Have you started your style resolutions yet? Adding a little more flair to your closet should be on your perpetual list.

Don’t buy another boring, humdrum practical article of clothing. You’ve got clothes. You could probably go years without running out of pants, dresses, skirts and tops that you could reasonably cobble together and feel sufficiently dressed for interacting with the general public. But who wants to be sufficiently dressed, adequately clothed or otherwise forgettably attired?

Here’s a suggestion: Buy something unexpected.

Buy something that makes you smile and you don’t know why. Buy something fun. This doesn’t necessarily mean cocktail dresses and flashy formal suits. There are plenty of ways to dress up without going overboard. A heavy stone necklace can add plenty of bling to a simple dress. And you can wear that necklace to the office under a jacket or out to brunch with a T-shirt and jeans. A dressy object can elevate a casual object without clashing. There’s a way to look relaxed and luxe that’s worth experimenting with.

Here are 10 ways for men and women to class up their look in the new year.


If you’re a guy or girl who doesn’t have perfect vision, now is your moment. Glasses are having a glorious resurgence, and it’s worth investing in a pair or two. If you’re a wearer of contacts, there’s even more reason to invest in a daring pair. Variations on cat-eye frames are really popular, and styles mixing plastics and metal are the equivalent of face jewelry. Go with a color: Deep blues and greens are unexpected.


The staid closet staple is not what we’re referencing here. Skip the two- or three-button “Oh, look, I can wear this to interviews” jacket. What you should look for is a shawl-collared or tuxedo-influenced version. Look for textured fabric, contrasting sleeves, motorcycle details, asymmetrical zips and a great fit. Wear this with your party dress and later with your jeans and skirts any day of the week.


Life’s too short for nude hosiery. Grab the pair that will make your legs the life of the party. No one can tell how pale you are, and no one will notice if you’re in last year’s dress.

Watches and bracelets

Maybe it’s because we talk with our hands, but a little arm candy makes our hearts skip a beat. If you have a staid everyday watch and a few metal bangles, now’s the time to crank it up. Look for a new watch with a larger face. This goes for guys as well. You can have too much bling, but something tells us that you’ll know it when you see it. A big, classic black, rose gold, gold or silver metal watch with a solid-colored sweater and jeans is a great look to break in with your party clothes.

Bow ties

Every guy should have one, and every guy should learn to tie a real one. You aren’t necessarily going to be the quirky guy who wears them every day, but it’s a great look if you’re eager to surprise people with your newfound stylishness. It will fit in seamlessly at a party, and then later maybe you’ll wear one out to dinner or at a conference or maybe just on a Friday.

Pocket squares

If you have blazers, you need these. You don’t have to wear one every time, but in few instances would it be overkill. It’s a sensible splash of color that can be wild or subdued, and it won’t harm your manly man imagine in the least.

Clever plaids

Shirts, not pants. Plaid and checked dress shirts are available in slim and traditional fits as well as in great color combinations. Dress them down with a solid blazer or suit or play them up with a patterned tie in contrasting colors. It’s a great way to have a mix-and-match party wardrobe that also can work for business.

Colored pants

Gray is also a color, but we prefer the charcoal versions to the standard business gray. Mulberry and regal blues are also safe but much more exciting than khaki. Look for a soft wash on denims or wool. If every pair of pants you own is a variation of sand or black, you’re missing out on the color spectrum. Paired with a blazer, pocket square and plaid shirt, a pair of colored pants and optional tie can take you from a business meeting to a night out.

Slim cardigans

Who says that a night out means jacket required? A dark, fitted half-zip cardigan can enhance a patterned shirt and slacks. Most guys will find this combination nearly impossible to mess up. And starting 2014 with a little style confidence may lead to some brave new ensembles in the year to come.


Coming Saturday: Cool new ways to listen to music in your home this year.