A Complete Guide to Dressing Your Best for Guys

Beauty & Style

Fashion is simply pure fun to play around with, and creating stylish outfits for guys is no exception. Some simple tricks and swap-outs for elevated yet effortless looks can go a long way- all while looking confident and at your best.

Let's Get To The Basics

If you're unsure what to wear, it's good to go for the basics- and even if you do know what to wear, you can always play around with the basics. The general idea of basics would be a quality tee, pants, and some sweaters and knitwear for the colder season.

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I'm starting off this guide with the basics because it's exactly what every wardrobe should have, and is the perfect place to start when you're building a wardrobe. From then on, once the basics are covered, more "fun" pieces can start to be added.

Starting From The Top

So, where to begin? Tops are easy to start off with; a simple way to go about it is to divide them into three categories of solid tees, graphic tees, and polos/button-ups.

Solid tees are pretty self-explanatory; a non-patterned, clean shirt without any designs is a thoughtful addition to a closet because it pretty much goes with anything. You can throw it on at any time and look put together effortlessly. They don't have to be completely boring- they could have pockets, a light heathered texture, or even differing necklines.

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Graphic tees are a bit more fun to delve into; it's pretty much any t-shirt that has a design on it, including patterns. If you're unsure how to approach this area of tops, my advice would be to search for tees with your favorite band/musician-artist, a funny joke or pun that resonates with you, or has cool artwork on it.

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Polos and button-ups are good staple items to have, especially if you often have more formal occasions on your calendar. Typically, those will be solid-hued, but styles like loose long sleeves with polo necks of the 90's could have stripes and such. For some, it might feel a bit uptight or too business-like, but they can actually elevate your outfit in creative ways.

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For instance, you could throw on a buttoned flannel to go with jeans for the fall or unbutton a button-up to wear on top of a white tee. (With this, you could opt for a patterned button-up to give contrast to the white tee.) I mean, think of the possibilities!

On Bottoms

As for pants, you could go for the following types: jeans, corduroy, khakis, shorts, slacks or nice dress pants, and sweatpants. If you're an active, athletic person, sportswear is also a solid (and comfortable) choice, with some options for shorts and sweats as well.

I don't want to say it's necessarily a fashion rule, because fashion doesn't really have rules, but this has to be said: jeans are an absolute must. It's truly a universal fashion item that just transcends time. You can't ever go wrong with jeans; although the types may vary, the item itself won't ever go out of style. My point being: say yes to denim.

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There's definitely a large range of denim styles out there- and if you're trying to keep it minimal and classic, I'd say go for one style or cut of jeans (keeping everything a relaxed fit, for example). Not to keep everything boring, you could have variations in color to make bottoms more fun.

Other fabrics of pants such as corduroy or khaki may be of interest to you if you are building a range of pants. Corduroy is a textured fabric that has a raised cord and has a very distinct feel to it. Khaki is neutral-colored pants that can be both casual or more dressed up.

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Slacks and dress pants are more formal, and it's nice to have a pair or two if such events are frequent. (I'd highly recommend investing in a quality pair for these; Everlane is a sustainable brand with quality pieces that don't break the bank.) The opposite would be sweatpants, which is perfect for when you're laid back and placing priority on comfort. (Atheltic brands such as Nike and Adidas are well-beloved for these.)

On shorts, elastic waist shorts that are loose are a great go-to, and walkshorts are a great option as well.

For When It's Cold

I love fashion for the colder weather- it's the perfect opportunity to layer, which creates nice dimensions for an outfit. I like to divide colder fashion into three categories: knitwear, sweatshirts, and jackets.

Knitwear is primarily composed of sweaters and sweater vests, and this category, in particular, has seen a huge rise recently with the Y2K trend. Sweaters are the perfect item to wear cool patterns and textures, which go wonderfully with solid colored pants. Sweater vests are also great to layer on top of a white tee, and come in a variety of styles as well.

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Jackets are pretty simple, too; I'd definitely say it's nice to keep it easy with a zip-up style or one with pockets. Efficient and effortless, jackets are a great item to layer on top of your other clothing. (For example, a solid-colored tee + flannel + jacket combination. Easy and done!) You could even go for denim jackets- my only advice is that you can't go wrong with vintage-inspired style.

Don't Forget Your Accessories

Accessories most definitely can't be overlooked- they are simply vital to make an outfit truly complete! Think of items like rings, necklaces, hats, etc.

For rings, my advice would be to go for the classic metallic hues like gold and silver. Simple bands can elevate any outfit- remember, less is more! If you want more decorative accents, embellished rings can look cool as well.

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Necklaces can range from simple chains to strands with a charm. Anything can be good here- whether it be a timeless good-luck charm or unique beads, anything can look good, as long as it fits the general aesthetic of the look.

Hats have a huge variety of styles, such as bucket hats, fedoras, beanies, classic baseball caps, cowboy hats, and so much more.

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When choosing the right kind of hat, just like with the necklaces, just make sure it fits the overall style. (For example, I wouldn't recommend a beanie with a formal attire.)

How To Play with Color

The color play is what really makes an outfit complete. When picking out which colors to wear and pair with one another, think of a color wheel. For example, complementary colors or similar shades go well together. See below for inspirations:

  • brown and cream (dark green here also looks nice)
  • navy and dark red
  • white, black, or gray with any color
  • pastel shades grouped together

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These are just a few examples of how to play with color- there are so many other combinations you could try.

Advice and Tips

If you asked me what my number one recommendation would be when it came to fashion, I would definitely tell you to download Pinterest. The best app ever for gaining inspiration and organizing visuals, Pinterest is filled with images and ideas of what could be your next outfit.

Thrifting is also a great resource to find some gems. There are physical stores, but it can also be done at the comfort of your own home with apps like Depop, Mercari, and more. The best thing about thrifting is that it's preloved, better for the planet, and could even be one of a kind.

As mentioned previously, fashion doesn't really have any rules, so be sure to have fun with it! The possibilities are endless, and do what makes you feel confident and good!

Thumbnail image from Pinterest.

Kate J.
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Kate is the Marketing Director of The Teen Magazine.