Building a men’s fashion wardrobe is incredibly difficult. From malls lined with what feels like hundreds of different stores and social media influencers telling you contradicting advice, learning to dress well seems like a daunting task and building the perfect wardrobe feels impossible.
Luckily, Colorado-based men’s stylist Nadine Sage is here to help. When it comes to fashion, Sage challenges everyone to be their true and authentic selves.
“When you feel good, you present yourself with confidence…clothing allows us to express ourselves,” She said.
Here’s Sage’s advice on how to build the perfect timeless men’s wardrobe on a budget.
When building a new, fashionable wardrobe, it’s important to start from the ground up. Sage recommends beginning with a pair of well-fitting jeans, crisp white shirts — both t-shirts and collared shirts — sunglasses, and appropriate shoes.
These items act as the new foundation for your wardrobe. Your style should be made of pieces that will never go out of style, so stay away from trendy cuts and patterns.
“You can’t go wrong with a pair of classic Levi’s,” Sage said. “It is an American tradition that never goes out of style.”
It’s critical that these foundational items are the correct length and fit. An ill-fitting pair of pants, or a too-large shirt can ruin the piece’s functionality, and it will likely die in a pile behind your dresser.
For a simple casual outfit, Sage recommends wearing a pair of Levi’s, a leather jacket, an appropriately fitting basic shirt, comfortable yet fashionable loafers and a leather belt.
Men in professional settings — Sage encourages wearing a perfectly fitted dark colored suit, a crisp dress shirt, a tie with matching socks, wingtips and a seasonal overcoat.
Once the foundations of a perfect wardrobe have been curated, it’s important to not just focus on a basic white t shirt. The next clothing pieces that are a must for any wardrobe are ones that you will love and cherish forever. They should be a clear reflection of who you are as an individual and how you want others to view you. These are also known as statement pieces.
From colorful trousers to hand-stitched leather jackets, this is a perfect opportunity to show your love for fashion.
“Bright and patterned socks are an easy way to add a statement for those on a budget,” Sage said. Additionally, Sage stresses the versatility of these items in men’s fashion, “A bright, solid cashmere sweater can be wrapped around one’s neck or worn under a jacket.”
In addition to the versatility of statement items, it’s important that your new clothing pieces are dressed to fit many different categories of fashion. Your clothing should be easily adaptable. It should be able to move from the office to date night, from grocery shopping to exercise classes and from a day in school to a fun Friday night.
Sage always suggests a type of styling called Desk-to-Dinner for men’s wear. This is styling that adheres to a company’s dress code, but can seamlessly transition to life outside of the office.
“For instance, khaki pants can be worn with a herringbone wool jacket and switched out for a jean or leather jacket after hours,” She said. She heavily recommends consumers purchase items that are classic, well-made, and have longevity.
Accessories are simple items that can make or break an outfit. Sage stated that “accessorizing is the key to updating your wardrobe.”
Items like sunglasses, belts, watches — sports or dress — and hats can take any outfit to the next level. Accessorizing allows you to be even more creative with your wardrobe. Match jewelry to the hardware of a belt to look put together and thoughtful.
When wearing a hat on a bad hair day, try to match the colors and general vibe of the piece to the rest of your outfit. Follow the “sandwich rule,” which means coordinate two items that are the same texture or color with each other — dividing them with a piece in between.
For example, wear a pair of brown leather shoes with a brown leather jacket, or a colorful beanie with a matching pair of pants. Accessories are meant to be fun, so make sure to be creative with your items.
Beyond men’s fashion, hair, skincare, makeup, and nail care are just as important. By being well groomed, your style is likely to be perceived better by those around you. If you have a clean, polished haircut and a freshly-shaved face, you will appear as someone who carries themselves to a high standard. If you have longer, messy hair with a five o’clock shadow, people will likely think of you as a more relaxed person.
Remember, every element of your appearance says something about you, and it is up to you to be perceived in the light you want to be.
In a world where men’s fashion trends are constantly changing, it is important to never lose yourself. Remember the things you love about your current wardrobe, from your favorite colors to the worn-out Converse you’ve owned since high school. The best thing about fashion is the individuality it provides people. Don’t let yourself never wear your favorite items because the color doesn’t compliment you to the fullest extent.
Instead, let yourself love what you wear. Fashion should make you confident — it should never become a chore.
“When someone is dressed well, they are more confident and comfortable with themselves,” Sage said. Fashion revolves around individualism, and when building a new wardrobe, it is vital to remember who you are.