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, classic footwear. 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.
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.
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
No matter what your job is, you’re going to need a decent suit at some point.
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.