Dressing Sharp & Casual: The Comprehensive Guide for Young Men

by Antonio on October 31, 2012 · 195 comments

in Dress & Grooming, Style

Custom suits and imported silk ties look great, but they’re not a lot of use to young men in their late teens and early 20s.

Even if you could afford that kind of a wardrobe (most can’t), there’s no place to wear it – it’s far too formal for socializing with 20-somethings, and very few men are walking out of college and straight into high-powered financial or legal offices.

So much of the advice on how to dress well as a man isn’t all that useful for high school and college students, or even for post-grad students and working 20-somethings. A good suit is useful to own, but not something you’re going to be wearing when you go out with friends.

So what to wear instead?

The trick is diversifying – taking the same casual level of dress that most young men wear, and adding new looks to it to stay sharp without looking stuffy.

The Varied Wardrobe: A Young Man’s Friend

It’s safe to assume that most young men have a couple pairs of jeans, some T-shirts, a sweatshirt or two, and maybe a few button-down shirts in their wardrobe. If you don’t have those, you’re either unusually well-dressed or very inventive.

The way to go from looking like everyone else to looking sharp and stylish is to take those basic wardrobe pieces and swap a few of them out for pieces that are nicer, but aren’t necessarily any more formal. When everyone else is wearing jeans and T-shirts or hoodies, you stand out by being the guy in something a little different.

Here are a few basic staples of most young men’s wardrobes, and some alternatives to them that can be worn stylishly but casually:

Blue jeans – Swap them for colored corduroys, earth-tone cotton slacks, gray wool flannel trousers, or just jeans in a darker color and close fit. Even the simple upgrade from light blue work jeans to dark, stylish, contrast-stitched jeans goes a long way in improving your style.

T-shirts – Replace them with polo shirts, lightweight long-sleeve T-shirts, henley shirts, Breton tops, and other light, but distinct, styles. If you do wear a T-shirt, something with a solid color and either no design or an artistic design (rather than a band name or sports team) is best.

Hoodies Swap them for casual collared shirts, plaid flannels, cotton sweaters, lightweight cashmere sweaters, sweater-vests, and cardigans.

CoatsKeep the thick winter coat for when you really need it, but add blazers and sports jackets to the fall and spring wardrobe. Throwing a casual jacket on over even just a T-shirt and jeans instantly upgrades the look.

Sneakers Swap ‘em for casual leather shoes. Saddle shoes, wingtips, brogues, loafers – there’s a lot of options here. If you do want to keep sneakers in the wardrobe, go for colored canvas options (like Converse All-Stars) to keep it stylish.

These are all just examples of a simple point: the more things you have in your wardrobe that aren’t the same old blue jeans and T-shirts, the sharper you’ll look. Small upgrades go a long way in casual company.

Items You Might Not Own (But Probably Should)

So what are some pieces that young men can wear to break out of the mold a little?

These are a few that are worth knowing about. You probably can’t add them all to the wardrobe at once, but if you’re working on adding variety a few pieces at a time, these would be worth your while:

Jackets and Coats

Sports jackets - These are probably the easiest way to dress up any casual outfit. Throw a blazer or sports jacket on and suddenly you’re classy. Not particularly formal, but certainly sharper than your peers, and with an almost infinite variety of colors and patterns out there to choose from you can add quite a bit of uniqueness to your wardrobe with only a few pieces.

Blouson - A tight-waisted descendent of WWII-era field jackets, this is a good option for times when a sports jacket with lapels feels a little too dressy. It has a timeless feel that reminds people of old movies, war heroes, and middle America.

Leather jackets - Another good casual jacket option, you’ve got your choice of a couple styles, ranging from the heavy, lined bomber jacket to tight-fitted moto jackets. They have a little “tough guy” swagger to them.

Jean jackets – Again available in lots of styles, these shouldn’t be worn with matching denim (blue jeans and a blue jean jacket is no good), but look great with slacks, corduroys, or in some cases, darker denim, though mixing denims should always be done carefully.

Overcoats - A long wool overcoat is something many young men lack, and something that becomes invaluable in cold or wet weather when you’re dressing up. Throwing a puffy winter parka over a suit or nice jacket ruins the whole look. Keep an eye on second-hand shops if you can’t afford one new off the rack — a good Chesterfield or polo coat is the ideal companion to your nicer outfits.

Pea Coats – Originally worn by sailors, pea coats are often made from navy-colored or black heavy wool, and feature broad lapels, double-breasted fronts, and large buttons. Looks sharp, and pulls together both casual and slightly more formal outfits.

Duffle coats – Also called toggle coats for their typical style of button, duffel coats were originally military surplus and later became a staple of European intellectuals and students. They’re still classic campus wear, and striking these days for their uniqueness (especially on American campuses, where they were never quite as ubiquitous).

Barbour jackets – Wet weather gear from England, the Barbour has various imitators from brands like L.L.Bean and Land’s End, but the originals are sturdier – being made with waterproofed cotton with a quilted lining. They look rugged and outdoorsy, and have the added benefit of keeping you dry without being a shiny plastic poncho or something similarly unstylish.

Want more help dressing for cold weather?  Visit this classic AOM article.

Trousers and Pants

Odd trousers - This is the catch-all term for pants that don’t match your jacket, but generally implies casual wool trousers. Blue jeans worn with a jacket are technically odd trousers, but most people wouldn’t say that. Instead, you should be thinking about colored and patterned wool or cotton slacks — everything from plain gray flannel trousers, to plaids and houndstooth is fair game, and looks good paired with a casual jacket.

Corduroys – These can come in any color, ranging from staid earth tones to neon-bright primary colors. The former is a good casual companion to a tweed sports jacket; the latter works well in lively evening outfits with a sharp blazer or casual shirt. In either style they’re comfortable, sturdy, and more breathable than denim, making them a good alternative to jeans.

Gray flannel trousers - A staple that every man should own, these are for when you want to look dressy and a little more conservative and/or grown-up. Pair them with a decent dress shirt and a blazer and you’re set for a work day in most offices; skip the blazer and wear a more casual collared shirt (plaid “lumberjack” shirts work well) for an off-duty look.  Curious as to why flannel trousers are so hard to find? Read my post here.

Fitted jeansLooser jeans are fine for manual labor and very casual wear, but most of your jeans should be fitted to your side, with a bit of taper in the lower legs and no sag in the crotch or bottom. That makes them dressy enough to pair with casual sports jackets, particularly if the jeans are in a dark color. Deep indigo is your best bet, though black and gray have their roles as well, and daring men can go for white jeans with a dark top.

Cargo pantsHave a pair for doing manual labor in, and don’t be afraid to wear them from time to time with a collared work (not dress) shirt in blue or plaid. Multiple pairs are appropriate if you’re someone who does a lot of physical labor.

Shirts and Tops

Dress shirtsEveryone needs one or two in plain white for dress occasions; for the rest go for light patterns and colors. They should still be based in white or a very light pastel, but both stripes and checks are fine for most occasions.

Casual collared shirts - Useful for evening casual wear in particular, shirts that have the same basic cut as a dress shirt but a bolder pattern or color go well with everything from gray wool slacks to blue jeans. Variegated stripes (multiple stripes of varying width and color), deep colors like purple and red, and figure patterns (repeating designs rather than line designs like stripes and checks) are all good options for casual collared shirts.

Work shirts - Another collared style, these are made of softer cotton or denim. Chambray shirts have become more popular in style, and blue Oxford workshirts are a classic, as are plaid “lumberjack” shirts. The latter are sometimes made in virgin wool instead of cotton, as with the iconic Pendelton brand.

Polo shirtsUseful for all warm weather needs, everyone should have a few. One in white, one in a solid dark, and one with a few narrow stripes (the classic golf look) is a good start to the collection. Avoid wearing polos with a company logo on the chest unless you’re actually on the clock and working for that company.

Rugby shirtsSomething like a long-sleeved polo shirt, these usually have broad horizontal stripes and in some cases, a team logo or school crest on the left breast. They’re good for a collegiate look that doesn’t rely on a hoodie or T-shirt.

Henley shirtsSimilar to a T-shirt, but with a small, buttoning “fly” in the front, below the ring collar. They can be long- or short-sleeved, and both are a nice alternative to a plain tee.

Breton top - Familiar to most people as “the French shirt” — a three-quarter length sleeve shirt with horizontal stripes in alternating white and navy blue (or white and black; other colors are occasionally seen as well). A unique and eye-catching look for bold dressers. Don’t pair it with a beret unless you’re trying to look like a caricature of a Frenchman, or are a mime.

Guayabera – A traditional Mexican style also called a Cuban shirt. Guayaberas have multiple front pockets, a soft collar, and decorative columns of pleats or embroidery, and can range from plain white to brightly colored and extravagantly decorated. It’s a good touch of the exotic for a North American’s summer wardrobe.

Cardigans - Buttoned or zippered sweaters that open in the front. No college student should be without a thick, loose, blanket-like wool one. Nothing is better for draping around a girlfriend’s shoulders, or just looking stylish on the way to class. Lighter, more fitted versions in cotton or light wools, like cashmere, are good for fall and spring.

Sweaters – Any style of pullover sweater can work well either on its own or paired with a sports jacket.  For more on sweaters visit this classic AOM piece.

Footwear and Accessories

Work shoes - Dark leather with a rubber sole and thick stitching, for a look that’s sturdy but not sloppy. An ideal alternative to sneakers in almost any outfit, work shoes are made for work and often incorporate nonslip soles and steel toes.  Doc Marten is the iconic brand here, developed by a German named Dr. Klaus Marten in 1943 and later acquired by an English company who transformed them into a staple of the young working class, football hooligans, and musicians.

Work bootsSimilar to work shoes but thicker, taller, and sometimes more varied in color. For the most part practical in use, but throw them on with jeans and a lumberjack shirt when you just feel like looking tough and outdoorsy (even if you’re just walking down to the store or across campus).  I am a fan of Red Wing boots – still made in Red Wing, Minnesota.

Sandals - A good pair with dark leather straps keeps you looking sharp in the summer. The Birkenstock brand isn’t required, but it’s a good example of the style, and the soles are comfortable.

Canvas sneakers - A pair of colored canvas sneakers like the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars is good for dressing down an outfit. Throw them on with a blazer and odd trousers or even a suit for a nightclub/concert look. Just don’t wear them with jeans and a T-shirt unless you’re trying to look sloppy.

Chukka or desert boots – Desert boots are a practical sub-species of chukka boots, which are a low-ankled, loosely-tied style of casual leather boot. They’re good for both practical outdoor use and casual social wear, and make a nice alternative to casual leather shoes.

Leather shoes - Everyone needs a pair of plain black Oxford Balmorals for dress purposes, but beyond that it’s good to have a few pairs with casual accenting. Brogues (shoes with perforated patterns), saddle shoes (two-tone shoes with a horizontal band across the upper), wingtips, and other styles that feature strong, decorative elements are all good for wear with everything from blue jeans on up.

Dress watches - Stay within your budget, but have one. Either a metal or a leather band is appropriate, though you should always match your leathers. Anything from a good Timex to a Rolex can work, but stick to small, simple faces so that you can wear it with suits as well as your day-to-day gear.

Decorative belts - Again, everyone needs at least one in black leather, but for casual wear consider stamped or tooled belts, or plain leather ones with interchangeable buckles. Colored leather, canvas, or cloth belts can be a great way to turn an outfit from just “sharp” to “unique,” so long as you don’t go overboard (the belt should never be the most noticeable piece).

Metal pens - A seemingly small touch, but one that makes a great impression. Have a good, metal-barreled pen in your jacket pocket any time you wear one. That way you always look prepared, and when you pull it out you look a bit fancy, unlike someone with a plastic Bic.

Pocket squares – A final accent, and one you should have every time you wear a sports jacket, blazer, or suit jacket. Own a couple in plain white and then as many as you want in colors and patterns. Your jacket isn’t complete without one.  And know how to fold your pocket square!

Dressing for Special Occasions

Dressing for Class (High School)

High school fashion is a rough game! Too sloppy and you’re just another dude in the crowd, but too natty and you’re likely to get teased (or worse).

Dark-colored jeans or corduroys and an untucked dress shirt is a good middle ground, especially when worn with casual leather shoes of some kind – it’s clearly different from your classmates, but it’s not stuffy. And if you find yourself in trouble with a teacher or administrator, you can tuck the shirt in quickly for an instantly respectable look.

  • Things you should definitely own: Dark indigo jeans, colored corduroys, or cotton slacks; casual collared shirts (both dress shirts and softer, thicker workshirts work well).
  • Things you should avoid: Blazers or sports jackets (unless part of the school uniform), neckties (way too stuffy, and likely to get pulled on as well), very fancy leather shoes

Dressing for Class (College)

Ah, college. Master of your own fate at last. For most of us, this is our first chance to dress ourselves and head out into the world without any input from anyone, and there’s usually no dress code to worry about unless you picked a very conservative school.

But nothing attracts a professor’s negative attention like a stereotypical college slob – you show up in sweat or pajama pants, a hoodie, and flip-flops, and you’re basically taking points off your grade in the form of his or her lowered expectations. If your professor thinks you’re a slacker, he or she reads your paper like a slacker’s – just looking for opportunities to dock points.

So raise the bar at least a little. You also want to make a good impression on any potential romantic prospects you meet, so don’t be afraid to out-dress your peers. Sure, they might give you a hard time if you show up in a sports jacket, but they’ll get over it – and you’ll still look good.

The ideal college look is usually something a little more formal than jeans and an untucked shirt, and a little less formal than a tucked-in dress shirt and navy blazer. Good middle ground options include colored and patterned dress shirts (tuck or untuck it depending on how sharp you want to seem), very casual sports jackets (tweed and corduroy are your friends here), dark jeans, colored cotton slacks, and cardigans or pullover sweaters.

  • Things you should definitely own: At least one or two sports jackets (seriously, try it if you haven’t), dark jeans, some decent cotton slacks, maybe a pair of gray wool trousers; sweaters for the cold months.
  • Things you should avoid: Neckties (although a colored bowtie can look whimsical and fun, if you wear it with confidence), matched suits, severe leather dress shoes (casual styles with some decorative elements to them are fine); ratty blue jeans and hoodies (too sloppy).

For more style tips for college students, check out this classic AoM article.

Dressing for Graduate School

At the point where you’re out of undergrad the responsibilities change, even in academia — you’re no longer just responsible for yourself. Graduate students are almost always either part of a research team, part of a teaching team, or both. You end up representing a lab, a department, or a particular professor, and you need to be making a good impression. You probably won’t get thrown out of your program for being sloppy…but if the research isn’t going well or you screw something else up, it sure won’t help your case.

Grad students who teach undergrads need to look dressier than their students. That means wearing either a jacket or a tie – you don’t need both, though you can wear both if you want to. If you don’t have either you’re probably underdressed.

If you don’t teach class sections but you do work in a shared lab or office, you can relax a little – tucked-in collared shirts are probably fine, though a sweater or jacket will certainly make you look sharper.

The ideal look for a grad student at work is usually a sports jacket or blazer (with a pocket square – always a good way to improve the sharpness of your look), a dress shirt tucked in, and either wool or cotton slacks. Dark, fitted jeans can work, but at that point you’re almost looking like a well-dressed undergrad. Dress slacks will give you a little more authority.

  • Things you should definitely own: A couple of good blazers and sports jackets, plenty of colored/patterned dress shirts, leather shoes and belts; a few neckties and pocket squares.
  • Things you should avoid: Matched suits (except at formal presentations), sweatshirts or performance fleece, sneakers; blue jeans.

Dressing for Work: Office Casual

Obviously, not everyone’s going to have an office job. “Dressing for work” could mean everything from a bespoke suit on down to a pair of hip-waders, depending on your employment.

But for the most part, recent graduates end up somewhere in between those extremes, in an environment where full suits and ties aren’t required but jeans and a T-shirt would be frowned upon.

It’s a range filled with boring options, so rely on variety and details to spice your outfits up. Also rely on jackets, which no dress-casual worker should be without. They give you a sharper body shape than a guy in just a dress shirt, and they add the possibility of a pocket square, which is one of the most stylish accents out there for men.

Blue jeans might be allowed in some workplaces, but they don’t ever look particularly professional, so go for wool trousers or cotton slacks instead. Neckties may or may not be mandatory, and if they’re not, consider wearing one anyway – at least a few days a week, enough to make it clear that you enjoy the added style. The first time you try it someone will probably tell you, “Oh, you don’t need to wear a tie,” but you can just reassure them that you felt like looking a little sharp anyway.

  • Things you should definitely own: A pair of gray flannel trousers (really, every man needs one at some point in his life), a couple sharp-looking blazers, light-colored or lightly-patterned dress shirts, leather dress shoes; plenty of pocket squares.
  • Things you should avoid: Suits (unless you need them for meetings or the like), blue jeans, sweatshirts or performance fleece; sneakers.

Dressing for the Weekend: Daytime Errands

When you don’t have class or work, it’s tempting to wear the oldest and most comfortable clothes in the wardrobe, but try to save those for working around the house. When you go out in public, it’s worth a little time and effort to look sharper than the average guy on the street. You never know who you might run into, after all – friends, bosses, maybe even a future spouse. Who knows? That’s sort of the point – and the reason you want to be nice-looking any time you venture out.

“Nice” in this case definitely doesn’t mean “dressy.” Wear something like blue jeans and a sports jacket that’s making a nod toward nice dress without being too formal.

Most people aren’t trying to wear their most eye-catching styles during the day (save those for socializing in the evening), so jeans or plain-colored slacks are usually the best trouser option, paired with just about any kind of shirt you please and a jacket or sweater on top. Shoes can be leather or stylish canvas sneakers.

  • Things you should definitely own: A couple pairs of well-fitted jeans (deep indigo is best, but a lighter blue is fine during the day), comfortable walking shoes, casual sports jackets.
  • Things you should avoid: Dressy blazers or suits, brightly-colored trousers, sweatshirts/hoodies or T-shirts with nothing over them.

Dressing for the Weekend: Evening Socializing

When you head out at night with friends, it’s time to look your best. Not your most formal, necessarily (though you may need a suit and tie at some specific events and establishments), but well-styled and striking.

That means breaking out the more unique wardrobe items: patterned blazers, colored trousers, and deeply-colored shirts. You don’t have to wear all the colors of the rainbow – just gray slacks, a black shirt, and a light-gray blazer can look plenty sharp – but you should be wearing an outfit that you definitely wouldn’t wear to work.

This is where a lot of guys run into trouble since our “dressed up” wardrobe tends to also be our “work appropriate” one. It’s worth investing in some blazers, shirts, and pants that you wouldn’t necessarily wear outside of a social setting so that you’re not one more guy in khakis and a blue button-down when you go out for the evening.

Casual suits aren’t something that every guy owns, but they can be a good look for the evening. The trick is finding one that’s clearly not a business suit – the fit should be close, and the color or pattern should be obviously informal. Worn without a necktie, you can look pretty sharp in a close-fitted leisure suit (a phrase with unfortunate associations from the 1970s, but as long as you steer clear of polyester and bright colors you’ll be fine).

  • Things you should definitely own: Colored/patterned/textured blazers, colored trousers, casually-patterned shirts; colored canvas sneakers or casual leather shoes.
  • Things you should avoid: Solid-color dress shirts, plain blazers or jackets, work shoes.

Dressing for a Date (or When You’re Looking for a Date)

Ahhh, romance! A part (hopefully) of every young man’s life at one point or another. But how to dress for love?

Happily, the outfits for going out stag and hoping to find a date are basically the same as the outfits you’d wear on most first dates (unless you do very fancy first dates). A pair of dark jeans or cords, a light-colored or lightly-patterned dress shirt, and a casual sports jacket or sweater will keep you looking both “nice” and “relaxed” – the two traits you really want to be projecting when you’re looking for love.

A sharp-dressed guy who seems to care about his appearance is much more attractive than one who’s sloppy with his grooming, so pay attention to your details. A recent haircut, trimmed nails, a good shine on the shoes, and, of course, a colored pocket square to liven up the jacket all speak well of the man wearing them.

Avoid deliberately “sexy” looks, however. Whatever television has told you, most girls are not looking for skintight pants and shirts unbuttoned halfway to the navel. Look comfortable, confident, and neat, rather than slick. Seriously.

  • Things you should definitely own: Dark jeans or corduroys, sports jackets and blazers, lightly-colored dress shirts, casual leather shoes; pocket squares.
  • Things you should avoid: Light-colored jeans, T-shirts, sweatshirts and performance fleece, sneakers or athletic shoes; business suits.

For more tips on dressing for a date, see this AoM article or check out this “60 Second” guide for a quick crib sheet.

Dressing for a Job Interview

The basic rule for interviews is “wear the uniform of the job you want, plus one level of formality higher.” So if you’re applying for a job as a high school teacher, where you’d expect to wear collared shirts and either a jacket or sweater most days, you show up at the interview in a suit. If you’re applying to dig ditches with the state Department of Transportation, on the other hand, you probably don’t want to show up in anything fancier than khakis and a button-down.

That said, most job interviews for the kinds of jobs young men gravitate toward are suit-and-tie affairs. It rarely hurts to be a little overdressed, and you make the best impression you can when you’re wearing a sober, well-fitted suit.

As a result, most young men benefit from owning an “interview suit” even if they have no other need for a suit. The basic interview suit – acceptable everywhere – is either charcoal gray or navy blue, single-breasted, two-button, and has notch lapels. Some small variations are fine – you’re not going to lose a job opportunity because you wore peak lapels – but that basic formula is always reliable and conservative enough for anyone’s tastes.

You should wear the suit with a necktie; if you feel the interview is too casual for a tie it’s also too casual for a suit. Suits without ties speak of leisure, which isn’t the image you want to project. For a non-suit interview, wear a pair of plain-colored slacks and a dark blazer instead, with a light-colored or lightly-patterned dress shirt and an open collar underneath.

FYI – I cover dressing for a medical industry interview, engineering interview, law school interview, or business school interview here.

  • Things you should definitely own: At least one good, simple suit in a plain, dark color; black Oxford Balmoral dress shoes.
  • Things you should avoid: Casual suits, suits without neckties, jeans, casual shoes.

Dress Young, Dress Sharp: The Varied Wardrobe

No matter what you’re dressing for, the key for a young man is to have options. Most of your peers are dressing alike: if they’re in school they’re wearing jeans and sweatshirts; if they’re working in an office they’re wearing khakis and button-downs.

There’s a whole lot more options out there. Corduroys, cardigans, sport coats, blazers, loafers, canvas shoes, belts, polos, Henley shirts, saddle shoes, dress boots, cashmere sweaters, topsiders – the list goes on and on, and you should experiment freely.

Because as a young man, you’ve got everything to gain by standing out – and your poorly-dressed peers are making it easy on you.

Watch a video summary of the post:

Your Thoughts?

OK – so now I want to hear from you.

Which of the above categories should we write about in greater detail?  Do you need more for high school students?  The young man working his first sales job?  What about for the young man working on his Ph.D and starting to interview?

Let me know in the comments!

Written by Antonio Centeno
Founder, Real Men Real Style
Creator of the internet’s largest collection of FREE Style Videos




{ 195 comments… read them below or add one }

101 WHSpain November 4, 2012 at 12:25 am

Great article, thanks!
Two comments: Men should still shine their shoes. I see so many men walking around in scuffed up shoes. If you get a good pair of shoes and keep them shined, they’ll look great for a long time. My father taught me to shine shoes, and I still practice this lost art.
Secondly, to my father, black shoes were for tuxedos. He had brown and cordovan wingtips to wear with the suits and ties he wore to work–not black. Your thoughts?

102 dan November 4, 2012 at 8:09 am

Can you give an example of a leisure suit like you recommend? I’ve never seen anything other than those sorry 1970s leisure suits. Thanks!

103 Hunter November 4, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Highschool, but out of school. I go to a private school where there is an extremely strict uniform and only a tiny wiggle room. So, 16-18 casual/classy. I almost always wear some sort of button up, though more casual button ups. Sort of plaid like things, but many more colors that the usual red and black plaid that people think of. Most of them are Prana brand. Any suggestions for other stuff? Please do make another article.

104 Brad Greeson November 4, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Very good article! I think a little more on fall and spring styles would benefit many people.

105 Derpyderp November 5, 2012 at 12:13 am

One great spot for guys all the way from high school up into their 30s is reddit’s r/malefashionadvice as well as r/frugalmalefashion. Tons of good advice (as always to be taken with a grain of salt as it is a particular audience writing for the same). Still, lots of good ideas for the basics of how to dress in a classic (and classy) style that you can read and put your own spin on. I’ve become a fan of the frugal make fashion sub because they regularly post places to get solid additions to your wardrobe without breaking the bank as well as less expensive alternatives to classic clothing if you can’t quite yet afford to spend several hundred buckaroos on jeans, jackets, shoes, and shirts.

106 tarzansisalive November 5, 2012 at 4:47 am

I always carry my victorinox knife and I prefer nice pencil instead of a pen. It is cheaper, simple, writes almost everywhere, you can track how used it is.

107 Kenny November 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I enjoyed this article, as it is something I am working on myself. The only thing I don’t agree with is the pea coat suggestion. When I see someone walking with a pea coat, I can instantly tell that they had purchased it at Old Navy, etc.
I feel that a pea coat should only be worn by someone who has earned it (via military service) or inherited it.
Just the opinion of someone who has a pea coat the hard way.

108 Brian November 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I’m going to disagree on one point- always keep a couple T-shirts and at least one hoodie in your wardrobe; you don’t want to be wearing a polo shirt and slacks while you’re chopping/hauling wood, or a button-up when you work on your car. Don’t wear them all the time, but keep them around in the back of your closet just in case!

109 Dave November 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm

This is all great advice — now where does a guy in his late teens/early 20s go buy all this stuff without going into indentured servitude?

110 Adam H November 6, 2012 at 11:30 am

Where can I get the belt that is worn in the fitted jeans picture. I must have it.

111 Adam H November 6, 2012 at 11:35 am

Where can I get the belt shown in the fitted jean picture. I must have it.


112 Brett McKay November 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm

To the queries as to “Where can I get x?”

As aforementioned, the images that we remembered where they came from are linked in the image. So just click on the image to be taken to the source. If there’s no link, that means we don’t remember where it came from. They were all found by typing in the item, for example, “mens blouson jacket,” into google’s image search and then browsing through the images, sometimes for awhile. Happy hunting!

113 Sam November 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Please don’t wear a Barbour jacket in town unless you’ve just popped up for the day from your place in the country.

Also please don’t wear it in public until it has been used as a dogs bed, been pulled through a hedge, had game gralloched on it and after being worn by a pretty lady when dashing home from a rain swept picnic.

114 Smoore November 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm

What do you recommend for a college-aged man who cannot afford to buy new (or even used) clothes to spruce up his style? I definitely want to upgrade my presentation, but with my RA job I make only $130/month, so I can’t afford to purchase clothes very often. In fact, almost every new article of clothing I’ve received in the last two years or so has been free T-shirts.

115 Simon Frez-Albrecht November 8, 2012 at 1:51 am

A couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to dress up my style and look a little more grown up. I started by giving away all but one hoodie, which I save for special occasions.

My wardrobe is pretty simple, and I keep it cheap so that I can spend my money on technical outdoors clothing and gear instead. Mostly I wear a pair of cargo pants, a semi-fitted t-shirt (not quite tight), and I have a few options to toss on over in cooler weather. I have my $1 blazer from the salvation army store, my woolrich vest, and a couple of nice wool sweaters that I picked up at salvation army or otherwise got cheap. I often wear my beat to hell, but frequently re-shined dress shoes, or dark sneakers or hiking boots. If I want to dress up, I wear my bought-on-sale dress shirts with the sleeves rolled up (because they’re never long enough when they’re trim enough in the body), and sometimes a tie. I do have one tailored suit in my closet that’s worth two weeks of wages that I save for special events.

Overall I keep it really simple and aim for timeless.

Most people seem to think that I dress pretty formally, even though I’m just in pants and a t-shirt. A large part of it is fit, and my hairstyle (I go for a Mad Men -ish slick back). Being fit and a little muscular makes dressing much easier, since most clothes-even if they don’t fit great-still look pretty good. This makes it much easier to find good deals on used clothing.

By the way, I’m a 21 year old freshman in college.

116 Gerald November 8, 2012 at 7:41 pm

“Jean jackets” Combined with Jeans?

Come on… last time this was in fashion was on south asian immigrants or east german fugitives in the early 90s… copying an overdone early 1980s Style.

you can look so shabby in it.

pea coat fakes are heavy in use recent years – just like all the M65 Field Jackets derivates from Fashion Labels in almost every color and material up to luxury versions
But there sure is worse then that and with an authentic miltary peacoat/colani someone definatly stands out. Cant beat the original style.

117 Ryan November 9, 2012 at 2:39 am

What about hats? I mean beanies, baseball caps(flat brimmed and not), etc?

118 Ronald Sim November 9, 2012 at 9:41 am

A fantastic read, but if you could add more accessories like kinds of bags for different students would be perfect.
How about styles in the tropic countries as well?

119 Chris November 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Even 18 years olds can wear Flat Caps and even Trilby hats again today.
Good reason to thank these stuid neo-hipsters for that!
10 or 15 years ago this was almost impossible without being looked upon as eccentric.

Staying away from basecaps and beaniies is now easy.

Yes, you can wear unflashy models at physical labor, or at sports.

But they bring every other outfit down and can even make you look boyish or infantile… So my advise is to get rid of em.

120 Aaron November 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm

THANK YOU for not including flip-flops anywhere as a recommendation.

Manly men do NOT wear flip-flops away from the beach, pool or boat (and I recommend deck shoes for the boat, especially on a sailboat.

121 Jake November 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm

For people who want to know what store the different images originate,

Google images allows you to search the internet by image.

Create another tab and drag it to half of the screen. Go to google images,

AoM on the other tab on the other side of the screen. Drag the image of the unknown source into the search bar of google images.

Most of the time it should work.

122 Matt November 10, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Great article. I’ve been trying to upgrade my wardrobe for a couple years now (I’m 26) and these types of articles, sure do help. There’s a lot of times where I go out with my contemporaries, and notice the same old styles that we used to wear when we were freshmen in college. I’m glad that I’m able to find these articles to help me just get that “nudge” into the classier, more sophisticated realm.

123 PJ November 13, 2012 at 2:23 pm

I would love to hear more about the young man and his first sales job!

124 Drew November 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Just tried dragging and dropping the image of the pea coat into the google images. All it did was bring up the same image with different brands representing the same image. Does anyone know what brand the pea coat was?

125 Ek70R November 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

excellent articlee!!!!

126 Dave November 18, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Thanks for the article, AOM – I’ve been thinking lately that I need to spruce up my wardrobe. I’m 35, a husband and father, but quite young at heart. I’m a little husky and working toward a better shape, and I’ve started realizing how my cargo pants don’t do me any favors, etc. so I’m definitely on the lookout for better pants. You mention grey flannel pants, which I don’t have, but I do have a pair of grey khakis with a brushed finish that are soft, comfortable and I think look pretty sharp.

Oh and to the commenter who mentioned hats – I don’t know about your taste in hats, but I’ve been wearing flat caps for at least a decade and everybody seems to like the look. Although, if the cap’s black, you run a slight risk of looking like a henchman from the 60s Batman series.

127 Marcus R November 19, 2012 at 3:18 pm

“Good article. Unfortunately I am a young man who works both in an office setting and outdoors 50/50. Any suggestions for more rugged business casual style?”

Triple Aught Design could be your new best friend. They make awesome expedition grade outdoors clothes, but also have some nicer styles that are still made for an active lifestyle. The Spartan and Legionnaire pants, as well as the Overland shirt and anything in merino would probably suit you well.

128 Jeia November 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Good article. Do you have anything that teaches young men how to match ties to their suits/outfit? what color socks/belts/ shoes to wear with what outfit? how slacks & shirts should fit? basic things like that. Please let me know!


129 Harvey November 20, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I’m having trouble finding a tailor. I’m on a student’s budget but I don’t want my clothes to look baggy on me, especial with my thin wiry build. How can I find a good but economic one and what sort of prices can I expect (so I don’t get swindled)

130 Matt November 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I like your article. Being a college student it’s nice getting suggestions on what to wear. Does anyone know a good site where they show a lot of example outfits?

131 Alex November 21, 2012 at 10:43 pm

I wear the Dickies 874 work pants every day. I booted my jeans and replaced them with Dickies. These are great because they’re good for working on the motorcycle, and I can put on my nicer kept ones for a night on the town. Plus, they’re ridiculously comfortable. And I wear plain black/gray/white tees in the summer and winter, with a nice sweater or “lumberjack shirt” thrown over in the latter. The balance, really, is knowing when to look good, and when to look great.

132 James November 22, 2012 at 12:49 am

I’m not a big fan of the “Dickies” brand, but I like to wear casual/work slacks for everything. You can get twice as much life out of your pants by rotating them down, Brand new = more important occasions, a little worn = physical labor, in the company of others, very worn = changing the oil, pruning the orchard, etc.

133 Jerry November 22, 2012 at 10:13 am
134 Skyler November 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Great article…suggestions on where to find affordable products like the ones mentioned? other than the obvious stores.

135 Samuel November 24, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I’ve never seen a problem with wearing jeans in a “smart” look. As long as they are clean, untattered, and fit like proper slacks, then they go well with certain colours of sweaters or shirts. As for shoes, I’ve always turned to (clean) Chuck Taylor’s in casual circumstances (using colours that complement my pants, of course). The latter is probably because I like to go for a retro ’70s look.

136 Gerald November 25, 2012 at 12:25 am

Dickies Trousers sometimes have big annoying labels, but the standard kakhi trousers without cargo pockets can do great. navy, blazer, leather jacket. shirt… very versatilye.

And Dickies have a crease.

137 B November 25, 2012 at 1:29 am

Good info here. What about those of us who aren’t quite as young? 40′s-50′s?

138 Ryan November 30, 2012 at 6:18 pm

The category you really should go into more is highschool. Also, if you could add how to dress up your wardrobe on a low budget, that would be better.

139 Ryan November 30, 2012 at 6:24 pm

how should i make my wardrobe dressier on a low budget? I am a highschool freshman, so I don’t have a job, and my parents want me to buy my own clothes.

140 Joshua Hart December 2, 2012 at 1:57 am

I’d appreciate more tips on dressing well in high school.

141 Joe December 4, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Excellent article, I’ve always realized the importance of looking sharp- especially now that I’m in college.

142 steve December 4, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Good stuff. However the majority of redwing boot models are not made in MN anymore but China. Ouch. Thouroughgood brand is made 100% here in WI, USA.

143 Romulus December 4, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Folks are right, we need a high school advice on clothing. No one pays attention to us, smart teens!

144 Ryan December 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I’m of the opinion that a varied wardrobe is not so necessary, unless you’re trying to figure out a style that works for you. Experimentation is important, but once you’ve figured out the way you like to look, day-to-day change for the sake of change is less important. I’ve changed my wardrobe incrementally over the years, but I usually stick to one look at a time that suits me at that time. Sort of an everyday uniform.

145 Dan December 7, 2012 at 6:52 pm

There seems to be the assumption that all people live in the great white north.

Imagine there was a guy living in south Florida. Shorts are a firm staple clothing for everyone (age doesnt matter) in most situations

Any advice?

146 Gerald December 13, 2012 at 1:13 am

“Imagine there was a guy living in south Florida. Shorts are a firm staple clothing for everyone (age doesnt matter) in most situations”

They are not… maybe on the bahamas or in South africa maybet, they wear them even with a tie there..

In italy or spain… even in hottest summer if men want to maintain a non-leisure look they will keep there long (cotton) pants.

147 Nick December 28, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Hi Antonio,
I have read a lot of what you write and I am pleased with it. I appreciate this article very much and I thnk that it is very well written. I also have a few suggestions for you. I hear your argument about neckties, but I think that wearing a necktie 2-3 times a week is a good idea. I would not suggest going all the way up to pairing a blazer with them, but just by themselves or with a pea coat or leather jacket in the cooler months will look sharp. There are many different styles of neckties for men to wear, and I think that they don’t need to be so rare an item as they are in our society. I have noticed that a lot of guys don’t like them because they don’t like how tight it is to have their top buttons done up. I would say that a good way to handle that issue is to get your neck measured by a professional at a store like Moores or Brooks Brothers. Thanks for writing this!
Happy Holidays,


148 Isaac January 2, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Great article, but I have a lot of issues with this characters on display. They all seem around 5’9″ 180 pound guys wearing nice clothes. They make it look good with that body frame. I’m a 5’10″, 230 pound, 17 year old. I have a 44+ inch chest, 38 inch waist, 17 inch biceps, and pretty huge calves. That type of clothing is meant for those guys, I have a hard time picturing myself in those clothes simply because those guys and me are complete opposites. I’m starting to get tired of wearing shorts and hoodies or jeans with a plain t-shirt. I really like the type of clothing that was displayed above, but I don’t think it fits my frame. Maybe you guys should look into this, make an article on that.

149 Joseph January 9, 2013 at 7:45 am

Great article! I feel that fathers really failed with my generation (I’m 25) as far as dress advice goes. Most of these tips are somewhat or completely timeless so I’d expect every dad to teach his son how to dress proper.

I went to Prague National Theatre to see a Swan’s Lake the other day. After seeing a third teenager wearing baggy jeans and a hoodie my blood began to boil. I seriously considered contacting the management inquireing why these young lads were not escorted out of the premises for dress-code violation. Seriously even business parties have better dresscode enforcing squad.

150 Tim January 10, 2013 at 10:42 am

This article is so good. It makes me seriously long for the days of the early nineties and back. The illustrations you use definitely look manly. I remember in the eighties you could go into practically any department store or even a mainstreet shop and come out with a complete manly looking outfit. Now, it’s as if the fashion elite, I use the term loosely, are feverishly trying to blurr the lines. This shows there are still manly styles that are well establised in class and masulinity without apology. Once agian, great piece

151 Anirudh January 11, 2013 at 12:51 pm

One of the best articles I have read on dressing sharply….! :)

152 Curt January 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm

I really don’t understand colored trousers. For example I could never picture a dude like Hugh Jackman in skin tight orange trousers. Unless you’re trying to look like Howard Wolowitz I think I would avoid fitted colored trousers (exactly like this article says to avoid in the “On a date” section”).

153 JCS January 18, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Great article! I was just wondering the make/model on the duffle coat pictured.


154 John January 24, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Great tips Antonio. For college kids looking to dress sharp and casually check out http://www.broverstock.us. They offer items in that in-between look that Antonio discusses, all on a college budget.

155 Eran January 25, 2013 at 7:16 pm

The man you are describing seems to live perpetually in the spring and fall. Here in Southern California you’d suffer a good roasting if you attempted most of these outfits a good 6 months out of the year, and sweating is only sexy when you are outside of your clothes.

I find fit, color, and quality go a long way. There is nothing wrong with a good cotton T shirt in a classy color when it fits well (sleeves that hug your arm instead of tenting in the corners, an athletic fit without being undershirt-tight). Coupled with fitted dark jeans (I am strongly partial to dark denim) and (good) shoes of your choice, you can easily pull off an upgraded, casual look, no extra bulk required.

This article also doesnt touch on summer dress at all. I saw you had one on wearing shorts, but I havent gotten to it yet…

156 Maria January 26, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I just found this website today and I love it. I wish all men would read this article. I’m so tired of seeing grown men in sneakers and hoodies or sneakers and shorts (the absolute worst– as if the have’t graduated to big boy pants yet). I can understand if some men would feel over-dressed if they put on a collared shirt and casual shoes if they don’t dress that way for work, but they have no idea how that simple swap instantly elevates them in the eyes of women. There’s no need for men to follow fashion trends or buy designer clothes to look nice; neat, appropriate clothing can be found at all price points.

157 Eric January 27, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Great article, Im 19 and finishing College this year and have strived to dress well in the past year. would’ve liked to see vests mentioned here but oh well.

158 David January 30, 2013 at 1:46 am

I’m a high school sophomore and I’ve read many articles claiming to know just how a high school student should dress, but they’re always way too formal or tacky. Not the sort of thing you want to wear if you still have two and a half years left with the same people to be reminded of the day you tried to wear a tie to school. This article was by far the best I’ve read, displaying an uncanny understanding of high school fashion. It’s given me a good place to start upping my wardrobe while remaing socially acceptable. If that section were to be elaborated on, it would be all the more helpful.

159 Arjun February 2, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Loved the article.
I’m trying to revamp my wardrobe before i head to graduate school. What reasonably priced brands should i be looking at for Sports Jackets, Polo’s, Chinos etc?

160 Jay February 7, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Most of this is good, I feel like guys walking around the grocery store in leather shoes look pretty silly. Similarly I would feel pretty foolish showing up to a casual date in a sports coat with a square. If you are in your late 30s maybe. They are great for hiding your form if you are a little out of shape but if you are cut and healthy tshirts allow your physique to shine through without saying “girl look at this body” and she will.

I think this is another lost form of manliness. Its ok to have some fat on you as long as you are STRONG. If not, before spending an arm and a leg on a new wardrobe, why not get a gym membership and stop eating so much? 30 minutes a day 3 times a week can change your life, and your looks. As someone who went from fat to jacked I can confirm as much as women say they care more about cleanliness and personality, they wont even talk to you romantically unless you appeal to them physically.

161 Lori Cooper February 11, 2013 at 5:40 pm

This advice is terrific–comprehensive and comprehensible. I have been working with college-age students lately who will benefit greatly from reading your posts. I will also steer my blog readers your way.
Thank you!
A fellow wardrobe specialist-
Lori Cooper

162 Tyler February 14, 2013 at 3:34 am

Love the article. I was wondering if you could add a section about advice for dressing as a young teacher (elementary/ high school). I’ve always had a hard time determining if I’m dressing too casually or too formally. I mean I want to look like a teacher (older than the students) but not like I’m doing international trade or Pentagon work or even worse, looking like my grandfather.

Thanks a lot!

163 Nava February 16, 2013 at 1:27 am

I liked this site a lot….very informative,,,i m from india….my husband is going to germany….i came to know that thr its -4 …..so can u suggest me wat kind of leather formal shoes will be good for such a cold climate…..

164 Austin February 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm

What do you find for facial hair/grooming for the college student?

I’ve recently grown out a goatee, but trim it daily by shaving around it. It’s sharply defined, but I don’t know if it’s a sharp look, or too scruffy for looking my best.

165 Spencer Murphy February 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm

I would love it if you wrote a piece for the young man at work. I am sure that I am not the only guy around that has had to change from a labor based career to something that requires a bit more style than jeans & boots.

166 Jon February 23, 2013 at 4:20 pm

I’d really like to read an article about an early-20s guy, into his first job, trying to get into a PhD program. I graduated with a 4 year degree, and absolutely no sense of fashion. I’m currently working in a research lab with others about my same age and experience, but I want to go onto a doctorate program. Your article was a good start, but I’m just not knowledgeable about this stuff to make some good, informed decisions without a few more details.

167 Kenny Powers February 23, 2013 at 9:19 pm

I enjoyed this article, as I too am working on my personal style. The only thing I don’t agree with is the chinos suggestion. When I see someone walking with chinos, I can instantly tell that they had purchased it at the Gap, etc. I feel that chinos should only be worn by someone who has earned it (via military service) or inherited it. Just the opinion of someone who has earned chinos the hard way.

168 Scott March 23, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Thanks for the info, but the real question is where can I buy the clothes mentioned?

169 Joseph March 28, 2013 at 4:14 pm

I know this post is old, but how do you feel about pocket squares with sport coats? I wear them with suits and blazers but I feel weird wearing them with tweed and other like materials.

170 Ryan Simpson April 3, 2013 at 8:39 am

Can you perhaps elaborate on office wear in the summer. I agree with the necessity of blazers and such but in the summer heat that can get pretty uncomfortable.
Are there any lighter but stylish options for warmer climates?

171 Ian April 6, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I’m a Ballroom Instructor and I need some spice for my suits and tie formula. I’m definitely getting pocket squares but I need some more options. My wardrobe has to be as nice as possible, I’m catering to very well to do clients. I want to look modern and stylish yet somehow be appealing to a conservative client. Great article by the way, covered every avenue and brought out the details.

172 Thomas April 27, 2013 at 8:57 pm

I would like to see more information on style for grad students. As a young scientist, I would like to come across as well-dressed, but also let the essential “nerdiness” of my career show through.

173 marco April 29, 2013 at 3:59 pm

hey, ive been searching for fashion tips, im in my early 20´s, i want to dress nice, but not in a suite and shoes the hole time, thats a little bit too much..any advice? or sites that i can chech out or anything?

174 Peter April 30, 2013 at 11:16 pm

It really depends on the company. Within my high school, you had the people who dressed up for school (i.e., actually put on a shirt), the people who dressed up for school (i.e., nice clothes), the people who dressed sharply (i.e., button-downs, ties, vests), and the people who wore a matched suit fairly regularly.

175 Peter May 8, 2013 at 6:19 am

You mention dress shirts I would add to that ‘French Cuff shirts’ which can be worn casually without a tie. They need to be worn with cufflinks – These dress shirts really make you stand out from the crowd. Make sure its nicely ironed – use starch if possible!

176 Josh May 25, 2013 at 12:00 am

Hey, I don’t know if you still check this article, but I really enjoyed it. I would love some more tips on how to dress for high school because I will be attending a private high school next year and I would like some more tips on how to stand out (in a good way). Thanks, loved the article.

177 Mr. Peanut May 26, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Great article, and very helpful–thanks!
I’m a graduate student, but I go to a school in California where the environment is very casual. I would enjoy wearing a jacket or a tie, but if I did then I would be out-dressing most of the professors. What would you suggest?

178 Robert July 2, 2013 at 1:49 am

So what’s the deal with a polo under a blazer?

179 Nolan July 19, 2013 at 7:46 pm

I’m a huge advocate of peacoats. I spent a large chunk of my adolescence on a square-rigged ship, and almost everybody who’s spent time in that world has eventually gone out and gotten one. No other article of clothing is so practical and good-looking at the same time. One important thing, that was already mentioned, is never, EVER, buy from Old Navy or any other general consumer store. Their coats scream “fake” even from a great distance, and they only look worse the closer you get. People in the know can feel their brain cells committing suicide at the sight of a red or neon-purple knock-off. Army/Navy surplus stores are your friends here. Modern U.S Navy coats are black and rather short, with plastic buttons, and they’ll be the most commonly encountered, but I managed to find a WWII-era Swedish coat (in like-new condition…) for about $25 in a distinctive blue-gray with metal buttons and a greater overall length. Wore it every day, all winter. Best money I ever spent. Look for official insignia on the inside back of any coats you’re thinking of buying. There’ll often be dates stamped there, too, if you’re into history.

180 Shane C July 31, 2013 at 2:04 am

I was wondering if anyone had tips for dressing when going to class and/or out on the town when it’s hot as hell. I live in Arizona so a good portion of both semesters are in the 100′s and as of right now, even at night, it’s still above 90 degrees.

181 Melissa G. October 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I may be one of the only ladies that reads your blog, since I see mostly young men commenting on your post. :) But my husband and I read your blog and LOVE it! THANK YOU for not including flip flops or athletic pants/shorts/hoodies in your recommendations. So many people are dressed like slobs these days, and it didn’t used to be this way. Let’s bring suits and ties back in style! :) LOVE them! Every guy needs a suit/tie!

182 Glade October 30, 2013 at 6:57 pm

As a High Schooler, I got with dark jeans, casual somewhat “scuffed” brown leather shoes and a tucked in button-up, if its cold I throw on a sweater and/or blouson. I’ve gotten good feedback thus far so I recommend it.

183 Tom October 31, 2013 at 1:17 am

Regarding the black suit, I would say for young men looking to buy their first suit a far more versatile color would be charcoal/dark grey simply because it can be worn to just about any occasion whether it’s a job interview, wedding, funeral, if you work an office job that requires a suit it can be worn at work as well etc. Black suits seem very dated to me and certain colors for shirts, ties and pocket squares don’t match as well as they do with a charcoal/dark grey suit, all this is coming from real-life, first hand experience; the only time that a suit of this color would look out of place is at a black tie event but in that case if you’re being invited to something of that nature generally speaking you would have the means to own several different suits in different colors.

184 Tobin October 31, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Graphic tees – only wear at home.
Try different colors – I’ve got a stripped kind of flannel shirt with some purple and yellows in it and girls love it.
Dont over dress for interviews… If its an office job, wear a suit, but if its a physical job do not wear a suit/tie/dress pants..

185 Joe November 3, 2013 at 1:44 am

What about hats?

186 Mirza November 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Can anyone tell me what brand that bomber jacket is or where to get it?

187 Jay November 17, 2013 at 10:40 pm

What about the guy who’s 25 and reinventing his look to be more fashionable and mature?

188 lesniks November 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm


189 Adam Thompson November 21, 2013 at 10:12 am

I’m a first year university student and I loved this article! Keep them coming.

190 Brandon Michaels January 21, 2014 at 2:00 pm

I’m a junior in high school and almost everyday I wear black slacks to school. I find that wearing slacks makes you automatically look better dressed even though it could be a casual occasion. I like to wear canvas sneakers (grey Vans are my favorite) and a solid button down shirt sometimes with a black skinny tie sometimes without. Skinny ties look much sharper than the wider ties so many people wear these days. On more formal occassions I wear the same dark charcoal grey (almost black) pinstipe slacks with brown dress shoes (and of course a matching brown belt) with a starched white shirt and the same black skinny tie. It is those subtle differences that can create different looks out of very few clothes.

191 Judah February 20, 2014 at 3:33 pm

I’m a junior in high school, and I wear the same thing to school every day: a button down shirt (tucked in), slacks (almost always black), and either leather shoes or another pair of black shoes (I don’t know what you would call them, they aren’t sneakers). I would love suggestions of ways to diversify what I wear without looking slovenly (I can’t find a way to look good in a polo) or overheating. It doesn’t help that I’m a bit overwheight.

192 Michael February 23, 2014 at 11:16 am

I read a few of these articles on the site, but where are some good stores to go to and buy these items? And what clothing items should I start with? The few clothes in my wardrobe consist of jeans a few t-shirts and a few button ups.

193 Matthew March 2, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Could you make an article for warm weather attire.

194 Elizabeth March 21, 2014 at 11:54 pm

@Ryan @Hunter @Romulus @Joshua Hart @David

For high schoolers, here’s what I’ve seen that works:

casual (shouldn’t go much more casual than this, IMO, if you’re going for a well-put-together look):
shirts: Henley (long sleeve especially), Raglan (long or short sleeve), v-neck t-shirts, colored t-shirts layered with unbuttoned collared shirt
pants: fitted, dark wash jeans
shorts: this site’s article “A Man’s Guide to Wearing Shorts” is a good reference
shoes: nice sneakers (Converse, Vans)
jackets: your best bet is probably leather for the best mix of nice but not formal, a properly fitted zip-up sweatshirt can work as well
The major thing to make all these look nicer than a just normal casual is to ensure they fit: not skin tight, but still close to the body. This is especially true for any type of t-shirt. Normally, just going down a size may work. Just going from a baggy t-shirt to a fitted one makes a huge difference.

more upscale look:
shirts: polos, patterned dress shirt (don’t go for short-sleeved button down, instead, wear a long-sleeved one with the sleeves rolled up; we’re not sure why, but we ladies really like it); these can be tucked or untucked (if untucked, be sure they’re not too long)
shorts: same as above
pants: corduroys, odd pants
shoes: leather shoes, Tom’s with shorts if you’re going for a more preppy look, boots
jackets: leather, blazer, cardigan
accessories: skinny tie (collar buttoned or with first button undone), leather belt, analog watch

Don’t pop the collar of a polo, don’t wear skinny jeans that sag in the butt. Please.

I went to school in CA, so I can’t speak as to a cold-weather climate, but this is what I saw on the boys that I (and my friends) thought dressed the best.

Hope that helps!

195 Riley Padron April 16, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Only certain Red Wing boots (I believe the Heritage collection) are still made domestically. These are not the boots you want to work in, they are more for show. If any young man is looking for USA-made boots that can withstand some work, I would recommend Danner, Thorogood, Carolina, and some Wolverines. All as or less expensive than Red Wings.

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