You’re not a kid anymore, so it’s time to stop dressing like one. Regardless of how many times you’ve been told it’s what’s inside that counts, what’s on the outside matters, too. If you dress like a teenage slob, people will treat you like one.
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to flip things around and start dressing like a man who cares about his appearance. In fact, so many guys are completely clueless and lazy when it comes to fashion that simply following the easy advice below will probably put you in the top ten percent of fashionable guys. That equates to more respect at work and more attention from women. In other words, it’s worth the minimal effort.
It will probably hurt to get rid of some of the clothes that got you through high school and college, but all good things must come to an end. It’s time to say goodbye to your Diesel jeans and Busted Tees and say hello to dressing like a grown-up.
Wear solid-color v-necks, not graphic tees
Every guy owns a bunch of graphic tees because every guy wants the world to know how great his taste in pop culture is. Harsh reality: no adult cares what band you saw in concert. If anything, we’re judging you for spending $45 on a tour T-shirt. If you absolutely can’t bear to part with your favorite graphic tees, you can hold onto them and use them as pajama shirts or maybe painting clothes. Otherwise, they need to go straight in the trash.
Wear polo shirts, not patterned and/or shiny short-sleeved shirts
Nothing screams unfashionable neckbeard like a button-down shirt with flames or dragons or some crap like that on it. Make the transition to solid-colored polos. And add some real flames to your old shirts, i.e. burn them.
Wear oxford cloth button downs (OCBDs), not black, striped “going out” shirts
If you start dressing like a grown-up man, the whole concept of a “going out” shirt will become ridiculous — your normal clothes will be more than acceptable for hitting the bar scene. Stick to light-colored collared shirts made of oxford cloth, as they are pretty much the most versatile item of clothing in a man’s wardrobe: good for work, good for a dinner date and good for a lazy weekend at the beach house, too. Stay the hell away from the black and maroon striped shirts you see douchebags wearing at the clubs.
Wear gray crewneck sweatshirts, not hoodies
There’s a time and place for hoodies and it’s called “college.” As soon as you graduate (or flunk out), the hoodies have to go. If you still crave that warm, soft feeling you get from being wrapped in a hoodie, you can get it from a standard gray crewneck sweater or sweatshirt. Worn over an OCBD, the gray sweatshirt is a staple of manly fashion. Don’t believe me? Ask our most fashionable president, John F. Kennedy.
Wear dark selvedge denim, not acid-washed jeans
If your jeans aren’t the same color all over, kick them to the curb. If they have more than just two pockets in the front (not counting the change pocket) and two in the back, toss them off a bridge. If they have words stitched on them anywhere other than the leather tag on the back, stab them to death. One pair of dark jeans made of selvedge denim (a fancy way of saying high-quality denim, like jeans used to be made out of) should be the staple of your wardrobe. They can be worn with anything from a navy blazer and bowtie to a ratty old (non-graphic) T-shirt. It’s a good idea to minimize how often you wash them — and never use bleach or any detergent that would strip their color.
Wear chinos, not sweatpants or track pants
Wear desert boots, not skater shoes
Dressing like a grown-up extends all the way down to your footwear. If you skateboard regularly, then by all means keep a pair of skater shoes around to be worn when you’re out skating. Otherwise, ditch the sneakers and invest in a pair of leather desert boots. Like a lot of the items on this list, they’re versatile enough to be worn casually or in most workplace settings.
Wear nothing on your head, not a baseball cap nor a fedora
The only time it’s acceptable to wear a baseball cap is when you’re at a baseball game or maybe when you’re at the beach. It’s never okay to wear a fedora (or any other kind of hat, for that matter). Don’t do it. If you’re balding and want to cover it up, just shave your head. Silly adult, hats are for kids.