Nikki’s Inbox: From Shapeless to Ship-Shape

Hi Nikki, I love all the helpful hints and tips in your blog, so I thought it was about time I sought your help.

I’m 19 and currently in university. As this is a new chapter in my life, I thought it was time for a new look. At the moment, my wardrobe has just really simple, cheap and shapeless clothes and I really want to change this but have no idea what to wear.

Like many of the male models on YesStyle, I have the mid-length style hair, I’m 6 feet tall, and of an average build. I have no idea what sort of things would suit me, but I really love these two jackets on YesStyle but I have no idea what to wear with them.

Would you be able to help pick out a style of clothing and a few examples that would go with these jackets? I am clueless when it comes to fashion and I’m struggling to find clothes that go with each other. Any help would be very much appreciated.

Ryan, 19/United Kingdom

Ryan, the distress in your email is quite palpable. As a university student on a limited budget, I can certainly accept “cheap and simple.” But shapeless?

You say you have an average build, which I take to mean as neither too lean nor too muscular. As we women say, you have “curves in the right places.” So really, there’s no reason to buy shapeless clothes. You are being unkind to your own body and that is never helpful. Readers, take note!

But you are not beyond salvation, my good man, because those two jackets you picked are a good start. The great thing about menswear is that it’s more forgiving. Clothes seem to hang better on men in general since you don’t have to contend with a lot of curves on your body, unlike us women. Generally, men are contoured and more angular, which is why coats, blazers and jackets look so good on you guys!

Red versionThe Art of Architecture
As mentioned above, outerwear is the best example of architecture when it comes to clothing. The streamlined cut makes it easy to hide any sins. A double-breasted coat is something you can wear for years and years and it still retains that classic air. If you want to look preppy on campus, it’s the perfect topper over a button-down shirt-and-sweater vest combo. It also adds a sophisticated edge to something as simple as a print V-neck tee with dark-rinse jeans and a cardigan, or a lightweight blazer over a plaid shirt. The inset turtleneck collar on this particular coat will come in handy for those nasty winds and rain hitting the UK right now, don’t you think?

The Style of Symmetry
Symmetry is synonymous with balance or equilibrium and the single-breasted jacket you like (shown in tan for clarity) demonstrates this with the double rows of pockets on the front, like a safari jacket. Take it on an urban adventure by wearing a hoodie underneath on extra cold days, and team with slim-fit cargo trousers in earth tones like army green or deep brown and chukka boots. Amp it up a notch by pairing it with red or rust-colored corduroys to really bring out the warm palette.

Rock Those Bottoms!
Ratty, shapeless tees you can hide underneath jackets, but you can’t hide a mangled pair of jeans (unless you wear a skirt over it). With your height and build, straight-leg jeans will keep you looking streamlined like a yacht. Slim-fit cuts are okay, but skinnies not so much since you’re not naturally lean. If you’re wearing a lot of layers on top, avoid wearing something too tight on bottom. Additionally, very baggy pants visually drag you down, and that’s a disservice to your six-foot physique. Invest in dark-rinse jeans and flat-front trousers in black, dark gray, indigo and brown, and if you can afford it, in seasonal fabrics such as corduroy and wool. Choose jackets and other outerwear in similar shades to make it easier to coordinate with other pieces.

Making these jackets your statement pieces are fine. But I suggest you also try bolder colors and patterns on your shirts and other outerwear to create more visual interest. If you pull this off successfully, I’m confident of your styling success for the rest of the seasons. Stay sharp, not shapeless!


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