Editor’s note: I’m a big The Walking Dead fan, and if you are too and still have trouble expanding your comfort zone when it comes to upping your style game, hopefully you can relate to this.

The following is a guest article from Robert Van Tongeren of Restart Your Style.

You have an awesome look in mind.

A look you’d love to have, but just can’t pull off.

You sometimes spot clothes that could help you create this look, but you never buy them. You may take them off the rack, examine them, or even try them on, but you always hang them back.

You’d love to create this look for yourself, but you’re just more of a T-shirt-and-jeans guy. The look is just not you.


The look is you. It’s the real you. It’s just not you now.

Right now, you’re a T-shirt-and-jeans guy, because you’re afraid of leaving your comfort zone. You’ve grown so accustomed to this look, dressing differently feel awkward. So you’ve convinced yourself it’s just who you are.

But it’s camouflage.

You’re just trying to go unnoticed. Because if you leave your comfort zone and change your style, everyone’s eyes will be on you. The idea alone makes you cringe.

So you hide.

You hide the look you truly want safe inside you mind, where nobody can see. You hide your true self, for fear of being noticed. You hide inside your comfort zone, because every time you try to leave, zombies try to bite you.

Yeah, that’ll make more sense in a minute.

Leaving your comfort zone is hard, but you can ease the process. Let me show you how.

You have two ways to change your look

Imagine a world plagued by a zombie infestation.

Humanity has lost, and the zombies (or “awkwards”, as survivors have started calling them) have overrun the world, but you and a small group of other survivors have managed to secure a small part of the city. You’ve put up a huge fence around the area and made it safe to live.

You’ve called your new home “The Comfort Zone”.

You’re safe inside The Comfort Zone, but you’re not completely satisfied.

You’re okay now, but how long will it last? You need more food, medicine and ammunition.

You need to hit the supermarket, hospital and armory for supplies, but they’re located deep inside the awkward zone — where the zombies are.

So you have two choices:

  1. You go on supply runs. You arm yourself to the teeth, break through the fence and fight your way through the awkwards.
  2. You slowly expand The Comfort Zone. You secure surrounding areas one at a time until you reach your destination.

No option is better than the other. The first will see quicker results, but you need a lot of guts to pull it off. The second will be slower, but is more likely to keep you in one piece.

Changing your look is similar to this situation

You also have to venture deep into the awkward zone to reach the look you want and you also have two choices.

1. Do it Quickly

You bite the bullet. You get the clothes you need, and tomorrow you’re going to walk out the door looking like a new man.

You’ll have to fight your way through a whole bunch of awkwards if you choose this option. It takes some guts.

You will feel like everybody’s looking at you, and you will feel awkward for a while before you fully get used to looking a bit different.

You should really consider whether this is the right option for you.

Because the reason most guys never change their style, is they imagine themselves doing it quickly — and they can’t even imagine it without feeling awkward. So make sure you’re up to it.

You’ll need a lot of confidence not to break under the pressure and go back into hiding.

So if you’re not such a confident dresser yet, you should try the next option.

2. Take it Slowly

You don’t have to build your new look in a day. You can travel a less awkward road by expanding your comfort zone piece by piece.

Let me give you some examples:

  • Uncomfortable wearing colors? Start with muted tones and work your way up to bold ones. Start wearing just one at a time, before you start matching them together.
  • Uncomfortable wearing bold patterns? Start with a subtle, barely-noticeable pinstripe and slowly increase the boldness. Again, begin with one at a time, before you start combining them.
  • Uncomfortable wearing dressy clothes? Start gradually inserting them in your everyday outfits.

Just start small, and work yourself up. You’ll slowly build your comfort levels and your confidence.

In time, you will reach your destination, and you will feel completely at ease strutting your new look.

Time to dress like the REAL you

You have an awesome look in mind for yourself.

A look you’d love to have — and you can pull it off.

You just have to stop hiding.

If you’re afraid of being noticed, just take it slowly. Take it one step at a time. But you have to take steps.

So next time your inside voice tells you something isn’t you, simply respond that it isn’t you yet.

Because it will be you. You’re going to make it you.

The awesome look you have in mind will be yours.

You will own it.

You just have to go after it.



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22 Responses

  1. Gretchen Neels on

    Neale Donald Walsh said “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Time to bust out and embrace the better, more improved version of YOU.

    • ChrisReetz on

      Excellent quote.

      I bought my first blazer a few weeks ago. It felt awkward to wear at first and I received a lot of ‘got a job interview today?’ sort of comments, but I love that blazer now. Wear it too often. Just step out, it’s worth it.

      • Seamus on

        I heard it for about two weeks from my peers, when I bite the bullet about a year ago. Management was thinking the same thing. Got to keep them on there toes. You will get noticed, but in a good way. Shows confidence and care.

        Best thing I did to advance my standing in a society of Zombies.

  2. tdoughone on

    This is great for people who are unsure. Confidence is key. Dress the way that truly makes you happy. That’s what will make you comfortable. Anyone who says anything bad, just look at how poorly they are dressed.

  3. David X L on

    Love the zombie analogy, Robert!

    I disagree that neither option is better; going slowly is superior mainly because you can focus on one piece at a time and get a good understanding of WHY something is flattering. This knowledge makes your style more scalable and makes you more confident. It also saves you a lot of wasted money.

    For instance, if your first step is improving shirt fit through tailoring, you’ll learn a lot about how shirts should fit. You’ll make some mistakes along the way, but they won’t be that costly, and in the end, you’ll understand that slimmer shirts are more flattering because they help define your body shape. This knowledge scales up when you’re learning how pants, blazers, and other items fit, as well.

    Now, what happens if you do it quickly and fake it ‘til you make it? You look up an outfit in Esquire or Primer, slap it together, and strut like the world is blind. This is superficial progress at best. You might learn that those specific clothes in that specific arrangement look good on you, but what about when you want to mix and match? You don’t understand the fundamentals, so you’ll end up wasting a lot of money on mistake additions that you don’t need. This is what happened to me before I found EG!

    In the end, I think it’s a matter of imitation versus mastery. Imagine you’re learning to drive, and you decide to watch Fast 5. You can imitate that all you want, but until you take the time to learn why they turn, shift, and brake as they do, you’re just going to look like a wreck.

    It’s not just about confidence. Mastery has to be earned.

    • Robert van Tongeren on

      Glad you liked it, David! It was a lot of fun writing it.

      I admit, the slow option is probably a smarter approach, as you can really tackle one factor of style at a time, but I meant there’s nothing wrong with doing it quickly.

      If you’re a casual guy that desperately wants to suit up, because you want to look more professional, then go ahead and bite the bullet. But definitely prepare yourself a bit first. Don’t half-ass it. Arm yourself to the teeth.

  4. Patrick on

    Nice! This is definitely coming at a good time for me as I’m slowly easing into improving my style and the way I dress. I’m not going to lie though, I get the feeling that the whole idea for this article suddenly came up from watching an episode of the Walkind Dead. Great show, by the way. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Patrick on

    Buy something expensive, something that makes you feel it when you pay. That way you will feel worse for leaving it unused.

  6. Mark on

    I went with the radical way, Didnt realise how tough it would be but i eventually got through it and now im never looking back, Still feel a little uncomfortable now and again but it keeps me from making any sloppy mistakes!! Good Article

  7. Kaustubh on

    I’m going to be going off to college in some time. So I have this opportunity to change my dress style majorly, make it far more classical and formal. After all, nobody knows how I look there. But I am worried about looking too different. Most guys there will be slobs.