As men, we can get stuck in our ways. Often, this steadfast commitment to tradition manifests itself beneficially: a sworn-by steak-grilling technique, say, or a perfected parallel parking trick. But there’s one area where refusing to change means you’ll quickly fall by the wayside: Your style.
Yes, if you’re still rocking neat-pressed chinos and faded blue button-downs from eras past, you’ve a lot of catching up to do. Luckily, instantly upgrading your style to magazine-worthy quality isn’t a slog. In fact, all it takes is a few tweaks. For instance: slide into a double-breasted suit, and you’ll suddenly find yourself one step closer to Bond status (as in James). Or try swapping out your 40mm wristwatch for a colossal timepiece; you’ll immediately command the attention of any room you enter—in a good way.
Herein, we’ve rounded up low-effort, high-impact ways to transform your style from the ground up. Master just one of these and you’ll never feel sartorially left behind again.
Chemin des Tourelles Powermatic 80, by Tissot
$795; buy now at us.tissotshop.com
…with your watch, that is. Springing for a blue-leather timepiece is a notable departure from your trusty classic colors. And if your new timepiece happens to be a veritable piece of art, too, like the intricately detailed Chemin des Tourelles, pictured here, well, that’s all the better.
Strap into a pair of monks.
Mercer, by Dune
$208; buy now at dunelondon.com
Step up your shoe game by forgoing the traditional Oxford in favor of something with a little more spunk: a monk strap. Whether you’re one-strapping or two-strapping, whether you’re rocking black leather or brown (or tan!), a spit-shined monk is an easy way to inject some newfound style into any outfit.
Slip into some Chelsea boots.
Classic RM, by R.M. Williams
$535; buy now at rmwilliams.com
On the boot front, consider swapping out any clodhoppers for an architecturally streamlined Chelsea boot. The clean lines will elongate your silhouette, instantly making you look more elegant and princely.
Keep your shoes spiffy.
Leather Care Kit, by Allen edmonds
$95; buy now at allenedmonds.com
Ask yourself when the last time you gave your shoe collection a spiffing up was. If it’s longer than 60 days, step to it. Remember: Even the nicest pair looks like garbage if it’s not properly taken care of.
Go burgundy (or go home).
Large Rucksack, by Burberry
$1,590; buy now at burberry.com
Inject some burgundy into your repertoire for a serious level-up. The sumptuous tone is the rare hue that’s equal parts trendy and timeless—and as versatile as black and white when it comes to matching. For best results, slate it into your wardrobe with a nice bag, one that goes with you everywhere, so your style becomes synonymous with the color.
Lighten up your denim.
Fit 1 in Montauk, by Rag & Bone
$250; buy now at rag-bone.com
Light-washed is the type of trend that’s not going anywhere. It’s a color of denim—not quite as bright as the acid-washed denim from decades past, nor quite as boring as the prototypical “dad” jean hue—that works with too many outfits to disappear from racks any time soon. Stay ahead of the game by picking up a pair before they go mass-market.
Size up your chronograph.
$375; buy now at us.tissotshop.com
Wearing a 45mm watch is like treading a thin line between ostentatious and confident. By picking up a refined, timeless option—like the blue-faced, clean-lined Chrono XL, here—you’ll land squarely in confident territory.
Have fun with your topcoat.
Shawn, by BOSS Hugo Boss
$945; buy now at hugoboss.com
Everyone loves a good top coat. And although camel-hair tans and mafia grays are nice, those tones are also, at this point, a little staid. Venture outside of the tried-and-true with a vividly patterned, mildly psychedelic coat.
Get louder socks.
Dinosaur socks, by Paul Smith
$30; buy now at mrporter.com
Justin Trudeau scored the all-but-official “world’s best-dressed politician” championship for one reason: his vivacious, loud-and-proud socks. No, you don’t have to follow the guy’s lead on everything. But you should on this one. When it comes to your socks, turn the volume up to 11.
Or, get silent socks.
Invisible Touch Five-Pack, by Marcoliani
$95; buy now at mrporter.com
Or, if you’re in the throes of summer, turn it down to 0. With a good pair of no-show socks, you can wear balmy-weather footwear (loafers, boat shoes, leather sneakers) at maximum laissez faire style—without running the risk of committing capital sensory offenses.
Pick up a totally awesome bag.
Marti, by Want les Essentiels
$395; buy now at wantlesessentiels.com
A duffel is often too much. A brief or messenger is often not enough. And a backpack can often be childish, depending on your work environment. Enter: the tote, a functional, stylish breed of bag that neatly rests smack in the middle circle of this Venn-diagram trifecta.
Miami B, by Reiss
$545; buy now at reiss.com
Suits, blazers, sport coats. Every guy since time immemorial has a trusty two-button jacket. Stand out, by getting a Bond-level double-breasted one, whether it’s part of a suit or just a day-in-day-out blazer. Oh, the cut will make your shoulders look more jacked, too.
Check out patterned suits.
Jetsetter, by Bonobos
$600; buy now at bonobos.com
If you don’t want to switch up your cuts, consider switching up your patterns. A tonal plaid is a low-impact way to neatly swerve away from your standard grays and blues and into more courageous territory.
Never forget the tie clip.
Textured tie bar, by Tateossian
$165; buy now at neimanmarcus.com
Of course, no suit is truly complete without a suite of accoutrements. If you’re wearing a tie, never, ever go sans tie clip. For a true level-up get one in oxidized silver (bottom, pictured); it’s the type of rugged material that mitigates the “dandy” factor that comes innate with wearing jewelry.
Or the pocket square.
Solid-edge pocket square, by Brioni
$110; buy now at neimanmarcus.com
Next up: the pocket square. If you’re wearing a tie, match the coloring to your tie. If you’re forgoing neckwear, match it to your shirt. Style it however you please; the mere existence of a pocket square on your person is enough of a style upgrade that no one—save maybe Tom Ford himself—would judge you for improper form.
Or the lapel pin.
Whittier Lapel Flower, by hook + Albert
$30; buy now at neimanmarcus.com
Round out your suit’s accessorizing with a reserved lapel pin. Steer clear of flashy. For maximum points, get one in oxidized silver, to match the tie clip.
Modernize your tie collection
Tie 7 Chapeau Bas, by Hermès
$180; buy now at hermes.com
If you regularly update your wardrobe, it’s a good bet you don’t need to do this. But, if it’s been a decade or so since you’ve updated your ties, get thee to a clothier, stat. Purge any ’80s-era shiny, wide power ties. Opt for slimmer neckwear (no larger than 2.76 inches) in muted colors.
Invest in some patterns.
Floral Party, by The Kooples
$195; buy now at bloomingdales.com
Breathe some life into your shirting by picking up some wild-child-inspired button-ups. The more vivid you go, the more points you get. And when you’re done work for the week, shrug off the blazer and untuck—you’ll be ready to hit the town—without having to head home and change first.
Luxe-up your tees.
Melange Tech Tee, by James Perse
$95; buy now at jamesperse.com
By muscling up your t-shirt game, you can turn a rote base layer into a powerful primary one. Get a well-structured shirt—one that will keep its shape for wash cycle after wash cycle—in a stylish, heather fabric. It’ll work with everything, from your sharpest tailoring to your most rugged leather jacket.
Don’t forget the finishing touch: grooming.
Make sure not a hair is out of place. Get a cut every six weeks. (Pre-schedule the appointments, to ensure you stick to them.) If you’re growing facial hair, never grow a neckbeard. (The rule: measure two fingers from your jawline, and fade to there.) And above all, wash regularly. (But you didn’t need us to tell you that, right?)