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What are your new year’s resolutions? If you’re anything like us, they’ll mostly revolve around looking after the body inside your clothes. Which is admirable, but somewhat squandered if you end up throwing the same jeans-and-a-tee combo on top every day.

January is a tough time to stick to most health or fitness resolutions – it's cold, it's dark, you've just spent a month eating and drinking everything in sight – but it's an ideal time to make some changes to your wardrobe. For one, the sales are on, which makes it a less financially risky time to try something new. And secondly, you can use clothes to cover up while your new running routine's waiting to kick in.

That's not to say that New Year is a time for sartorial reinvention. if you know what works for you, then don’t be lured by things that don’t, says Thread stylist Freddie Kemp. “We see things that look good on someone else, or a trend that looks great, but they might not translate to us. Say no.”

If you’re unsure what your style is, then message your stylist. After all, they’re in the best position to help you plan a ‘new year, new you’ wardrobe.

Develop a signature style

Not sure if you have a signature style? It might help for you to think of famous men who have developed their own take on fashion. Daniel Day-Lewis, for instance, has mastered the workwear look in his sixties. Meanwhile, David Beckham has got country gent style on lockdown (usually involving a newsboy cap).

Here, we’ve shown how you can keep your product categories the same but explore things like colour and shape. So, unlike a capsule wardrobe which leaves you with one jumper and one pair of jeans, you invest in a selection of items that all feel consistent. So you can mix up your looks, but your style stays recognisable. That way, not only can you make your garments last longer by wearing them in rotation, but you can still keep a coherent look throughout your work and weekend wardrobe.

“Utility jackets are very popular at the moment,” says Freddie. “Lots of brands are doing them in great colours. So with good knitwear, a utility jacket, jeans and brown shoes, that shows how much variety there is within picking a style. This isn’t a uniform. That uniform thing works for some people, but not everyone is Steve Jobs. You can keep your ‘formula’ tight, while still adding character and interest.”

Update the neglected categories

Answer this honestly: when was the last time you replaced your wallet? Or your umbrella? Or even your glasses?

“It’s quite disappointing when a guy looks well-presented, but then he pulls out a battered old wallet, or one of those velcro ones,” says Freddie. “It really is the little things. They’re not too expensive, not too hard to get right and yet they're items that can make your entire look.”

The same goes for sunglasses, or indeed, glasses of any variety. “They are on your face, so they’re the first thing people see,” says Freddie. He explains that it’s important to wear a shape that suits your face, and in the case of sunnies, actually protects your eyes. So skip the £10 pair that you panic-bought on the high street. Instead, get a proper pair that will elevate your look.

Of course, living as we do in Britain, we’re going to have more need for a decent umbrella than sunglasses. Freddie is quick to point out that this is not the time to skimp. A cheap umbrella will break quickly, and you’ll end up needing to replace it. “Even worse is heading out with a weekend golfing umbrella, knocking everyone off the pavement,” says Freddie. “It also just doesn’t complement your style.”

Look for a medium-sized, extendable umbrella with a leather or wooden handle. This one by London Undercover has been designed for the windy UK climate, so it’s sturdier. It also fits in a bag, which means that you’re less likely to leave it on the train.

And just like that, you’ve raised the style bar for 2019.


Words: Theresa Harold
Photography: Chris Howlett
Styling: Freddie Kemp