Men in their 20s are just beginning their ascent into manhood, and this is the first time where you have the complete freedom to research and hone your personal style.
During this time in your life, you will possibly be in the best shape, which will give you more options to choose from when it comes to your wardrobe. At this age, collect pieces that will serve as the cornerstones to your wardrobe and will last across several decades.
Although this may be a time in your life where you have the loftiest of goals, this is typically a time where your budget will be smaller, making it all the more important to select pieces that are presentable as well as dependable.
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Tips for Dressing in Your 20s
To start, every man should own a few clean and classic, basic t-shirts, at least one pair of nice chinos, great fitting jeans, some slim tapered joggers, at least 2 pairs of quality shoes and a few casual sneakers, a well-tailored, contemporary suit and a few accessories that are versatile enough to wear with most of your wardrobe.
If there was ever a time to experiment with your wardrobe, now is the best time to do it, so have no fear in playing around with colors and patterns now because at this age, you can get away with just about anything sartorially. Once you reach your 30s and upwards, this will not be the case, so enjoy it now!
Find Your Style Strengths & Take Style Risks
Apart from the physical advantages that come with youth, there is an art form to knowing when to experiment with fashion and when to rely on classic options; knowledge that comes with age. A man in his early 20s is far less inclined to know quality suits compared to a man in his 30s.
Nonetheless, take this opportunity to find your strengths and learn how to minimize your fashion weaknesses in this first adult decade of your life. The more risks you take now, the fewer issues you will encounter as you enter other eras of your life as you find your singular style.
Style Considerations for Your 20s
The advantage of youth will absolve many a young man of sartorial sins, but your mission should still be to minimize those where you navigate your personal road to good style.
Don’t confuse people with your style, instead, consume them with it. The following guidelines will ensure that you navigate your 20s in a fashion-forward way:
Themes and Schemes
Even in your 20s, one shouldn’t dress aimlessly, so when you are putting together an outfit, have an idea in mind about the direction of your outfit and what message you are trying to convey.
This is an essential element for men no matter his age, but if you adopt this mantra now, it won’t have to be introduced and reinforced as you get older.
There are many looks you can attempt from preppy and grunge, to minimal style, hipster and beyond. If your final look resembles a few of these simultaneously, go back to the drawing board and rearrange some items.
Hipster Grunge Master
Switch It Up
You have the rest of your life to work a tailored look that fits you to a T. In your 20s, it’s all about experimentation and finding the image you would like for yourself.
So, although you may feel most comfortable in jeans and a tee, now is the time to think outside the box and venture towards new things that you won’t have the luxury of being able to pull off in your later years.
I implore you to dress outside your comfort zone, play around with themes, mix things up! Vary your look day to day and don’t fall into the trap of being pigeonholed into a look before you are ready to fully claim it.
That means you have the liberty to go from skater boy to prep school, slashed jeans to chinos and back again. This is the decade to go all out as you have nothing to lose!
Learning the Art of Accessories
Your 20s are the perfect time to recognize the power of accessories and how they can definitively elevate an outfit. An eye-catching accessory can elicit a message that can speak volumes, making it clear to everyone you encounter without saying a word.
Whether you choose a casual outfit or something more upscale, sharp accessories and being able to properly curate them is a tool that every man should possess, preferably as soon as possible.
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Owning the Casual Cachet
Now that you’ve entered adulthood, the start of honing your personal style begins in earnest, so feel free to curate the styles that veer towards the persona you wish to emulate as a burgeoning man of distinction. Take these tips to cultivate your casual cache.
A Trusted Pair of Jeans
You can never go wrong with a pair of jeans in your wardrobe, and in your 20s, you can get away with a large percentage of your closet consisting of a variety of jeans.
But no matter how many pairs you indulge in, you should always have a fitted pair that can be dressed up with a blazer or a nice button-up shirt. Opt for darker colors like dark wash jeans for more formal occasions rather than lighter hues.
Even in your 20s, you should have a few blazers, and to start out, add a light-colored blazer for less formal occasions and a darker one for more formal events to have your bases covered. You can incrementally add more hues as you age and hone your personal style.
Embrace the Color Wheel
Although you should not wear them all simultaneously, introducing color into your repertoire can be applied to all of your clothes from socks and tees, to trousers and jackets.
» Readers’ Favorite: The Art of Mix & Matching Colors for Men (A Stylist Recommends)
Of course, you should coordinate them properly so they don’t clash, but that also can be learned over time.
There should be at least one (preferably more) pair of chinos in any man’s closet at any given time. Chinos work for men of any size and age, plus offer tremendous versatility as they can be paired with a polo shirt for a dressed down casual event or with a long sleeved button-down for more formal events.
Accessories Make the Man
Accessories are an integral part of a man’s wardrobe and should not be taken lightly or overlooked if elevated fashion is your style destination. Be a made man with these tips to lock in a great look.
You should have at least two – one brown and one black. After you’ve covered the basics, you can add as many other hues as you like.
Start with muted darker tones, and then branch out towards patterned and brightly colored socks that can accentuate an outfit or a pair of shoes.
Most men have more than a few pairs of shoes in their closet, but there are some basics that must be covered first. That includes a trusted pair of sneakers, leather brogues for formal attire and sandals for the warmer months.
Getting Down to Business
There are several mini-transitions in your 20s, with many men graduating from high school, then later university, and then out into the corporate world. All of these monumental transitions typically require new dress codes and serve as the beginning of a man’s true journey into style.
In the business world, that means owning at least a suit or two as you will probably endure a round of interviews for employment. Here are the keys to properly rocking a suit and joining the gentleman’s club.
It’s All About the Fit
Men just starting out on their style journey will soon learn that ready-to-wear suits are oversized and will have to be tailored in order to fit properly, especially on smaller frames. When it comes to formal clothing, proper sizing is imperative and separates the men from the boys.
After all, fit is everything! Shop for your trousers and jackets at companies that offer in-house adjustments and this is the perfect time to audition a tailor before deciding on one that you can trust with all your purchased apparel.
The Power of Simplicity
Young men who are just starting to assemble their wardrobes may not have all the answers and that is perfectly acceptable as you will be on a learning curve in the beginning. But in the initial stages, the basic styles are classic and consist of a two-button, single-breasted business suit in a navy.
And of course, you can’t go wrong with a navy bomber jacket either. Don’t forget to add a few white or light colored collared dress shirts, a few conservative neckties and a pair of Oxfords. Once you’ve gotten the essentials out of the way, you can expand your wardrobe to include three-piece and pinstriped suits in other colors.
Dress Up, Not Down
In your 20s, it’s all about making an impression, many of which may last you an entire lifetime. As such, being over prepared is the best way to ensure that you stay ahead of the pack and not fall by the wayside.
When you’re not sure about the dress code for a particular occasion, wear a suit coming in a level dress above what is expected. In the worst case scenario, you can always ditch the tie and jacket.
There you have it, our guide on how to dress well in your 20s. I hope that you were able to get some inspiration from this article and enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.
Till next time!
–Khôi B Nguyễn
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