How to Stand Out With Your Clothes Without Looking Try-Hard

Yellow Blazer
A Yellow Blazer Will Catch Some Attention

A movie star is nothing without a supporting cast, a star football player is useless without a supporting team, and stand-out clothes are worthless without supporting clothes.

You need both items to create a great outfit, but guys often fall into one of two categories:

  1. Guys that wear too many stand-out clothes without any supporting pieces.
  2. Guys that only wear supporting pieces.

The first type is trying too hard to stand out and the second type is trying too hard to blend in. Neither of which is desirable.

You want your outfits to have a little pop, but you don’t want to overdo it.

The way to do this is by finding the right balance between the clothes that catch attention and the ones that let them shine.

The Clothes that Catch Attention

These are the items in your outfit that catch people’s attention. Let’s call them statement pieces.

When you think of statement pieces, think of things like bold-colored clothing, leather jackets or accessories. They are that little bit of extra flavor you add to your outfit to make it pop.

statement pieces
Statement pieces: The striped T-shirt, the red pants, the leather jacket

Statement pieces are the clothes that tempt you to buy them when you see them in the store. They’re eye-catchers. But too many men suffer from statement-overload.

Many men who want to start dressing better start wearing too many statement pieces, which will make you look like a try-hard.  You look like you’re begging for everyone’s attention, and it sends the wrong message.

It also creates a look that’s too busy. There’s too much going on, and the eye can’t decide what part of your outfit to focus on.

That’s why statement pieces need to be anchored, and that’s where supporting pieces come in.

The Clothes That Let Them Shine

supporting pieces
Supporting pieces: Grey sweater and camel chinos

Supporting pieces don’t get nearly as much attention as statement pieces. They’re the items that make sure your statement pieces get to shine. They are simple, understated items, like plain white T-shirts, grey sweaters or camel chinos — you know, your everyday wardrobe staples.

When I was still a beginner, these never seemed that special, but I’ve learned to love these under-acknowledged items a lot more than their attention-hogging counterparts.

Supporting pieces are the cornerstone of your wardrobe. They are the items that make sure you always have something to wear with whatever you buy. They are the foundation on which you build your wardrobe.

If your outfit is a masterpiece, then the supporting pieces are its canvas. It’s up to you to make it look amazing.

Now, while too many statement pieces can make you look too busy and try-hard, you actually can create pretty good outfits with supporting pieces alone… You just run the risk of looking a bit dull.

That’s why the best way to create a great outfit is to find the right balance.

You Need to Find a Balance That Works For You

I can’t tell you exactly what the right balance is for you, because you’re just going to have to experiment with it a bit, but I can tell you that you will need more supporting pieces than statement pieces.

Think: 3-4 supporting pieces for every statement piece.

Although you can wear multiple statement pieces within the same outfit and look amazing, I suggest you style novices don’t get ahead of yourselves.

Wear Only 1 Statement Piece at a Time

contrast stripe scarf
A scarf, for example

If you fall into the second category of guys mentioned at the start of this article, you don’t want to jump into wearing too many statement pieces at the same time.

If you fall into the first category, you need to learn how to dial it down.

In either case, I want you to start wearing just 1 statement piece in all your outfits.

Keep your whole outfit understated, but add a single item that will catch the eye. Whether this is a neckchain, a bold red shirt or a hat is up to you.

Just make sure to keep the rest of your outfit supportive of that 1 item. Make that 1 item the thing that people will notice about your outfit.

I’m willing to bet you’ll receive some compliments on that item, but you should never forget, that even though the statement piece is taking the limelight, the supporting pieces are letting it shine.

So look through your wardrobe and figure out which of your clothes are statement pieces and which are supporting. And if you’re short on supporting pieces, make getting some your priority.

Wear them like I explained above, and you’ll soon discover that standing out in a good way is simple than you thought.

  • vishal tigga says:

    I am a skinny guy and whatever i wear it just didn’t look right to me
    for an example if i wear a well fitted clothes then i just look to skinny and hanger like ..
    but if i take that in mind and i just change my style from fitted clothes to little baggy type then also it doesn’t seem well…
    so would u help me with this problem
    i will be very much grateful…..

    • Robert says:

      Hey Vishal,
      sorry for the late reply. It’s always better to wear clothes that hang close to your body (i.e. fitted clothes) even if you feel that exaggerates your skinniness. It’s in fact wearing baggier clothes that will make you look likes a clothes hanger.

      To me, it feels like the issue isn’t with your clothes, but with you not feeling confident in your body. There’s othing wrong with being skinny. You just have to own it. (Though, there are ways to downplay your skinniness, like layering, wearing jackets or thick-knit clothing. See also this post.)

  • Vandini says:

    Hi Robert,

    I just want to say that you’re probably the best, most helpful writer in personal style I’ve encountered. You’ve simplified everything, and I finally get it.

    Keep it up, and thank you tons!

  • Deanna rankin says:

    Let say that I like this guy in gym class and he like girly girls and I’m a tom girl idk what I should do I don’t now what I should wear at all.

    • Robert says:

      Hey Deanna,

      this is not really my area of expertise, but I would recommend you never change who you are for some boy.

      If he only likes you if you change yourself for him, he doesn’t like the real you anyway. So would that really be worth it?

      The only relationship worth being in is one where you can be yourself. I know it doesn’t feel like this right now, but there’ll be plenty of boys down the line.

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  • Ryan Haynes says:

    Great articles, Thank you
    I am curious about many style ideas
    I’ll ask one right now. There are Henleys everywhere . Which Henley would you suggest to go under a sports coat/ jacket . Just like t-shirts. I m having a problem figuring out the type.weight, neck style thickness to wear with these items
    Thank you

    • Robert says:

      I wouldn’t worry too much about all that. Just make sure the fit is right, and the material is lighter-weight than the jacket.

      Obsessing over these kinds of details will hold you back. Just visit a bunch of stores and try some stuff out. Use your gut. You can trust it more than you think.

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