There comes a point in a man’s life when he needs to take a look at his wardrobe and ask himself: is this the wardrobe of a man or is this perhaps the wardrobe of a boy? Or is it some strange Frankenstein of a wardrobe, containing some pieces from high school, some clothes from college, and a few better-selected items from post-grad life? Ideally, it will just be a collection of quality, timeless pieces that are decidedly for a man and not a boy. Good clothes are just one of the differences between a man and a boy. There is almost no man in the world who makes the transition from boyhood to manhood—at least via his clothing—swiftly. There are always some awkward years when other men start roasting a guy’s clothes, and it becomes apparent that he needs to make the change: he needs to clean out and update his closet. A man’s appearance says a lot about him, and hopefully it says what that man wants his appearance to say, rather than, well, anything else. Here are ways every man should clean up his wardrobe by age 30.
Jeans that fit right
No more boxy jeans. No more baggy jeans. Also, super-tight, tapered jeans that look like something a punk band would wear can also go. Just get yourself some nicely fitting jeans that have some shape to them, are tailored, stay on without a belt (but, do wear a belt), and happen to come from a respected designer.
Eventually, you must embrace the blazer, fellas. It’s not just for work. A blazer isn’t just something you have to wear: it can be something you like to wear. Blazers go beyond the boring khaki and navy blue varieties for work. You can get creative with them. Velvet blazers, linen blazers, soft cotton blazers—the possibilities are endless. And these look great with jeans for date night or a night out with your boys.
No more boxy shirts
Men, you probably once only bought and wore button-up shirts when you had to aka your mother picked them out for you. These are boxy and ill-fitting. When you tuck them in, they still look odd. It’s time to invest in slim-fitting button-up shirts. Try the ones you can leave un-tucked, that still look stylish. Wear these not just to work, but also in your social life.
T-shirts with holes should go
The t-shirts with holes have to go. They just do. You can hold onto a couple of the beloved ones as memorabilia but not to wear. I don’t care if you’re just grabbing beers with the boys at a dive bar—your shirt shouldn’t have holes in it.
A moderately formal pair of shoes
A lot of young-ish men I know only have super casual shoes, like sandals, and super formal shoes, like dress shoes. They don’t have a nice moderate in-between choice for, say, brunch. Get some. Loafers or boat shoes are a nice place to start.
Add a nice winter coat
Enough with that boxy windbreaker you’ve had since high school. Men should have at least one nice winter coat. It can be a wool, knee-length, all-black pea coat, for example. That’s timeless and still masculine.
More than one tie
Stop rejecting ties like they’re just things your mom made you wear to church. A good tie makes a man look distinguished. Now, start exploring what your personal style is when it comes to ties, and get a few more.
Own a suit
We’ll break up the suit part into two parts. Let’s start here: buy a suit. Stop renting them. It should be apparent by now that you will have enough occasions (hello—weddings!) that require a suit that it’s worth buying one.
Own a tailored suit
Next: make sure your suit is tailored. The nineties look of loose slacks and boxy jackets is out and it isn’t coming back. Have a suit tailored to your measurements. It’s so worth it.
Those big board shorts are out
When it comes time to hit the beach, swimsuits matter. A lot of men don’t seem to think that, as they’re still out there in the long (nearly shin-length), boxy board shorts they’ve had since high school. No more, fellas. Get yourself some just-above-knee, fitted shorts.
Easy on the hoodies
Try replacing a few of your hooded sweatshirts with cardigans. Cardigans just look much nicer under those blazers and pea coats you’ll be buying.
Get underwear that contains your stuff
Those loose boxers have got to go, fellas. Especially since you’ll now be wearing more fitted jeans. You can’t have a bunch of excess fabric bunched up beneath your pants. Boxer-briefs are the answer now.
No skater shoes unless you skate
Unless you skateboard, do not wear skater shoes. They make sense in almost no occasion for a grown man. If you’re going to brunch, you should be wearing your loafers. If you’re exercising, you need better workout shoes that actually have arch support. Skater shoes are for skaters. Also, don’t skate—you’re a grown man.
Swap out those cargo shorts
It’s time for men to stop thinking they can just wear utilitarian items in the summer. You can still look good, while remaining cool. On that note, the cargo shorts have to go. They just do.
Get some short-sleeved button-ups
Short-sleeved button-ups may be a new concept to men who usually just wear long-sleeved button ups for work or t-shirts outside of work. But the short-sleeved button up will be your best friend for hot, outdoor summer weddings and garden parties.