10 Wardrobe Upgrades That Will Instantly Elevate Your Closet in 2023

Are your clothes seeming tired? Try these items.

Updated January 13, 2023 12:03 pm
a collage of elevated wardrobe essentials on a tan background
Instead of a silly new resolution, we suggest you upgrade your wardrobe in 2023.
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Two weeks into the new year, and the pressure has never been higher to reinvent yourself in some way. Daily journaling didn’t pan out, Dry January is a bust and the gym is too crowded to get a set, anyways. So, rather than risk yet another botched haircut or continue to flake on those 15-minute guided meditations, allow us to recommend an easier, healthier way to channel that resolution-driven energy — adding some new, exciting wardrobe upgrades to your closet.

Unlike the pipedream of getting abs, elevating your look doesn’t have to be strenuous, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a pursuit without consideration. 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 advance what you already have. By now you’ve probably accumulated the wardrobe “essentials” (T-shirts, jeans, boots, etc.), so we won’t waste your time with those. The items below are a step up from your everyday fair, offering a slight edge that those heralded basics won’t.

Below, we’ve highlighted a decapod of debonair digs that will offer enough of a departure from your existing closet to make you feel like a new man, without making you feel like a lame try-hard. From Japanese Balmacaan coats to some GORP-ed out footwear, 10 wardrobe upgrades to instantly elevate your look in 2023.

A Handsome 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 has to be 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.

A Rugged 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. 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, preppy, western or Americana, all depending on how you style it.

Some Properly 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 applied to a timeless 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.

Bold, Crazy 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 sweater’s life in your closet and lend a sense of excitement and anticipation to each wear.

The 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.

The 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.

OG 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.

Hike-Forward Footwear

Stan Smiths, Chuck Taylors and other iconic sneakers will forever remain (and most likely dominate) the canon of the classic sneaker, but with rumblings of a post-sneaker movement, it’s time to diversify your footwear. While they’re technically still “sneakers,” Gorpcore-inspired styles from brands like Merrell and Salomon offer a totally different, ultra-outdoorsy look that skirts trends and generally presents as straight heat.

A Party Polo

Maybe we’re being a bit optimistic here, but the term “party polo” 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.

The Not-So-Average Chore Jacket

Everyone and their uncle rocks a chore jacket, and for good reason: the style is hardworking and timeless, a much-loved relic of a time when menswear was dictated by form and function. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t stand out from the crowd with new, modern takes on the pocketed layer. Funky materials — say, a quilted outer — make all the difference in a see of twill and corduroy and manage to blend the new-age aesthetic with that of the French-originated chore silhouette, thus making for a highly adaptable piece of outerwear.

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