The Fashionista is in – Dressing the dudes

Step up your sartorial game, gentlemen

I know, I know: IâÄôve been ignoring you. And I feel bad about that, because clearly you need my help when you wake up in the morning and put on the same old jeans and dirty sweatshirt youâÄôve been wearing since, well, ninth grade. You know who IâÄôm talking about: dudes. It seems to me that most of you are in a rut, a tried-and-true (well, maybe not âÄútrue,âÄù but as youâÄôd probably say, âÄúItâÄôs comfortable!âÄù) method of wearing whatever you find on the floor or simply stopping into whatever polo shirt vendor you see first and grabbing a couple all willy-nilly. Seriously, do you know how hard it is to navigate your way through Blarney on a Thursday night when all the dudes look exactly the same? Who decided the uniform (generally oxford shirt, slightly baggy jeans, and tennis shoes) for âÄúgoing out,âÄù anyway? LetâÄôs step it up, gentlemen, and to do so, letâÄôs look to your masculine peers for some inspiration. Ultimate male style icons George Clooney: The suave glamour, the effortless style, the chic recollections of Rat Pack-era Sinatra and company âĦ Clooney is a flawless example of man-about-town. He looks as good in a tuxedo (often Armani) as he does in a white t-shirt. (Okay, maybe that has to do with how good-looking Clooney is, but clothes make the man, right?) Steve McQueen/Paul Newman/James Dean: These ultra-rugged classic movie stars had a style and cool all their own. Think aviator sunglasses, crisp white shirts, sharp, tailored suits, a classic leather jacket and a beat-up boot. Beatle boots are always a safe choice, as is the chukka boot, an ankle-high classic you can often find secondhand (the more beat-up, the better) at Tatters on Lyndale. Justin Timberlake: Justin Timberlake is cool. Yeah, I said it. The folks at GQ, which you should be reading along with Esquire if you arenâÄôt already, agree with me, since they put JT on their cover last month. Not only does he co-design a clothing line, William Rast, that doesnâÄôt suck, but heâÄôs always well put-together. Me, I love his affinity for vests. The âÄúGossip GirlâÄù guys: Who cares if itâÄôs your girlfriendâÄôs favorite show? You probably watch it too and just donâÄôt admit it. Anyway, the styling on âÄúGossip GirlâÄù is top-notch and it shows in the male cast, too. Preppy? Take cues from Nate or bookworm Dan and his cardigans and military jackets. Trust me, cardigans are not just for Kurt Cobain and Mr. Rogers. Chuck BassâÄôs extreme color coordination might not be for everyone, but his âÄúlookâÄù is worth checking out. You might be inspired. Just stay away from ex-rocker dad RufusâÄôs necklace affinity. Yikes. Love that? Try this instead. ItâÄôs really easy to take something in your closet you adore and, well, improve upon it. YouâÄôll get the same feeling your prior favorites gave you. Think of it as a baby step. Worn-out grey hoodie: Trade up to a zip-up from American Apparel. I like the salt and pepper hoodie ($42), which fits more sleekly than most sweatshirts and can be layered with everything. It looks as good alone as it does under a blazer or over a patterned oxford. Dirty old Nikes (or New Balance, or whatever)- Sneaker-wise, swap your boring whites for Converse (tried and true, and can be worn without looking like a hipster), Frye boots (everyone needs Frye boots and theyâÄôll last you a lifetime), or Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes, my personal favorite. Shoes are not just an afterthought, a last step before the door. They can make or break your ensemble. Abercrombie & Fitch/Hollister- The denim, I can deal with. ItâÄôs actually decent. But the t-shirts? Please, leave them to the high schoolers or at least to the freshmen. If you want a dependable mall brand, try J. Crew. Logos all over your t-shirt should stop around the time your voice changes. Boring denim- Just because it fits and itâÄôs cheap doesnâÄôt mean it looks good. I get blamed for only advocating expensive designer denim, but that isnâÄôt entirely true. One can get amazing deals at places like TJ Maxx (the one in St. Louis Park is first-rate) and Len Druskin Outlet on brands like 7 for all Mankind and JoeâÄôs, and a pair of Diesel jeans never lets you down. Just make sure theyâÄôre tasteful. Recommended shopping: -H&M -Urban Outfitters -Len Druskin/Outlet -J. Crew -Target (the Converse One Star stuff is surprisingly cool) -eBay -vintage