Men's wardobe: what to buy first, what to spend money on, the demons in your wardrobe
|WARDROBE BASICS FOR MEN:
One of the most important principles to keeping a good, active wardrobe is knowing what should be in there. That brown thing that you never wear is not going to go away until you find out why it shouldn't be there.
Before looking at the type of clothes though, you should take a few minutes to look at the type of lifestyle that you lead. Do you party? Are you a cafe hound? Work in an office? Play sports? Do you dine out regularly? These questions will lead you to correctly calculating what should be in that wardrobe.
What you wear is actually a statement of who you are and what you are. So another point to take into account is your own character or style. If you like 'cool' then buy cool clothes and so on; have a think about your own style. Is it conservative, casual, relaxed, athletic? Or is it bored, fast, sharp, tech-head, executive? Different styles call for different clothes.
As far as getting that wardrobe in working order, you have a duty as a man before you start. It will not be easy for some, but you must carry out this one action: DE-JUNK YOUR WARDROBE! Get the lead out! Unless you do this, you will find getting that wardrobe working to be very difficult. Wanna know why?
Clothes or accessories or shoes that you don't wear or that don't fit you have a mysterious effect on you and on your wardrobe -- they make you think that you have something that you don't actually have.
"Yeah, I have a leather jacket. It's that one that Auntie Annie got me 5 years ago with the tassels on it. But I just don't feel like wearing it that's all."
You don't feel like wearing it because YOU DON"T HAVE A LEATHER JACKET.
Here's the rule: If you haven't worn it in two years, get rid of it. These clothes and things will actually stop you from acquiring the clothes that you should have in there. Why would you buy a leather jacket if you already have one??? You see now the insidious mechanism that these clothes have built into them. They just want to live. But if you know what's good for you and your wardrobe, make sure that they live somewhere else.
Another important thing about clothes which can be amazingly ignored is that they look better when they fit you. And of course, they look best when they also suit you. The clothes that do not actually fit you have probably been secretly embarrassing you for years without your knowledge.
There are many points relating to clothes and how they fit a body and if you're unsure you may have to consult a book or a tailor (better a tailor than a clothes salesperson) for extra advice. Excluding fashion trend items here are some of the more obvious points: if you can't get it on, it's too small; if you can't move in it, it's too small; if it falls off you when you move, it's too big; if you trip on it, it's too big; if you can't see your hands, it's too big; if you can see your armpits, it's too small.
Clothes should make you feel good because they are comfortable. If you are determined to keep something that doesn't fit because you wear it all the time and can't bear to lose it then try getting it altered so that it will fit you. So anything that doesn't fit and can't be made to fit can hit the road.
As already mentioned, what you wear is a statement of who you are. Whether right or wrong, the great majority of people will make an assumption about you based on what they see of you.
Try it. Put on a clown suit and see if you can go anywhere where people don't laugh at you. "But I'm a lawyer!" you object. Well, if you are one, then dress like one. So we've got another factor in deciding what should be in your wardrobe: YOUR clothes. If you have ever seen a jacket or some piece of clothing that looked great on your friend and then when you wore it, it looked flat or dead or bad or not great, you'll know what I mean here. Most good clothes look good on the rack but they have to fit and suit you to look good on you.
The point of personal style comes next and this is a matter of knowing whether something suits YOU or not. Now here you may need the help of a friend. And by friend, I mean: a friend you can trust.
Between the one who says, "Oh yeah, you were so right about that," to everything you do, and the friend who says, "Hey, did you just use the bathroom? Did you see the air-freshener in there? Do you think you can use it next time?" the latter is actually recommended for this type of exercise.
You need a friend who is a straight-talker, because you need a very honest opinion. You need to find out what your clothes look like on you to another person. The people you meet on the street or in a shop will not say so but they will notice if something does not look right. They may not even know what isn't right -- just that something isn't right and it will affect the way they receive you.
You have to be prepared for things you may not want to hear about some of your personal favorites. But you can always get a second opinion, just make sure that they are someone you can trust.
I recommend any books you can find on the subject too so then you can work it out for yourself in case you thoroughly disagree with what your best friend just told you about your orange cardigan. But in the end, if it's not YOU, get rid of it.
The first thing in building a good wardrobe, is shoes. It has been argued that half of your wardrobe budget could be spent on shoes and I agree whole-heartedly. As far as I'm concerned, shoes make or break your wardrobe and your style.
Brilliant suit plus crumby shoes equals: BAD.
Ripped jeans plus brilliant shoes equals: GOOD.
Brilliant suit plus brilliant shoes equals: TOO GOOD FOR WORDS.
Don't under-estimate shoes. If you've ever seen a pair of really good quality shoes you'll know what I mean.
The other items of clothing can be put into various classes and you will have to determine your own lifestyle and personal style before you decide exactly what to put in there. Basically you are looking at shirts/tops, jackets/coats, trousers/jeans, suits, accessories (not to be over-looked), overcoats, sportswear, underwear, ties, belts, etc and obviously not in that particular order.
Probably the last thing to look at would be quality -- get good quality if you're able to.
As far as quality goes there are the obvious reasons relating to "longer-lasting" and "better construction" etc. but what not everybody realizes about a truly good quality garment is that even though you pay more for it, you actually save money -- because you don't have to buy it again.
What you have to remember also with quality is that if the clothes or shoes or whatever you buy are going to last longer then it can be very wise of you to tend towards classic style items -- the things that never go out of fashion: Levis 501's, the Navy Blue suit, black oxford shoes, white t-shirts, Swiss-made watches, as these have been universally acceptable for many years and are bound to be so for many more years to come.
Anything that you have in there that is particularly bad quality, at least think hard about getting rid of it.
The road to having a good wardobe then, starts with getting the junk out and leads up from there. And after all this sifting you should have a few gaping holes in your wardrobe, but that's a good thing. If you learn more about clothes and your own style, and the sooner you buy quality over trendy then when you fill those holes they should stay filled.