Every man’s style will evolve over time—new shirt in, old shirt out—but the most impactful changes are always bold and deliberate. A daring haircut or accessory may feel like a risk, but humans were built to adapt, and you’d be amazed at how quickly a new look can turn into a go-to favorite. If you’re looking to stir the pot this year, here are 8 striking upgrades any guy can pull off.
Justin Timberlake’s “neat sweep” may have been last year’s chosen cut, but 2014 calls for something with a little more panache. A classic undercut—worn by WWI soldiers, Englishmen, and actor Michael Pitt—imparts some old-school flair without an excess of effort. Just wait for your hair to reach 3-5 inches in length, buzz the sides with a #2 clipper, and slick back the top with a dollop of Baxter of California Hard Cream Pomade.
Photo: Variety Magazine
Monk straps hit the sweet spot between striking and timeless. In other words, they’re consummate Italians. They’re also surprisingly versatile, so wear them with anything from a three-piece suit to your Sunday brunch attire. Allen Edmonds (pictured here) and Paul Frederick offer two stellar options.
Okay, so we’ve made this point before, but it’s certainly worth reiterating: Bow ties are no longer the stuff of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. If you wear a lot of tweed, flannel, or patterns in general, pick up a simple, textured bow tie, like this indigo number from Apolis, and throw it on with one of your go-to outfits. You’ll be surprised at how natural it feels, and how good it looks.
Bushy beards and mustaches have ruled the millennium thus far, but more sculpted facial hair is poised to make a comeback. The Van Dyke beard offers a sharp, simple, and slightly villainous update on the classic goatee, earning it the patronage of Johnny Depp, Josh Brolin, and most notably, Breaking Bad maestro Vince Gilligan.
The thought of applying a bb cream may feel like a leap, but in truth, this is one of the most subtle—and impactful—options on our list. Far from a foundation, a bb-tinted moisturizer serves as a quick, low-key fix for redness and blemishes, which also happens to be great for your skin. It’s a win-win, and we did the test run to prove it.
Okay, so you wear a ball cap to pickup frisbee, but when was the last time you rocked one with a blazer? Skip the MLB flat-brimmed variety, and try a simple, sartorial version in a classic color and texture. Wear it with anything short of a suit: Sweaters, jackets, and your favorite solid t-shirt are all fair game. Most importantly, wear it with rugged self-assurance.
As the longstanding color of royalty, smoking jackets, and the L.A. Lakers, purple has always made a great addition to any outfit of stature. However, now that Radiant Orchid has been chosen as the Pantone Color of the Year, the time has never been riper. If you’d like to test the waters, this understated t-shirt from UNIQLO costs less than your morning coffee.
If we had to guess, we’d say you haven’t worn a flower since your prom night boutonniere. However, a white or red carnation has been a lapel’s best friend since the days of Cary Grant, and it’s high time for this sentimental accessory to make a comeback. If you’re reluctant to start with an actual flower, this lapel pin from hook+ALBERT offers an inorganic alternative.
Copywriter, cold brew advocate, purveyor of handcrafted birthday haikus since 2009.