10 Casual Style Tips for Guys Who Want to Look Sharp
Annoying, isn’t it?
You want to dress better, but most style advice revolves around suiting up or just around whatever’s trendy this season.
But that’s not what you’re looking for.
You just want to make a better first impression on people you meet in everyday life. You just want to look good in your clothes without looking too flashy.
You just want to look like a better-dressed version of you.
And that version of you still likes to keep it casual.
So what you’re really looking for is some casual style tips for guys who want to look sharp outside of a suit and tie.
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
Note: This article may contain affiliate links. That means if you click a link and purchase something, I earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.
1. Stop Dressing Like a Boy, Dress Like a Grown-Up
Many men approach their casual style from the wrong angle; they aim to look youthful.
But if you want to look well-dressed, you should always aim to look mature.
Because maturity is an attractive quality in men. Maturity, after all, is what separates the men from the boys. Maturity shows masculinity and commands respect, and it’s a quality you want people to see in you.
That doesn’t mean you have to dress like your dad. It doesn’t mean you have to dress old. It just means you have to avoid portraying yourself as a teenager… Unless you actually are a teenager.
Just to be clear, that means none of this:
You want to dress like a grown up. Everything overly flashy like the items pictured here simply become inappropriate past certain age. Funny or cartoony tees are a definite no-go. Wearing a funny tee is basically like being the guy that makes the same joke over and over and over. It might be funny the first time you see the t-shirt, but t gets old fast. Also, avoid anything with slogans.
You want to avoid looking like someone who hasn’t grown up yet — someone who’s stuck in his past.
You want to stop looking like a boy, and dress like a man.
And this is especially true if you work somewhere with a casual dress code.You still want to step it up.
Don’t worry though, I’ll give you some more tips on how to do so. Starting with…
2. Give Up the Graphic Tees for a More Mature Look
The first thing you should do to shed your boyish look is giving up your graphic Tees.
I know you love them. I once did too. In fact, I wore them non-stop.
But you want to stop wearing them. You have so many better options.
Despite popular belief, they don’t make you look funny, edgy or original. In fact, because every other guy is sporting a graphic tee too, you’ll just blend into the crowd.
Plus, people associate them with guys who refuse to grow up. (Remember tip #1? You don’t want that.)
Just look at the movies. You’ll never see a tough, masculine action hero or a suave rom-com heartthrob wearing a a graphic tee. The only time you’ll see a graphic tee is when the character is either a man-child, an actual child, or a slacker.
You don’t want people to see you as a man-child, do you? Then be a man, and stop wearing graphic tees.
Instead, opt for solid, one-color t-shirts, striped tees or henleys. Just look at these examples:
Don’t you agree these guys look much cooler and more masculine than the ones above? These kinda of t-shirts will make you stand out against an ocean of graphic-tee-wearing men.
You might also consider wearing polo shirts or casual shirts. Just because you’re dressing casual doesn’t mean you can’t wear a collar. And a simple white shirt looks great with a pair of dark blue jeans, which I’ll cover in the next section of this list.
3. Rock Jeans That Actually Make You Look Good
The go-to casual legwear for any guy is a pair of jeans.
And nothing is wrong with that. Many men come to my site looking to move on from the T-shirt and jeans look. But jeans can look amazing, as long as you´re wearing the right pair.
And FYI, the right pair does not look like any of these.
Avoid baggy jeans. You want to avoid having to pull up your jeans every two seconds. They should keep themselves up without a belt. Also, they should not pool around your ankles. Learn how jeans should fit properly.
Also, avoid embellishments. That means: No excessive distress, no rips, and none of that bleaching nonsense.
And finally — this should go without saying, but I have to say it anyway — Avoid big logos on your ass. In fact, no big logos anywhere on your outfit, PERIOD.
Instead, keep your jeans simple. Go for clean, dark-blue, tapered jeans that fit like the ones suggested below. Trust me; you’ll look awesome.
You might have to try a few to find which fit works best for you. If you’re an athletic guy with big thighs, the athletic fit might just be a dream come true for you. For guys with a more average build, any of the others work well. (Personally, I’m partial to slim fit jeans.) If you’re packing some weight, straight fit is probably your best option.
These jeans won’t just look better, but they’re more versatile. Just look at these examples below and see how easily they can be dressed up and down as you see fit.
Note: I have received a lot of questions on this, so let me clarify. I’m not saying never, ever wear faded jeans, ever. . While you should definitely have a straight dark-blue pair of jeans as pictured, you can certainly wear jeans with a subtle bit of fading. Just avoid those that are overly embellished.
4. Change it Up Down Below
Jeans are great, but they all look kinda the same, and they’re not your ONLY option for legwear.
Add some variety to your wardrobe by investing in one or two pairs of chinos.
Just look at these examples:
You can pull these same outfits off with jeans, but each outfit looks completely different when you wear chinos, which gives you a lot more variety.
Adding just one pair to your wardrobe doubles the amount of outfits you can create. Add one more, and you triple that number.
I suggest one basic pair in camel or grey. And get one colored pair to change things up. (Wearing color below the waist is something few men do, so it stands out.)
And you don’t have to go for fire-engine red or lime green. You can go for subdued colors like burgundy or army-green. See some examples below:
5. Class Up Your Footwear (Because the Ladies, They Notice)
Okay, you may want to sit down for this…
Your dirty, beat-up sneakers will ruin an otherwise excellent outfit. You’ll want to replace them with something more dignified.
And don’t think people don’t notice your shoes. They notice. Especially women.
I can’t tell you how many compliments I get on my shoes from women, and I’m hardly shilling out hundreds of dollars for a single pair, as some guys recommend.
It’s okay to wear a pair of clean white sneakers in a casual outfit. But if you want to class things up, wear a pair of brown leather shoes instead, and BOOM… You look sharper.
You have many options for footwear so expand your horizon beyond sneakers.
But if you’re used to wearing sneakers al the time and want to ease your way into something else, let me introduce you to the desert boot:
Desert boots look much nicer than sneakers, but aren’t as dressy as some other leather shoes. They’re right in-between, which makes them perfect for casual wear.
Plus, they’re super comfortable.
Get yourself a pair and you won’t regret it.
They’re certainly not your only option though. Here are a few other shoe styles that work well in casual looks:
Other Casual Shoe Styles
6. Decorate Your Wrists (Because a Naked Wrist is Boring)
Accessories are another good way to spruce up a dull outfit.
And I suggest you get in the habit of wearing a wrist-accessory first.
Why the wrist?
Because naked wrists are boring.
You can wear a watch, a leather bracelet, or both. Doesn’t matter what you wear, but wear something on there. It just gives your outfit a bit more personality.
You’re saying, “I don’t have to wear this, but I like wearing it.”
You go from someone who clothes himself to stay warm to someone who clothes himself with intention.
Personally, I love wearing a leather wrap bracelet with a few bead bracelets as an accent, but even wearing something as simple as a watch will go a long way.
7. Layer Your Clothes for More Interesting Outfits
Want to know an easy way to make a dull outfit more interesting?
Add a layer.
Many guys feel a bit intimidated by layering because they don’t really know how to match clothes all that well. But you don’t have to know all that much about it. It can be done with very simple clothes too.
Imagine a guy wearing a plain grey sweater and jeans. Nothing wrong with that. It’s a fine casual outfit.
But still, it’s not that interesting.
Now imagine him wearing a simple white shirt underneath his sweater. Boom. Instantly more interesting.
It’s a simple fix, and hardly earth-shattering, but it just gives that bit more detail to the outfit that makes it more visually appealing.
And you don’t have to stop at one additional layer. You can wear two, three, even four layer at a time. So play around!
Check these guys out for some examples:
8. Wear a Jacket That Elevates Your Casual Look
Okay, so you don’t have to suit up to dress well, but that doesn’t mean you can’t smarten your casual look up a bit with a well-fitting blazer.
This favorite of business casual men can easily be worn in casual outfits too. It’s called smart casual — which essentially means stepping your casual outfit up a notch.
A man in a blazer just looks good because blazers accentuate the male frame like no other garment.
It will give you an easy way to smarten even your simplest outfits up a bit. Plain white tee with jeans? Add a blazer, and suddenly you look pretty damn sharp.
I’d suggest one in navy or grey to maximize versatility.
9. Ignore the Fashion World; It Will Lead You Astray
When trying to figure out how to dress well, men often look towards the fashion world for help. They look to see what’s trendy.
But the fashion world is only good for men obsessed with fashion. If you’re just a regular guy looking to become a better dresser, knowing what’s trendy won’t help you.
In fact, you should do the opposite…
Focus on getting classic clothes that will look good all year round. Focus on timeless pieces that will still be stylish ten years from now. Focus on looking classy and stylish before you worry about looking trendy.
Trendy done wrong often turns out tacky, after all.
So work on your style sense with timeless wardrobe essentials that never go out of fashion. Focus on mastering the basics of men’s style, and you’ll be a better dresser before you know it.
Check out The Beginner’s Guide to Dressing Better for a crash-course on the basics of style.
10. Stop Trying Too Hard, Keep it Simple
Many guys shoot themselves in the foot by trying too hard to dress better.
It results in them looking like jackasses.
They hear they should wear accessories, and they end up wearing a gazillion bracelets and necklaces. Or they hear they should wear color and they end up looking like a bag of skittles with legs.
Of course, I only know that because I’ve been one of those guys (and it wasn’t pretty).
You stand out, but not in the way you want.
Shoot for subtle, simple, understated outfits and you’ll stand out in a good way instead.
Dress Well and Look like a More Polished, Masculine You
You just got 10 casual style tips that should help you dress better. Plenty more where that came from, but these should be enough to get you started.
So go on and start.
Doesn’t matter where.
Whether you start with replacing your graphic tees, getting nicer shoes or decorating your wrists. Just start somewhere.
And after you took that first step, take the next, and the next, and the next.
And before you know it, you’ll look in the mirror, and you’ll see a guy looking back who looks just like you, except…
A better-dressed version of you.
Did You Find That Useful? Then Check This Out…
I wrote a men’s style guide that simplifies the art of dressing well, focuses on what matters, and takes you through it one step at a time. Enter your e-mail below and you’ll receive three free chapters, which will show you: