Better Dressed Butch: Versatile Casual Winter/Spring Wardrobe – Part 2

Now that we have a foundation of simple and versatile pieces in our wardrobe, we can begin to add variety.  We can use color, patterns, texture, layers and accessories to give us even more options for pulling great looking outfits together.  This is where we can really begin to develop personal style.

As we discussed in Part 1, adding a single item to our foundational wardrobe now gives us many additional options.  Adding variety also keeps the wardrobe from feeling stale.  As the saying goes, “Variety is the spice of life.”  Everyone likes variety and being able to pull a patterned shirt out one day and a plain shirt the next day somehow feels nice.  So here are some examples of items we can use to spice up our foundational wardrobe.

Let’s start by substituting the original button up shirts with some patterned shirts.  These will be additions in your real wardrobe, but it’s easier to see visually if we put them in the place of the original shirts in our layout.  We will choose different colors and patterns here for our variety.

You can see that simply adding some different colors and patterns somehow makes the whole wardrobe feel fresh again.  And because we have our strong foundation, we didn’t have to buy a whole new set of pants or sweaters to go with all of these new shirts.  This is the key to the versatile wardrobe.

Now, of course, not every shirt will go with every pair of pants. In this first example, I probably wouldn’t wear the red shirt with the green pants or the blue tartan shirt with the dark gray sweatshirt.  But even with some outliers like that, the overall effect here is that a simple, basic and versatile wardrobe allows us to include new pieces with little effort.  And when we consider how each piece fits into our total wardrobe, we can spend our money a lot more efficiently.

Now let’s see some different options for our pants.  Something to keep in mind when looking for variety in pants is that texture and color can make a lot of difference.  Most pants inherently look the same.  Sure you can get different cuts and styles, but I think that slim fitted pants are the most flattering, so most of mine are very similar.  Adding texture and color lets us inject some variety.

I want to show this to you two different ways.  The first layout shows the original button up shirts with the new pant selections.  If you chose to add more pants to your foundational wardrobe first rather than more button up shirts, this would be a good representation of what that would look like.  The second layout shows the new pant selections with the new shirt selections, so you can truly begin to see how many options you can get by adding a few new shirts and a few new pairs of pants.

Ok,  I know you have some questions, including:

“Are those dad jeans?”

No.  Those are faded jeans, in a slim cut.  The color is perfect for a look that is more relaxed than dark jeans.  And as long as you buy them in a good slim fit, you are not going to look like your dad.  You are going to look like a confident superstar who is wearing faded jeans.  It’s time to move past the prejudice of lighter colored jeans.

“Burgandy pants?  Seriously?”


“Where’s the texture?”

The blue pants are corduroy.  The brown pants are smoother cotton.  You could also do moleskin if you wanted, but I’ve found those are harder to track down.  Also, I find that dressier pants are often the ones with more options for texture.  Since this is a casual wardrobe, the options are a bit more limited.  But let’s remember that texture can be an important part of adding variety.

So by now this versatility thing is starting to make sense, right?  You can see how it opens up a tons of options when you start with a basic foundation.  And you can begin to see how you can inject some more interesting pieces with color, texture and patterns.  The fun part is when you begin to apply these ideas to your own wardrobe.  You will begin to think things like “I like this shirt with these pants, but I wonder if this sweater will work?”  or “I’m going to wear my favorite outfit, but completely change the way it looks by wearing these boots instead of the sneakers I usually wear.”  And before you know it, you will begin to craft a personal style.  And creating new outfits will begin to feel second nature to you.

Just for fun, I put together this layout of additional options for sweaters, long sleeve shirt and shoes that we could add for variety.

When you look at these and mix and match them with the basic wardrobe and our first additions of button up shirts and pants, you can see the possibilities are practically endless.  What would you put together as an outfit?