wikiHow to Dress Rugged (Men)

Three Parts:Choosing the Right ClothesPicking AccessoriesPutting it All Together

Rugged fashion looks great on any guy. No-nonsense, utility minded fabrics like flannel, canvas and leather give your wardrobe an earthy feel, while the right hair and accessories help take your style to the next level. Go shopping for some new jeans, shirts and accessories, then put them together to make rugged fashion your own.

Part 1
Choosing the Right Clothes

  1. Image titled Dress Rugged (Men) Step 1
    Shop for pants. Great rugged outfits start with the right pants. Shop for jeans, khakis and canvas with straight-cut legs, and avoid any flashy graphics or loud colors. Also, make sure you try on pants to ensure they fit comfortably. Rugged styles are about utility, so the pants shouldn’t be extremely tight or extremely baggy: look for “relaxed fit” or “straight-cut”.[1]
    • Buy denim. Denim is a staple of rugged looks. Buy jeans in dark or medium wash, and make sure they fit well. Look for “vintage” brands or cuts, as they often have a little extra room around the ankles and inseam.
    • Look for khakis. Buy a few pairs of good khakis. Khakis come in many different colors, and many of them complement rugged styles. Look for rich brown or grey khakis in comfortable fits, but avoid bright colors. Also avoid front-pleats: they’ll make you look more like an office worker and less like an outdoorsman.
    • Consider canvas pants. Canvas work-pants look great with rugged styles. Remember, rugged styles are all about utility and working-man aesthetic: work-pants help you look like you’re ready for a hard day’s work. Search for comfortable work-pants in khaki, navy or green.
    • Buy one pair of jeans with holes. Rugged clothes often appear “well-used”, so buy a pair of jeans with holes. You don’t want all of your clothes to have holes, but swapping a pair of “holey” jeans into your outfits can give your wardrobe a rugged look. Make sure not to take the look overboard, and buy jeans with only a few holes in them.
  2. Image titled Dress Rugged (Men) Step 2
    Pick out shirts. While pants are the basis for a rugged look, shirts emphasize and accent the style. There are many types of shirts to help round out a rugged look, from base layer t-shirts to thick wool sweaters. As with your pants, rugged shirts will need to be comfortable and straightforward, not overly tight.[2]
    • Buy plain t-shirts. Buy some v-neck or crew-neck shirts in plain colors. Plain shirts in white, black, navy and earth tones (brown, red-brown, dark green) create a good base-layer for your look. Many retailers sell plain t-shirts at very low cost, and you might get a discount for buying more than one. Make sure the shirts fit comfortably, and remember that they may shrink a size in the wash.
    • Look for Henleys. Henleys are comfortable shirts with buttons at the neck but no collar. They come in long sleeve and short sleeve versions, and are a great addition to rugged wardrobes. Buy a few in neutral colors or earth tones.[3]
    • Buy some flannel. Flannel shirts have been a staple of rugged looks for years, and they mix well with other rugged wardrobe pieces. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, so look for versions that go well with your undershirts and pants. Dark green/blue and red/blue combinations are classics, but you can find new and interesting colors as well. Try orange/red or navy/white to mix up the color palette of your wardrobe.
    • Add some wool. Wool sweaters add texture to your outfit, and they come in a variety of colors. Look for large knit sweaters in neutral colors like cream or grey. Make sure that they’re not too tight, and that they coordinate well with other items in your wardrobe.
  3. Image titled Dress Rugged (Men) Step 3
    Look for outerwear. Outerwear helps tie your outfit together. Vests, blazers and coats put the finishing touches on an outfit and give you a further look of utility and preparedness. Look for canvas, leather and tweed pieces to pull your outfit together.[4]
    • Buy some vests. Vests are great additions to your wardrobe and help give a simple t-shirt and jeans look some class and variety. Vests come in many styles, from thin wool vests to down-filled outerwear vests. Look for vests in canvas, wool, tweed or denim and pair them with coordinating pants and shirts. Also look for workman’s vests from Carhartt or Dickies in brown or khaki colors: these will give your outfit a no-nonsense vibe.
    • Get a blazer. A tweed or dark colored blazer can be used to elevate your style when you need to dress up. Pair an earthy colored tweed or navy blazer with a flannel, henley or thick sweater.[5]
    • Shop for coats. There are many options available for outer jackets. Consider a military-themed jacket or a shearling jean jacket. Many “classic” outerwear pieces like pea coats, canvas hooded parkas, or leather jackets work well too. As with all of your clothing pieces, look for neutral or earth tone coats in solid colors.
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    Avoid loud patterns or bright colors. Bright, neon colors will throw off your rugged look. Rugged fashion takes clues from classic pieces and stereotypical “masculine” styles. Overly bright colors are a recent fashion development and won’t mesh well with a rugged look. Similarly, loud graphics like animal prints or large logos are garish and distract from a rugged, classic vibe.
  5. Image titled Dress Rugged (Men) Step 5
    Go thrifting. Much of the best rugged clothes have a “well-worn” feel. Thrift stores often have a great selection of thick-knit sweaters, flannels and classic jeans. Check out local thrift stores or garage sales for gently used clothes and accessories. Thrift stores will also help keep down the price of a new clothes, and you can donate your old clothes once you're finished building your new wardrobe.[6]

Part 2
Picking Accessories

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    Go shopping for wristwear. While you won’t want too many accessories, a few understated items of wristwear can help round out your look. Watches are a classic style accessory, and come in a variety of great styles. You can also add a few leather or woven bracelets to your wardrobe.[7]
    • Shop for watches. Watches can be expensive, but a good watch will last your whole life. Look for plain, leather banded watches with classic analog faces. Avoid plastic watches, flashy watches with too much “bling”, or watches with oversized faces. Take your watch game further by buying two or three, then mixing or matching them with different outfits.
    • Buy bracelets. Bracelets are an inexpensive way to mix up an outfit. Look for dark or black leather bracelets, or bracelets woven from neutral-colored cord.
    • Don’t overload on jewelry. Too much jewelry will clash with a rugged look. Rugged style is about plain, classic styles, and an overload of “bling” will throw off the look. Avoid gold chains, multiple rings or other gaudy jewelry.
  2. Image titled Dress Rugged (Men) Step 7
    Choose the right shoes. Shoes are a great way to finish off your outfit, and they’ll help pull the look together. Leather, suede and canvas will make up the majority of your wardrobe, so look for those materials in shoes as well. Choose a few pairs of shoes to go with different outfits, then mix and match them to create new looks.[8]
    • Buy leather boots. Leather boots are a staple of “masculine” fashion, and they come in a variety of styles that will work for your style. Look for brown or black leather lace-up boots, and choose between low or high-rise ankles. Both will look great with your outfits, and the choice comes down to your preference. Tuck your pants into your boots or leave them out, depending on your preference as well.
    • Look for moccasins or chukkas. Moccasins and chukka boots look great with rugged, outdoorsy styles. Moccasins are low-rise, Native American inspired shoes made from leather or suede, while chukkas are higher-rise suede boots with only a few lace-holes. Look for dark or medium-brown moccasins or chukkas, and make sure your moccasins don’t have any ornamentation or fringe.
    • Get a pair of dress shoes. A nice pair of oxfords or brogues will go well with your rugged style when you need to dress it up. Look for shoes in dark browns or bright, earthier browns.
    • Avoid tennis shoes. Some sneakers may come in browns or suedes, and they’ll look alright with a rugged style. However, most styles of gym shoes feature bright colors and synthetic fabrics that will clash with your look.
  3. Image titled Dress Rugged (Men) Step 8
    Get a belt. Brown leather belts with simple buckles are important to a rugged look. Not only will they hold your pants up, but they’ll also give your outfit a simple and classic vibe. Look for a plain belt that matches your shoes or boots.[9]
  4. Image titled Dress Rugged (Men) Step 9
    Shop for socks. Socks are an often-overlooked part of your closet, but they can really help round out your style. Look for wool knitted socks at an outdoor store. These will pair well with your moccasins or boots. Thick dress socks in neutral or earth tones go well with brown brogues or oxfords.[10]

Part 3
Putting it All Together

  1. Image titled Dress Rugged (Men) Step 10
    Create some outfits. One of the most important parts of any style is learning how to properly layer and combine pieces of clothing. Most rugged clothing pieces go together without much planning, but there’s still an art to mixing and matching. Start by choosing a pair of pants, then add a shirt that goes well with the color and style of the pants. Then layer on a sweater, vest or blazer. Pay attention to the textures of the clothes: the more textures you add to an outfit (wool, canvas, cotton), the more rugged and versatile your outfit will look. Then add a pair of shoes and socks that complement your outfit. Finally, add your wristwear.[11]
  2. Image titled Dress Rugged (Men) Step 11
    Style your hair. Hair is a very important part of rugged style. If your hair is short, sweep it back with bit of pomade. If you have longer hair, use a matte finishing paste to give your hair some choppy waves. Remember, rugged fashion takes cues from classic styles, so don’t go too outlandish or long with your hair.[12]
    • Grow some facial hair. If you’re able to, try growing a bit of scruff. A small beard can help you give off a rugged vibe. Make sure to trim it up a bit though: rugged doesn’t necessarily mean unkempt.
  3. Image titled Dress Rugged (Men) Step 12
    Rock a rugged attitude. Ruggedness isn’t just about clothes. If you really want to pull off a rugged look, you’ll have to delve into stereotypical “masculinity” a bit to round off the look. “Rugged” men aren’t afraid to do some hard work and get their hands dirty, so try to adopt and incorporate this mentality into your daily life. Also, though it’s certainly not required, consider hitting the gym. A little muscle under your shirts will go a long way to add to your rugged persona.[13]


  • Layer for the weather. While layers look great, you won’t want to go out with a sweater and a vest in the middle of winter. If you live in an area with a warm climate, you’ll have to tailor your look with some lighter-weight layers.
  • Check rugged clothing and menswear blogs for ideas. There are many online sources for style inspiration, and they may even link you to online stores.
  • Transition your new wardrobe slowly. If you don’t have a lot of cash, it can be hard to buy a whole new wardrobe in one shopping trip. It’s often easier and more financially savvy to buy one new clothing item every week until you’ve built up your wardrobe.

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Categories: Fashion Styles