Growing Up: It’s Never Too Late To Change Your Style


By Nick Q.

Jan. 17, 2011

A few months ago, I found myself waking up from a daydream. It took me a second to notice it, but I had been staring into my closet like a pot head trying to find a snack in his mom’s fridge. At that very moment I realized that I hated every piece of clothing in my wardrobe! For the past 5 years of my life I’ve worn nothing but jeans & t-shirts. Before that I might have worn a button up or two when I went out somewhere fancy, but they were skater brand shirts and I still paired them with some tore up Vans. I’m 27 years old and I don’t feel like that is too old to dress cool, but I really don’t want to be a 30 year old man with a high top fade and a neon print shirt.

“What the fuck was I thinking?”
You know that feeling you get when you look at photos of yourself from 10 years ago. That never stops! There will always be new pictures of you that will embarrass the shit out of you and make you want to burn them. Hell, you can probably find photos of me from 2 years ago and do that. Take a look at my closet and you will find nothing but black shirts with huge, bright prints on them, baggy jeans & colorful sneakers. I didn’t even own anything that I could wear to a job interview.  Yeah, I really don’t want to be that dude anymore. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with wearing some street wear and dope sneakers, but eventually that has to stop. Everyone has to grow up sometime. I am just trying to make it graceful and start my path to being a man right now.

Switching up the way you dress from a young, bold, hip-hop style to a grown & professional look is not easy. There are a lot of reasons that this can be a tough transition, such as money, time and your friends & family who are jerks and will make fun of you every time you wear a new nice shirt to go out. But don’t worry, even if they make fun of you, I guarantee they still love & respect you and if they don’t, fuck ‘em! If your friends aren’t willing to hang out with you because you’re dressing differently, then they are terrible friends and you don’t need them around you as you make your life better for you. But most of the time they are just being jerks to be jerks. If they are still friends with you and treat you like a friend should, they aren’t going to really judge you for changing. Just ignore them or tell them to shove it, I guarantee the still respect you!

Time and money can really make it hard to get your new style and wardrobe ready because looking good is not cheap! Of course if you are already making a shit load of dough, chances are you have a few good looking shirts and shoes in your arsenal to begin with. This part is for the average dudes, like me, who have to get their clothing game up piece by piece. Just don’t get discouraged by the things you can’t afford yet! The first thing you should do is find clothes that you already have that can pass as stylish and casual. Usually these will be items like well-kept, dark jeans and not so sporty looking sneakers. Your favorite Jordans probably aren’t going to make the cut here. Try a pair of dark or neutral colored Vans or Nike Blazer Lows. If you have nothing but a closet full of Dunks, try to find the ones with the least bright colors. Greys and browns are perfect for the switch over. If you don’t have any shoes that can pass, a quick run to a Vans store will get you started off easily. The Vans Era is a great looking casual men’s shoe that comes in a variety of colors for around $40. Jeans always look better dark. Light colors can make you look too casual and even brand new they look like they’ve been worn for years. Always avoid your old jeans that have been beat to shit and NEVER use jeans that have prints, embroidery or patterns on them. If you own jeans like this and are trying to grow up, throw them out immediately. Okay okay, we’re trying to grow up here, maybe you should donate them to your local thrift store. If you need to get a new pair of jeans, grab a nice pair of Levi’s. No matter where you get them, they usually run around $30-$40.

Wearing your sneakers and jeans together is nothing new and that’s a good thing! We want to make this switch easy and wearing things that you always have will really help you be comfortable with this. Hopefully, you already had the right pieces so far and have not had to spend a dime because it’s time to go shopping for new shirts. The shirt is the most important part of your new found style. Don’t get confused though, it’s not the kind of shirt you get, but how you wear it. You can always find nice pieces shopping where ever your budget allows you to, but putting them on and wearing them right is up to you. In this transition period, you want to avoid getting really fancy shirts and stick to a more laid back, young men’s style. On a smaller budget, you’d want to shop stores like Target, Kohls and Marshall’s. Don’t be a snob! If you can’t afford high end clothes just be smart about it. You can get nice shirts at all of these places for $20. You might feel like an asshole trying to improve your style by shopping at these places but it works. At the end of the day, no one will know where you got it or how much you paid for it, nor will they care. Once you get over it yourself and start getting compliments you will see how much the price tag doesn’t always matter.

Now, looking for great shirts at these lower end places can be a bit of a struggle. You will have to avoid all of the dad shirts and hideous color ways to find the right ones. Look for solids and tonal plaids. Don’t get plaids that look like you are about to go fishing with your pops…find simple, small grids that are so tonal they are hard to spot. Also, look for unique body styles. Some of these lower tier shops are starting to understand the importance of style and are adding new looks with different pocket shapes and roll up sleeve buttons. You can even get a dress shirt and make it work by wearing it very casually. Rolling up your sleeves a quarter way or leaving the top button open and the bottom untucked can dress a nice shirt down. It’s all about being comfortable and not drawing too much attention to the change in your style. If you can wear things that you’ve always had and just top them off with a different style shirt, you will be well on your way to your new, grown up look.

Next time I’ll get into accessories that will really help set off your casual, grown man style. Please share your thoughts on all of this in the comments below. Where do you like to shop for nice shirts and dress shirts? What kind of shoes do you like to dress up? Let us know.