If jeans and a button-down shirt is your default, prepare to be overlooked—at the office, at the bar, at your own funeral. The fact is, quality clothing elevates more than just your appearance.
A recent study suggests that wearing a jacket and tie can have intangible benefits. “Dressing formally makes you feel powerful. In turn, you think like a leader and might generate bigger ideas.
This could help with brainstorming,” says study author Abraham Rutchick, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Cal State Northridge.
1. A Suit and Tie
Create contrasts but don’t go wild. A tailored suit in a dark pattern worn with a white shirt sends the message that you’re a guy who can make things happen, says image consultant Lauren Solomon.
Combine it with tasteful, quality shoes. If you’re negotiating a raise, for instance, that kind of small touch can subtly convey that you’re worth the investment.
Finish the look off with surprising, understated details, like cuff links that reflect your personality. “They’re a stylish way to add creativity without distracting from the real focus—you,” says Solomon.
2. Jeans and a Blazer
The perfect jacket should be a solid color and have an interesting texture or pattern, such as herringbone or houndstooth, for maximum utility. Pair it with a patterned shirt (which is more intriguing than a traditional white dress shirt) buttoned all the way up.
Now break up the tailored look with the darkest pair of jeans you can find. You want these jeans to fall just above your shoes; you’ll appear approachable yet sophisticated. Trust us.
Finally, leave your tie at the office and swap in a loosely folded pocket square in a cool geometric pattern. Who does this? Nobody but you, my friend. Voila: You’re special.
3. Sweater and a Collared Shirt
It’s classic, it’s versatile, and it’s great for work, dinner parties, or even meeting your partner’s parents. Best of all, you don’t need a jacket to pull it off. Just a solid sweater over a plaid button-up.
Choose a fine-gauge sweater—which is more luxurious and refined than a chunky knit—in a luxe material such as merino wool or cashmere. Just be sure the shirt underneath it complements the color, fits snugly, and has no pockets.
“They’ll show through the sweater and be distracting,” Solomon points out. Since you’re without a blazer, avoid chinos or jeans, which would make your look a little too casual.
Instead, wear fitted wool trousers (not dress pants) with a bit of texture to add an element of interest.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health US.