I’m going in to my second year of college, and I decided to get a new wardrobe. I’m a guy to whom this doesn’t come natural, though. I’m the type of person who would much rather let my parents shop for me than do it myself. Still, I decided to part ways with my cargo shorts and graphic tee shirts, but I don’t know what direction I should go. What are the trends in men’s fashion, and what tips do you have to make my threads a little cooler?
Let’s face it. Our society doesn’t prepare guys to make their own fashion decisions. Guys often have a mother who handles those choices until he goes to college, at which point he goes through a succession of regrettable tie-dye tee shirts and/or cheap-looking oxfords until a girlfriend comes along and resumes the role of picking out his wardrobe. People laugh about this, but it’s a bad thing. It means that we don’t prepare guys for a life that makes them very happy. For many people, part of being happy is looking good, and if you want to look good, you should know how to do that! Let’s talk about some basic steps you can take to reboot your wardrobe.
Before creating a wardrobe, you should make a plan. You should construct your wardrobe with care. Before you begin, you should know what your fit is. Primer Magazine has a series of articles of what constitutes good fit. Spend a weekend at the mall learning just what sizes you need, pulling pants and shirts off the rack and trying them on in the dressing room until you know what sizes suit you. Once you find the right fit, you’ll be amazed at how good you look.
Then, research what you want your look to be. You can pull ideas from glossy magazines like GQ, check out online boards like Pinterest, or trawl the internet for more up-and-coming brands like those included in the latest Reign releases. Beginning with Google searches to start your research is fine, but like any budding aficionado, you should always keep an eye out for curated content by tastemakers and trendsetters. Your best bet is editorial content, specific blogs, and Instagram channels. The idea is to cultivate your own individual look by learning more about what you like and where you can purchase it. Not only will this make your shopping easier, because it is easier to find specific clothing if you know what to for, it will also be easier on the budget.
By budget, we’re not just talking about money. Let us explain. Buying a bunch of new clothes costs at least a few hundred dollars. If you don’t have a plan — that is, if you try to scattershot your buying choices — you will end up buying orphaned pieces that don’t fit with any particular outfits. You won’t wear them often, and they’ll end up sitting in the closet, a waste of a good hanger. Not only should you budget money, but also the clothing “slots” you will combine and recombine to suit your lifestyle and daily needs. The Art of Manliness has an article outlining the amount of clothing you need for several given lifestyles.
Looking over all those different lifestyles, you realize that, while being a student isn’t the same as being the guy who just got promoted to the corner office, the fundamental problem is the same. How do you go about planning the transition from the person you were, to the new you? Lucky for you, you are not the first to have made that transition. As the blog The Essential Man advises, you should focus on the classics before branching out into trends. Once you establish the basics of those classic pieces of clothing, you can use the “swap trick” to vary it. This means, once you have an outfit that you feel good in and wear it a few times, switch out one item of the outfit for a more outré piece.
“Fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it.” – Style Quotient