2020 was a tough year. From how we shop to how we socialize, a lot has been thrown out of whack. But, even after a year like this one, there’s only one way to enter 2021: with optimism. Your wardrobe is good place to begin a fresh start.
Though it may seem like the past 12 months have limited our style choices, lockdown has actually brought some silver linings to fashion. First, for it to slow down. Second, to prioritize sustainability. And third, for us shoppers to relax our approach to style and invest more in less. With that in mind, we’ve racked up eight wardrobe resolutions to embrace in 2021. From subtle tweaks to old classics to styling swaps that are very right now, these are pieces that’ll refresh your sartorial playbook in the year ahead.
Give your footwear a boost with a Cuban heel
A pair of leather boots may already sit in your shoe collection, but if 2020 taught us anything, it’s to aim a little higher—specifically through a small heel on your shoe. Sported by all kinds of rakish gents from The Beatles in the 60s to Harry Styles today, the Cuban-heeled boot is the smartest way to step into 2021. This pair from Parisian brand Husbands will instantly uplift everything from suits to dark wash jeans.
Say yes to double-breasted
Sure, a suit is a menswear staple, but the most common choice is single-breasted. If that’s all your wardrobe contains, we advise you make room for a double-breasted design—and erase the image of 80s bankers and gangsters while you’re at it. Three reasons why it works: it broadens your shoulders, narrows your waist through its wrapped fastening and, to be frank, shows that you mean business. One of the finest examples to invest in now is this herringbone ensemble designed by Aimé Leon Dore for Drake’s, aka the dream collaboration.
Swap your traditional dress shirt for a white tee
While we’re on the subject of tailoring, here’s another ingredient to filter into your new style game: a white T-shirt. Yes, it’s the most basic item in the book, but it’s also the most versatile. Layered beneath a suit jacket (that Drake’s one above would work nicely) or tucked into a pair of loose trousers, its boxy structure will bring temper the formality traditional tailoring. Look at the likes of David Bowie in the 90s if you need that extra bit of convincing.
Or, if it’s colder, go for a fine gauge knit
A white T-shirt may compliment every kind of garment, but it doesn’t compliment every kind of weather. So if the local forecast is looking a bit colder, trade the short-sleeved staple in for a fine gauge knit. By definition, this is a thinner and softer design, and while it may look simple, it’s a subtle way of communicating luxury style. For a failsafe choice, look to John Smedley, whose merino wool sweater comes in an array of shades including this handsome chocolate brown.
Loosen up with wide-legged trousers
Tailoring nerds, listen up. A well-structured suit may be your ultimate ingredient for style, but menswear has taken a relaxed turn over the past year, so it doesn’t hurt to have a relaxed pair of formal trousers in your closet. These chinos from Raey tick all the boxes through the washed cotton material, roomy leg (bound to work with pretty much any silhouette), buckle belt to cinch the waist and—best of all—the heavy turn up to show off your excellent footwear. While you’re at it, invest in an unstructured blazer for a fully louche ensemble.
Source yourself a pair of vintage Levi’s 501s
Shopping sustainably is more vital now than ever. With that in mind, we suggest investing in a solid pair of vintage jeans. Specifically, a 501 design from denim titan Levi’s. This style is a safe choice to compliment pretty much anything, from a dress shirt to a turtleneck to a tailored jacket. You’ll likely find a pair in your favorite vintage store, but for online shoppers, What Goes Around Comes Around ships internationally—and their eye for sourcing is extremely trustworthy. We’ve got more pointers on collecting vintage Levi’s here.
Update your casual jacket to a trucker design
If there’s one thing our wardrobes took from 2020, it is comfort—but that doesn’t mean our 2021 style should be limited to loungewear. The ultimate component for achieving easygoing polish? A suede trucker jacket. Not only is the material soft and cozy, but the silhouette is incredibly sharp and will instantly spruce up your afternoon attire (ideally, the aforementioned heeled boots and Levi’s). Our top pick comes from Mr Porter—cut from a supple suede and undeniably cool.
Top it all off with a (black) mac
Traditionally, beige was the most classic shade to choose for your overcoat. The appeal still stands, of course, but for 2021, why not try out a head-to-toe monochrome look through a black mac instead? Unlike a trench coat, it’s clean and minimalist from top to bottom and carries the appeal of classic outerwear but also sits perfectly in line with recent Matrix-like statements made by top fashion houses (think Dior and Bottega Veneta). This year’s climate may be a little uncertain, but if your style is finished with something like this, you’ll be communicating the confidence we all need.