5 Tips on Upgrading Your Style in 2020

Presented by Mizzen+Main

How to shop smart, prioritize your personal style, and get excited to dress and feel your best in 2020

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“I’m going to read three books a month!”

“I’ll make time to prepare a homemade keto-friendly lunch to bring to work every day!”

“I’m sending hand-written letters by carrier pigeon instead of emails! It’s happening!”

Oh hey, 2020! For most of us, a new year (and depending on who you ask, a new decade) brings the admirable promise and blinding optimism of New Year’s resolutions.

No shade to your “new year, new me” attitude, but most resolutions are unrealistic and totally unsustainable for 12 whole months. After a few weeks (days?) you’ll be making excuses right and left as to why you never got to the end of War & Peace or underwent a Kumail Nanjiani-level glow-up.

But! (Come on, you knew this was coming!) If you’ve been entertaining the idea of upgrading your style… Now, like right now, at the dawn of a new year, decade, whatever—is the perfect time. You may think you can’t fit a style refresh into your life, but trust—this is easier and more rewarding than most resolutions.

Why? Because what you stand to gain from even a few small changes is immense.

You could ring in 2020 not only looking better, but feeling more confident, more empowered, and more at home in your clothes. 

If there’s anything you should invest in this year, let it be yourself. And hey, we get it. Committing doesn’t come easy to all of us, and you can make an excuse to get out of anything.

Well, suck it up! Whatever your excuses may be, we’re not here for them—in fact, we’ve broken down some small ways you can get started on making 2020 your best fashion year yet.

Below, the most common excuses not to dress well, and Team SG’s rebuttals!

Excuse # 1

You Say:

“It shouldn’t matter what I dress like.”

We Say:

“Maybe it shouldn’t…but it does!”

Wouldn’t it be nice if no one cared what you wore and you never had to put any thought into it? Maybe for a couple days, but real talk? It would sure be boring.

Not to mention: anyone who thinks clothes don’t matter is kidding themselves—first impressions are no joke, and the way you comport yourself in the world can open doors both personal and professional. 

If you feel that getting dressed every morning is a frustration or a chore, work on locating the joy in looking and feeling your best. 

After all, you don’t have to be a total fashion plate to take pride in your appearance. Give your wardrobe a boost this year by doing little things that make a big difference. Conditioning your shoes, perfecting that “just so” scarf toss, swapping your tired office gear for performance menswear from our pals at Mizzen+Main…there’s any number of small tweaks you can make that go a long way in telling the world who you are.

You’re not a sloppy guy—so why should your clothes be sloppy?

TL;DR: Find contentment by focusing less on “fashion” and more on looking and feeling your best.

Excuse # 2

You Say:

“I don’t have the money.”

We Say:

“Great style doesn’t have to cost a fortune.”

If dropping major cash on a new wardrobe isn’t in your budget, don’t throw in the towel just yet! 

Consider shopping your own closet by breathing new life into what you already own—after all, surely there are some ill-fitting garments gathering dust in your closet that could stand a trip to the tailor. Those shabby wingtips might seem more appealing with a good polish and new soles. Even your battered sneakers could look practically new again if you scrub them down with an old toothbrush.

If you’re feeling really ambitious (and you’re not afraid to make a mess), consider dip-dye-ing an old t-shirt for a refreshing pop of color in your wardrobe.

True story: with a good tailor, a good cobbler, and some old-fashioned elbow grease, you can reimagine what you already have—on the cheap. 

Itching to buy some new pieces? We get it! “New Year, New You” and all that. 

The good news is, there’s plenty of stylish options out there at a variety of price points—you don’t need to go on a Rodeo Drive shopping spree a la Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman for a real movie makeover montage moment. Mizzen+Main’s dress shirts…and their new chinos!… retail for a cool $125.

Still on a student’s budget? Secondhand shops and vintage stores can be your new best friends in sourcing affordable, unexpected additions for your closet. Hey, in this moment of increased emphasis on sustainability and turning our backs on fast fashion, vintage has never been more in vogue. 

TL;DR: You don’t have to spend big money to look good—you can shop smart, thrift, and even get creative with what you already own. 

Excuse # 3

You Say:

“I want to wait to work on my style until I’m in better shape.”

We Say:

“A style upgrade will make you feel more confident in your own skin.”

Just because you’re working toward your fitness goals, that doesn’t mean you have to put your style goals on pause. We hear what you’re saying: “Okay, Team SG, upgrading my style IS on my list this year, but first I want to lose 20 pounds/complete the Whole 30…” and on and on. 

First? Good for you! We admire your grit. But hey, you don’t have to put off one resolution ‘til you’ve accomplished another—you can get in shape and upgrade your style at the same time.

The key is to shop smart, with the long game in mind. If you’re worried about spending money on new threads that may hang sloppily on your frame after a significant weight loss, that’s where a tailor comes in. Taking in a waistband after you’ve shed some pounds is an easy, low-cost fix. 

If, on the other hand, you’re trying to bulk up, buy sweaters and jackets that don’t constrict your biceps or fit too snug on your shoulders—you’ll need room for your growing guns later. 

Finally, consider investing in new clothes as a reward for reaching your fitness goals! It’s better for your long-term goals than an ice cream sundae, right? When you hit a fitness milestone, celebrate by gifting yourself a new dress shirt or a pair of pants—to feel encouraged. 

TL;DR: Buy pieces that pull double duty to fit both now and later. 

Excuse # 4

You Say:

“No one dresses up anymore—why should I?”

We Say:

“Buying a suit isn’t the only way to upgrade your style.”

Upgrading your style in 2020 doesn’t have to mean going full Don Draper. Just because you don’t wear a suit and tie to the office every day (which, let’s be real, is pretty rare these days!), that doesn’t mean opting out of dressing with style. 

Even if you’re not the dressing-up type, there are steps you can take to improve your overall appearance—and as a byproduct, rocket launch your confidence. 

Like what, you ask? 

Wardrobe maintenance, for one! That can mean taking your messenger bag to a cobbler to replace that wonky zipper. It can also mean replacing your old, shabby basics, like pit-stained undershirts and socks that have seen one too many workouts. 

Poorly cared-for pieces stick out like a sore thumb, especially when the rest of your wardrobe is on point. Keep your clothes in good shape, and you won’t have to worry about suffering from “full closet but nothing to wear” syndrome.

Another thing you can do? Upgrade your staples! Consider opting for a cashmere sweater instead of a basic hoodie, or choosing chinos over jeans (hello-o-o-o No Jeans January!). 

If you often reach for athleisure or that old college sweatshirt when running errands on the weekend, choose an elegant sweater in a relaxed fit instead. There are ways to boost your style that keep you in the realm of business casual or weekend chic rather than catapulting you into “daytime tuxedo.”

TL;DR: Upgrading your style doesn’t have to mean overdressing—it can mean making small upgrades or investing in the long-term health of the pieces you already own. 

Excuse # 5

You Say:

“I never go anywhere nice. Why should I bother with nice clothes?”

We Say:

“‘Nice clothes’ don’t need an occasion.”

If you think you need a special occasion to bust out fancier duds, think again. That blazer gathering dust in a garment bag in the back of your closet? Next time you’re headed out on the town for dinner, bust it out over a collared shirt with jeans for a spiffed-up (but still comfortable!) look. 

Headed to a house party or the bar with friends? Why not wear a sweater (instead of a sweatshirt) for a more polished ensemble? Spice up your regular date night by surprising your S.O. with a dressy dinner invite. Those pocket squares you only ever press into service with formalwear? Pop one in the breast pocket of your overcoat to add some cheer to the drudgery of cold weather. 

If you work in a casual office and you’re not in the habit of dressing up for work, surprise yourself by mixing and matching your nicer pieces to create new ensembles. That crewneck sweater you usually wear with jeans? Sport it over a button-down or a polo to reinvent the neckline. Wear those nice oxfords with dark, fitted jeans to upgrade an otherwise everyday look. Who knows—reimagining the utility of your “nice” pieces might just lead to your social calendar becoming a bit more stacked. 

TL;DR: Mix and match your nicer pieces with everyday streetwear to get more mileage out of them. 

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Face it—you’ve got no excuses not to dress well left in 2020!

Once you put in the work, you’ll usher in the year feeling more comfortable, more like yourself, and more confident. You’ll likely even save money in the long run, because investing in the care and keeping of your closet now will save you the cost of replacing beat-up pieces later. 

It’s your move, man. 

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