Do you some times wish you could go back in time and tell your 18 year old self all the things you now know about style? I’ve been perusing Reddit recently and happened to get lost down a rabbit-hole of sartorial conundrums, concepts and collections. One of the more popular posts on there discussed the advice you’d give yourself if you could go back in time. For many, guys in particular, their late teens is really when they start to blossom in terms of finding themselves and as we all know personal style is one of the ultimate forms of self-expression. So I had a think and mentally transported myself back to 2002 and decided what I would have liked my 18 year old self to know.
1. Make sure your clothes actually fit
If you’re a regular reader then you know I harp on about this all the time but seriously… have you seen the photo of me at 18?
2. Logos ain’t cool
When I was younger everything had to have a logo on it or I wouldn’t wear it. In my early teens it was all about the sports brands, Adidas and Nike being the most coveted (this was before the concept of the chav existed). In my late teens it became about designer brands that had big noticeable logos. Think Evisu and Wale Adeyemi.
3. Plan ahead
Back then I tended to buy items as and when I needed them and on the rare occasion on impulse *shock horror*. If I were to go back I’d definitely instil the message of planning and maybe some of the purchases I made wouldn’t quite be so questionable.
4. Go budget on trends
At 18 I didn’t know what a fashion trend was but I did know what was popular in my home town. I was also aware of some aspirational brands at the time. So as soon as I got my student loan I made sure those brands were sitting in my wardrobe and they didn’t come cheap. I now know that they were trend items which probably weren’t worth buying.
5. Follow the 2-week rule
For curbing my impulse buys, some of which were prettttty pricy! What I should have done was wait, go back to the store 2 weeks later and see if I still loved the item before buying it.
6. Push your comfort zones
Back then pushing my comfort zone would have been wearing well fitted clothes and pieces that were actually fashionable.
7. Don’t focus on owning lots of clothes
Although I was never a complete clothes hoarder, it would have been great to adopt a minimalist wardrobe way back then.
8. Accept you’ll make mistakes
We all make mistakes when it comes to style and often we look back and say “oh my god, what was I thinking?” But I guess I’d tell myself not to worry too much about making mistakes, does this make all my other points irrelevant?
9. How to build a capsule wardrobe
I’d love to go back and teach myself the skill of building a great capsule wardrobe, unfortunately the only capsules I knew about back then were hay fever tablets.
10. How to look after my clothes properly
I’ve always been the sort of person who looks after things so I never completely ruined clothes but knowing how to care for certain fabrics and most definitely my shoes would have saved me a few times.
11. Classic is cool
I think back to all the student loan money I dropped on expensive logo-infested brands that I later sold on eBay for a fraction of the price. Imagine how amazing my wardrobe would be now if I’d known how great classic-style pieces were. Rather than a few quid made back from eBay my draws would be full of Prada, well… that’s how the dream went.
Men tend to be pretty pants when it comes to accessories. Thinking back all those years ago I don’t think I accessorised at all, so I’d definitely teach myself how to use accessories. Maybe even swap some of those gaudy designer pieces for a nice Bottega .
13 Learn about fashion/style
It wasn’t until I got into my early 20s that I started learning about fashion. When I was 18 I think I still viewed it as a bit ‘girly’. I’d have never dreamt of studying it full time at university let alone reading up on it in my own time. But if I had, I probably would have been the new Tom Ford or something…;-)
14. Shop with girls
Although it would have been pretty tough when I was 18 (I didn’t have any cool girl friends) I did eventually go shopping with some girls when I was serious about changing my personal style. It didn’t quite go as I had imagined but did give me the needed boost to really mature my style.
15. Double denim is never ok…
I thankfully never actually participated in any double denim trend. Even though it had a little bit of a revival I still never think it’s right.
16. Wear clothes for you rather than others
At 18 I often dressed because other people felt a brand was cool or certain style was cool. I’d go back and kick my butt to remember to always dress for yourself.
I can just about manage to sew a button on something. I wish I knew how to hem trousers and be a little craftier with a needle and thread. I don’t really have the time now to learn, so anything that needs amending goes to the alterations place. Having this skill would have saved me a few pounds over the years in alterations.
18. Women love a guy that dresses well
Considering I was pretty miserable with women when I was 18, I’m sure had I known this little fact, it would have motivated me to improve my own personal style a lot sooner than I did.
What would you like to tell your 18 year old self?
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