Looking around at young men on the streets, in the schools, and in the malls, it is clear that a certain type of clothing, specifically hip-hop clothing, is far more popular than business attire. At the same time, you will rarely find hip-hop clothing in the business world. So how does a young man dress who wants to be taken seriously by teachers, employers, and just people in general? You need to adapt your clothing style to be more business like and less urban.
You don’t have to wear khaki pants and a polo shirt to look educated and employable. Your clothing does not need to be boring, square, or out of style at all. You do however, need some clothing items that mean business. Here is a guide for young men that will allow you to still wear your favorite fashions and also portray that you are ready for business.
Jeans are OK… a little sag is OK too. Just because you want to be seen as more business-like doesn’t mean you have to eliminate jeans from your wardrobe. These days many business people actually wear jeans. You do have to alter your style of jeans though. Start by getting measured and finding out your true pants size. If a perfect fit is too tight, go up one size and wear a belt… at the waist. If you feel like you need a little sag in the seat, that is OK too. Just keep it to a minimum and keep your behind covered. You can actually purchase pants with a long rise and relaxed fit that still comes up to your waist. They may even have low pockets to give the illusion of sagging. Try on a few. There will surely be one that you like.
Get some dress shirts. Don’t think of your father’s dress shirts. Casual dress shirts with a graphic or embroidered design on it. If prefer to wear t-shirts, wear a patterned dress shirt under it.
Wear ties. Ties aren’t just for the business world. Just today I saw a young man in a black shirt with a white graphic design and a blue bow tie and saggy jeans. He really caught my eye because of the boldness of his sense of style. I wouldn’t have noticed his whole ensemble had I not noticed the bow tie that didn’t quite coordinate with the shirt. Yet, he looked intelligent, like a real character, like someone that anyone would feel comfortable approaching and having a conversation with. Consider vintage ties, ties with characters on it, a unique print, or something just out of the ordinary that says “I’m not afraid to wear a tie.”
Purchase a couple of blazers. If you do nothing else, purchase a couple of well-fitted blazers that you can layer over your clothes. A blazer will make any pair of paints, even sagging jeans (within reason) look good. You can dress down a blazer by wearing a graphic t-shirt or a hoodie under it.
You need a suit or two and maybe even a Tux. Once you get used to wearing the occasional business-like clothing item, you will want to try out a suit or tuxedo. There will be times when you want to go all the way formal or businesslike. Be it for a party, a wedding, or other special event, nothing says “take me seriously” like knowing how and when to dress like successful adult.
Sneakers and are fine, but you should have shoes in your wardrobe. There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable and wearing sneakers. After all, there are so many very attractive styles available. Still, a nice pair shoes are like the exclamation at the end of a sentence. Work some trendy looking shoes into your wardrobe once or twice a week to dress up your jeans, or to coordinate with your suit or dress shirt.
Mix it up, and be creative. You don’t have to be all business all the time, but you certainly should not be all hip-hop all the time. If you are looking for some famous people to model your clothing style after consider Russell Simmons, Sean John “P Diddy,” Kanye West, Fonzworth Bentley, Justin Timberlake, and John Legend.