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7 Steps To Upgrading Your Style

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So I’ve recently been through the process of upgrading my own personal style.

From redefining my style and clearing out my wardrobe to visiting a personal shopper and adding new pieces, I wanted to walk you through the 7 steps I went through.

In fact I documented the process on video for you to follow along and upgrade your style.

But I want to make something clear before we move on…

You don’t need a lot of money to upgrade your style.

This is a big misconception a lot of men have.

They believe that in order to upgrade their style they need to go out and spend a lot of money on new clothes. These 7 steps will make the process easier but it will also save you money and time in the long run.

Why I Did It

First I want to explain why I personally went through the process of upgrading my style as well.

Surely a Founder of a Men’s Fashion Magazine, someone who’s been featured on GQ and Vogue doesn’t need to spend time upgrading their style?

paul on vogue

Well the simple realisation I had was that I felt fake in a lot of the images you’ve typically seen of me.

Why? Because I work from home. I don’t wear a suit everyday but my wardrobe was built like I did.

If you asked me to dress up for a formal business meeting I’d be able too, but ask me to dress casually (but stylishly) to grab a coffee and I’d struggle.

My wardrobe consisted mostly of suits and formal attire where my day to day lifestyle consisted mostly of casual events.

I needed to redefine my style, get my wardrobe to match it and most importantly reinvent the way I dressed.

#1 – Define Your Style

The first step to upgrading your style is to simply define it.

How do you want to dress?

What do you want to look like?

At first it’s all about building up a picture of how you want to dress and why you want to dress that way.

The key thing to consider is your lifestyle. Wearing a suit will improve your appearance, it will get you attention and give you more authority but if you’re someone who doesn’t need to wear a suit everyday a sartorial style won’t be beneficial.

What do you do for the majority of the day and what kind of uniform is needed?

When defining your style researching and looking for inspiration will help. Looking for outfits you like on Instagram, blogs and magazines is a great place to start.

For me personally I wanted to improve my casual attire, but I wanted to still keep it smart. I didn’t want to take on a casual trend, I wanted to keep things timeless and focus on smart/casual attire.

#2 – Deal With Your Existing Wardrobe

A mans wardrobe should be organised, minimal, complete with quality pieces and in my opinion be focused around timeless pieces.

The reality is the typical mans wardrobe is unorganised bursting with clothing, the clothing isn’t of high quality and only 20% of the clothing and accessories in the wardrobe are worn.

That’s right…

I can almost guarantee that if you’re looking to upgrade your style you wear 20% of the clothing in your wardrobe for 80% of the time, and 80% of the clothing in your wardrobe for 20% of the time.

We hoard, we hold onto clothing we don’t wear and we just wear the same thing over and over again.

It shouldn’t be complicated.

This process is daunting for most men but it’s probably one of the most important steps.

You need to go through your whole wardrobe and separate your clothing into 4 piles.

1. To Keep

This pile is for items you want to keep. Make sure that these items match your style definition from step 1.

2. To Keep But Alter/Repair

This pile is for items you want to keep but they don’t fit you. Tailoring is the next step and altering your existing clothing to fit you better will save you money and time.

3. To Get Rid Of/Giveaway

These are items you simply don’t wear or items that don’t match your style definition. Bag them up and give them away to friends, family or charity.

4. To Sell

If you have more expensive items from recognised brands you might want to sell them. I sold some of my existing clothing on eBay and made over £400. This £400 then went into the budget for adding new pieces to my wardrobe.

The key thing with this step is to be ruthless.

If you haven’t worn something for a few months and if it doesn’t match with your style definition from step 1… get rid of it.

Don’t hold onto things. This mistake is what’s caused your unorganised, disused wardrobe in the first place.

It’s going to take you a while to go through and try every item you own but it will be worth it in the end.

#3 – Make Sure Your Clothing Fits

Fit is the number 1 way to improve the way you dress.

If you wore an ill fitting £3,000 suit and I wore a well fitted £300 suit… I’d look better.

If your clothing fits you correctly it’s going to always look better.

The issue is a lot of men have misconceptions about tailoring and they also don’t know how their clothing should fit.

Firstly let me clear up a few misconceptions about tailoring…

It isn’t expensive, you don’t need to be of a certain class to have a tailor and bespoke isn’t your only option.

To make any item of clothing fit you you have 3 options.

1. Off The Rack Then Alter

This is the easiest method and the one I often use.

Simply buy clothing from your favourite brands and high street stores (off the rack) and take them to a tailor to alter.

‘Tailor’ is also thrown around way too much nowadays.

You can use alteration services which are often typically found in Dry Cleaners or even someone you know who can make simple alterations.

Things like the length of your jeans, tapering on your jacket or the sleeve length on your dress shirt can all be adjusted pretty easily.

This option is the most affordable and also the quickest.

2. Made To Measure

This is more of a bespoke option where you can almost design the garment yourself.

You’ll get to choose the fabric, the style, the buttons, the colour, the collar… you name it you can create it with Made To Measure.

Measurements are done off a ‘master garment’ to make the process easier.

3. Bespoke

The daddy of tailoring.

Bespoke will allow you to create a garment that will be made for you to your exact measurements.

This really is the holy grail of tailoring.

The downside to bespoke is the craftsmanship behind it means it can be expensive.

Not sure how your clothing should fit?

I’ve got you covered.

Here’s a free visual guide that will help with the basics.

Overall I spent around £250 on alterations but it completely rejuvenated my wardrobe. I had a suede jacket that looked like a hammy down from my Dad tailored to something more slim fitting and modern. The trousers that didn’t fit me on the waist were altered to fit perfectly, meaning I can now wear them again.

Any item you want to keep (but doesn’t fit) take it to a tailor. Any item you buy from now on (that doesn’t fit perfectly) take to a tailor.

Seriously, this step alone will completely upgrade your style.

#4 – The Importance of Style Advice

The quickest way to improve something is to get someone who’s already achieved it to show you how.

I stand by this theory with anything in life.

It’s the same with improving your style, trying to figure it out yourself and going through a lot of trial and error will eventually get you to where you want to be but the easiest way would be to get someone to show you how.

For me personally I used a personal shopper for this process, but you can use Magazine’s, blogs, YouTube, stylish friends and also online styling services.

The important thing is to get them to advise you on specifics related to your style definition.

#5 – Adding New Pieces To Your Wardrobe

Obviously no style upgrade is complete without adding new pieces to your wardrobe. But this step here is where most men slip up.

Again there’s a huge misconception around needing to spend a lot of money to look good.

Quality over quantity is an important principle when it comes to style but quality doesn’t always mean expensive.

The biggest mistake most men make (myself included) is we impulse buy. We head to the shops, we see something we like, we buy it, wear it a few times and then hoard it away.

When you add new pieces to your wardrobe it’s important to have a plan. In fact the easiest way to put it is a ‘shopping list’.

Write down exactly what you need added to your wardrobe, alongside this write a budget for each item and also research behind what stores specialise in that specific product.

For example: I needed new t-shirts. I wrote down on my list specifics, such as Grey Crew Neck T-Shirt and Black V-Neck T-Shirt. I then set a budget for t-shirts, keeping it quite low. I also then researched online for the best brands and stores that do high quality but affordable t-shirts. I again wrote this down on my list.

Having a plan ahead of time will save you money and time. Know what you want, where you’re going to get it and enjoy the process.

I go into more detail (and take you shopping with me) in the video.

#6 – Choosing A New Hairstyle

With your style upgraded it’s time to shift your attention to your hair and grooming. A bad hairstyle can affect your overall style and impact your appearance.

Again the thing to consider with your hairstyle is does it match your lifestyle?

Long hair that needs styling is great if you have time in the morning, but if you lead an active life and don’t have the time to style it every morning a shorter cut might be more beneficial.

I headed to the barber to get some advice and to get a new cut suitable for my lifestyle and ready for my upgraded style.

Here’s how it went down…

#7 – The Results & Other Considerations

It’s time to show off, after going through the 6 steps above your style and overall appearance will be improved dramatically.

Personally for me it makes getting dressed in the morning super simple and everything in my wardrobe fits as it should and is in alignment with how I typically dress.

There’s some new additions I still need to make, alongside some items I still need to tailor but I’ve now got a base I’m happy with.

A few other things to consider are losing weight/getting in shape to benefit your new style alongside introducing a simple morning and evening grooming routine.

Improving your overall appearance, improving the way you look and the way you feel will improve your confidence and it’s something I highly recommend.

Outfit 1

upgraded styleupgraded style paul mcgregorsuede jacket mens

Outfit 2

style reinventionupgraded stylepaul levi shirt

Outfit 3

paul mcgregor suitmens smart casual stylepaul mcgregor smart casual

Outfit 4

bomber jacket and shirtpaul outfitpaul full outfit 4

Outfit 5

paul camel coatcamel coat menswearpaul mcgregor topman coat

It’s now your turn, it’s your turn to upgrade your style following the 7 steps.

For any advice reach out in the comments below.

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Paul McGregor
Paul McGregor

Founder of MFM, and short course lecturer at The London College of Fashion teaching all things marketing. Read my personal blog here.

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We are an online mens fashion magazine, and have been running since 2011. Covering a wide variety of topics such as men's fashion trends, style tips, news from the industry, and the latest sale offers, MFM has been labelled the number one online resource for men's fashion and style. Driven by a group of fashion enthusiasts, our team work hard providing you with regular articles to enhance your personal style.

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