The whole ‘New Year, new you’ thing is well and truly upon us. It’s there in every magazine you read, every page of a newspaper you turn. We get it; you’re doing Dry January, giving up cheese, starting to jog. All of that (and sorry if you’re taking part) is boring. It’s been done and let’s be honest, you’re only going to stick to it for a week until you give up and slowly slip into your old habits. In fact, being as it’s now 7 January, you probably already have.
So, why not come up with a resolution that you actually want to stick to, rather than one you feel you have to stick to? We at the Gentleman’s Journal like to think of the New Year as a chance to hit refresh on our wardrobes. It’s time to evict moth-eaten cashmere, evaluate the hits and misses of the past 12 months and invest some time (and, let’s face it, money) into becoming a better dressed man in the year ahead. Here’s where to start…
Upgrade your footwear
Many men think that they can get away with wearing the same pair of shoes day in, day out until they fall apart but, trust us, they are one of the first things people will notice about you. If you’ve been living in the same pair of tattered brogues for five years, you’re in need of a resole.
Little but often is they key here. You don’t need to go out and buy ten pairs of shoes in one go but you should aim to purchase a new pair every few months to extend the life of your shoes and give you some outfit options. Look for classic styles made with impeccable quality. Church’s, Crockett & Jones and Edward Green are some of our favourites.
Church's Consul Nevada leather Oxfords
Crockett & Jones Belgrave Leather Oxfords
Edward Greene Westminster Leather Monkstraps
Have a clear out
The best way to start afresh is if you have less to work with. Go through your wardrobe and get rid of any clothes or accessories you don’t need – the general rule is, if you haven’t worn it in the last 12 months you’re unlikely to ever wear it again. Take any pieces in good shape to a charity shop or sell them on eBay, because if you don’t wear them, what’s the point in keeping them?
It may seem like a mammoth task and we know how hard it can be to say goodbye to much loved (or very expensive) items that no longer fit your style but we promise decluttering your wardrobe will leave you feeling refreshed and make it easier to concentrate on buying pieces that work for you now.
Learn to care for your clothes
Now you’re ready to invest in some new pieces, it’s going to pay dividends if you also know how to look after them. Sadly we are not yet in an age where you can simply throw everything in the washing machine and have it turn out alright. Here are some basics: always separate lights from darks when washing clothes at home, suits, cashmere, velvet and silk items should be dry cleaned and always use the right hangers for shirts and jackets – do not fold. It’s also worth investing in shoe trees. If you need some specific pointers you can find advice on caring for cashmere here and leather shoes here.
Invest in tailoring
The best way to up your style game is to make sure everything you wear actually fits. This is one of the biggest mistakes men make time and time again – badly fitting clothes will never do your body, or your wardrobe, justice. For basics like shirts and trousers, just make sure you know your actual size and stick to it. For investment pieces, like a suit or an overcoat, or if you’re between sizes, we’d always suggest that you visit a tailor. Trust us, this will be worth every penny. A word of advice: you can get pretty good tailoring in almost any decent dry cleaner.
Don't forget your overcoat
One item that not enough men own is a decent overcoat. This is an absolute wardrobe staple for every professional and something that, if you invest in properly, should last years – if not a lifetime. Yes, they’re expensive but nothing else goes with a suit and, if you choose wisely, you’ll only ever need one. Opt for a classic navy or black style cut to knee or mid-thigh length and, for real durability, be sure to go for a pure wool or wool-cashmere blend.
Acne Studios Gavin wool-blend overcoat
Alexander McQueen wool-twill overcoat
J.Lindeberg wool overcoat
Up your accessory game
Never thought of yourself as a pocket square kind of man? It could be the finishing flourish your style has always been missing. These little items are easily forgotten but can take your outfit from plain to powerful. An amazing tie, silk pocket square and great bag are definitely worthy additions to your attire.
Start small with a pair of elegant cufflinks and work your way up to bigger items, like a briefcase or weekend bag. Whatever you do, keep that collection growing – it will make your everyday style a hell of a lot better.
These are the fads you should avoid this January (and every January)…
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