Spring clean your closet. Get out any item that’s ripped, torn or stained, and anything that’s sized for a 78-pound cheerleader or a lineman who’s three times bigger than you. Then, head out to load up on the basics. Because looking good—not like you spent all morning in front of the mirror, but like you care—is really, really important. It says you respect yourself, the game and the authority who runs the team on which you want a spot. UVA ’s head men’s lacrosse coach Dom Starsia confirms: “Being dressed neatly shows a certain respect for the process and for me.”
Need help establishing what “the basics” are? Here you go.
1. A few crisp, light-colored buttondowns
2. One or two crewneck sweaters; one or two v-necks.
3. In solids or stripes: one or two long-sleeve, slim-fitting buttondowns; one or two short-sleeve polos
4. A pair of unpleated khakis and a pair of unembellished jeans
5. A pair of cool kicks and a pair of leather loafers you can dress up
Now that you know what you need, here are a few rules to keep in mind when shopping for and wearing them.
1. Make sure these essentials fit you well. Too tight makes you look like you care too much; too loose looks like you don’t care enough. Get it right. And if you need help with that, check out Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who’s wearing every piece in the appropriate size. If that doesn’t help, ask a girlfriend, a store associate or email us.
2. Use the essentials as your foundation, and work around them. Mix and match styles. Again, check out D-Wade. He’s sporting a simple crisp oxford with easy denim, but throws in a dash of style with a cool jacket and white-on-whites.
3. Lighten up. You can never go wrong in simple classics, like chinos, a buttondown and loafers—even if you wear them in the color of your choice. Shop around for non-khaki khakis. Or go Dhani Jones style, and try an Easter-shaded buttondown with dark jeans. Don’t be afraid to go lighter with your dress shoes, too. Check out these Bass loafers; kick ‘em with plaid shorts and a buttondown this summer, and you’ll look countryclub refined.
4. Just like training, don’t over do it and don’t under do it. If you’ve chosen to wear one loud item—like a stellar watch, for example—let that be the only loud item.
5. Class up your act with a tie. Wearing a buttondown? Add a tie. You’ll look that much better. Dwight Howard is a perfect example. Pairing a tie with his bright cardigan [see Rule #3] and plaid shirt makes Dwight look that much cooler.
EXTRA TIP: Organize your wardrobe so that one section of your closet is dedicated only to clothes you wear to impress. Place pants in one pile, sweaters in another, dressy accessories nearby and dress shirts hanging over them. If you shop well, so all these coordinate, you can pick a piece from each category, put it on and head out.