Here are a few basic staples of most young men’s wardrobes, and some alternatives to them that can be worn stylishly but casually:
Blue jeans – Swap them for colored corduroys, earth-tone cotton slacks, gray wool flannel trousers, or just jeans in a darker color and close fit. Even the simple upgrade from light blue work jeans to dark, stylish, contrast-stitched jeans goes a long way in improving your style.
T-shirts – Replace them with polo shirts, lightweight long-sleeve T-shirts, henley shirts, Breton tops, and other light, but distinct, styles. If you do wear a T-shirt, something with a solid color and either no design or an artistic design (rather than a band name or sports team) is best.
Hoodies – Swap them for casual collared shirts, plaid flannels, cotton sweaters, lightweight cashmere sweaters, sweater-vests, and cardigans.
Coats – Keep the thick winter coat for when you really need it, but add blazers and sports jackets to the fall and spring wardrobe. Throwing a casual jacket on over even just a T-shirt and jeans instantly upgrades the look.
Sneakers – Swap ‘em for casual leather shoes. Saddle shoes, wingtips, brogues, loafers – there’s a lot of options here. If you do want to keep sneakers in the wardrobe, go for colored canvas options (like Converse All-Stars) to keep it stylish.
These are all just examples of a simple point: the more things you have in your wardrobe that aren’t the same old blue jeans and T-shirts, the sharper you’ll look. Small upgrades go a long way in casual company.