So I wanted to do a piece on men’s clothing. What’s great is that such minor (and easy) touches to a guy’s ensemble can make a huge difference. Here are some tips:
1. Size down. While working at Men’s Furnishings and fairly closely with the Tailor Shop at Nordstrom, I have learned how much attention should be placed on ‘fit’. Unfortunately most men get this wrong! They more commonly size up rather than size down. Rarely, have I ever seen a dress shirt or suit that was too tight. This happens way too much in my workplace. Let’s just say, people don’t pay as much attention to this in healthcare as they do in the business realm. Here are some examples of how a suit should fit from a few of the leading men in… my brain.
2) Splurge on staples! Unlike women, men’s (stylish) clothing remains classic. It is very versatile (work, play, dates, church, interviews), and can be worn across all seasons. Men naturally tend to be more conservative with fashion so trends don’t last very long and aren’t as extreme as in the female department (i.e. you will not see random cutout pieces on men’s shirts or studs on their shoes). This allows men to invest in timeless pieces and actually get their money’s worth since they can wear these pieces for years! Since I am going to post some recommended essentials in a bit, let me include some things you should AVOID:
So this looks like a nice grey sweater, right? Wrong. I am sorry but I knew I would find a great example of a classic article of clothing that you should not buy at Forever21. This sweater goes for $19 and for a classic piece, you should be looking for something with better quality. I can almost assure you that after this sweater goes in the wash a couple times (because I doubt you’d pay $8 to dry clean something like this), the sweater can R.I.P. Thats $19 down the drain. 19 hard-earned bucks! Hmmph.
I also found this Forever 21 ‘Garden Daze’ Tee on the website. Named appropriately because you must be dazed and confused to buy this crap! Sure it’s $14, but how many times are you actually going to use this? I guess floral is trending right now for guys, but key word here is “trend”. If your goal is to be trendy though, this would be reasonable… I guess. Also, this shirt cannot be worn across seasons, spring and summer yeah, but what about fall and winter? Nope, it’s going in the discharge bin and probably won’t trend the following year so sayonara. (** If you are at all interested in this floral trend, stop.)
Are you a fashionisto? No. I thought so. Are you Zac Efron from high school musical? “Are you Steve Jobs?” You can find this denim vest for $98 at Guess. Now let’s think about this… How many outfits can you actually wear this with? Do you actually have bottoms that would look good with this exact dye of denim? Do you have enough distressed shirts that you can wear under this vest and do you know which one to wear exactly? If you are having trouble thinking of these, then you should probably pass something like this up.
Ok, let’s move on. I’m getting sick of looking at clothing I wouldn’t buy.
3) Never leave the house without an accessory. Do you remember Lauren Conrad saying this on one of ‘The Hills’ episodes? Okay, now I know this sounds strange but the accessory I am talking about is a watch. Do not leave home without it! It just looks nice on a wrist. Also, don’t forget your belt. Invest in a good one! Oh, your girlfriend counts as an accessory too, so make sure she doesn’t look ratchet.
Now let’s get to the good part. Per recommendations and my keen observations of all the men I’m surrounded by, I wanted to draw attention to a short list of idea pieces. Here goes:
Neiman Marcus. Ralph Lauren Black Label. Now I know we are not all made of money but this should be the goal. A classic, quality piece to splurge on. I know someone who is a huge fan of this label and I totally understand why. You can definitely feel and see the difference in quality and tailoring of these shirts compared to others. Get one and you’ll know what I mean.
Club Monaco. Since we are all just starting out and I likely am targeting people my age.. ahem or people who are just 1.5 years into making money. Club Monaco offers more reasonably priced dress shirts in youthful prints. Their classic fit isn’t tailored for old men but for younger guys and you still have their slim fit option if you want to go even tighter. From what I hear, their regular fit is already pretty fitted. My brothers always need me to accompany them to this store because it is filled with gay guys. One of my brothers is constantly hit on. I think he needs me to act as his fake girlfriend but I really don’t mind shopping with them. Love their men’s selection here.
J Crew. Now this is everyone’s go-to store just because I think their clothing looks great on everyone our age. They have such versatile clothing for men that you can wear at work and outside of work. The fit and fabric is more casual but I’ve seen it done at work and it looks great. Very reasonably priced as well. Excuse me for picking out that very seasonal, trendy print on the second shirt. My boyfriend has a J Crew shirt just like it and it makes the already chatty Trader Joes workers even chattier, I swear. They all loved it! Also, just coming from a winter hiatus in Naples, that shirt is IN!!
Ok, pants time. The same rule applies (versatility, seasonality, timeless, classic) but pants can be tougher due to fit. Tell me, do guys have issues with pants making their butt look flat, saggy, wide? I know girls do!
Outlier. Slim Dungarees. Now this is a brand of pants that I was just made aware of that targets the sensitive man. Sensitive skin, that is, because apparently they are extra comfortable. C’mon the ad on the website freaking has a dude playing that game Intelligent Cube (early playstation, inserted above for reference) wearing these pants. That’s gotta mean something! My boyfriend got a pair and just had to buy another one because he liked them so much. They are stretchy but still look pretty dressy a.k.a. work appropriate. Versatile article of clothing, literally.
You cannot go wrong with Cole Haan shoes. Although they no longer use that Nike technology, their shoes remain lightweight and comfortable. Trust me, I climbed the Great Wall of China in my oxfords and it didn’t slow me down one bit! Pictured here are the Cole Haan ‘Colton’ wingtips. I just love the color combination and think it would look great with any pant!
If you are looking for a handsome wingtip boot counterpart, then consider Allen Edmonds ‘Dalton’ Boot. Highly recommended due to comfort, style, fit, and quality. That sounds like a great package to me! Plus, Allen Edmonds shoes are made in Wisconsin. When they actually do things here, they do things right. I can guarantee that these will be one of the most comfortable boots you will ever own!
Some minor touches:
Patterned socks. Ted Baker and Happy Socks. Now patterned socks are like that tramp stamp tattoo that you purposely flash every once in awhile. Wait, maybe a better analogy is the fashionable trend in the 90’s (to show off those two little thong straps and thin center piece when you bend over). My brother recalls catching a classmate of his purposely pulling her thong straps up to show them off. Anyway, patterned socks allow you to express yourself under a more conservative outfit. Be bold with the purple striped socks above or take a chance with the heart socks. Please just don’t get boring argyle, yeah they’re patterned but that would be the equivalent of showing off your granny panties 90’s thong style. If you don’t remember this trend, this is it:
After visit summary: Let’s keep this short for the guys. 1) Size down. 2) Splurge. 3) Accessorize. Oh and make sure your girlfriend doesn’t look ratchet. People will judge you based on how she looks.