1. Wear darker, slimmer jeans
As mentioned in my post on denim basics, you don’t want the “dad jeans” problem. Darker jeans look dressier and can go well with just about anything. Slimmer jeans that fit closely around your waist, thighs, and calves are popular right now. You’ll look like you care about how you dress; which you should.
2. Lose the graphic tees.
Yes, everyone loves ironic tees. When I got my drivers license as a teenager, I wore a shirt that said “I didn’t do it.”, which clearly showed up in the photo on the license. But you’re trying to look suave and mature now. Graphic t-shirts make you look like a teenager, so leave them for the teenagers to wear.
3. Don’t wear running shoes all the time!
Repeat after me: Only wear running shoes when you’re actually going out for a run. Wear boots in the winter and fall instead. Try a decent pair of chukkas. During late spring and then through summer, wear something low cut and simple like Vans Authentics or some Sperry boat shoes. If you can’t afford a ton of shoes, find one pair that you absolutely have to buy and take very good care of them.
4. Avoid over branding.
Do you want to be a walking advertisement? No? Then don’t wear shirts that have a brand logo entirely covering the shirt. American Eagle is notorious for this:
If there is just a small little embroidered logo on the chest area or towards the bottom of the shirt, that is okay. Should the shirt have the stores name emblazoned across the front and back of it, avoid it like the plague regardless of how well it’s made or how nicely it fits.
5. Find and buy a few slim fitting button up shirts.
Just say no to Ed Hardy though, those shirts are for douchebag club-goers. Somewhere affordable can be a good place to start. Targets Merona brand isn’t bad for the price and Old Navy has finally started selling slim-fit shirts. Lands End Canvas is also having a sale right now on a lot of their clothing. Regardless of where you buy it though, either get something that fits very well or something that can be tailored to fit well. This means the shoulder of the shirt where the sleeves start should sit exactly at the end of your shoulders. The sleeve of the shirt should end right at your wrist and when you move your arm it shouldn’t hike up any further than where your watch sits. Finally, from the side, the shirt should conform to your body nicely without being too tight. If it doesn’t fit snugly around your body you can get it tailored, but that will have to wait until another post.