We’re big advocates of establishing a personal uniform, particularly if you want to avoid unnecessary decisions. Bow out of the influence of trends, and choose aesthetic simplicity and purity over experimentation. For some people, wearing what amounts to the same thing everyday can be a welcome way to simplify the process of getting dressed in the morning and to get all the best benefits of classic style, without spending lots of time or effort assembling novel outfits each day.
But for other guys, wearing the same thing day in and day out can get too predictable. Instead of feeling liberated and appreciating the way that a uniform can free up your mind to make more important decisions, you might feel trapped by a uniform, whether you adopted it intentionally or not. Wearing the same outfit or group of outfits over and over can get you into a style rut. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to pull yourself out of it.
1. Take another look at your approach to color
Whatever your usual approach to color is, try to turn it on its head this year. Do you currently wear a lot of black, like many city dwellers and fashion types? Then broaden your horizons. Add in classic colors like navy blue, olive green, charcoal grey, ivory, and burgundy. Have you gotten stuck in a rotating assortment of preppy shirts and sweaters in bright colors and patterns? Then add some neutrals back into the mix, and reduce the pressure of matching your sweater to your shirt to your socks, by opting for a white shirt instead of a plaid one or a solid sweater instead of a Fair Isle one.
2. Trade your go-to styles for something more versatile
Another great way to switch things up is to identify which pieces you’re relying on too much, and upgrade them to something more mature and versatile. Take the example of jeans. We love our denim, especially pairs of the raw, selvedge variety. But if you’re wearing a pair everyday, you’re losing out on the opportunity to fall in love with a pair of chinos, which can be just as sturdy and hard-wearing as a pair of jeans, but are often better than a pair of jeans at transitioning from a day of casual errands to an evening out. Similarly, you can trade your sneakers for boots or your zip-front sweatshirt for a shawl-collar cardigan to simultaneously break a habit and upgrade your style.
3. Elevate your basics with layers you already own
Switch up your style by pairing pieces that you wouldn’t normally wear together — like pedestrian basics with a good blazer or topcoat. On a casual outing, add a textured blazer to your sweater-and-jeans ensemble. Wear your tailored topcoat not only with a suit, but with that sweatshirt and pair of chinos you threw on to run errands first-thing on Saturday. Or layer a luxurious shawl-collar cardigan over even the most worn-out tee shirt.
4. Invest judiciously in a new accessory
As the advice above illustrates, pulling yourself out of a style rut often doesn’t necessitate spending money on rehabbing your wardrobe. But if you still have some of your holiday bonus to spend, and want to revitalize your wardrobe with something new, we’d suggest looking at upgrading an accessory that you wear everyday (or close to it). Have you been wearing the same pair of glasses for the past two or three years? Then a new pair of frames will help you think differently about your style. Are you still wearing the battered watch you began wearing in college? Upgrade to something that’s more in line with the rest of your wardrobe. Carrying a briefcase you hate? Then invest in a new one that you actually like. Upgrading even the smallest element of your outfit can push you to be more creative when getting dressed.