6 Core Menswear and Style Values
Obviously, since I’ll be acting as cruise director here, many of the suggestions I make, pieces of advice I give, and products I show a particular affinity for will be influenced by my personal taste and ideas about style. So it’s only fair that I give a bit of an overview of the things I value when it comes to menswear and style in general.
First and foremost, versatility is key. A jam packed closet and dresser does not necessarily equal a wardrobe with more variety. If anything, having too many choices will just become overwhelming and you will likely find yourself gravitating towards wearing only a few pieces in predictable combinations. (More on closet purging in the future.) This rut is easily overcome by owning a handful of versatile, quality, and timeless menswear staples as well as having a little creativity and adventurousness to combine them in different ways.
Versatility. Timelessness. Quality. Affordability. Fit. Confidence.
Timelessness is a big one for me as well. You could spend your time (and money) keeping up with the latest trends but that will ultimately lead to a closet full of clothing that you’ve worn once or twice. Investing in timeless pieces is the most prudent investment you can make when starting or developing a solid menswear collection. Classics never go out of style. It’s why they’re called classics.
I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for. My father taught me that and he was right. As a result, I always keep a keen eye out for the quality of the garments I buy and the products I use. I am always willing to spend a little more for something that is well made and that I know will last. Think of it as a sound investment. I have a running argument with a friend who insists—despite economic evidence to the contrary—that going through five pairs of cheap jeans every year is more cost effective than buying a single pair of selvedge denim that will last two, three, or four (or more) years even with heavy wear.
But being a stickler for quality does not always mean having to lay out a lot of cash. Affordability should always be an important consideration and there are always multiple tiers of options and price points for specific pieces depending on your income level and what you are willing to spend. If money is no object and you can afford an entire bespoke wardrobe, I’m definitely not going to stop you, but I would advise most regular guys to chose the highest quality garments within their economic comfort zone—if it feels or looks cheap, it probably is—and ensure that they fit properly to get the biggest bang for their buck.
Fit. In terms of menswear, it is one of the most important elements as well as the one that guys often get very wrong. Wearing a suit coat two sizes too big, a pant leg becoming frayed because it is too long and gets caught underfoot, or feeling choked in a button down shirt because a smaller size fits your body better. We’ve all likely been guilty of at least one of these scenarios because we do our best to find the best solution off the rack.The truth is that unless you are wearing bespoke clothing, you are likely not going to find anything that fits you perfectly off the rack. That’s where finding a good tailor and cultivating a relationship with him (or her) comes in to play. (Much more on that in the future, as well.)
Finally, confidence. If you don’t believe in what your wearing—if you don’t own it—people will be able to tell. If you are feeling the least bit uncomfortable you are going to project that and it means you’ve probably not made the best personal style choice. Wear what feels good and you will look good. Confidence is definitely the most stylish (not to mention sexy) thing a guy can have in his wardrobe. Period.