The twenties is a great time to elevate your easygoing personal style to a more sophisticated look that’s better suited to your new lifestyle. Like it or not, the way you dress has a big impact on your experience at the modern-day workplace. People who’re dressed well and look like they care take of themselves are taken more seriously as they appear more poised, stylish and confident.
For a twenty-something striving to build a successful career, it pays to learn the art of dressing well. By learning the nuances of fine dressing early in life, you’ll gradually develop an individual sense of style that won’t be dependent on seasonal trends. If you’re looking to improve your sartorial sense, here are 10 tips to help you develop a consistent style that will set you up for success.
- Create a capsule wardrobe. The first step to adult dressing in your 20s is to develop a go-to capsule wardrobe with classic pieces you can mix and match to suit different occasions. These evergreen pieces, such as a couple of chinos and well-cut pants, deep blue jeans, a few dress shirts, collared tees and a good pair of shoes, will form the foundation of your new wardrobe. In addition, buy a couple of well-cut jackets in navy blue and charcoal black. Spend wisely and choose styles that can be combined to create multiple outfits.
- Invest in a good suit (or two). At this point in life, you’re likely giving a lot of interviews, attending friends’ wedding and going to networking events in your industry. This is the right time to buy a well-fitted classic two-buttoned suit in quality fabric. As you’re new to wearing suits, avoid splurging on a designer piece or falling for cheap poly-blend suits with no finesse. Take the middle route and opt for a well-constructed reasonably priced suit in a basic color.
- Learn to manage sweat. If you sweat a lot or spend a lot of your work time outdoors, invest in a few good undershirts. Lightweight, moisture-wicking and discreet, an undershirt acts as a protective barrier between sweat and your outerwear. The post “5 Rules | How & When To Wear An Undershirt” from Ribbed Tee explains that wearing an undershirt is the best way to prevent any sweat from getting through to your nice dress shirts or jackets.
- Have at least two crisp white shirts. When you’re just starting out in your career and exploring better opportunities, you wouldn’t want to have an extensive workwear wardrobe. Therefore, it’s important to build a wardrobe that won’t need an upgrade too soon. A couple of good white shirts are a must have in your wardrobe at this point. They are versatile and can be paired with a lot of different pants and jackets and even with jeans.
- Invest in a good watch. A watch continues to be men’s favorite accessory—it adds definition to a well turned out look. Your first watch should be a classic one that looks refined regardless of what you choose to wear. Remember that a good watch need not leave you broke, but it should be a classy piece that you can wear to both a business meeting and dinner with clients.
- Avoid flimsy shirts. Now that you’re getting used to dressing formally and need a good collection of dress shirts, it will help to steer clear of flimsy shirts in cheap fabrics. Instead, buy well-constructed quality shirts from a reputable brand. For a sophisticated look, layer light-colored or sheer shirts with a form-fitting undershirt in the right color.
- Don’t scrimp when buying underwear. Gone are the days when as a student you managed with just about any type of underclothes. Now, when you’re just starting to establish your career and need to be on your toes five days a week, move on to quality briefs, boxers and undershirts that are soft, comfortable and made of superior fabric. Quality underclothing will not only keep you comfortable, it will also last longer and save you money in the long run.
- Don’t get too serious. While you need to have a dependable professional wardrobe, don’t get all serious in a bid to look professional all of the time. Twenties is a great time to experiment with the latest trends and figure out what works for you. To keep the youthful vibe intact, make bold fashion choices once in a while and keep your wardrobe interesting with unique patterns, colors and styles. This will help ease your transition from boyish charm to grown-up sophistication.
- Treat yourself to a good perfume. When you smell good, you feel good, and when you feel good you do good. It will take some time before you can zero in on a signature scent; till then keep experimenting with mild masculine colognes. As a rule, carry a roll-on deodorant in your bag to freshen things up when you can’t stop the stress sweat.
- Buy a stylish pair of leather boots. At uni you could get by with fun sneakers and slip-ons but now you’ll need a couple of good pairs of dress shoes to match different outfits. To start with, buy a nice pair of sophisticated leather shoes in tan or brown. Avoid bulky boots with heavy-duty soles and pointed toes—they’re so out of style. Instead, go for a quality lightweight pair with a comfortable sole and rounded toe. Your next pair should be something you can wear as easily with chinos as with the classic blue jeans.
The exciting part about stepping into adult life is all the changes you make to your lifestyle. Adult dressing can be empowering and exciting, and it can open up a whole new facet of your personality. So keep experimenting until you find the sweet spot that makes you feel like you’ve developed a distinct style all of your own.