Style

How Reinventing My Style Changed My Life

well dressed men reinventing style

There was a time in my life, some years ago, when I was too timid to ask a stranger for directions.

I was so uncomfortable in my own skin that it was paralyzing every aspect of my life.

During that time, I frequently found myself in thrift shops and bookstores where I would scan all of their self-improvement books, eagerly searching for some pearl of wisdom that could tell me how to fix myself.

Reinventing my style

Though I learned a lot from those resources, I still wasn't who I wanted to be.

Most of these books focused on fixing yourself from the inside first – which is really great advice for most people.

But after some serious introspection, I pinned my displeasure with my physical appearance as the driving source of my shyness.  So I began working to solve that problem, through training my body and then dressing it well.

Over the many years it's taken me to get where I am, I've had the opportunity to experience first-hand how improving your style can enhance your life.

Why you should want to dress better

I talk a lot about how to dress better, but it's equally, if not more, important to discuss why you should dress better.

There's a reason that nearly all self-improvement books and websites have a fitness and style component.

How you look on the outside reflects how you feel on the inside. It's like a window to the man underneath.

Perhaps a sloppy appearance is the result of a careless attitude. Or maybe it's a lack of confidence stemming from being dissatisfied with one's outward appearance, as was my situation.

Whatever the case, the outcome is the same.

People treat you according to how you present yourself. And style is a huge component of your presentation.

For example, I was pushing my daughter in her stroller around the neighborhood recently. We walked past a local bar where two guys were outside smoking. One of them had an exceptionally sloppy appearance.

He was about 30 years old, obviously out of shape, and wearing a backwards cap, Chicago Cubs t-shirt (that came down past his elbows), HUGE gym shorts, and rubber flip-flops.

Now, I'm truly not a judgmental person, but my mind made some automatic assumptions about this man. He appeared lazy, maybe he didn't have any direction in his life, and why was he at a bar at 1pm on a Wednesday?

Then he threw his cigarette butt in the street, walked over to a pristine, white Audi S5 and fired it up. Then my mind started formulating a different story.

“He's probably just taking a few well deserved vacation days to wind down from his high stress career.”

I really don't concern myself with what other people look like and I don't hold anyone else to my style or grooming standards, but my point is that these assumptions were automatic, basically involuntarily.

My Transformation: Inside and Out

men's fashion style before and after

When you make the conscious decision to reinvent your style and start presenting yourself in a different way to the world, a whole host of new people and opportunities are going to present themselves to you.

Here are the ways my life has changed and I have changed, inside and out, since reinventing my style.

(P.S. Don't miss the style challenge I've laid out for you at the end!)

What changed from the inside

I've taken on the characteristics of how I dress

The way you dress has a powerful impact on how you act.

Simply dressing like a confident, successful person has shaped my frame of mind and, as a result, my actions.

I went to college after spending 4 years working as a mechanic and construction worker. I embraced the luxury of being able to shower, get dressed, and stay clean for the rest of the day.

My classmates considered getting dressed up to be a chore and preferred to stay in their pajamas while attending class.

I almost always put forth more effort and took school more seriously than they did. Sure, personality and experiences had a lot to do with it, but dressing the part sure didn't hurt.

I was dressing to kick some ass and they were dressing to lounge on the couch.

Don't let the way you dress pull your mindset and actions in the wrong direction.

By waking up, taking a shower, and putting on the appropriate clothes for the day ahead, your mind is somehow better prepared to handle anything that comes your way.

My mind has become free

Since I began feeling good about my appearance, I have the freedom to forget about how I look and can spend my time focusing on more important aspects of business and relationships.

I used to spend way too much time wondering if I was dressed appropriately for formal events or if the things I wore in daily life were making me look my best.

When I would be at a wedding reception, I used to look down at my clothes and wish I'd worn something else. Or I'd feel self-conscious about the cheap, cheesy pair of dress shoes I was wearing.

Now I get dressed with great care and then forget about what I put on as soon as I leave the house (with the exception of smiling every time I glance at my polished shoes).

Time in meetings should be spent focusing on the discussion, not on wondering if your tie is right for your shirt or if your shoes are “dressy” enough.

Free yourself from self-criticism by knowing you look good.

My confidence has skyrocketed

Being well dressed has given me the confidence necessary to go after the things I want out of life.

You shouldn't have to think, “I would talk to that woman, but she's so pretty and I look like a bum.” or “I would go after that promotion, but all the other guys are so much more qualified.”

When you're well dressed, you're presenting the world with the best version of you and you will feel that with everything you say and do.

Before improving my style, I had this inherent feeling that other people were better than me based on their appearance. I understand that this is far from a healthy way of thinking, but it wasn't intentional.

Turn things around and let other people feel that way about you.

Taking responsibility for my appearance and learning how to dress appropriately has allowed me to become “me” and the same can be true for you.

I have a sense of control

While I can't control everything that goes on around me, I can control the way the world sees me through the clothes I put on in the morning.

This was especially comforting when I struggled to transform my body the way I wanted.

Even though I was simultaneously improving my physique and style, my body was one resistant son of a bitch. I was controlling everything I ate and doing all the right things in the gym, but my results were slow at best.

The one thing I had power over was the clothes I chose to wear. I could continue dressing like the insecure teenager I felt like inside, or dress like the confident man I wanted to be.

Life likes to throw you curve balls. You can run into important business contacts on the street, get chosen for an impromptu presentation, or meet the girl of your dreams at any moment.

Since you don't know what each day is going to bring you, exercise control over your body and what you show the world.

Being in control of your appearance will give you a feeling of power.

I have a newfound sense of pride

Unless you pay someone to shop for you and then lay your clothes out for the next day, becoming well dressed takes practice and patience.

I've spent years reading, experimenting, and generally obsessing over style. And as with learning any new skill, I'm left feeling a sense of accomplishment.

In the beginning, I was completely lost. I didn't know how to put together an appropriate outfit to attend a wedding. I didn't know what to wear out to the bar (usually erring on the side of douche-y).

I bought a lot of pieces that I never ended up wearing because I was so clueless.

But after a few years, I've learned so much that I can't even imagine going back to the way things were.

It's an incredible feeling to know where to spend your money and where to hold back, knowing what outfits are appropriate for which scenarios, and how to send intentional messages to those around you.

By putting in the work, you'll reap the rewards and feel the associated pride.

I have an outlet for self-expression

I can't sing or dance. I don't paint or do spoken word or local theater.  Instead, my medium for self-expression is clothing.

I'm able to express my mood (serious or light-hearted), personality (easy going and creative), and personal taste (simple and timeless) with each new day and each piece that I wear.

Through my clothing choices, I let the world know that I prefer functional, elegant design and take pride in owning quality pieces that I love, maintain, and help get better with age.

You're sending a message to people with the way you present yourself. In turn, they're using that message to formulate an idea about who you are before you even speak.

Use these inevitable assumptions to your advantage.

It's become easier to meet people

Nice clothes are a great conversation starter. One thing that truly helped me overcome shyness and insecurity was being forced to have a conversation with every stranger that came up to compliment my clothes.

Even in the same week, I can see how being well dressed draws people to me.

I have a pretty good laboratory at my disposal since I live in a highly populated area and I'm surrounded by people as soon as I leave my apartment.

If I wear shorts and a t-shirt one day, I may not talk to anyone. If I'm dressed my best, people come up to compliment me and ask for directions or the time like they don't have a smartphone in their pocket.

In much the same way that people want to be around beautiful women, people naturally gravitate toward a well dressed man.

When your style of dress is mediocre, you tend to fade into the background. It could even be intentional – sometimes insecurity can make you want to be invisible.

But you don't have to be invisible.  Get out in front of the world and show them who you are.

I've overcome my fear of public speaking

I've always been more content to listen rather than talk. But when I returned to college in 2009, professors always assumed that based on my image, I was comfortable with being the center of attention.

More times than I can count, I heard, “What do you think, Nate?” or “Would you mind coming up here to demonstrate this to the class?”

I was absolutely terrified to get up in front of my classmates, but I did my best to play it cool and went through with it anyway. It wasn't easy at first.

Apparently no one noticed that I was shaking like a leaf because they made this singling out a frequent occurrence.

But after being made to get up in front of people so many times, I finally got to a place where public speaking didn't make me want to dissolve through the floor.

I'm not exactly ready to give a TED talk, but the idea of presenting in front of a group doesn't frighten me or deter me from professional or academic events any more.  It's pretty liberating.

What changed from the outside

It's kind of hard to blend in when you're one of the best dressed guys in a room.

Bosses held me in higher regard

As I improved my style and grooming, those above me on the corporate ladder always seemed to assume that I was more organized, motivated, and capable than my co-workers, even when that wasn't the case.

It got to the point where upper management thought so highly of my competence, they stopped giving me guidance all together. I've even been left without instruction during my first days at certain jobs.

Employees who remind bosses of a young version of themselves are the ones who receive raises and promotions.

Since the boss didn't get to the top by skipping haircuts and wearing a hoodie to work, maintaining a sharp appearance can help you advance in your career.

People ask for my advice

Everyone seems to want my opinion on a situation these days.

Friends and family members who used to ignore my well-intentioned and useful advice, now listen to what I have to say with greater enthusiasm.

It doesn't have to be style related. People seem to want advice on fitness, personal finance, relationships, and purchases.

When you're well dressed, you present the image of success. And who better to ask for advice than a successful person?

I get more attention from women

Not that it matters since I've been off the market for many years, but I've noticed a significant increase in the amount of attention I get from women.

I was always regarded as a “cute” boy in middle and high school. But after graduation and starting to work in construction, my body went to hell and my style was stagnant.

I went from getting love notes from many of my female classmates and compliments from complete strangers, to being largely ignored by women for a span of four or five years.

Once I started working on my body and improving my style, I noticed a drastic increase in attention from the ladies. So even as the same guy with the same face, living in the same city, my experiences were like night and day.

Women often view well-dressed men as being more successful and as better partners – more responsible, stable, considerate.

The underlying implication of being put together is that you have the time and resources to take care of yourself.

My concerns are heard

Customer service employees used to treat me like I was a dirt bag trying to scam them for free shit when I would voice legitimate concerns about their product or service.

These days, service reps are always happy to upgrade my hotel room, offer discounts on future purchases, or send a free drink my way to smooth over any wrong on their behalf.

I've been on the other side of the counter, as well. When I was working at a downtown hotel, I definitely recognized a few patterns.

It seemed like some people were just there to make a scene for the purpose of getting their $62 valet parking fees comped. These people were more often than not, poorly groomed and dressed.

Anytime well dressed people came up to me with a concern, usually in a respectful manner, I was ready to listen and eager to correct any issues.

Of course, your approach plays a major part in customer service, but it's really helpful if they don't have their guard up before you finish your first sentence.

I've been asked to lead more often

When a decision has to be made within a group, people look to me a lot more now than they used to.

Many of the qualities that are projected by a well dressed man also align with the qualities of effective leaders. People can't help but to assume that if you're so put together, you'll be able to guide them as well.

I even see it in situations as commonplace as walking around with friends. When someone raises a question like “which direction should we go?” or “what should we do for lunch?”, I've noticed people's eyes turning to me more than they used to.

When you step up your style, you may be asked to lead more often.  Take your chance.

People are sometimes intimidated by me

I can see that some people are initially hesitant when I approach them now. The cause is most likely a combination of my height, clothing, and beard.

When we see well dressed or attractive people, our mind starts to raise questions and make assumptions:

“He looks really successful – he's probably an aggressive jerk.”

“Must be nice to be born into a rich family.”

“He probably thinks he's too good to talk to us.”

But once I start a conversation with a new person, they usually seem relieved and quickly become more comfortable as they realize I'm not arrogant or ultra aggressive, as they may have imagined.

I think this actually works to my advantage.

When people assume that you're going to be a dick, and you prove them completely wrong, they're a bit embarrassed for making such a hasty judgment and feel indebted to you to make up for their misled mental accusations.

Sales staff give me more attention

But they're also more courteous when I tell them “I'm just browsing.”

I used to feel really pressured to buy things just to prove that I had the means. Sales staff actually use that as a tactic. They treat you like shit and in turn, you make a purchase to become part of a “club.”

I remember a time when I was in my dirty mechanic clothes on my lunch break.

I used to browse car lots, fully intent on purchasing a car (with the savings to do so easily), but the salesmen couldn't even be bothered to come talk to me.

Now, I can walk into stores that sell $350 neckties (I don't actually buy them, of course) and get treated with dignity.

In the minds of salesmen, poorly dressed people can't afford to shop in their stores and are wasting their time. Meanwhile, well dressed men can afford to shop in these stores, but simply may not see anything they want to purchase.

Dealing with negativity

As you can see, it becomes difficult to pinpoint the origins of all of these positives that will result from improving your style.

Does dressing better give you confidence or does being treated better because of your appearance get the credit?

Regardless of the origins, these positives have a snowball effect. The better you dress, the better people will treat you, the more confident you'll feel, the better people will treat you, and so on.

But not all the feedback will be positive.

Keep in mind, your efforts to dress better may be met with some resistance. Much like the way fast food junkies will poke fun at anyone making healthy eating choices, the guys in baggy tees, sports gear, and backwards caps may give you some grief.

Bettering yourself will always invite criticism because, in the minds of others, this means you think your way is better. Some people will view your transformation as a critique of the way they're living and presenting themselves.

They will become defensive. They may criticize your choices. They might try to diminish your accomplishments.

But don't let any of that get you down.

You'll find that these shallow criticisms only come from people who don't matter and those seeking to drag you down.

Anyone of importance will realize the effort you've made and be excited for the good things coming into your life.

7-Day Style Challenge

It's kind of hard to blend in when you're one of the best dressed guys in a room.

I hope I've been able to demonstrate the benefits of being well dressed.

But I don't just want you to take my word for it.  It's time to put what you've learned into action.

Ever notice how you feel awesome and can't wait to get in front of people when you're wearing your favorite shirt or best fitting pair of jeans?

I want you to have this feeling everyday!

Starting next Monday, I'd like you to dress your best everyday for one week. 

During this week, you should wake up earlier than usual, shower and groom first thing, and dress to the best of your ability.

I don't mean to imply that you must dress in a suit and tie everyday.

It's perfectly acceptable to dress in a casual manner if that's what aligns with your occupation and lifestyle. But do it in the best way you can.

Feel free to blatantly mimic a look you saw online, if you're drawing a blank on where to begin. I just want you to get the experience of being well dressed everyday so you can see how it'll improve your life.

During this week, you should make an effort to be more social than usual. If not already part of your routine, you can:

  1. Go out for a drink with a friend and see where the night takes you.
  2. Talk to an attractive woman at the grocery store to test your confidence (perhaps ask her for a simple dinner idea to open the lines of communication).
  3. Spend a day working or reading in a coffee shop and see if you can make friends, get someone's business card/hand out one of your own, or land a date.
  4. Engage in one other social activity that is out of your norm (bowling, billiards at a pool hall, a whiskey tasting, museum trip, a concert, a local festival, etc.).

At the end of the week, reflect back on the looks that made you feel your best and most confident.

Evaluate what benefits you took from just 7 days of dressing better. Do they line up with anything I experienced and described above?

Let me know your reactions to the challenge in the comments below!

Take away

Once I decided to make a change from the outside, great things started to happen on the inside.

While this might not be the right approach for everyone, it was the catalyst I needed to set everything else in motion.

Similar to the way that smiling, even if you're mad, actually makes you feel happy, dressing better can greatly enhance your life in the same backwards manner.

It can be extremely difficult to change from the inside. We all have different genes and experiences that shape the way we think and feel.

So if you're struggling with becoming the man you want to be, take advantage of an easy fix.

If it's time to shed your old skin and become a better version of you, don't fear the change, embrace it.

Never be afraid to reinvent yourself!

All the best,

Nate

10 Timeless Wardrobe Essentials

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73 Comments

  • Reply
    Taylor
    August 3, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Hard knowing that I probably shouldn’t throw down cash for clothes that fit me now, just to know that they won’t fit after a year in the gym. However, a year of looking relatively sloppy for a lifetime of looking grade AAA is well worth it in my book. Sound advice either way, definitely a confidence booster. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 3, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      I was in that exact same situation for a long time. I still haven’t invested heavily in a suit wardrobe for this reason, although I’m getting much closer to my ideal size.

      Since you’ll need new clothes in a year anyway, take advantage of this time to figure out your personal style. Shop sales and pick up a lot of stuff from thrift stores to minimize the costs. The first year of improving your style will usually result in poor buying decisions anyway.

      You’re doing the right thing by prioritizing the body underneath.

  • Reply
    Jacob
    August 3, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Love this post and I agree wholeheartedly. We’re swamped in a touchy-feely society that preaches it’s what’s on the inside that counts. It’s simply their method of coping with feeling like a slob. The truth is the body works in a more holistic manner. If you walk around slouched, you won’t feel as confident or energetic. If you are out of shape and dress like a slob, you’ll feel loser. I know because I’ve been there. You hit the nail right on the head.

    I don’t dress like a slob, but I’ll definitely be participating in your challenge next week. You should have a gallery of all the sharp-dressed men who participate in the challenge.

    Keep’em coming!

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 3, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      Thanks, Jacob! You’re right, there are people who are so talented and amazing that they could change the world while wearing a potato sack. But for the rest of us, we need to use every tool at our disposal.

  • Reply
    Leon
    August 3, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Nate, random fashion question because I respect your style: what kind of weekender / duffel bags do you currently? leather or canvas. <$200

  • Reply
    Reg Johnson
    August 3, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    This is really good. I feel a little bit bad about how I dress but motivated to dress up at the same time.

  • Reply
    Davide
    August 3, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Once more, a great post. I like the way you write, I can feel your authenticity. Keep it going, Nate. Best regards from Rome!

  • Reply
    Dave
    August 3, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    Solid article Nate. Every since I first stumbled across your blog I haven’t been making gradual wardrobe changes.

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 4, 2015 at 12:56 am

      If you meant you have been making changes, then awesome! If you haven’t, there’s no better time to start than now. Either way, glad to have you here.

  • Reply
    Blayde
    August 3, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Kickass article brother.

    I’ve had amazing things happen to me whenever I’ve dressed top-notch.

    One time on a flight to california, a gorgeous network television casting agent picked me out of a crowd because of my appearance alone.

    Another time, a client I was highly unprepared (and nervous) to demonstrate my product to didn’t even want to hear my pitch. He saw that I was dressed to kill and made up his mind to purchase from me on-the-spot based on my wardrobe (and my products superiority) without me having to say a word.

    I have two summer weddings to attend this month. One which is VERY important because I am meeting my girlfriend’s entire family for the first time. I know with your guide(s) I will be the best-dressed guest there which will make the whole thing less stressful.

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 3, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      You’re living proof of my writing, Blayde! Hopefully your girlfriend’s family takes a liking to you as your client did so you can skip the interrogations, haha.

  • Reply
    Seb
    August 3, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    The best bit about improving your style is you can make changes practically overnight. It takes months (or even years) to build your body, build a business, and achieve most things. But with even the most basic knowledge, you can upgrade your style immediately. It’s so easy I’m amazed so many people continue to wander around looking like they’ve slept in the same mismatched clothes that they’ve worn all week.

    I really enjoyed this article – particularly how in-depth it is. I enjoy most of your posts but this one really stood out, especially with your personal experiences in it. More of the same please!

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 4, 2015 at 12:49 am

      Thanks for the compliments, Seb. Upgrading your style can be a little tricky at first, but as you pointed out, once you know generally what to buy it’s instant gratification.

  • Reply
    efe
    August 3, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    Hey Nate,

    As a man who is trying hard to lose weight, it was a good inspiration. Because when you overweight/fat there is no such a thing as “dress well”.

    I have a question. Some people say “You don’t need to spend too much money to dress well”. Do you agree? Some brands are very expensive, really.

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 4, 2015 at 12:34 am

      Losing weight will definitely make being well dressed easier, not to mention the health benefits. You can absolutely build a decent wardrobe without spending a fortune. My eBook, Casual Style 101, is dedicated entirely to that very subject.

      When it comes to clothes and their cost, you’ll experience diminishing returns at the upper end. Think about other markets, such as bicycles. A five thousand dollar road bike isn’t going to be ten times faster than a five hundred dollar option. But when you’re an enthusiast, it’s the best or nothing. How much you spend is entirely up to you.

      Best of luck with the weight loss!

  • Reply
    DJ
    August 3, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    Fantastic, insightful thoughts. In my own experience it took me a a few years of hit and miss exploration to articulate a particular ‘look’, of which physique is an important component. I’ve definitely felt the mental shift from wearing clothing centred on showing off brands to rocking outfits that, even if quite simple and low cost, carry you through the day as more a potent sense of yourself.

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 4, 2015 at 12:41 am

      I can remember the days of thinking I was cool because I was matching the logo on my shirt with the swoosh on my nikes, haha. It sounds like our experiences were quite similar. And you’re right, having a good physique is the foundation of your whole look.

  • Reply
    Harry Fowler
    August 4, 2015 at 2:48 am

    Very good article.
    I’ve also had many of the same experiences as you. Although I am still quite young (19) I found dressing better really helped my self confidence and genuinely changed the way people looked at me. It also helps that after three years at the gym I’m finally starting to see some substantial changes in my physique too.
    I really liked what you said about dealing with Negativity too.
    I’m Australian, and I have found that especially today (just like everywhere else) there are heaps of guys really not giving a shit about how they dress or how they groom themselves. But feel as if they need to talk crap about anyone who even tries to take pride in their appearance. This took a long time for me to get used to, but once I finally broke out of that uncomfortable stage and stopped caring about what they thought. It did wonders. The ladies sure liked the change too, so thats always a good thing.

    Keep up the good work. I’m loving everything you put out at the moment.

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 4, 2015 at 10:10 am

      You’re way ahead of the game at 19 years old. I’m not really sure where the negativity came from. But it you think about the men in the early part of the 20th century, they had a razor sharp part in their hair, clean shave, polished shoes, and a pressed suit. That image is a very masculine one, but today, caring about your appearance is frowned upon.

      • Reply
        Harry Fowler
        August 4, 2015 at 10:29 am

        Yeah, I totally get it.
        I think it’s people just getting intimidated by it. Just like you said in the article.

  • Reply
    Andre
    August 4, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Hey Nate, recently started following your blog. Love that you pump out quality content in your posts, especially in your fitness and fashion ones. Not enough bloggers go in depth and in detail in the subjects they talk about like this post here. Keep up the great work and hope to see this blog go places!

    For the past few months I’ve made some dramatic improvements to my wardrobe as well, and I can definitely vouch to all the ways it improves your life that you’ve listed. It may take a little time to learn specifically what colors match/what clothes work well with others/creating your own unique style, but in the end the payoff for dressing well and sticking out from everyone else is worth it.

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 4, 2015 at 10:19 am

      Creating a unique style is probable the most time consuming part, but it’s definitely worth it. Glad to have you here!

  • Reply
    Andy
    August 5, 2015 at 12:03 am

    Nate,

    I’m also from small town Indiana. I love the site and am in the process of changing my style and life. I’ve been hitting both the gym and the diet pretty hard and am getting results, so it’s a good time for me start upgrading my wardrobe as well.

    I’m a project manager who’s in steel toes on construction sites about 95% it the time. I get up early to shower and groom daily and dress decent. Do you have any ideas on clothing choices? It seems that I’ve been stuck in a rut with jeans/chinos and polo shirts.

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 5, 2015 at 10:39 am

      You’re going to see massive improvements to your life by working on diet, exercise, and style all at once!

      For a manager who spends his time on construction sites, I would really lean towards a polished workwear look. For your next pair of boots, grab something similar to these from Chippewa or these made by Danner. They have that classic boot look and will blend in a lot better with professional clothes than the modern “technical” boot designs.

      For clothes, I would check out J.Crew for inspiration. A lot of their stuff does a good job of walking the line between rugged and refined. Instead of polos, I would go with casual button ups in heavy fabrics with some texture and pattern. When the weather gets a little colder, I think wool sweaters and a heavy tweed jacket would also suit you well.

      • Reply
        Andy
        August 6, 2015 at 10:46 pm

        Thanks for the suggestions Nate. I hit some local thrift shops up yesterday, as I’m dropping sizes and don’t want to invest a lot in clothing until I get my body where I want it. I did find a minty tweed jacket (GAP Brand) that’s pure greatness for under $20.

  • Reply
    Pete
    August 5, 2015 at 3:39 am

    Hey Nate,

    I’ve always believed in the power of style, but I never put much effort into it beyond finding clothes that fit (which is no small task when you’re 6’5).

    However after reading this, I plan to do some shopping this weekend and take your 7 day challenge. I’m tired of fading into the background with my plain, boring style.

    I’ve put a lot of effort into building a strong body, and I don’t want to undermine that effort by dressing like everyone else.

    Thanks for the splash of cold water I needed! I’ll be coming back regularly for more tips.

    -Pete

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 5, 2015 at 10:47 am

      I feel you, Pete. I’m 6’2” and if I’m having trouble finding clothes then I know you are at 6’5”. Once you settle on a style, you’ll want to become well acquainted with a tailor. As a tall muscular guy, you may even need to get items such as t-shirts altered. I’m guessing that after you buy a shirt that’s long enough in the sleeves and body and fits in the chest, you’re left with billowing fabric around the middle?

      Once you get your wardrobe worked out, I have no doubt that you’ll be standing out in a crowd.

      Let me know how the 7 Day Style Challenge goes!

      • Reply
        Pete
        August 5, 2015 at 10:27 pm

        You got it – when I find shirts that “fit”, they’re still baggy beneath the chest. Even at 210 lbs, most shirts make me look skinny. Good call on the tailor.

        Results coming soon!

  • Reply
    Tomas Valverde
    August 5, 2015 at 5:53 am

    Hello Nate,

    Couldn’t agree more with you. At first it might feel like dressing better won’t make a difference, but it does. It’s something that all guys won’t believe before experiencing it, huh?

    Many PUAs and even former ones seem to think that “looks don’t matter”…

    Your site looks sharp and professional, found it through Victor Pride! I like this.

    Best wishes to you from a Finnish follower of yours,

    Tomas

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 5, 2015 at 11:05 am

      Yeah, it’s something everyone needs to experience for themselves.

      Looks definitely are not a replacement for character and social skills, just an enhancement. There’s no reason to ignore a valuable tool just to prove a point. Those PUAs would be even more successful if they also looked the part.

      Is it true that Finnish people are the best drivers? Top Gear has me wondering, haha.

      • Reply
        Tomas Valverde
        August 18, 2015 at 8:54 am

        Nate, pardon me for the delayed answer!

        Finnish people are the best drivers? I can’t really tell, I don’t even have driver’s license yet, haha!
        But if it is some kind of stereotype, there could be truth to it. Stereotypes don’t come out of nowhere but exist for a reason, right?

        • Reply
          Nate
          August 19, 2015 at 2:01 pm

          Stereotypes do originate somewhere. I’ve heard that the Finnish drivers’ education is really rigorous with accident avoidance training and learning how to handle a vehicle on a skid pad. In America, you basically take a leisurely drive around the neighborhood and they hand you a license. There isn’t actually any car control involved.

          • Tomas Valverde
            August 21, 2015 at 7:33 am

            Yes, you guessed right, Nate. Our driver’s education is very demanding and time-consuming. That’s what people with a license have told me. I didn’t know it’s that easy in America.

            Fortunately, reinventing one’s style in my country doesn’t cost as much as a driver’s license!

          • Nate
            August 22, 2015 at 10:23 am

            We don’t have to take any drivers education courses at all. I just drove around the neighborhood with my parents for a couple of months and then took a simple written and driving test. I didn’t really learn how to drive until I’d been behind the wheel by myself for a few months, haha. It’s very cheap though. I wasn’t aware that it was expensive in other countries.

          • Tomas Valverde
            August 29, 2015 at 8:30 am

            Speaking of driving licenses and cars, will your site feature car-tuning advice?

  • Reply
    You're hired: Why you need a job or else you are a loser - Way of The Olympian
    August 5, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    […] How Reinventing My Style Changed My Life: By Nate at Iron and Tweed […]

  • Reply
    Vadim Fedorovsky
    August 5, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Nate this article is some of your best work. Excellent piece my friend.

    I am very curious since I didn’t know you went to college: what did you major in?

    -Vadim

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 5, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks vadim! I have a Fitness Management. It’s a hybrid of about 60% Hospitality and Tourism Management and 40% percent exercise physiology. The intended career path was aimed at running fitness facilities.

  • Reply
    john
    August 7, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    Do you have any winter style tips for bald men like myself?

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 8, 2015 at 10:30 am

      Clothing style is going to be largely dependent on lifestyle and personal taste. Your hairstyle has less to do with it, other than wearing a hat more often. As soon as the weather starts to cool off, I’m going to have a ton of winter style articles coming out – stay tuned!

  • Reply
    Timothy Gagnon
    August 13, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Great website! (came over from GLL).

    Style is definitely one of my weak points, my clothes and fashion sense are pretty much shit (working on it). While reading this article, I couldn’t help thinking about what type of shirts would be ideal for tropical climates.

    I live in Taiwan, and during the summers it’s like a sauna, hot and humid, I’m pretty much always covered in sweat, it’s horrible. Sweat patches are hard to hide.

    Do you have any tips for tropic climates? I would love to wear a suit but the heat makes it unbearable. Thanks in advanced, and I love your website (I just subscribed to your list).

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 14, 2015 at 10:28 am

      Heat and humidity are the number one enemy of many style minded guys. There are summer specific fabrics for suites, but you’ll still sweat your ass off.

      I would go with short sleeve button up shirts made of linen. Get them so they fit a little loose and you can also wear them with about three buttons undone at the top to let some heat out. But when it’s 90 plus degrees and around 90 percent humidity, you’re probably going to sweat through anything you wear.

  • Reply
    20 Tips for Ambitious Men in Their 20s
    August 14, 2015 at 6:37 am

    […] Nate from Iron & Tweed has articulated all the benefits of dressing well perfectly – How Reinventing My Style Changed My Life. […]

  • Reply
    Richi
    August 17, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Hello Nate, Iìve found your webstite through Goodlookingloser.
    First, let me tell you that
    1.I really like the design
    2.I like the content a lot. Well written, clear, insightful. Your free Ebook is great! Actionable, and sound. Makes sense.

    I thought I was dressed “ok” (often wear a nice shirt, pants, some accessories) but looking at your pictures I was amazed, style DOES exist. While I am not much into the hipster kind, I think I will take many inspirations from your style.
    It also made me reflect on how, yes, it is true that when I wear some new/cool pieces I feel cooler, and how I even remember once, wearing a full dress with a nice tie (I came from a wedding) at a club, I got approached some times by ladies.
    I also am not in the shape I want to be, and I always told myself “when I’ll be in better shape, I’ll upgrade my wardrobe”. Fuck that, I’ll start where I am. And if the shirt is a bit tight, even better, I’ll use it as fuel to get in better shape!

    Props for your site. It’s nice.

    R

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 18, 2015 at 1:28 am

      Great to have you here Richi! Most guys like to tear out of their dress clothes first thing after a wedding, but like you, I always like to stay in my nicer clothes when going out afterwards.

      As you’re getting your body in shape, use this time to figure out your personal style. You’ll probably end up buying some things that aren’t “you” anyway so even if you change sizes it really isn’t a loss.

      Glad you’re enjoying Casual Style 101!

  • Reply
    The Best of August - Bold and Determined
    September 7, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    […] How Reinventing My Style Changed My Life […]

  • Reply
    Thomas@promotionalproductsaustralia
    September 9, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Making a good impression is always important for someone and is one of the best reasons for dressing well. Meeting with someone in sweatpants, will just assume you were too lazy to get dressed up.

  • Reply
    Mike
    September 14, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    I work in the trades – own my own business. The work is dirty and hard – so you dress more for function vs. style. However, I agree that people judge you based upon your presentation. If you show up looking like shit – people will judge. Ive learned the importance of always dressing in nice clothing and being well groomed when first meeting a client has made a huge difference in whether the sale/deal is made or not. After that point, dressing for the job is appropriate. Even then, ratty ugly clothing no matter how dirty the job may be – just presents an image of shoddiness.

    • Reply
      Nate
      September 15, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      That’s exactly right. Even in the trades, appearance still matters. You obviously won’t be wearing “fashionable” clothes, but wearing jeans, plain tee’s, and boots with minimal design work and a reasonable fit will elevate your appearance from sloppy to noble tradesmen. It’s all about dressing the part.

  • Reply
    Mahomed
    September 21, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Nate

    I just wanted to say thanks for this article. Not only have you inspired me to look at re-vamping (ok maybe drastically changing/updating) my wardrobe, but I was able to use your story/example to convince my 11 year old son that the way you dress does matter. His mum has been trying to convince him to dress better, but his reaction has always been “It feels strange”. I think it’s partly because he doesn’t see me dressing smart. So I decided to use your pictures (I hope you don’t mind) and your example of “which would you trust with your money?” So I said to him, “If I gave you £1,000 but said you had to give it to one of two people to keep for you, which would you trust?” And showed him your before/after side by side pics. He obviously picked the smarter dressed picture and when I asked him why, his answer was actually “because he just looks nicer and smarter”. That’s when I told him that the pictures were of the same person and his eyes lit up! That was a bit of an “aha!” moment :-) He was happy to dress smart that day and the next day when he started to complain again, I just reminded him and it was great. So thanks!

    But while I have your attention ;-) Any tips on how to dress-up/smarten up a very boring black polo shirt? This is our “uniform” but we have free reign on trousers and shoes and accessories. I miss wearing a shirt and tie!! :)

    • Reply
      Nate
      September 23, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      Mahomed, I’m grinning ear to ear! It’s great to hear that I’m helping the young guys, as well the dads. For your uniform, you still have control over your pants, shoes, accessories, and personal grooming. Go for great fitting trousers (tailored if you have to), shined up oxfords or brogues, and a classic watch. You could also experiment with facial hair and hairstyles. Good luck and thanks for the feedback!

  • Reply
    Mahomed
    September 24, 2015 at 5:20 am

    Thanks for the advice on the uniform. I’m definitely going to look into the shoes, pants and accessories. Already tried a few different searches on the web but didn’t come up with much inspiration, but I think I have a good idea of what you mean. Sadly the hair and beard aren’t options for me as I am balding, and my beard grows VERY slowly and patchy. Keep the great articles coming and thanks again.

  • Reply
    You’re hired: Why you need a job or else you are a loser
    October 18, 2015 at 4:39 am

    […] How Reinventing My Style Changed My Life: By Nate at Iron and Tweed […]

  • Reply
    Eduard Raducanu
    November 7, 2015 at 12:15 am

    Hey Nate!

    I would love to change my style but I really do not know where to start from.
    Do you have any basic beginner guide on style?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply
      Nate
      November 7, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      I sure do! Just click the Casual Style 101 tab at the top of any page and you can read about my beginners wardrobe guide.

  • Reply
    How I Change My Life For The Better Every Day & How You Can Do It
    November 19, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    […] My friend Nate from Iron & Tweed has a great article explaining how changing your style can change your life. […]

  • Reply
    Mick
    December 4, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Nate, great article! I have a little conundrum, though. I work in a factory where nice clothes are inadvisable, go straight to the gym afterward to lift, then I usually put on sweats to do my hobbies, kid time, and cooking. I don’t really go out very much. I regret not having many opportunities to dress nicely. Do you have any input on that? I figured that you might, bring a former mechanic and all. That said, love your blog!

    • Reply
      Nate
      December 5, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      Mick, Get yourself a really comfortable pair of jeans, a few polos, and one pair of casual brown shoes like Clarks desert boots. These items will be comfortable, durable, and you won’t have to worry about getting them dirty while playing with the kids.

  • Reply
    Mick
    December 5, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    Thanks a bunch!

  • Reply
    Phylicia Delta
    January 6, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    […] to what’s going on inside. Our appearance, whether we like it not, has a powerful effect on our behavior, how others perceive us, and even our own (non-spiritual) confidence. And it’s okay to want […]

  • Reply
    Cole
    January 16, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    I went through a similar transformation myself (although at a much younger age of 13,luckily). I’m probably one of your youngest readers, at 15. I used to throw random clothes together, along with the dreadful cargo shorts and graphic t-shirts look. I found that once I started dressing well, I became known for it. I then lost my chubbiness and got a bit pumped. My confidence and social life skyrocketed. I would get (and continue to get) compliments from attractive girls at my school (mostly ones I didn’t know and got to know because of it). It is because of blogs like this (along with Gentleman’s Gazette, Art of Man, Primer,etc) that I have reaped confidence and social inequity. Thank you for creating this website, I appreciate your advice and style. Keep it up!

    • Reply
      Nate
      January 18, 2016 at 5:52 am

      You’re well ahead the curve, Cole. Can you imagine how awesome things are going to be when you’re 20 or 25 years old?! Also, it’s great to have you mentioned me in the company of Brett, Raphael, and Andrew. Thanks for reading and keep it up!

  • Reply
    Jossie
    July 24, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Thanks Nate. Just shared this article to my Twitter. I’m excited to begin the day tomorrow dressed in my favorite gray blazer and pants.

    Everyone does give me way better treatment when I dress like this. It’s for the value provided by showing that leaders do still exist in this world and these people need someone – us – to believe in.

    Good post and keep up the good work. Looking forward to the next post.

  • Reply
    Arthur
    October 7, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    What an inspiring article, as usual, Nate!

    Can I send you an email? I need an advice regarding personal uniform. I’m a 38-year-old Filipino, have looks of a late 20-something man, and of lean, athletic built. I am in the process of creating my own cost-effective personal uniform, good for a customer service professional who commutes to work on a daily basis. I just want to set a difference and lead the pack. However, there are things I can’t give up out of necessities such as wearing hoodies and running shoes on weekends.

    Hope you can help me. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Bence
    February 4, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Hey Nate, what’s up?
    I may be chiming in a little late but this article really hits home with me. Ever since I started taking my weight training more seriously, I’ve been more and more self conscious about my clothes. For example, it really amazed me how much even a generic but decent quality, well-fitting pair of jeans accentuates my quadz .Prior to that I used to wear these baggy Levis 501s that I’d gotten from my uncle back in high school.

    Anyways, i was curious about your take on hairstyle. I mean what do you think of a shaved head on white guys? (zero guard shaved I mean) Its not that I’m balding, quite the opposite,I can grow a nice mane and I’m just 20 but I think it just looks so badass. For example, look at a guy like Georges St-Pierre, he can surely pull it off.
    In the past few weeks,I have shaved my head with a zero guard once every 7 days and I like the way I look(except my mom,haha).
    I think a shaved head ,if you have the physique too, can go well with a nice v-neck and fitted jeans.

    • Reply
      Nate
      February 7, 2017 at 10:00 am

      That’s great, Ben! Keep up the good work. I definitely think a shaved head can look great. I would say that a little longer like a #1 would be perfect. A shaved head also looks much cleaner if it’s tapered around the neck and ears like a fade. You won’t be able to notice it unless you’re looking but the effect is more polished. Keep evolving my friend!

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