Menswear Shopping Guide: 5 Tips to make it cooler, easier and on point.

Everyone’s favorite fashion season is finally upon us. Fall! Time to show off that jacket you know makes you look twice as cool.

But maybe you’ve opened your closet this season to find that (besides that jacket) you’ve been neglecting your wardrobe. In fact, maybe since college you can only recall shopping on a handful of occasions.

Now your college kid wardrobe is trying to fit into the world of adults.

It’s time to face the facts: growing up means investing in apparel. If you’re looking to revamp your wardrobe for the coming season here are some guidelines that may help in the process. These are by no means hard and fast rules. They are simply approaches I’ve personally found helpful.


Photo from Garconjon

Wardrobe is only one aspect of a personal style but it’s a mistake to undervalue it. It conveys a lot about you: your taste, your interests, your aspirations.

So where to begin? With inspiration. Creative expression never exists within a vacuum. Apply this thinking to your wardrobe.

Maybe you’ve found that inspiration in a recent collection, or a musician you admire, or a character from a movie. Dive further into that well. Take a fine tooth comb to what that person or brand’s sartorial tendencies are.

Is it nautical, military, sportswear, workwear, punk? What kind of silhouette does the clothing have? Do you feel it would work on you? What story do their clothes tell about them? Do you identify with it?

When you can identify these qualities you can begin picking and choosing what you like and incorporating it into your own style. This is a matter of developing taste. When you’re starting out, finding your style is the process of catching up with your taste.


Photo from GQ

Let’s say you now have a sense of what your closet is lacking. You’re ready to get out there and buy the clothes that will make you the man you always knew you could be.

Pump the brakes just a little.

First comes the vastly more tedious process of sorting through the junk you’ve already invested in. Yes, you must purge your closet and you must be ruthless.

And while you’re going through it all, wondering how you ever got to this place, let it be a lesson to you: T-shirts and clothing make for horrible mementos unless you actually plan on wearing them. By all means, keep your favorite concert tee…. if you’re going to wear it! I guess you could frame it but then why didn’t you just get the poster?

It’s important to keep this process in mind the next time you go shopping. Clothes are meant to be worn. This will is also serve as a declaration of what you no longer want your wardrobe to consist of. Plus, once it’s all said and done you’ll feel surprisingly satisfied.


Okay, now it’s time to get out into the wild.

Keep in mind the value that each item adds to your wardrobe. How many white button up oxfords do you actually need? The truth is probably never more than a couple. You’ll always end up wearing the one that fits best anyway.

Ask yourself what you would wear it with and how versatile it is. If you're unsure about it, hold off on buying it. Items you feel lukewarm about will end up sitting in your closet. Be restrained with your buys.

The shine on any new article of clothing, even the ones you love, will inevitably fade. It’s just our nature.

The goal is to shoot for quality items with staying power. This way, further down the road, not only will you get your kicks from the pieces themselves but from variety of ensembles that you put together. Otherwise, in a few months you’ll find yourself looking at a closet of disparate statement pieces.


Photo from La Chinoise(1967)- Jean-Luc Godard

Quality clothing, like everything, comes at a cost. Often that’s because the production costs are more labor intensive or the materials used are more durable or precious.

When shopping around you’re bound to run into the commonplace criticism that a certain piece costs what it does because “you’re paying for the brand.” In some instances, this is true, however, it’s important to be able to actually identify a product of superior quality. That requires putting in the research.

You should ask yourself "Why does this pair of “raw” or “selvedge” denim cost three times the amount as non-selvedge denim?" After you look into it, decide if it justifies the price difference in your mind. You may find that you pay more for quality clothing upfront but that it pays off in the long run.


Photo from Steven Visneau Photography

If you’re doing a complete overhaul of your wardrobe you will eventually find yourself frustrated because of your now limited options. The truth is that this feeling never goes away completely, even for those who have been working at it for a while.

A wardrobe that you feel great about can’t be built in a day or even a season. It's fine.

If you remain patient, keep exploring, and keep having fun you will get to a place where you feel confident that your clothes are another representation of who you are.

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