FashionBeans: Men's Fashion & Men's Style Guide
20-07-2015 08:48 PM
Wardrobe revamp issues...obsessive...psychotic... @#&Melt-£%Down!
Buckle in...grab a coffee.. I need to bare my soul!...
So over the last year or 2 (since I discovered this site and its articles, basically) I've been revamping my wardrobe.
Number 1 rule over anything...fit is key. That much I have learnt... but it seems I still have a long way to go!
What I tend to do, I'm now realising, is that I find a certain look/style that I want to adopt, then buy a load of core pieces for that look, and then discover that I don't actually really like that look on me. The main issue with it being, if I find something that I think I like (after buying/trying one of them), then I go mad and buy multiple colours of the same thing, cos I think that is giving me different 'options'. Such a waste of time/money, I'm doing my own head in!
Recent example: I already had a couple of pairs of desert boots, and I of course own some jeans (although right now I hate all but 1 pair of them), so I'm wanting to build a casual look with that combo, so I spend ages trying to find a good fitting polo tee, eventually stumbled across the latest Fred Perry plain (no twin stripes) slim fit ones, tried one, decent fit, so promptly buy another 2 more (black, white & grey). Then I need a jacket to go with... so what's an ideal jacket for that look.. the Harrington... so off on another research binge and found Merc Harringtons, ordered one (dare I say...biege?!), loved the quality and fit...so orders another in navy.. yep, loads of colour combo options there already... I've got this taped!!.... only now, now that I've had the jackets/polos just over a month or so (aka, so I can't return them), do I realise that I don't like the look as a whole on me!!... at all!
I mean I don't mind the look still, retro Mod... it's a clean & sharp look, but I just hate it on me.
Oh, and the look isn't 'cool' to me either, probably the key thing here.
I went out once in that outfit, and I looked quite sharp, but it didn't look to what my opinion of 'cool' is....And I wanna look cool!
Anyway, I've done the same thing with loads of other shit...Axels, got the whites, thought I must have the blacks too, got them, hardly wear either, and don't really like the whole minimalist trainers thing anymore... I actually can't wait to get a normal pair of trannies, and wear them with jeans and a sweatshirt!
Done it with Loakes, got a pair of classic tan Bedale brogues (which to be fair, aint going nowhere!), then thought "right, I'm a Loake man now... only buying Loakes from now on"... buys a pair of plain black Loake derbies, £220...fuckin' hate 'em!
I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point.
I think I am now learning from all this. I got a new pair of boots at the weekend, pair of Hudson taupe distressed suede chukkas, and I do love them, and so I thought about a look that I could put together with what I have... and it actually worked.
The boots, black slim jeans, a light-hued casual checked shirt over an untucked low-neck white tee. Looks great, and also what I think is cool, and so that's a job done. Got an occasion next weekend in London, wearing it, happy.
So now I'm thinking... think of all occasions that I am regularly in... think of one suitable look that goes with each occasion...accounting for the seasons... and build from there.
Plus, work from the ground up...decide on footwear for the occasion, then build the look from there upwards.
Cos when I started with the wrong footwear, I'm spending hundred of dolliers on shit I'll never wear.
The most ironic point about all this is that these days I barely go out!!! Jeezus, what a loon!
But still, I like to look good whether I'm out on a (rare) night in town, or just walking down to the shops.
I'm happy with my clothes obsession, I just need to get it under control.
If you can believe it, I've actually got more I want to get off my chest, but for fear of boring y'all to death, I shall cease!!
Still reading?!... .give yourself a pat on the back!
Any words of wisdom, similar experiences, encouragement, put-downs, etc. are all welcome...
20-07-2015 10:04 PM
There's something to be admired in maintaining a breathless style of writing whilst still using punctuation!
Slot this one into the 'Similar experiences column':
Have always tried to look alright, but it's only been a year now that I've properly taken an interest in menswear (various aspects, be it lookbooks, runway shows, fabrics, various tiers of brands, etc.). My purchasing has been...erratic, with it all being new to me, I've tried to dip my toes in lots of waters (more in terms of brands than different aesthetics though tbf), to see what I do and don't like. I've had very little in the way of success regarding finding a make that I'm keen on/can rely upon for quality AND fit (John Smedley for knitwear and Nudie for jeans are really the only ones that come to mind), though returns policies and buying from large companies means that I feel no guilt in returning everything which doesn't work out.
I'm at the point now where if I want to put together a basic fit and be happy with it, then no problem, but I've not found a 'style' per se, which is really what I'm looking for. It's not that I'm wanting my outfits to act as surrogate displays of personality, just that I want to feel in tune with what I'm wearing. Sometimes I find myself drifting towards Japanese designers for the attention to detail, the colours and relaxed but still put-together fit, but it may just be something that I prefer to look at rather than something that is 'me'.
To refer to your 'problem' of diving in headfirst when you find something that you think you like, perhaps you could sell/donate as many clothes in your wardrobe as possible, until you're left with only items that you're actually keen on. I've stripped mine down as far as I can, to things where if someone said "OK, we're going out and you have to wear this, this and that", I'd have no hesitation. Definitely going with a mantra of 'If I ask myself do I still want it, then the answer is no'.
I've also made a top 10 list of items that I want. No specific brands, just types of clothing/footwear, things that I'm lacking, but would also wear a lot and then I can go off and look at all my options (at the moment, I have nine things: Navy Jumper, Better Denim Jacket, Better Black Jeans, Sand/Light Coloured shoes (Visvim Virgils/Laramie Folks are the unattainable dreams), Hoody (no zip, minimal design), Wedge Sole Derby, Shawl Collared Cardigan, Suede Chelseas/Jodhpurs (as light coloured as possible) and a Blue Blue Japan Sashiko jacket). I doubt any of that will necessarily push me towards finding my style, if such a thing even exists, but I know that none of those would be wasted purchases.
The only advice I can give is what I'm following at the moment too - take some time off from the judgement-clouding phenomenon known as 'Sales', and keep your eyes peeled for things that ring true with you. Sounds like you've already recognized that buying multiple things in the same style doesn't work out well for you, so I wouldn't worry about that too much!
(bit of bonus reading - a guy on Styleforum is trying to switch from Classic menswear (suits, smart casual etc.) to streetwear (though that only means everything else, really, in this context), and there's lots of discussion from people about finding their style/how they settled on certain things. Might be helpful!) - Sorry mods if other forums aren't supposed to be linked, but that place is such a good repository for varied looks.
20-07-2015 10:06 PM
Enter not lightly into this thread, ye fast scrollers and skimmers
20-07-2015 10:45 PM
I think most style conscious men will go through this stage at some point. I know I have. I consider impulse buys to be a terrible decision 80% of the time so I just don't do it now. I plan every purchase and only buy what I really need. It means I get more use out of all my clothes, I don't waste money and I have a simple style as the basis for my wardrobe. I know I like it and I can always fall back on it.
You clearly have an idea of what you consider to be cool, make that the basis for your current wardrobe, then you can build from there knowing you'll always have a core set of looks to fall back on whilst you take stock. And stop the impulse/multi buys.
You're core wardrobe doesn't need to be big. Mine is tiny. Get that right and you'll be fine.
Think carefully about the brands you like. If you have some particular favourites chances are it's because you relate to their style and they produce clothes that you like; they're basically doing half the work for you. You don't need to own lots of brands. For example I love Bleu de Paname, Norse Projects, Vans, Libertine Libertine and Uniqlo so the clothes they produce play a big role in the direction of my wardrobe.
It's also worth remembering that it will take a long time for you to settle on a style you really like and want to stick with for the long term. I've had a serious interest in Fashion for probably 6/7 years and I'm only now getting to a point where I'm done with experiments and have found a style that I love.
Last edited by William Colman; 20-07-2015 at 10:55 PM.
20-07-2015 11:21 PM
I can definitely relate!
I'm really bad for buying stuff just because it's in the sale. That's not to say I don't like these things, they're just not top of the list, but I always convince myself that I won't find that kind of bargain again.
I'm also always on the look out for the 'perfect' version of particular items. I've got about 6 denim shirts, but in reality only really wear one of them regularly, because the others just aren't a great fit. Which leads me on to my other issue - I'm a weird body shape. I'm pretty short, but with an athletic frame, and an inexplicably large neck, which means t shirts/shirts tend to either be really tight on me, or if I size up, they fit my neck, but they're billowing around the waist, or they're too long.
I think it helps in general to try and figure out what kind of style suits your personality most. Since I've always been a big fan of rock music, I 've always been a denim/leather jacket/boots kind of person, so I don't tend to stray too far from a particular kind of look. I'm more troubled when I have to dress up smart, and have definitely wasted some money there in the past.
20-07-2015 11:31 PM
You've touched on a lot of "heavy" topics here, namely the progression of one's personal style, and purchasing habits. So buckle up kids, we're in for a long one:
I guess it all boils down to self discipline and patience. A lot of patience.
If I had to start all over again, the advice I'd give to myself is to start slowly. And don't buy X,Y,Z because that blog told you so or whatever. I came to this realisation when I ended up with a very heritage/Americana/"classic" wardrobe, which consisted of a bunch of Oxford button downs, chinos, and other so called "essential" items. Was it an advancement from my usual baggy jeans and big tees? Yes.
...but here's the thing-it wasn't me. At all.
Being a university student I didn't really need all that smart casual stuff, and I also didn't (still don't, honestly), have that many occasions to wear those styles. Nothing wrong with them per se, but I think context is everything in fashion. I think this site does a brilliant job at giving pointers for men who are just starting out, but one has to be careful when sifting though all of this material. One really has to ask the questions:
- Does this advice really apply to me?
- Realistically, where, and to what occasions would I wear this?
The thing is, if I didn't go out trying those styles out, I wouldn't have known that I really didn't like the way it looked on me. So to contradict myself, it's really a learning process of trial and error. You will make mistakes (as you did), and that's OK, because you will learn from them.
- Am I just lusting after a piece that will be lucky to see the light of day for a handful of times?
As for actual advice, I suggest that you start collecting pictures of outfits that you find to be "cool"or just intriguing, and just keep at it for a couple of months. This collection will change, and keep on changing again and again. You'll even surprise yourself on how much your tastes evolve and adapt throughout the months. If you're still happy with what you're seeing a couple of months down the line, now you can start considering how to acquire this stuff (remember, sales are your friend).
Also, from now on, each purchase has to be a calculated one. Although you'll have your "workhorse pieces" with form the foundation of most of your outfits, each piece in your wardrobe has a specific function and role. This helps to cut down on impulse purchases and items that wouldn't really fit in your style. This is probably my minimalist mindset showing through, but this is what's worked out for me.
Any pieces that you haven't consciously worn in the last 6 months don't belong in your wardrobe. You might think that that occasion might just be still on the horizon, but let's face it, you and I both know that you're still not gonna wear that stuff. Give them to family members, sell them, or heck, even donate them. Just throw them out.
So yeah, revamping your wardrobe is practically a journey of self discovery; finding out what you like, what you don't like, and constantly learning. It's certainly a long process, but I think it's a worthwhile one. For sure, it's one hell of a ride.
Last edited by malti001; 20-07-2015 at 11:42 PM.
Reason: grammar and stuff
20-07-2015 11:39 PM
It's all just a learning curve really, you win some and lose some but once you find what you like, it will all become much easier. Until then, eBay is your friend, use it to recoup your losses (I really hope you sent them loakes back!) and maybe even score some of other peoples mistakes for cheap. It looks like you have found a particular look that works for you and to use as your base so work on that. The look you described is very Allsaints so maybe look at their lookbooks for more inspiration and look at real world examples, street style etc. to get a fast pass of what does and doesn't work.
There will be some erratic purchases at first which is unavoidable because you don't have anything but once you have a base to work on, you can concentrate on buying items which work with what you have and branch out from there. It seems that you already do this but you need to make sure you like the outcome rather than sitting on your purchases. I think to avoid this you need to try on whole looks all at once so either go to the high street and pick up entire outfits and try them on in the changing room or make use of sites like ASOS with free deliveries/returns and again, buy whole outfits to try. In the future when you buy additional items of clothing, make sure you try it on with several of your fits to make sure it actually works... I think you will be surprised at how small details can throw a fit off, it's not as simple as x goes with x.
You really need to curb buying the same thing in different colours though, I feel this limits you rather than giving you options, definitely would not buy multiples unless its absolute basics like tees (that fit perfect) or it's literally the best that you can get and everything else is inferior (rarely the case). For statement pieces like outerwear go for a different brand or a different style.
My 2 cents on random stuff what I've learnt so far:
- Fit is everything. A quote I saw recently went something like: cheap clothing tailored will look more expensive then ill fitting luxury clothing. This is very true and on that note - find a tailor.
- Buy the best you can afford, don't under estimate quality. This is not to say more expensive is better but know when you're paying for true quality like build quality and for premium materials rather than just for labels.
- Look after your clothes.
- Really concentrate on what are essential to you. Ignore all these "what every man should own" lists and concentrate on what you need to make your look work. Make your own list and stick to it. The moment I did this was the moment I made much less erratic purchases and less money wasted on stuff I'd wear once or not at all. It also keeps me in check during sale seasons and makes sure whatever I pick is actually a bargain because I'm gonna wear it. I still have lapses wear I think I need quality suit separates which although I love, I never get the chance to wear. Instead, I've upped my casual wear game in a big way because that's what I wear most.
- You can pull any look off as long as you're confident.
21-07-2015 02:44 AM
+10 points for the deepest thread the sites ever seen!
This is some useful information though for anyone who's just starting out - well played to you guys who contributed
21-07-2015 03:29 AM
Pffft. It's no Benny's wedding.
21-07-2015 07:55 AM
Thanks v much for the replies so far chaps, some really very excellent advice there so far.
And I appreciate the time you've taken to share.
Good bunch here.
I now have two senior managers sat right behind me (and the new one is in the office already... the bitch), so unfortunately I can't respond properly right now, I'd be here all day, and then get the sack.