As a gentlemen, the idiom “dress for success” is a given.
But have you ever thought about altering your wardrobe for lifestyle success?
There is a shift in current culture, where people are expressing themselves – their true selves – more and more. This results in a shift in clothing and style.
In this short guide, I’ll go over what lifestyle success is and – more important – what it looks like.
Hope those closets are ready, ‘cause we’re about to blow it up!
What is Your Lifestyle?
Times have changed. Back in the day, everybody was trying to emulate a specific dynamic:
- The professional businessman, with suits, jackets, slacks, and dress shoes 24/7;
- Always looking for the best way to accumulate monetary wealth;
- Original American dream: White picket fence, two kids, etc.
Generation X was born and raised to fit this mold.
Millennials? Not so much.
If you haven’t noticed by now, the newer ages are starting to wake up and live a more in-tune life. The modern gentleman has actually figured out what they want to do with their life, whether it be a broker in New York, a social media influencer in Bali, or a freelancer in rural Kentucky.
This is rather exciting, because now we have all of these personas and identities, each of them unique and nonconforming.
Okay, But What Does This Have to Do with Fashion?
Well, it turns out “dress for success” still applies, but not in the way you’d expect.
Whether you know about it or not, you have a style. Faded blue jeans and unicolor T-shirts? That’s a style. So are suits and ties, workout apparel, and casual (whatever that means anymore).
Question is: Is your current style positively portraying you as your truest self?
Another way of putting this is, do you dress for what success means to you?
Let’s say, for example, you’re a junior associate at some firm. Not only should your professional attire be on point with the best designer suits, your loungewear should also exude some form of confidence and class. That means chino shorts and boat shoes for warm weather leisure activities, high-end slippers and button-up shirts for various occasions.
Or, let’s assume you’re a freelance writer. While you might not have to go into work on the daily, you should still dress for the setting. That means nice jeans at the least, tasteful T-shirts, and comfortable shoes that are above sneakers. Let’s be honest: A freelance writer who only wears tanks, basketball shorts, and tennis shoes isn’t going to be the best freelance writer.
So whoever you are, make sure your clothes mimic your goals in life.
Why is This So Important?
Your environment is everything. It’s why you eat donuts and chips instead of kale and black beans. It’s why you sit in front of the TV for hours rather than doing yoga in a relaxed space. And it’s why you act like an ape in lieu of being a gentleman.
Environment comes in multiple flavors:
- Physical settings
- Foods in your household
- Where TVs and other electronics are
- Your clothes
- Your relationships
- Your mindset
All of these have a profound effect on what you do, how you do it, and when you do it. The trouble is, your environment doesn’t care much for the why. So, when you’re up at 2 A.M. eating Pop-Tarts and binge-watching the Office for the umpteenth time, it technically isn’t your fault – it’s your environment’s.
But who controls the environment? That’s right, you do.
You decide whether you go to the gym and work on your physique or not. You are in charge of making yourself better. You are the master of the TV, food, who you hang out with, and more.
Sadly, in our fast-paced, crazy society, the norm has become that these things – a.k.a. your environment – are the master of you!
Take back your time, money, and relationships by taking your environment by the horns and steering it towards a lifestyle that best represents you and what you want to accomplish. Start small with certain things:
- Eliminating clothes from your dresser or closet that you haven’t worn in over 6 months. Unless it’s for special occasions, it isn’t worth the space.
- Try to get down to 5x of anything. If you want more socks and underwear, I understand. However, shirts, pants, shorts, button-ups, and whatever else you need for your style can be limited to less than five.
- Accessories are crucial to cut, too. Shoes, jewelry, watches, shades, hats…anything that’s a piece of your style, make sure it’s only one or two pieces for different venues.
By performing these small tasks (along with literally driving to Goodwill or the Salvation Army), you will automatically have more space, wear exactly what you want, and effectively kill any imposter syndrome.
Of course, you can do other tasks that can upgrade your environment, such as raid your pantry for processed foods or remove electronics from your bedroom. However, switching up your wardrobe is by far the easiest environmental alteration you can do.
(Plus who knows – you might get dangerously low on appropriate wear and you get to go shopping for quality clothing for the new and improved you!)
In summary, what you wear dictates who you will be in the future. And while it’s impossible to predict the future and steer it in the perfect direction, your fashion statement is one easy way to control how you look, how you feel, and how you appear to potential clients or employers or significant others.
Simply figure out which lifestyle works best for you and your dreams/goals, then create a style based on that. Once you figure out your style, use it as a template to gut your current clothes situation. Finally, replace your old, cluttered wardrobe with a fresh, 100% you fashion line.
While this is only one piece of the puzzle, it’s vital to get you on the path to massive personal success.
Jake Lyda is an Aspiring Gentleman with a love of fitness, travel, writing, and lifestyle. Check out his blog on Medium or his day-to-day life on the ‘Gram.