Here in New York, you see plenty of examples of people who go all out on the latest trends.

There isn’t anything wrong with being on the bleeding edge, if that’s your thing. But most EG readers don’t have the time or interest to keep up with the latest and greatest trends.

You guys prefer a wardrobe that is classic, something that won’t look dated when browsing through photos of yourself in 20 years. At the same time, you don’t want your wardrobe going stale, wearing the same OCBD + dark denim combination, day in and day out.

So, what do you do?

Below are three ways you can incorporate trends (or elements of trendy looks) into your Lean Wardrobe.

1.) Don’t go full-tilt

In life, sometimes it’s good to go all-in on something. “New fashion trends” is not one of those things, at least if you’re following the Lean Wardrobe philosophy.

The key is to identify one or two trends that you like, and adopt them into your wardrobe slowly.

Just pick up one or two things. Or one to two colorways of one thing. That’s it.

Remember, trendy and one-off items are at the top of the pyramid. By following this, you get the benefit of enjoying a current trend without having to invest too heavily in anything.

joggerHere’s an example.

Let’s say you’re into joggers, the pants with an elastic hem. Great! I kinda like them too. I’ve been seeing these more and more in stores and on the streets the past few seasons, and the more I see them, the more I want to try them out.

So pick up ONE versatile pair, maybe something in navy, gray, or olive, and see how they feel on you.

If you love them, perfect! I’m sure you’ll wear those pants to death. You may even have to pick up a second pair.

Turns out you hate them? Or maybe you just didn’t wear them as much as you thought you would? Well, at least you only bought one pair. Not a huge loss.

See how that works? Buy slowly and deliberately, take your time when working new things into your wardrobe, and you avoid the risk of overspending and overcrowding your closet.

2.) Understand your ideal style archetypes and how to blend them together

What is a style archetype? I touched upon this idea just a bit… way, way long ago.

I’ll have to write a follow-up article expanding on these ideas, but for now, refer back to this to get an idea of the different style archetypes you may be familiar with.

ar·che·type (ˈärkəˌtīp/): the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype

As it relates to personal style, clothing, and fashion: find a “model” whose style of dress you relate to and like, and essentially, follow it.

When I say “model”, I don’t mean an actual fashion model.

It could be an actor, or a character that’s played by a specific actor (i.e. Ryan Gosling, or Jacob Palmer in Crazy, Stupid, Love as played by Ryan Gosling).

It could be your neighbor, your dad, or the guy who sells suits at your local menswear shop.

If you don’t look up to anyone’s style in particular, rather, a certain type of style, then the slides via Esquire Magazine in this article will help you even more.

Find one (or multiple) archetypes you relate to, take specific elements you like from each, and create a style all your own.

That’s the BIG SECRET in forming a truly unique personal style. Once you have your basics down, select one or several style archetypes you identify with, and combine elements of each to create your own signature look.

It’s about taking your base layer (the bottom of the pyramid), and adding stuff from the middle and top layers.

“Can I do it wrong?”

Not really.

Style is personal and subjective. Aside from the rules of fit, proportion, and color, you have free reign over your choices. Even within fit, proportion, and color, you sometimes have leeway to experiment.

Just keep in mind the levels of your pyramid. Never have too many items that belong on the top level.

(Sidenote: EG pal Tanner Guzy defines the three archetypes of masculine style—rugged, refined, and rakish—on his site, Masculine Style. I’m linking to the conclusion post here, but it has links to all parts of the series at the top.)

3.) Get Inspired

If you’re still figuring out your perfect blend of classic and trendy, you should spend some time looking for visual inspiration. With the Googles and the Internets, it’s really easy.

Here are two places to start looking.

Tumblr

That’s probably super obvious.

You can browse the #menswear feed, or simply do a Google search for the best menswear tumblr blogs. There’s no shortage of lists.

If you feel like following along, EG has a Tumblr called Less Effort, and I curate another that focuses solely on nicely organized (and gridded) outfits.

Find one (or multiple) archetypes you relate to, take specific elements you like from each, and create a style all your own.

Lookastic

Lookastic allows you to type in specific clothing items and it pulls up photos of people wearing said items. Try it out!

Just know that the search functionality works best on common combinations (i.e. “denim” and “gray blazer”), and not so well on uncommon ones (“cow print chelsea boots” and “pink boxer briefs”).

You can also take a peek at their Trends section for further inspiration, or if you have a favorite celebrity whose style you’d love to emulate, you may have some luck here.

Does that help?

Less worried about trying something new? Excited to add a few new things to your wardrobe? Tell me about what you want to try next, down below in the comments.

photo, photo, photo

If you found this article useful, make sure to check out our Lean Wardrobe resources page.

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8 Responses

  1. Brock on

    Great post. I would add, when you buy that first pair, go cheap. Stores like H&M, ASOS and Urban Outfitters are always on trend, and they’re stuff is very affordable. Don’t pay premium prices until you know you want to incorporate something into your regular rotation. When the crappy version wears out, replace it with a higher end version.

  2. MasculineStyle on

    All three points are great Barron. Too often we get into this binary of classic = good trend = bad, but there’s a lot of room for variation. And of course you’d be getting more and more into the streetwear scene after moving to NYC!

    • Barron on

      I’ve definitely been observing more, as far as streetwear out here. I do dig it. I don’t know if it’s me, just yet, but I’m starting small, like with a new pair of sneaks (I never wear sneakers).

      And yes, I think the variation and incorporation of both classic and trendy elements is what really creates awesome style.