Style

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Six Easy Style Moves to Look Like You Give a Damn (Even on Days When You Don’t)

Sometimes, getting dressed sucks. All those decisions, all those options. There are mornings when you understand the Zuckerbergian appeal of wearing the same T-shirt every day. Even those who love dressing up need a break once in awhile. But don’t zip up that hoodie just yet, because here’s a secret: You don’t need time or energy to be at the top of your game. You just need to do a little planning. These wardrobe hacks can help you keep your rep intact when you don’t want to give what you’re wearing a second thought—and even when you do.

Weekend: Fit

Lazy weekends have a uniform: a crisp white Oxford shirt, Japanese selvage jeans and a pair of trusty—and dare we say lace-free— Chelsea boots. But stripping away the pretension with low-key, comfortable clothes doesn’t mean you can sleep on the basics, like fit. A tailored shirt stays neatly around your waist untucked, and not-too-slim denim looks great when it hugs your seat and doesn’t pool around your kicks. (The same goes for sweatpants and more casual duds, by the way.) Now get out of here— you only get 48 hours, so don’t waste them.

Office: Statement Piece

We’ve all casually rolled out of bed a touch too late ahead of a not-so-casual day at the office. You panic, pull on the same thing you wear the other four days of the workweek, pray it looks ironed and rush out the door. Now you’ll just need to impress the person who pays you to be on time. Enter the statement piece: an instant style upgrade that sets you apart from the interns. A floral-print tie in moody hues—think plum on black— is a subtle, seasonal way to inspire suit envy at a more formal workplace; for the creatives among us, a multicoloured nylon belt is enough to punch up even the most typical chinos-and-polo combo.

Date: Top Layer

You swiped right. They swiped right. Oh, and can you make it to that snack bar with the killer patatas bravas in five? Reach for a go-to layer that pulls together just about anything you’re wearing in seconds flat. A double-breasted cardigan will do nicely. A cool and casual band T-shirt? Instantly elevating. (They don’t need to know you stole it from your roommate.) A fresh gingham button-down? Transformational—even without a tie. A sweater sporting a versatile punch of colour like bordeaux or dark navy will look purposeful no matter what’s paired underneath.

Wardrobe Hacks

More universal style changes that save you time.

Mix and Match

A mix-and-match wardrobe gives you more freedom by restricting what you wear. Crazy, right? The trick is finding complementary elements and sticking to them. Love checkered shirts? Buy a closetful and pair them with an array of tonal knit ties. Have a thing for navy blazers? A set of white shirts is calling your name. Let the formula of your choosing guide future purchases and you’ll never run out of variety—and no more scouring every inch of the closet for that one thing you need to complete your look. (It’s under the bed, by the way.)

A Single Outfit

Creating a daily uniform is a master-level fashion risk that can save you time and brainpower every morning, freeing up energy for the rest of your life. Sure, it takes confidence to wear the same outfit day in, day out, but once you do some soul-searching and land on a look that screams “you,” kiss indecision goodbye. Start with where you spend most of your time—or with an outfit you already gravitate toward. From there, add elements that can help you nail any occasion (a layer you can add or lose, for instance). Now buy seven sets. But don’t be afraid to break the rules when you have to—we all need a tailored black suit at one time or another.

Minimalist

For those who crave simplicity and are willing to embrace grey, white and black, a monochromatic wardrobe can still afford nuance and versatility. There’s texture, for one—mixing smooth materials like neoprene with chunky woollen knits can create contrast without sacrificing the minimalist aesthetic. Experimenting with different lengths and fits is half the fun—think a leather jacket over an extended T-shirt. The best part? No matter the combination, it’ll look like everything was planned.

Illustration: Evan Kaminsky