Nikki’s Inbox: “I Want an Outrageous New Look!”

I’m about to start some college classes as part of a summer program here, and I realized the only thing I have are jeans, polos and old T-shirts. To be honest, when I go out with my friends, I always dress to impress, especially for the ladies (even though I can’t even hold on to one). Joking aside, college life is scary and a new adventure in my life. I know I’m going to meet new people and I certainly don’t want them to think I’m your average guy. I want to have a cool, outrageous new look. I’m starting a new adventure so might as well have a new look, right?

I always wear skinny jeans and V-necks when I’m out with friends. Although I look okay in them, my thighs are actually quite big and muscular. Should I continue to wear them or try something new, like those harem pants on YesStyle? I have a medium build. I hope you can help me!

Ashton, 19/Philadelphia, USA

Hello Ashton! You’re right — college is indeed a whole new adventure. Scary and exciting at the same time, this phase is the springboard to your life in the real world once you graduate.

There really is nothing wrong with wearing jeans, polo shirts and tees. Fashion is a very personal thing and one thing I always emphasize here in my column is learning to accept yourself for who you are. So if you’re into a casual get-up, then there’s no harm in that!

However, you stated that you want to have an “outrageous, new look.” But you have to tell me, Ashton, just how ‘outrageous’ do you want to get? Do you want to do a 180° spin from how you usually look? Most importantly, ask yourself if such a big change suits your personality.

While you think on that, take a look at my suggestions and see if these are what you want to try!

Rock the harem pants
Harem pants are usually baggy around the waist and hips and low in the crotch. You didn’t mention your height, Ashton, but I’d say harem pants are a no-no on short guys because the low crotch gives the visual impression that you’re even more vertically challenged. Now, if you have the height and legs for these fashion-forward bottoms, then choose versions that are not so, err, saggy and with pant legs that hit your mid-calf or at least taper down to your ankles from that height, since you’re muscular. Feel free to also pick those that come in abstract prints or patterns. Create contrast by teaming these voluminous pants with fitted tops like graphic tees (yes, your V-neck tees are still useful!) and tank tops or something structured like a plaid shirt and a vest. Finish with lace-up boots, loafers or high tops.

Embrace the color spectrum
Another option for you is to add color to your palette! If you’ve mostly stuck to blues, blacks and grays for your jeans, Ashton, now is the time to expand that spectrum! Colored pants are this season’s hottest trend. My previous advice about this also works for guys! Colored denims can add that instant “oomph” to your outfit and transform a simple combo into an outstanding one. Spice it up with a contrasting belt, your favorite sneakers, a smart button-up shirt and a cardigan or leather jacket.

Choose a ‘peg’
A few months back, I gave advice to a guy who declared he had “no style.” So based on that, my last piece of advice for you is to find a ‘peg’ for your new look. A ‘peg’ is a fashion term that simply means the basis or inspiration for the style you want. It can be a certain celebrity’s personal fashion, a trend (like the military look), a character from a film, a TV show or a book, or even a certain era (like the 80s). Don’t copy it down to the last detail, but instead add your own flair to it to give it your personal stamp of uniqueness. That way, you ‘own’ the trend instead of the other way around.

So as not to shock your system (and friends) with your new look, I would suggest that you add new elements to your look little by little. Doing this will also help you figure out what pieces work with what you currently have, and how comfortable you feel with your new look. At this point, it’s really about experimenting so don’t hesitate to try! It’s all part of the fun!

Let me know how it turns out! Meanwhile, Ask Nikki! readers, how about helping Ashton out? Share your style overhaul experience in the comments!


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