Style | January 7, 2021 12:03 pm

10 Items That Will Instantly Elevate Your Wardrobe in 2021

For when your basics start to feel a little too basic

10 Items That Will Instantly Elevate Your Wardrobe in 2021
Nike, Todd Snyder, Buck Mason

Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, InsideHook may earn a small share of the profits.

With a new year upon us, it’s understandable if you’re looking to reinvent yourself in some way. But rather than risk a botched haircut or putting countless hours into obtaining an enviable (and often impossible) physique, allow us to recommend some new additions to your closet.

You should look to add pieces that don’t adhere to any tenuous trend but that you won’t already find among your clothes, pieces that enhance and elevate what you already have. By now you’ve probably accumulated the wardrobe “essentials” (white t-shirts, blue oxford shirt, white sneakers, etc.) and while these suggested items toe the line of timelessness, they offer a slight edge that those heralded basics won’t.

Below are 10 items that will offer enough of a departure from your existing wardrobe without making you feel like a lame try-hard.

Todd Snyder

Balmacaan Coat

A good coat has the ability to change everything, but if you’re really seeking an item that will instantly elevate any outfit, it’s the underrated Balmacaan coat. Originating at a Scottish estate some time in the 19th century, the style is marked by its unstructured raglan sleeves, Prussian collar and slightly oversized fit which lends it just the right amount of slouch. Where men’s coats tend to rely on a heavily tailored silhouette, the Balmacaan still offers that feeling of traditional menswear while simultaneously feeling modern.

Todd Snyder Balmacaan Coat

Other options: Uniqlo Balmacaan Coat, Beams Plus Harris Tweed Balmacaan Coat, Pure Cashmere Balmacaan Coat

The Kooples

Denim Shirt

While you’ve probably acquainted yourself with chambray shirts, which tend to give the appearance of denim, it’s time to embrace the real thing. In theory a denim shirt might seem limiting, but the key to wearing one lies in utilizing its layering capabilities. Simply think of the shirt as not all that different from a denim jacket, except with the ability to more easily layer things over rather than strictly under. Plus, it’s an aesthetic chameleon, capable of presenting itself as classic and preppy or western and Americana depending how you style it.

The Kooples Blue Denim Shirt with Classic Collar

Similar styles: Todd Snyder Indigo Denim Button Down, J.Crew Slim Midweight Denim Shirt, Ralph Lauren Classic Fit Denim Shirt

Alex Mill

Pleated Chinos

For most, especially those who no longer work in a physical office, it’s likely been quite some time since you’ve worn chinos. But just because you might not have any work-related reasons for wearing them doesn’t mean you should forgo them altogether. It’s time to embrace a more casual iteration of the style, the pleated chino. When lent to a chino silhouette, pleats allow for a roomier and relaxed look, one that reads less buttoned-up and instead suited to everyday wear. Consider them an alternative on days when you want something more structured than sweats but not as constricting as jeans.

Alex Mill Double Pleat Trouser in Chino

Similar styles: Bonobos Pleated Stretch Chinos, L.L.Bean Wrinkle-Free Double L® Chinos, Mango Pleated Slim Fit Chinos


Bold Knits

There’s no denying the reliability of a simple navy or black sweater, but we shouldn’t entirely discount knits of the bold and bright variety. You might think that these more conspicuous knits have a shorter life of wear, when in fact their practicality lies in their novelty, meaning you shouldn’t wear it tirelessly but choose carefully when to break it out. This prudence will lengthen the sweaters life in your closet and lend a sense of excitement and anticipation to each wear.

Pringle of Scotland Abstract Sweater

Similar styles: Corridor Floral Alpaca Crew, Cos Color Block Heavy Gauge Knitted Jumper, Jameison’s of Shetland Color Block Cardigan

Dr. Martens

Everyday Oxfords

Despite their somewhat punk roots, Dr. Martens are wildly universal and suitable for a range of styles. Most associate the brand with the iconic lace up boots, but for people with a slightly more reserved sense of style, those can be a bit intimidating. Luckily a happy medium between punk and put-together exists in the form of the Oxford, which still speak to the brand’s essence, just in a more refined way. They’re as easy to wear as a pair of sneakers, going with everything yet offering a slight edge via the stacked sole. They’re inconspicuous but that doesn’t mean their stylistic properties will go unrecognized. And if Docs really aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other similar styles to consider.

Dr. Martens 1461 Mono Smooth Leather Oxford Shoes

Similar styles: Paraboot Michael in Lisse Noir, Walk London Sean Derby Shoes, Aquatalia Henry Oxford


Classic Signet Ring

Arguably one of the most classic and lasting pieces of jewelry, it’s time we re-establish the signet ring as an everyday accessory. Even as the men’s jewelry market continues to widen, many guys are still reticent to explore it for themselves. The signet ring positions itself as the perfect starter piece, discreet enough to pair with any outfit while helping to create a dignified and stately air, even if you’re just wearing sweats. It’s the kind of accessory you never take off (because you don’t want to) and hope to pass down to future generations.

Miansai Signet Ring

Similar styles: Missoma Gold Round Signet Ring, Maple Nugget Ring, Mejuri Titanium Signet Ring

Buck Mason

Selvedge Denim

If you have yet to re-familiarize yourself with jeans after a year spent predominantly in sweats, let the first pair you slip into in the new year be one crafted from selvedge denim. Preferred for it’s ability to mold to the wearer’s shape over time, owning a pair of selvedge denim jeans requires entering into a deeply personal relationship — the jeans will most likely be a little stiff and even uncomfortable for the first couple of wears and then, before you’re even likely to notice, they’ll suddenly become unique to you and you only.

Buck Mason Maverick Slim Jean

Similar styles: Everlane Selvedge Slim Fit Jean, Taylor Stitch The Democratic Jean, J.Crew 770™ Straight-Fit Stretch Jean in Indigo Raw Selvedge Japanese Denim


A ‘New’ Classic Sneaker

Stan Smiths, Chuck Taylors and other iconic sneakers will forever remain (and most likely dominate) the canon of the classic sneaker, but there are other styles gaining popularity that are comparable to the more established silhouettes in their wearability, yet not so ubiquitous. These sneakers hail from the same brands, just having been eclipsed by the more popular styles, making them alluring to those who find themselves tired of the inescapable classic silhouettes.

Nike Blazer Low Leather

Similar styles: Adidas Spezial, Vans Vault OG Authentic Lx, Reebok Club C 85 Vintage

Nudie Jeans

Party Shirt

Maybe we’re being a bit optimistic here, but the term “party shirt” extends to any shirt that could be described as fun or a little quirky. Similarly to a bold knit, it’s the kind of shirt you pull out on the rare but not necessarily special occasion. Consider it a clothing lifeline of sorts, reserved for those days when you’re left entirely uninspired by your wardrobe. Slipping it on serves as a reminder for how fun fashion and getting dressed can actually be. And who knows, maybe you’ll actually be able to wear it to a party soon.

Nudie Jeans Arvid Misfit Creatures

Similar styles: Rowing Blazers Unicorn Tapestry Printed Shirt, Stüssy Sonoma Camp-Collar Printed Crepe Shirt, All Saints Tiergarten Shirt

Mr Porter

Denim Chore Jacket

The denim jacket has long been established as a menswear essential, and the chore coat falls into the category of slightly newer classic, but what about the combination of the two? The hybrid style manages to blend the classic American aesthetic the denim jacket with that of the French-originated chore silhouette, thus making for a highly adaptable piece of outerwear.

Mr P. Double-Faced Denim Chore Jacket

Similar styles: Alex Mill Work Jacket in Vintage Denim Wash, Madewell Denim Chore Jacket in Vancleese Wash, Acne Studios Flocked Denim Chore Jacket

Subscribe here for our daily deals and products newsletter, The Goods