your shirts or spend hours a day trying to maintain the body to stay in them. There are regimens for guys who need to get back into shape and for guys who simply want to look great in a t-shirt. If you’re going to invest in quality selections for your wardrobe, make sure you invest the same time and work to ensure that you are not only around for a long time to enjoy them, but also that they will continue to fit you.

Man in denim jacket
Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

3. Mind

Many of us get stuck in a comfort zone with what we wear. Men are notorious for finding that one article of clothing they like and buying up every color they can and calling that shopping for the next decade. Your mindset around your style will go a long way to opening yourself up to new ideas. Say goodbye to your comfort zones and embrace the new you with these ideas.

Focus on details and finishing touches

You’ve likely heard the phrase, “The devil is in the details.” This sentiment rings true in style as much as anywhere else. Focusing on the details of your wardrobe is a great way to show others you have excellent attention to detail, finish what you start, and care. Here are three places to start you off right:

Eliminate wrinkles

Just like an unkempt beard can ruin an outfit, nothing says last-minute like wrinkles. All of your clothes will pick up wrinkles throughout the day, but if you show those wrinkles early on, it makes people think you slept at the office. Invest in an iron and a steamer, and more importantly, learn how to use them.

Find a tailor

No matter how much money you spend on your suit, it may need alterations to ensure it looks its best. There are also ways to improve your dress shirts, pants, and outerwear to ensure they all fit you precisely. A good tailor will surprise you with how much they can improve your pieces. Style is about a personal image — make it unique to you.


There’s a reason that accessories are under the finishing touches tab here. There’s no better way to finish a great look than the perfect accessory. Attention to detail carries over to all walks of life; pay attention to the tiniest aspect of your looks. Whether it be a scarf, a pocket square, or a hat, they can make or break a great image.

Experiment with your boundaries

While paying attention to the changes in your wardrobe, keep an open mind. If you’ve never been someone who liked to wear hats, consider spending some time trying on different styles and colors to try and find one that suits you. Don’t let your old discomforts hinder the emergence of the new you.

Man lounging on steps
javi_indy / Shutterstock

Men’s clothing brands to consider

While you’re thinking about the above wardrobe changes, we’ll suggest a few men’s clothing brands that cover from luxury to those that are friendly on the wallet. There are many great men’s clothing brands out there, so we can only list a few.

  • Tom Ford: For the man who wants the best of the best, Tom Ford offers impeccably tailored suits, shirts, and accessories.
  • Brioni: Another Italian powerhouse, Brioni is known for its classic menswear with a modern twist.
  • Gucci: If you’re looking for something a little more flamboyant, Gucci is always pushing the boundaries of men’s fashion.
  • J.Crew: A great option for everyday staples like chinos, button-down shirts, and sweaters, J.Crew offers classic styles with a contemporary feel.
  • Bonobos: Known for its comfortable and stylish chinos, Bonobos also offers a wide range of other menswear, including suits, shirts, and sweaters.
  • Banana Republic: Another good option for workwear and casualwear, Banana Republic offers a variety of styles at a reasonable price point.
  • Uniqlo: A Japanese brand known for its basics, Uniqlo offers high-quality T-shirts, jeans, and sweaters at very affordable prices.
  • H&M: The Swedish brand provides trendy and affordable menswear, with new styles arriving every week.
  • Target: You might not think of Target for men’s clothing, but its Goodfellow & Co. line offers surprisingly stylish and affordable basics.

As changes keep getting thrown at you from every direction, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and beaten down. Keep to this list and check in with yourself often to ensure you never lose sight of yourself or your image.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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