Spring is here. For women, that means endless options, but for guys, it pretty much just means switching out jeans and button downs for shorts and tees. If you're still rocking the same t-shirt from middle school that's, let's say, well loved, with a few holes here and there, it's probably time for an upgrade. Ditto for the pair of boat shoes you've worn every summer for the last few years. Trust me, your girl will notice if you give your closet a quick refresh.
FIRST THINGS FIRST. Clean out your closet of any and all clothes you don't wear. That polo your mom got you three Christmases ago? If it's still got the tags on, throw it in a pile to consign. No tags, off-brand? Toss it. Consignment stores usually look for certain labels. Round up all the maybe-I'll-wear-it-one-day, the two-sizes-too-small, the dad-bought-me-golf-shirts-even-though-I-don't-golf, and any other options lying around that you never wear, and toss or choose to consign them all. Clear them out of your closet so you can see what you need.
TRY IT ON. If it's too tight, falling off, ripe with holes or has pit stains, toss it. Unless you wear PJs to work or wear it to work out, nothing you wear in public should have pit stains or holes. Your favorite cargo shorts with ripped off edges? Time to go. You're an adult, and unfortunately, that means you've got to look the part.
GRAB A GIRL. Best friend, sister, mom or girlfriend; bring a female opinion. They can help you find things you might not pick out for yourself, plus they can tell you "hell no" to those cargo shorts I know you'd like to pick up (yeah, I see you rolling your eyes at me). Give them the low-down on what you're looking for ahead of time and set a time limit to help keep your shopping trip short and sweet. Trust me, it's much more enjoyable if you know it has an expiration.
MAKE A LIST AND LOOK AT EXAMPLES. If you need some inspiration, turn to Pinterest (or give me a call). Before you hit the stores, you need a clear idea of what you want to get. Make a list of the things now missing from your nice, clean closet. Think multi-season: shorts, lightweight pants, jeans, sneakers, t-shirts, sweaters and light jackets. Layering those options can take you from spring through fall, and pretty much all you'll need to buy for winter is a pair of boots, a few heavier sweaters and a nice jacket. Look up styles on Pinterest (might sound silly now but you'll thank me when you're standing in the store with a better idea of what works for your body type and what you like) and see what kinds of outfits you like and could rock. Be sure to pay attention to fit and cut, looking at things like what celebrities with similar body types wear. Got an athletic lower half? Take a look at people like Zac Efron, Tom Hardy, and Channing Tatum. Tall and slim? Tom Hiddleston, Adam Levine, Adrien Brody and Andrew Garfield might be more your speed. All over buff? Check out what the Hemsworth brothers wear on their days off. And if all else fails, you can't go wrong embodying the Ryans - Reynolds or Gosling.
HIT THE SHOPS. You've got your list of needs, celebrity style-mate, gal pal and credit card - you're ready to go. Find a place that will have multiple of your needs. Outlet malls with multiple shops clustered in one place are a good bet, but stores like Banana Republic, Gap, and Kohls also have large selections. Try finding whole outfits so you can envision how you'd wear each piece, instead of looking at them separately. Having trouble putting the puzzle together? Ask your gal for help. Fail safe options for every season include dark, slim cut jeans (they don't have to be skinny, but the new "straight slim" cut offered in most stores will flatter and elongate your legs without giving you the look of wearing your girlfriend's jeans), casual pants (these are amazingly comfortable), colored tees (I love a good v-neck, & JCrew does a fail-safe version), sneaker-style shoes (these from Kohl's are super versatile), and lightweight jackets (like this) and sweaters (like this and this - wear it open with a v-neck for a more casual vibe). For shorts, Banana Republic & JCrew Factory stores have some awesome options.
PUT IT ALL TOGETHER. When you get home with all your new swag, lay it all out on the bed. Put together outfits (or have your girl do it) and take pictures if you're afraid you won't be able to mentally match them up later. Realizing how many options you have, and the different combinations you can make will help you actually wear all those new clothes instead of leaving them in your closet with the tags on, a la Mom's last Christmas gift.
Ladies, keep a hand on your man, because he's going to be the talk of the town!
"You can never be over-dressed or under-educated" Oscar Wilde