Nikki’s Inbox: Ask and You Shall Receive;
Seek and You Shall Style

Hi Nikki,

I’ve been reading a lot of your Style Tips but I still can’t figure out what’s best to wear. I shop a lot but I’ve never had a consistent style or look. I’ve tried all kinds of jeans – from straight to boot-cut to skinny- and blazers, jackets, coats. Basically everything. But nothing still seems to look good on me or maybe I just don’t know how to mix and match them?

I’m a guy about 168cm and weighing 58 kg. I’m already 21 but people still think I’m 16, maybe because I’m very fair-skinned? I’d love to get some advice on how to look my age and what kind of style suits me.

Steven


Men aren’t usually known for asking directions, much less fashion advice, but wow! Congratulations, Steven, on your wonderful display of courage. I’m honored.

So let me use this week’s advice to address all guys who probably have the same dilemma: how to dress appropriately but not over the top. After all, you still want to stand out, and maybe get us ladies to notice, right?

It’s important to remember that no singular piece of clothing defines what style suits you. Sure, that $300 designer jeans say you can very well afford it, but does it actually look good on you? I have seen men wear those shorts that are falling off their hips and thighs or oversized hoodies, t-shirts with basketball jerseys. On the other end of the style spectrum, you have that suave, smooth-talking guy in a full, three-piece suit. Something has got to give, right?

The look you want: Relaxed and laidback, but still structured and designed to catch attention.

For starters, check if you have the following items in your closet. If not, then you have to go shopping. Again.

  • Smart hoodie (does not include college apparel) with neat details and a cool cut
  • A good autumn/winter jacket besides a puffer that resembles a down blanket. Sharp and structural: look for peacoats and double-breasted jackets for starters.
  • Tailored blazer jacket that doesn’t scream “corporate drone”
  • A well-fitting pair of jeans that go with your build.
  • Shoes other than those ratty sneakers stashed in your duffel. Clean, fashion sneakers, high tops or the new dress shoe-slash-sneaker can finish off the look.
  • Key accessories such as a stylish messenger bag or backpack. Skinny ties add that final splendid touch.

As long as you have these investment pieces in your wardrobe, then it’s easy to play around with different looks. Changing a piece here and there can produce strikingly different results that just might appeal to you:

Dress shirt and hoodie combo – The mix between urban and dressy, relaxed and tailored. A dark-colored hoodie with a plaid dress shirt adds a little more interest by playing with solid colors and patterns. Add a skinny tie to up the fashionable factor.

Blazer layered over a hoodie – Most girls go wild over this look because it shows that the guy cares about his appearance but is not that obsessed about it. Regardless of color, a blazer can look casual by simply rolling up the sleeves. Layer a dress shirt or graphic tee underneath and you get a modern three-piece suit.

Dress Shirt with a vest/cardigan – A classic pair, this duo helps broaden narrow shoulders. Pick a knit vest with nautical details or brass buttons, then layer a dress shirt with tabbed sleeves. If the cold gets to you, add a hoodie or a blazer. Ta da!

The Military Look – Anything with epaulets and shiny buttons to accent jackets and braided trim will do the trick. Just make sure you won’t look like you’re wearing a costume.

A classic leather jacket – Think James Dean. Sport a biker-bad leather jacket with a motorcycle cut over a plaid dress shirt or a thin hoodie. Just make sure to keep the swagger and angst to a minimum.

A few last-minute reminders: Make sure your trousers and jeans aren’t too loose or baggy, or too tight that you risk cutting off blood circulation. The rules are simple: skinny jeans look good on skinny guys; athletic cuts are for big-bodied, iron-man types. Don’t be afraid to play with colors and patterns like subtle plaids or checks and herringbone.

Good luck!

Nikki


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