I know the tune all too well; I’ve heard it repeated so often and by pretty much all the guys I talk to.
You think you’ve got no problem dressing yourself, you have no desire to blow a ton of cash on your clothes, and you tell yourself that being interested in fashion isn’t really a guy’s thing.
After all, your style hasn’t let you down yet.
Think about this: if your style has never let you down, has it ever done the opposite, and done you any favors? Have you ever felt the hungry eyes of lots of ladies checking you out? The sneaky peeks of chicks who just can’t help themselves? Or, more seriously, have you ever received compliments about the way you dress?
If we were to take a look in your closet, we’d probably find a pair of jeans, faded or ripped, probably Diesels? Maybe one or two T-shirts by Guess or Armani Exchange (or another brand with its logo printed on the front of the shirt for everyone to see?)
If that’s not quite your style, maybe some T-shirts with the name of your favorite metal band. A nice pair of Converse — why would you need anything else? And don’t forget your “comfortable” sweats that are about 2 sizes too big.
In short, you’ve got a “normal” wardrobe. Why would you want to change anything?
Is that really what you want, to look like an average guy? Is your aspiration to be completely interchangeable and have a style that lacks personality and character? I didn’t think so.
It’s important and completely possible to develop a style that reflects you in a flattering way. Because an average Abercrombie t-shirt, with an average jacket, an average pair of jeans, and an average pair of shoes all adds up to an average look.
And the solution isn’t to wear poor-quality cheesy designer clothes — that’s exactly what I’m going to help you avoid.
We’re going to start off by correcting some of the recurring errors I see with my clients, even those who’ve been following our blog for a while. It’s all about taking action after receiving a bit of helpful advice.
Don’t give in to marketing hype or simply follow the fashion crowd
- A brand isn’t good just because everyone’s wearing it.
- A brand isn’t good just because it’s expensive.
- A brand isn’t good just because it’s well-known.
Some brands have a “good reputation” amongst the mainstream crowd (who generally know zilch all about fashion anyway) only because their marketing departments invest millions of dollars every year in maintaining the public belief that they’re good brands who make good clothes.
What is a good item of clothing?
- An item that suits you (It’s neither too big nor too small and it makes the most of your silhouette).
- An item that’s easy to wear and that doesn’t break any of the rules regarding basic good taste (not gaudy)
- An item made with care, with quality materials, that will last you longer than an item made in China or Bangladesh.
… as you can see, that has nothing to do with the declarations of a publicity campaign.
In order to distinguish the good brands from the bad (and within a brand, the good items of clothing from the bad), you need to know your stuff. And to get to know your stuff, you need to take an interest in the subject: check out blogs, forums, guides, talk to professional and honest retailers (the ones who won’t try to make you buy something.)
Banish the cheap stuff cluttering your closet
By cheap stuff I mean worn, faded, or lifeless clothes with questionable designs. Maybe you only have a small amount to spend on your wardrobe – if that’s the case you’re going to have to do your best to limit the premature fading that’s characteristic of cheap clothes.
With shirts, learn how to iron properly so that the collars keep their shape and don’t start getting wavy (sign of badly fused lining). It’s a little detail that lots of women have a particularly keen eye for. Take care of them and make an effort so that your shirts stay looking new for as long as possible.
If your shirts are irreversibly ruined, stop wearing them, even if you’ve grown attached. A collar that’s turned yellow or black rarely looks great and you don’t want to gross anyone out.
Get rid of poorly made T-shirts and learn how to find really decent ones
Stop with the printed shirts. Alright, you see them everywhere, but that’s no reason to believe they make you look good. Learn about simplicity and minimalist elegance – the foundation of style. Go to a store that makes good quality T-shirts at a low price (such as Gap or Target). Same thing goes for hoodies and other hooded sweaters…
As for your jackets, get them dry-cleaned when they start showing signs of age: stains from nights out or an interior that’s starting to look drab. The whole idea is to prevent yourself from giving the impression that you got your jacket out of your dirty laundry basket.
The (not-so-obvious) art of jeans
Invest in a decent pair of raw jeans. They’ll cost you less than 3 pairs of Levi’s (a brand with an overrated reputation thanks to widespread marketing) that will look crap after three washes.
Even the most expensive jeans in the world can’t stand up to being washed every 2 weeks. You should only wash your jeans once every two months, max. I know it sounds like a lot but it helps to avoid premature wear and fading. I promise they won’t smell horrible or get really dirty.
Important note: These tips come from passionate fashion professionals and are often little-known or misunderstood by the majority of the public. They do make a massive difference though, and make your clothes last a lot longer.
Stop neglecting your shoes
Get yourself a pair of understated sneakers that don’t look like running shoes (Industry of all Nations, Generic Surplus, more high-end Our Legacy and Common Projects or National Standard). And a pair of smart shoes (Allen Edmonds, Loake 1880, Magnanni, or To Boot New York) will give you more value for your dollar than than an inexpensive pair purchased every 6 months.
I’ll be writing a second part soon going into detail about more fashion mistakes that should be avoided at all costs.
Who is Nicolas?
I’m the author of this post and editor at Kinowear.com
At Kinowear we help men choose pieces of clothing and put together simple yet stunning outfits.
Join me on the blog to learn how to dress sharply.