As we turn the page on a rather turbulent year, there’s never been a better time for a personal overhaul. A new year means a clean slate, and a valuable opportunity to put past mistakes behind you and form better habits.
In our humble opinion, your wardrobe and personal care habits are good places to start. Which is why we’ve pulled together a handy list of style and grooming resolutions that every man can benefit from. Thank us on 31 December.
Out With The Old…
The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to take a deep dive into your wardrobe (not literally) and have a proper clear-out. And we mean proper. Be brutal. If there are garments in there that haven’t been worn since this time last year, get rid of them to make room for things you will wear. Your local charity shop, clothing recycling service or even someone on eBay will be able to put the stuff you aren’t using to good use, and you’ll feel better for it.
If you can’t face the challenge just yet, try this handy trick: turn all of the hangers in your wardrobe the same way round; after you wear something, put it back in your wardrobe with the hanger the opposite way around. After a few months, you’ll be able to see which clothes aren’t being worn as they’ll be the only ones that won’t have been turned.
In With The New
While the beginning of the year is a good time to rid yourself of old things, it’s also the perfect time to update, upgrade and reinvent. Now that you have some extra space in your wardrobe, it’s time to fill it with some new clothes and start your year off on the right track, from a style standpoint at least.
The January sales are great for picking up premium pieces at bargain prices but put some real thought in before buying. Impulse purchases (see below) tend to be the things that get worn least, so have a think and shop for timeless garments that you know you’re going to get a lot of use out of. It’s good for your wallet, and for the planet too.
Avoid Impulse Buys
Anyone who has walked along their local high street (or has an email address) will have noticed that the ‘January Sales’ are anything but these days. There were November sales. December sales. Boxing Day sales (which started Christmas Eve). And now, January clearance sales. All of these events provide an extremely tantalising opportunity to splash out on what in the moment feels like a bargain. However, this year, make an effort to really consider your purchases before splashing out.
Does it honestly fit? Do you really love it? Are you only buying it because you like other pieces by the brand? A good rule of thumb is to contemplate whether you would buy the item at full price. If so, you’re getting a genuine bargain; if not, you’ve likely just talked yourself into the purchase.
Invest In Pieces That Will Last You A Lifetime
Make this the year you buy less, but better. Forget disposable fashion and fleeting fads and instead prioritise classic, versatile pieces – investing in the best possible versions within your budget. Start to build a capsule wardrobe that can be mixed and matched for any occasion, ensuring you get the very most out of every piece you add to it.
When we say ‘invest’, we don’t mean go out and buy the most expensive designer brand on the market. Prioritise quality fabrics, craftsmanship and timeless style. Save up and spend a little more on those pieces you know will last a lifetime – Goodyear-welted shoes, a leather biker jacket, raw selvedge denim, leather luggage, a wool overcoat, a well-made suit, etc.
As for basics, the cornerstones of any successful wardrobe, look to those brands who have mastered their craft – Sunspel for T-shirts, Incotex for chinos, John Smedley for sweaters, for example – or offer products that belie their modest price points (try Uniqlo, Arket or Everlane). Remember: buy cheap, buy twice.
Stick to the principles set out above and you will not only look good, but feel good.
Broaden Your Olfactory Horizons
Aside from using too much, one of the most common pitfalls when it comes to fragrance is only having one. Perhaps you think of it as your signature scent. That’s fine. It’s good to have a day-to-day ‘uniform’ cologne. However, it’s good to mix it up and vary your fragrance depending on the season and/or occasion.
Rich woody, smoky, leathery and spicy scents work best in the winter months as they tend to last longer on the skin without being sapped by the cold, while fresh, floral and citrusy scents are better suited to summer. Outside of that, it’s worth splashing out on a premium fragrance to add that final olfactory flourish on special occasions.
Athleisure, drawstring trousers, the rise of streetwear, ‘ugly’sneakers… yes, dress codes relaxing across the board has almost negated the need for modern men to dress up, but have you honestly ever worn a dinner suit? Have you ever worn an entire outfit with the singular purpose of presenting your best possible self? It doesn’t even need to be a lavish event. It could be to dinner with your partner or a business meeting with a potential new client.
This year, try wearing a tuxedo somewhere. You don’t have to buy it – you could hire it. Wear a three-piece suit to eat out at an upmarket restaurant. Shine your shoes. Tie a bow tie. Have everything pressed and wear a pocket square.
The casualisation of menswear is great, but don’t let it dull your sartorial blade. Don’t wait until a wedding is foisted upon you for the chance to dress to the nines.
Befriend A Tailor
It’s time to make an important friend. We’re not saying you need to linger around your local tailor’s shop scoping out where they drink their morning coffee or evening pint, we just think it’s paramount you become more accustomed to having your clothes (we’re not just talking suits here) altered so that they fit perfectly and flatter your form.
With a few expert nips and tucks, a tailor will help emphasise your best bits while concealing your insecurities. For a relatively modest outlay, you’ll have a wardrobe that appears as though it was made for you.
Don’t forget that any tailor worth their salt can rejuvenate tired-looking garments, too – whether converting items into something else (trousers to shorts, for example), patching up wear and tear, or upgrading things like buttons and linings – meaning your clothes last longer and your environmental impact is reduced.
Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise
The working-from-home revolution has meant many of us are spending more time indoors than ever before. Depending on where in the world you are, that means one of two things for your skin: it’s either going to get dried out by air-con or dried out by central heating. So, what can you do about it? Simple, get moisturising.
Invest in two good-quality moisturisers – one for your face and one for your body – and get into the habit of using them religiously every day. Your skin will thank you for it.
Splash Some Colour
We’re the first ones to tell you that navy, grey, white and olive green are your safe space but this year we’d implore everyone to add a splash of colour.
However, rather than piling headfirst into garish shades, we’d recommend easing yourself in with accents. Think socks, ties, scarves, pocket squares and subtle prints and patterns. Again, that doesn’t mean a fluoro orange tie or primary red socks, but it could mean brighter or richer shades of the previously mentioned neutrals – sky blue, racing green or cobalt, for example.
Rethink Your Materials
Although there’s sound environmental and sartorial reasoning behind this resolution, for the most part it’s just common sense: use seasonally-appropriate fabrics.
In winter, wear thicker, heavyweight materials like wool, denim, corduroy and leather to protect yourself against the elements and biting cold. In summer, look to specialist cloths such as linen, seersucker, bamboo and silk, which are breathable and help regulate your temperature when the mercury rises. It sounds simple, but you would be surprised just how many men still don’t consider seasonality when dressing each morning.
For base layers, stick to high-quality cotton and merino wool, both of which allow much-needed air circulation and feel great against the skin. Then, layer over the top multiple fabric types and weights to build up outfits that are full of texture and visual interest. Step out of your cotton-on-cotton-on-cotton comfort zone.
Wherever possible, consider the environment. Keep an eye out for organic and recycled fabrics, avoid washing too regularly (particularly denim and wool, which are both naturally odour-resistant and deal well with stains), get into the habit of maintaining your wardrobe (using things like shoe horns, leather creams, lint rollers, clothes brushes), and skip the cheap, manmade materials.
Try Something New
Whether it’s experimenting with colour and texture, adding a piece of jewellery to your look, or just trying a new beard style, a new year is an ideal time to try something new. Plus, with most people still working the majority of the week from home, you won’t have to worry about what co-workers will say when you rock up at the office on Monday morning with a moustache.
This is a golden opportunity to experiment and see what works in the safety of your own home. Seize it.
Upgrade Your Gym Style
New year, new you. And New You would look even better in some new gym gear. Rid yourself of the sweat-stained cotton T-shirts, stretched jersey joggers and barely-holding-it-together sneakers, and treat yourself to some stylish workout garb instead.
The key things to look for are sweat-wicking tees in technical fabrics, tapered sweatpants or athletic-cut shorts, some purpose-built footwear and a quality gym bag. Good-looking gym gear may not make you any stronger or faster in a direct sense, but it will certainly motivate you to get off the sofa and put the work in.
Use SPF Daily
News flash: if you’re outside in the sun, you’re being exposed to harmful UV rays that can lead to skin damage or worse. That’s why starting to use SPF every day is one of the most worthwhile grooming resolutions you can make.
It doesn’t have to mean lathering up in factor-50 sunblock every day either. In fact, there are plenty of great SPF moisturisers on the market that’ll do the job while keeping your skin hydrated, thus allowing you to kill two grooming-resolution birds with one nourishing stone.