Refreshing Your Wardrobe

After college it's easy to fall into keeping and wearing the same clothes. But that's how you end up wearing "dad jeans" in a few years. Make sure to routinely refresh your wardrobe. We show you how to do it smart and cheap.

For a thirty something guy (yup, that’s me), change is never easy.  This is especially true when you are going through your wardrobe.  I still love some of the shirts, jeans, and sportswear that I have. But try as I may, some of it will never be back in style.  Even if you aren’t in your thirties, it’s important to understand that what you wear says a ton about you.

As I was going through my closet, I did an inventory of my wardrobe and eliminated things that I haven’t put on in some time. In the process, I came up with five steps on how to change up your clothes/style for the better and still not seem too young or old.

1.  Know your style.

This is the most important one of all.  My style has evolved over the years to the point where I now know what works and what doesn’t.  Your style has probably done the same.  Just a few years ago, I would never have dreamed of even trying to wear pink ANYTHING.  Now I have three different pink shirts. The great thing about pink is that you can wear it casually AND in a business setting.  Have a person who you think dresses well. See if you can make it fit for you.  Look at magazines and don’t be afraid to ask your girlfriend for advice.  It’s about being comfortable and stylish at the same time.

2.  In your 30’s… stay away from Hollister!

I’ve walked into a Hollister store a grand total of three times.  Each time it was to see if there was anything that could help my wardrobe.  There wasn’t.  Now that’s not to say there isn’t something for someone younger.  But, if you are in your thirties, you need to stay away. I would even recommend as you get into your twenties, find a store that doesn’t scream high school or college.  There are plenty of other stores you can shop and find good styles.  Which leads me to…

3. The Gap still works whether in your teens or thirties.

The great thing about Gap is it is not over the top.  Some will say it’s boring, but I disagree.  Walk into a Gap store and you can find anything to go with your wardrobe.  I have a few Gap sweaters that I use to go with a casual workday in the office.  A few seasons ago, they had a sporty jacket that I could wear with an untucked button down shirt.  I still own one. It goes great for wearing to parties and family events. The other great thing about Gap is their discount rack.  You can find a number of good deals like a white button down shirt for $10.00 or a fall jacket for $30.

4. Never go without two good suits.

The old adage was that you should always have one good suit.  I say you should have two.  Even if you aren’t in a full-time business setting, it’s key to have a pair of suits.  If you are going on interviews, you don’t want to have to wear the same one.  Here is how to save yourself some money if you aren’t making a lot.  Go to Macy’s, or even Sears, and find separates. You can get a decent pair of pants for between $20-$25.  Sure the jacket may cost a little bit more, but if you are on a budget, this is a good way to have some variety.  You can mix and match the jacket with another pair of pants and pull off different looks.  When you make enough, head to a place like Men’s Warehouse or Joseph A. Bank.  I’ve purchased suits from both in the past and have been very happy.

5. If you haven’t worn it in a year, ditch it.

Have a shirt or pair of jeans that you didn’t even remember was in your drawer or closet? Get a bag and do some cleaning.  Believe me, you don’t want to have boxes of clothes lying around.  I’m not saying ditch your winter clothes when spring rolls around.  What I am saying is that if you are refreshing your wardrobe, remove stuff that has no place any longer.  Take what you don’t wear to a local Salvation Army or Goodwill store.  There are also stores like Plato’s Closet that will buy your gently worn clothes (usually one or two seasons old).

Now go take control of your wardrobe!

Jason Mollica is a public relations professional in Amherst, N.Y. A former radio and television producer for Fox News in New York City, he blogs about life, career, and everything in between at One Guy's Journey.


  • Reply November 3, 2010


    A word of caution when suit shopping at Jos A Bank or Men’s Warehouse: Know what you’re looking for (that is, research online about proper fit and style) and DO NOT rely on the salesmen to tell you what you need, what looks good, or how anything should be tailored. Word to the street.

  • Reply November 3, 2010


    AnotherJames, That’s a great tip, if you’re interested in style, know how you want it to look before you go buy. Don’t trust the 50 year old guy who works on commission.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Primer Magazine, Elissa Plastino and Tabish Bhimani, Jason Mollica. Jason Mollica said: Walked out of my comfort zone, wrote a story for @PrimerMag- "Refreshing Your Wardrobe." Check it out- #style #u30pro […]

  • Reply November 3, 2010


    Yeah…I have had terrible experiences with Men’s Wearhouse and JoS A Bank type places. Best bet is to find a suit in Macy’s or similar, buy it on clearance and bring it to a tailor so it fits properly. A tailored suit can make a $150 clearance special look like a $1500 custom.

  • Reply November 3, 2010


    Great article Jason! I think most of the points you made apply to women too. A lot of these points also apply to people making the transition from college to the professional workforce.

    It’s all about being realistic about the context–if you’re going to work don’t wear the clothes you wear to the club. If you’re over the age of 15, please don’t even look at Hollister. The Gap is great because it’s classic and neutral. Those two traits give you the ability to take an outfit in the direction that suits your needs: dressed up or down, professional, glammed up with jewelry (for women)…whatever it might be.

    You got it down. What a stylish guy!

  • Reply November 3, 2010


    I think you need to define “dad jeans”. Do you mean old and worn jeans? Do you mean jeans that look like you did some physical labor instead of sitting on your ass 24/7? What?

  • Reply November 3, 2010


    Tudza, Urban Dictionary defines “Dad Jeans” as:

    “Jeans that are no longer fashionable and are usually characterized by a tapered leg, high waist or brand name that was cool about ten years ago. Dad jeans are typically worn by aging men with salt and pepper hair who are in denial that they are no longer hip, have children and drive a station wagon or SUV.”

    There’s a good picture here:

  • Reply November 5, 2010


    A sports jacket with an untucked button down shirt? I stopped reading after that comment.

  • Reply November 9, 2010


    I agree – one should know his style. If you are wearing not expensive, but stylish and clean clothes, it will make a definetely good impression.
    I also agree, that it is better to have two good suits than only one.
    But as for pink clothes… It seems to me this colour suits girls more than guys, moreover those who are in their thirties….

  • Reply January 5, 2012


    Also, if you have a faux-hawk. Get rid of it.

  • Reply May 13, 2012


    Travis: I kept reading, but only to see what else he was wrong about.
    Andrew: I think Urban Dictionary was wrong on at least one count: tapered leg jeans are punk jeans. Dad jeans are the acid-washed crap… but I don’t think salt-and-pepper hair is a bad thing. It looks sophisticated.

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