Too many young men are starting their professional lives without a clue as to how to dress.
This needs to change.
Young men are the future leaders of society, and dressing sharp is the first step towards becoming a professional.
Let me be clear.
Clothing does not make the man……however.
The right clothing can give a young man precious seconds to make his case and influence others.
A young lawyer, consultant, medical professional, or salesman needs to understand this.
That being said – it’s important to note that it is worth paying attention to your clothing as a young man even if you’re working in a field without strict dress codes.
Tradesmen, welders, carpenters, and construction workers must know that our clothing still matters as it introduces us and tells our story before we open our mouth.
Crisp, clean, and well fitted clothing – wherever you are at in the world – encourages others to take you more seriously.
Tip #1 for Sharp-Dressed Young Men: Dress Your Footwear Up
Starting from the ground up, appropriate-fitting footwear is the first step to dressing sharp.
A traditional school of thought that’s still alive and well claims you can judge a man by his shoes.
If you’ve never owned really good shoes before, brace yourself and get ready to pay a significant amount of money for well-made, classicfootwear.
You may be shocked at the sticker price for well-crafted shoes, but the quality and comfort pay dividends down the road.
A good pair of dress shoes will last you years and stay good-looking with nothing more than some light cleaning and the occasional shine.
Quality leather footwear isn’t a luxury for the excessively rich — it’s a necessity for any man.
Tip #2 for Sharp-Dressed Young Men: Dress to Look Older
The way you dress is the way you are perceived.
If you’re still wearing clothes that scream “student days” you’re going to be treated like a boy with no experience in the real world.
Buck the trend, age your look a little, and get the respect you deserve from older men.
That means raiding your wardrobe and getting rid of the majority of your ultra-casual clothes: T-shirts, cargo pants, jean shorts, sweatshirts and sweatpants, baseball hats, and athletics.
Save a few for yardwork and exercise — but donate the rest of it to charity and start replacing it with dressier clothes that speak to your maturity.
Tip #3 for Sharp-Dressed Young Men: Ignore Fashion Trends.
Main-stream fashion trends change too fast to make useful wardrobe staples.
Most young men don’t have the budget to buy new pants every month or two — so stay away from pants that are only presentable during an “in” season.
Distressed or bleached jeans are a great example; several different designer labels briefly managed to sell the image on the public, and then the fad changed and left a lot of people with very expensive jeans too beat-up to wear in public.
Stick to classic clothing staples for the core of your wardobe and avoid anything that’s too far out on the cutting edge — even if you see something that makes it look good.
Tip #4 for Sharp-Dressed Young Men: Take Care of Your Clothing.
Generally speaking, being young means having less money to throw around.
If you’ve shelled out for a few pieces of good, quality clothing — a custom suit, a pair of expensive dress shoes, what have you — it’s worth a few bucks more to keep the clothes in good shape.
That means using good hangers for your suits, shoe trees for your shoes, and a little tender loving care with the washing machine.
Some of your clothes can come from thrift shops, if you’re lucky enough to have a reasonably common body type and some well-to-do neighborhoods nearby.
A few adjustments from a tailor can turn a five dollar thrift-store suit into your dress wardrobe staple. Just take care of it and protect your bigger investments with some proper maintenance.
Tip #5 for Sharp-Dressed Young Men: Have at Least One Good Suit in the Closet
If you’re in a field where you’re going to wear one regularly you should look for a variety of colors and styles; if you just need a single suit for infrequent dress occasions stick with a classic single-breasted, two-button suit in charcoal gray or navy blue.
If you’re buying off the rack take the time to have the suit adjusted.
A few department stores still offer the service, but you’ll more than likely need to find a tailor independently.
It’s worth the effort — sized suits are made to general measurements, and not all of them are going to be a perfect fit for you. A good tailor can make the small changes that take your suit from looking mediocre to perfect for you.
Tip #6 for Sharp-Dressed Young Men: Build from White and Blue Shirts
White and light blue cotton dress shirts are the backbone to a sharp wardrobe.
Much of this lies in the fact both of these colors make up approximately 90% of the dress shirts sold worldwide and that either color looks good on most complexions and body types.
Being so popular, these shirt fabrics are also available in a wide range of style and sizes anywhere int he world, making acquisition at a value price likely for the man on the lookout for sales and discounts.
Patterns can liven up the basic white and blue color palette, and there’s nothing wrong with branching out into some other colors as your personal style evolves. Just have a good core of white and blue dress shirts.
As long as you have one clean and hanging up in the closet, you’ll never be completely out of decent-looking things to wear.
Tip #7 for Sharp-Dressed Young Men: Own Dark Fitted Jeans & Know When to Wear Them
Jean styles are always changing: rips, tears, acid and bleach washing, distressed, stone washed, boot cut, wide leg, low rise, skinny; baggy.
Keep it simple with and stick to fitted jeans in a dark color, sansfading or rips.
You can wear them with a fitted T-shirt for a relaxed, casual look or dress them up with a buttoned shirt and a sport coat for a business-casual style.
Tip #8 for Sharp-Dressed Men: Look beyond Denim
Well cut and classically styled trousers will make you look a little sharper at social occasions than jeans.
They’re less common in a young crowd, so you’ll already be standing out, and a good pair of slacks has a drape and crease that looks much crisper than denim.
You can also get wool or cotton trousers much lighter than blue jeans, which is a blessing in any kind of warm weather.
Tip # 9 for Sharp-Dressed Young Men: Replace T-shirts with Polos and Sport Shirts
Wearing T-shirts to the gym or when you are performing house chores is fine.
But wearing T-shirts to social events or to work is a no-no, especially when the shirt is too big and made from a shoddy fabric advertising the company who gave it to you a decade ago.
A good polo in a simple, dark color is always presentable and always flattering if it’s fitted well.
You can also opt for buttoned short-sleeved shirts in the summer, ranging from Carhartt work shirts to seersucker dress shirts. If you do wear a T-shirt, make sure it’s new, clean, close-fitted and in a solid, dark color.