January 9, 2014

10 tips for a stylish new year

Refine your image with baby steps, like wearing a bow tie or stylish tights, but do it confidently.

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If adding a little more style and flair to your wardrobe has a spot on your perpetual list of New Year’s resolutions, we’re guessing you simply don’t know where to start. The answer is here.

And now.

Don’t buy another boring, humdrum practical article of clothing. You’ve got clothes. You could probably go years without running out of pants, dresses, skirts and tops that you could reasonably cobble together and feel sufficiently dressed for interacting with the general public. But who wants to be sufficiently dressed, adequately clothed or otherwise forgettably attired?

To upgrade your style quotient and be considered a style maven or a snazzy dresser, buy something unexpected.

Buy something that makes you smile. Buy something fun. And here’s your practical excuse: It’s a new year. Time for a little extra flash. Time for a change. Take the opportunity to start the new year on a more stylish note.

Of course, this doesn’t just mean cocktail dresses and formal suits. There are plenty of ways to dress up without going overboard. A heavy stone necklace can add plenty of bling to a simple dress. And you can wear that necklace to the office under a jacket or out to brunch with a T-shirt and jeans. Dressy objects elevate casual objects without clashing. There’s a way to look relaxed and luxurious that’s worth experimenting with.

So, here are 10 tips for classing up your act in 2014 at parties, while socializing with family and friends and when just hanging out with the kids. Get your fashionista on.

1. Eyewear. If you’re a guy or girl who doesn’t have perfect vision, now is your moment. Glasses are having a glorious resurgence, and it’s worth investing in a pair or two. If you’re a wearer of contacts, there’s even more reason to invest in a daring pair. Variations on cat-eye frames are really popular and styles mixing plastics and metal are like jewelry for the face. Go with a color; deep blues and greens are unexpected. If guys knew the secret combination of dark eye wear and a black turtleneck, the world would be a sexier place.

2. Jackets. Skip the two- or three-button “oh, look, I can wear this to interviews” jacket. What you should look for is a shawl-collared or tuxedo-influenced version. Look for textured fabric, contrasting sleeves, motorcycle details, asymmetrical zips and a great fit. Wear this with your party dress and then wear it later with your jeans and skirts any day of the week.

3. Waxed denim. This could be a hard sell, but denim treatments are attractive and mix the subtle sheen of leather with the comfort of spandex. Today’s styles come in a variety of cuts to flatter your shape. Wear it with a shimmering top and heels for play or with a simple, solid button-down under a V-neck sweater for a casual day at the office.

4. Legwear. Life’s too short for nude hosiery. We don’t care what Kate Middleton does, there’s nothing that will make that sexy. Grab the pair that will make your legs the life of the party. No one can tell how pale you are and no one will notice if you’re in last year’s dress.

5. Watches and bracelets. Maybe it’s because we talk with our hands, but a little arm candy makes our hearts skip a beat. If you already have a staid everyday watch and a few metal bangles, now’s the time to crank it up. Look for a new watch with a larger face. This goes for guys as well. A big classic, black, rose gold, gold or silver metal watch with a solid colored sweater and jeans is a great look to break in with your party clothes.

6. Bow ties. Every guy should have one, and every guy should learn to tie a real one. You aren’t necessarily going to be the quirky guy who wears them every day, but it’s a great look if you’re eager to surprise people with your newfound stylishness. It will fit in seamlessly for party occasions, and you might wear one out to dinner or at a conference or why not surprise folks on a Friday?

7. Pocket squares. If you have blazers, you need these. You don’t have to wear one every time, but a splash of color that can be wild or subdued won’t harm your manly man image in the least.

8. Clever plaids. That goes for shirts, not pants. Plaid and checkered dress shirts are available in slim and traditional fits that show off some great color combinations. Dress them down with a solid blazer or suit or play them up with a patterned tie in contrasting colors. It’s a great way to have a mix-and-match party wardrobe that can also work for business.

9. Colored pants. Gray is a color, but we prefer the charcoal versions to the standard business gray. Mulberry and regal blues are also safe but much more exciting than khaki. Look for a soft wash on denims or wool. If every pair of pants you own is either a variation of sand or black, you’re missing out on the color spectrum. Paired with a blazer, pocket square and plaid shirt, a pair of colored pants and optional tie can take you from a night out to a business meeting.

10. Slim cardigans. Who says that a guys’ night out means jacket required? A dark, fitted half-zip cardigan can enhance a patterned shirt and slacks. Add a tie and a jacket that you can remove once you arrive and you’ve got a great ensemble. Most guys will find this combination nearly impossible to mess up. And starting 2014 with a little style confidence may lead to some brave new ensembles in the year to come.

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