How to Build Your Wardrobe: Part I

by Antonio on April 16, 2010 · 93 comments

in Dress & Grooming

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Our appearance speaks louder than our words…..

Every day we pass by hundreds of people on the subway, in hallways, or on the streets, never saying a word.  Yet despite the lack of verbal communication, decisions are being made as to the trustworthiness and intentions of those around you.  Doubt this?  Try wearing a ski mask and trench coat while gesturing wildly with your arms.  In the 15 minutes you have before the police show-up, take note that despite not saying a single word your appearance has sent a message.

Yes, what I just said is unfair.  Right now you may be thinking “Judge me not by my clothing, but by the integrity in which I live my life” – and I couldn’t agree more.  But life isn’t fair, human beings have and will continue to judge others based on the information presented to them – and in most situations this is at first our physical appearance.  Dress like a thug and people treat you like one; dress like a professional and you’ll have doors opened for you.

A Man’s Wardrobe

There are many things that we can’t control; the weather, the economy, the fact that college football needs a playoff system.  How we present ourselves to strangers and new acquaintances, however, is not one of them. When you shake hands with a potential partner, they form an instant impression of you which is not easily dislodged.   First impressions are powerful because until we begin to speak, they are the only bits of information we have to make a snap decision as to whether we like or trust someone.  Countless communication studies have shown a man’s visual appearance is initially more powerful than what he says; ignore your wardrobe at your own risk.

 

Wardrobe with Suits

There will be three articles in this series –

 

Part 1 – How to Build Your Wardrobe – Making the Commitment & Understanding Your Needs – Before a man begins anything that will require substantial time and resources, he has to be committed to the change.  In this article  we break men up into defined groups based on their lifestyles and we then address their specific needs.  The goal is to give you a quick checklist of items you should consider investing in depending on your career choice and personal requirements.

 

Part 2 – How to Build Your Wardrobe – Clothing Specifics – In this article we address specific menswear questions such as the order in which you should assemble your clothing, which suit colors and style should you choose if you only own one suit, which shoe styles you will get the most wear out of, and how you mix casual wear into the wardrobe.  We’ll also talk about where those on a very limited budget should invest the bulk of their money if they are starting from scratch.

Part 3 – How to Build Your Wardrobe – Accessories, Maintenance, & Storage – In this final article we’ll cover the often neglected points of a man’s wardrobe such as how to incorporate hats, watches, & other accessories along with clothing storage & protection.

Part 1 – How to Build Your Wardrobe – Making the Commitment & Understanding Your Needs

1st – Learn and then Commit to Improve Your Personal Presentation

First, before spending a dime, you must commit to making the change.  Do this by going through your current clothing and setting aside everything that you 1) have not worn for two years 2) is noticeably stained and 3) fits so poorly not even a master tailor could adjust it to fit.  Package it all up and mark it for the Salvation Army or EBay.  Now over the next week verbally inform a few close friends and family member as to what you are doing – perhaps even promise a new profile picture on Facebook of you decked out in your new clothing.  The goal here is to create a network of supporters and audience; this puts pressure on you to fulfill your promise.

And do not forget to gain the support of your spouse or the person who will be helping you to pay for all this.  I find my clients’ wives are ecstatic and fully supportive of their husband’s efforts to dress better.  If you keep your partner out of the decision, however, you could be met with unexpected resistance.

2nd – Understand the Basics of Style and Your Specific Needs

You have to understand why you need professional clothing in your wardrobe.  I’ve written about this point quite a bit; if you need further convincing check out past Art of Manliness articles such as Your Personal Appearance: The Importance of Being a Sharp Dressed Man or explore the writings of former FBI counter intelligence agent Joe Navarro – he blogs extensively about the importance of proper presentation and the power of your curbside appeal.

 

Blue Blazer Green Tie

Next, build a foundation in understanding the rules of dressing well. I can’t stress the importance of a man taking  control of his own image.  Handing the responsibility over to your wife or girlfriend, however well meaning they may be, is a dangerous option; you may end up looking like a Ken doll.  These resources will give you the basics -

And make sure to supplement these guides with modern style blogs such as Street Etiquette, Put This On, Image Granted, and Young Man/Old Man.

Types of Men and Their Clothing Needs

The Constant Professional’s Wardrobe

You wear a suit Monday through Friday, often find you are having dinner with clients, and even on the weekends dress well as you might run into colleagues and clients out on the town.  Your image is tied closely to the reputation you have carefully crafted over the years – a man who pays attention to the details and can be trusted to handle others people’s affairs with professionalism.

Items that should be in the Constant Professional’s wardrobe:

  • 6+ Suits
  • 3+ Pair Dress Shoes
  • 2 Pair Casual Leather Shoes
  • Belts that match above shoes
  • 15+ Dress Shirts
  • 15+ Ties
  • 1 Pair jeans that fit – no holes
  • 4 Pair Slacks, Dark & Light
  • 4+ Button-up collared sport shirts
  • 2+ Solid Polo Shirts
  • 5+ Sweaters
  • 10+ Undershirts V-neck
  • 2+ Sports Jackets
  • 1 Navy Blazer
  • 10+ Pocket Squares
  • 2 Simple Dress Watches
  • 1 Overcoat
  • 1 Pair Leather Gloves
  • 1 Trenchcoat
  • 1 Hat
  • Presentable Athletic Clothing
  • Collar Stays, Cuff Links

Items that would be helpful for the Constant Professional to have:

  • Full black tie ensemble – A onetime investment enables you to have a perfect fitting and better quality tuxedo that has paid for itself after 5 wearings.
Monk Strap Dress Shoe

The Monk Strap Dress Shoe – A Traveler’s Friend

The Business Owner’s Wardrobe

You occasionally wear a suit when meeting with clients or investors but in the confines of your office you are more casual while still maintaining a level of professionalism around your employees.  In the evenings with friends and family you are much more relaxed, and even if you head to the office Saturday morning, you’re going in jeans and a polo.

Items that should be in the Business Owner’s wardrobe:

  • 1+ Suits
  • 1+ Pair Dress Shoes
  • 2 Pair Casual Leather Shoes
  • Belts that match above shoes
  • 10+ Dress Shirts
  • 3+ Ties
  • 2 Pairs of well-fitting Jeans
  • 5 Pair Slacks, Dark & Light
  • 5+ Button-up collared sport shirts
  • 5 Solid Polo Shirts
  • 5 Sweaters
  • 10+ Undershirts V-neck
  • 2+ Sports Jackets
  • 1 Simple Dress Watch

Items that would be helpful to have:

  • 1 Navy Blazer
  • 5+ Pocket Squares
  • 1 Overcoat
  • 1 Pair Leather Gloves
  • 1 Trenchcoat
  • 1 Hat
  • Collar Stays, Cuff Links

The Uniform Man

You have a specific uniform you wear that is required by the nature of your work.  The only time you need personal clothing is when you have time off in the evenings and your weekends.  You wear a suit rarely, but when you do you like to look sharp as being a man of detail you pay attention to the small things.

Items that should be in the Uniform Man’s wardrobe:

  • 1 Suit
  • 1 Pair Dress Shoes
  • 1+ Pair Casual Leather Shoes
  • Belts that match above shoes
  • 4+ Dress Shirts
  • 3+ Ties
  • 2 Pairs of well-fitting Jeans
  • 2 Pair Slacks, Dark & Light
  • 2+ Button-up collared sport shirts
  • 3 Solid Polo Shirts
  • 3 Sweaters
  • 5+ Undershirts
  • 1 Sports Jacket
  • 1 Simple Dress Watch

Items that would be helpful to have

  • 1 Navy Blazer
  • 3+ pocket squares
  • 1 Overcoat
  • 1 Pair Leather Gloves
  • 1 Hat
  • Collar Stays, Cuff Links

The Casual Creative’s Wardrobe

You work in an environment in which creativity is valued and conformity is dreaded.  Although you have some colleagues that dress in the clothing they slept in, you realize that dressing up a notch does not mean you are losing yourself as an individual.  Rather it gives you a chance to better express it without compromising your chance for opportunity.

Items that should be in the Casual Creative’s Wardrobe:

  • 1 Suit & 2 Ties (Just in case!)
  • 1 Pair Dress Shoes
  • 2 Pair Casual Leather Shoes (Suede or Saddle Shoes)
  • Belts that match above shoes
  • 10+ Dress Shirts (tailored, contrast stitching, unique fabrics)
  • 4 Pairs of well-fitting Jeans
  • 2 Pair Slacks, Dark & Light
  • 6+ Button-up collared sport shirts
  • 2 Solid Polo Shirts
  • 6 Sweaters
  • 10+ Undershirts
  • 1+ Sports Jacket – unique style or fabric
  • 1 Simple Watch
  • 5+ Pocket Squares
  • 1 Overcoat (Aim for a Unique Fabric)

Items that would be helpful to have

  • 2 Vests – possibly wear in lieu of a jacket
  • 1 pair Leather Gloves
  • 1 Hat
  • Collar Stays, Cuff Links

3rd – Allot the time and resources

Your Wardrobe Budget – How much time and money do I need?

Ideally a man should build his wardrobe a few pieces at a time over a decade.  In tune with his clothing needs, he should be on the lookout for missing pieces to be had at a value price. Slowly integrating these finds into his closet, he will be ready at a moment’s notice for whatever event is thrown his way.  If you have time on your hands, develop a basic understanding of style and shop in thrift shops and bargain bins, and you can piece together a respectable wardrobe for around $300 to $500.

When time is a premium, the cost of a wardrobe can rise dramatically.  If you do not have years to piece your wardrobe together, you may end up spending ten times the numbers above as you’ll be paying full retail for most items.   If your wardrobe is going to be suit heavy, expect to spend well over 5K.  The one upside to purchasing quite a few items at once is that you may be able to negotiate a discount for a large purchase – I do this quite often with my clients as it is a win-win scenario for both of us.

Finally, remember that purchasing quality is an investment; purchasing quantity on the other hand is an expense.  It’s better to own a few well made garments that you wear often than a full wardrobe of cheap & poorly-fitted clothing that……well, looks cheap and poorly-fitted.

What to look forward to!

In part 2 we will cover the specifics of the garments listed above – what colors and style to purchase first, how to spend your limited funds on good shoes or shirts, and how to get the most miles out of a small set of clothing.  Please stay tuned!
_______________
How to Build Your Wardrobe: Part I 
How to Build Your Wardrobe: Part II – Men’s Clothing Specifics
How to Build Your Wardrobe: Part III – Men’s Hats, Watches, and Other Accessories
How to Build Your Wardrobe: Part IV – Protecting, Storing, and Cleaning Your Clothing 

Written by
Antonio Centeno
President, A Tailored Suit
Articles on Mens Suits, Dress Shirts, etc.
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{ 93 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris Mower April 16, 2010 at 12:24 am

–EVERY MAN SHOULD BE READING THIS BLOG–

I work in a casual office and on the side occasionally meet with clients via freelancing. And through it all, it’s disturbing how many men do not care about their appearance. You don’t have to be obsessive about it of course, but every guy should know how to dress his body type and learn about his style. When you do, it catches the attention of the ladies and naturally helps other men trust you.

I love how you’ve broken the different types of wardrobes down. Something I think would be helpful is to have some images to demonstrate what those wardrobes should look like on people.

This is going to be a great series, thanks for sharing!

2 Josh April 16, 2010 at 12:24 am

This is super useful… I’m right in the middle of this right now so it’s cool to see it laid out like this.

One interesting thing of note in my situation, and perhaps therefore in other men’s as well, is that I have/will soon have two full separate wardrobes. The home wardrobe, similar to this (Casual Creative) and my travel wardrobe. Travel wardrobe being wool t-shirts, nylon hiking pants, that kind of thing for light backpacking and outdoor travel. Having two full separate lives like that it’s definitely tough to get everything I want without spending tons of money though!

3 Ryan April 16, 2010 at 12:45 am

I was just thinking to myself the other day that I wished I could find a well written article on building a wardrobe from the ground up. As always AoM delivers.

And I always enjoy Antonio’s articles. I leave each one better than when I began it.

Bravo.

4 Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com April 16, 2010 at 12:47 am

Great post seriously. As soon as I have the money, I’m upgrading my wardrobe. Appearance really does matter.

5 Richard April 16, 2010 at 12:49 am

What would you recommend for the serious student’s wardrobe? I’m studying engineering, and would like to show that I’m serious about my schoolwork, research, etc. It would be a good idea to impress my faculty and potential employers. Professors can be strange about fashion, however. How do I accomplish this without alienating my “Disheveled hair, sandals with no socks, chalk stains on shirt” genius professors while simultaneously impressing administrative staff that I encounter, or those who work more closely with industry?

6 Elliot April 16, 2010 at 12:50 am

this is quite handy- My wardrobe is mostly casual and a lot of it I don’t wear. however, I have a budgeting advantage- I know of several thrift shops that sell plenty of neat clothes in my area and one of them sells usually for about 25-50 cents per item…

7 Jon Sims April 16, 2010 at 12:56 am

Holy crap! Who needs that much clothes?! That’s just crazy…

8 Richard April 16, 2010 at 1:15 am

I’ve been slowly piecing together a nice wardrobe, and I’m ecstatic to see that I was on the right track.

It’s fantastic to have it quantified like this, and I’m going to print this list out and keep a running tally.

Tip: look for quality items at thrift stores. There’s a lot of treasure to be had. And don’t be afraid to pick something up if it’s a little too big (or a touch too short) – a good tailor should be an essential part of every man’s wardrobe. Find one, use him regularly.

9 matt April 16, 2010 at 1:18 am

richard- regarding the serious student…

the serious student in my opinion wears the following:

oxford cloth button downs (blue, white, and/ or striped)
polo shirts
solid t-shirts (no ed hardy)

chino pants (flat front, casual but without holes)
nice jeans (again no holes, also- the darker the better)

leather shoes- suede leather shoes- bucks, oxfords, boat shoes, and dessert boots
canvas shoes- converse chuck taylors or jack purcells, sperry cvo, vans etc…

most of these clothes are pretty classic so if you have them while you’re in school, you’ll still be able to wear them for years to come
the important thing is to look like you care without taking yourself too seriously. to walk the tightrope between ‘that guy in the suit’ and ‘that guy in ripped jeans and an undershirt’

10 Lin April 16, 2010 at 2:32 am

Nothing could be more true! I am a wife, mother & grandmother, but when I go out in public DRESSED in “Sunday-go-to meeting” clothes, I almost always get compliments and respect. It never fails!

11 The G&S April 16, 2010 at 2:47 am

Looking for a conveniently related link? How about a visual guide to some basic men’s shirt and tie patterns? Fresh off the tumblr!

http://thegentlemanandscholar.com/post/525227953/i-had-might-as-well-make-myself-useful-if-im

You are welcome, AoM readers. Always glad to help.

12 GS April 16, 2010 at 5:05 am

Ugg….me currently cave man. me want to learn.

13 Dan Gaston April 16, 2010 at 7:36 am

This is excellent, I am currently undergoing this transition as well. I’m a graduate student, nearing the end of my PhD and transitioning to a more classic look as well as changing a lot of my habits related to diet and fitness as well. Dropping a bunch of weight gained over my years as a student was a great catalyst. I guess I fit mostly into the “creative casual” style detailed here, although as an academic I can afford to be a little eclectic as well. Which is why I am mixing it up with some “gentleman’s outdoor wear” as well as a few more modern touches.

Detailing it on my blog as I go along.

14 Antonio April 16, 2010 at 7:47 am

@Chris Mower – Thank you, from both me and Brett! Appreciate the strong endorsement and I love what you are doing over on both your sites!

@Josh – Maintaining two separate wardrobes isn’t as hard as you think – the key is to find items that fit within both, to take care of them, and really get your money’s worth out of the items. Although it’s a bit harder for backpackers…..but Sir Edmund Hilary always looked sharp!

@Ryan – thank you sir for the kind words? What would you think of podcasts? I’ve been experimenting with it the last few months and am looking to incorporate it for those on the road.

@RichardShelmerdine.com – Thank you sir! And best of luck with that RAW diet!

@Richard – Great Question! The “Student Category” was left off on purpose. My reasoning was that we are students buying our own clothing for a limited time; for some this is a time to experiment (which I recommend) and for those who know where they are headed they should look to one of the listed categories for inspiration. But then again, I tried to categorize 2 billion working men into 4 categories….hard to do but we gave it a shot!

@Elliot – Thrift shops rule, if you have the time!

@Jon – Was it that much?

@Richard – Good points sir, and make sure to visit AOM’s articles on tailors and alterations!

@Matt – Thank you sir! Good guidance!

@Lin – Thank you mam for commenting!

@The G&S – Love your micro-blog sir!

@GS – A special message in Caveman for you sir “Ugg…..Ooggg….Arrhhh…..AChooo” For thos of you not speaking that dialect, it was simply “Sir, please read our other articles. Knowledge is power.”

@Dan Gaston – I love the title of your blog – just signed in to follow you. I feel smarter already!

Best,

Antonio Centeno

15 CJ April 16, 2010 at 8:03 am

I am graduating university in 2 weeks and I have a job at an accounting firm. I would really love an article about how to accumulate some professional clothing for my work without breaking the bank.

Dress code at work is dress shirt and dress pants in the office, full suit if meeting clients (which is often). I will do what it takes to build a nice wardrobe, but I don’t have much money so being able to build it on limited resources would be great.

16 Jordan April 16, 2010 at 8:32 am

My only caution to those who want to build a wardrobe is to do it slowly. Your tastes will change and become more refined over time and if you jump in the deep end too quickly you will be left with a bunch of mediocre items that will not be worn.

17 Grant Harris April 16, 2010 at 9:26 am

Great article Antonio! It’s good to see the effort put in to cover the basic foundations but then also to incorporate the lesser known but all-important details of building a wardrobe. Here is another article that’s speaks of similar details for the man on a budget: http://www.primermagazine.com/2010/spend/mens-wardrobe-essentials

18 Haik K April 16, 2010 at 9:38 am

I have a wedding to go to in less than 2 weeks and hit a bit of a crisis realizing that my wardrobe really was more of a kid’s than a man’s. This article couldn’t have come at a better time. Thanks for the advice!

19 Nathan L April 16, 2010 at 9:46 am

I simply wish to emphasize the advice to frequent thrift stores—do it, seriously. I have a very nice 3-piece suit that I picked up from my local thrift store a couple years ago on an all-that-you-can-fit-into-a-paper-grocery-bag-for-$5 sale day. Doing the math, the price came to less than $2 for a suit that I still get compliments on whenever I wear it.

20 Thornproof April 16, 2010 at 10:12 am

Great Article! Right in line with my current plans to build a wardrobe (which I am trying to document on my site) … but you should add a section for Professional Creatives, which would cover everyone from design professionals, artists, students, professors, and the like – people who should look presentable but who feel that they need to express themselves through their clothes. I feel that I fit into this category and while I don’t need the full professional wardrobe, I need more than the creative casual.

21 Adam April 16, 2010 at 10:15 am

What about the office professional who doesn’t meet w/ clients, works in a small office or cube, and the standard dress is business casual?

I rarely wear a suit (maybe 4 times a year), so does having 6 suits make sense?

22 Carson Chittom April 16, 2010 at 11:50 am

I’m looking at the “Constant Professional” list and I don’t understand something: why v-neck undershirts in particular?

23 Graham April 16, 2010 at 11:59 am

“If you have time on your hands, develop a basic understanding of style and shop in thrift shops and bargain bins, and you can piece together a respectable wardrobe for around $300 to $500.”

After making such a great opening case, did the author really just suggest this??? Please don’t do it! Your cheapness isn’t gonna fool anyone. It’s garbage in, garbage out…There’s a reason that crap is in the thrift store: no one else wants it! I wouldn’t even recommend shopping at Winners or outlets for anything beyond pure basics (like, I’m talking white cotton t-shirt basics).

Do yourself a favour and invest in quality. Save up if you have to, and buy ONE piece for the price of three or five pieces of clearance-rack specials that haven’t sold for good reason.

Even two paragraphs down, the author writes, “Finally, remember that purchasing quality is an investment; purchasing quantity on the other hand is an expense. It’s better to own a few well made garments that you wear often than a full wardrobe of cheap & poorly-fitted clothing that……well, looks cheap and poorly-fitted.”

Amen!

24 Graham April 16, 2010 at 12:03 pm

@Nathan

“Doing the math, the price came to less than $2 for a suit that I still get compliments on whenever I wear it.”

Sorry, mate, but I don’t buy it. Chances are, you *think* you look great in it, but everyone else is noticing and just “complimenting” exactly because you don’t. They can’t exactly say, “Wow, did you buy that $2 suit at a garage sale??”, can they?

A man in a well-fitted suit doesn’t get compliments. He conveys the confidence of a man that doesn’t need them.

25 Antonio April 16, 2010 at 12:07 pm

@CJ – Take what I say with a grain of salt as I have a vested interest in Menswear, but one of my reasons for starting A Tailored Suit was that I saw too many of my peer spending 100K on an education but not wanting to spending $500 to look great for their interview. Even if you have a degree from Harvard, that’s not the first thing people see when you introduce yourself and shake their hand. Make sure to check out one of our older articles http://artofmanliness.com/2009/03/12/look-good-for-less/ on dressing well for under $200.

@Jordan – Completely agree!

@Thanks Grant, and good link!

@Haik K – You are welcome sir!

@Nathan – Awesome!

@Thornproof – I thought about it, but had to keep the article size manaeagable! Love your site by the way!

@Adam – You’re right, I should have had this group. Suits, no. But there is nothing wrong with looking like you deserve a promotion by wearing a sports jacket!

@Carson – I push the V-neck as that it looks better when you are not wearing a tie. Men should go for a crew collar when they wear a shirt by itself or if they have a lot of chest hair!

@Graham – I have to completely disagree. As much as I would love more people to buy quality clothing from me, great deals can be found if 1) you know what to look for and 2) you look hard enough. Estate sales can bring $2000 custom suits into a salvation army bin – if you have the time to bargain dive, do it. Lucky for me there comes a point when a man’s time is worth more and he realizes custom actually saves him time/money.

26 Dan Gaston April 16, 2010 at 12:23 pm

@Antonio Thanks for the follow, I appreciate it. Just trying to share with those who want my progress in changing a few facets of my life and lifestyle. AoM has been a wealth of resource as has A Tailored Suit. Will be adding you to my follow list as well.

@Thornproof I think a good tip for the Professional Creative, which would sort of cover me as well would be to start with the Creative Casual and shift your emphasis just slightly to the desired point. At least with Academia you have a pretty broad range of “acceptable dress”. My personal recommendation would be to maybe go for a few more Blazers/Sports Jackets and proper Trousers than the Creative Casual and maybe at least 2 (maybe 3) good suits. That would suit the range pretty well I think. Thats basically what I am building towards now.

@Graham Are you crazy? Have you ever actually patiently gone through a thrift store to see what is there? Yes, there is a lot of crap. That’s a given since the majority of people in the western world wear crap. But there are also a lot of hidden gems as well. Old people die and unknowing grandkids just toss everything in a box to give to good will or the church or any handy thrift shop. Some of the best dressed people on this site thrift shop regularly to find great vintage labels in excellent condition. In one day last weekend I found (all in excellent condition, no wear and tear) vintage (and classic) Armani, Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, and Oscar de la Renta blazers. Hardly garbage in, garbage out. Someone invested in the quality of those jackets and took excellent care of them and they ended up in a thrift shop. Good quality clothes can last more than a lifetime if properly cared for, and should be enjoyed as long as possible.

27 Andrew April 16, 2010 at 12:27 pm

This is a great article. Just recently I bought a nice new suit with a shirt and tie for Easter. I thought at the time “I should step up my wardrobe a notch and try to be the best dressed guy every where I go.” This article is a great start. However, being a minister and having a day job places me between the The Constant Professional (pastor) and Casual Creative’s Wardrobe (work). I guess I will have to blend the two the best I can. Eventually I would like to be in the Constant Professional category. For now any suggestions would be great!

28 walter daniels April 16, 2010 at 12:32 pm

This is great, for most people. But, being disabled (in a powered wheelchair), clothes don’t fit me normally. This is a subject that can’t be ignored with the number of injured Vet’s, to day. Many will be like me (past and future), in the “professional creative” area. I spent many years in IT, and now looking at Internet Marketing. Both are areas where the “normal,” is considered to be “abnormal,” in terms of dress.:-)
I can have seams velcroed, but jackets, and fancy shirts are nearly impossible to put on. There’s also the problem of they aren’t designed to be worn that way. As ai said earlier, you can’t just ignore those of us that are disabled. There are disabled Vet’s in all groups that need similar advice.

29 Bill April 16, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Hey, Antonio. Great write-up, as usual.

Any chance there might be a part II of “How to Dress in the Summer” in the works? If so, I’m looking forward to it.

30 Stephen April 16, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Great article! I’m a recent college grad and I’ve been really wanting to overhaul my wardrobe but didn’t know how to get started. I appreciate the checklist format.

Let me put another vote in for part II of the summer wardrobe article-I’ve been waiting patiently for that since last year!

Walter, I certainly respect your need, but I would politely say that you’re really asking too much. All articles in any kind of magazine cater to the majority. Of the 350 million people in America only 1.6 million are in wheelchairs. That’s a really small percentage. I mean Tony could do an article on wardrobe for men with one arm, wardrobe for men with both arms missing, etc, But that would get very tedious.

31 Antonio April 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm

@Dan Gaston – Feel free to call anytime – I would love to hear more about your ambitions!

@Andrew – Great decision and I’ll try to place more detailed breakout in my Style Guide at ATS.

@Walter – I just emailed you, but I am working on this article which I’ll have in my Style Guide. Please call sometime here soon and give me your thoughts as to what should be in it! -Antonio

@Bill – Thank you Sir, and yes. But like any good sequel, I’m having to make it even more full of action and adventure!

@Stephen Thanks and Will do on part 2.

One thing – think about what you said – 1.6 million people in wheelchairs? No idea if this is correct, but if so that would make for a great and very receptive audience. My goal is not to cater to everyone actually – I want to be the BEST for a select group of people. I feel the days of shooting for the middle of the market are over – the future for any business owner is to do a few things at a world class level, ensure you can make a living doing it, and then GO! Check out a guy named Gary Vaynerchuk – his book “Crush It” will change the way you think – in a good way

Best of luck to you Stephen!

32 Conor (YM/OM) April 16, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Antonio, thanks for the shout out. I appreciate it very much.

Graham: you obviously haven’t spent much time in a thrift store.

All of my wardrobe (with the exception of most of my shoes and my jeans) has been bought at various thrift stores or eBay or forums. Norman Hilton is a poorly made suit just because I bought it for a fiver? Nope.

Conor

33 Stephen April 16, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I actually have read Crush It and love Gary V. And as you say, he would not say to cater to everyone, which is what I was saying actually. You should write articles that appeal to the majority of your niche. If you catered to everyone, you’d have to include a section in every article for every special circumstance for every particular kind of man, making the articles long and tedious. Fashion for disabled men would make a great niche for someone and a great separate blog for someone to start-you just shouldn’t be made to feel like you need to incorporate that niche into your niche.

34 Ali April 16, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Top class post Antonio! Looking forward to Part II and III of this series. Are you going to be covering a wardrobe for a graduate student? I graduate this year and will be working as well be studying for my professional qualification. Would be great to have some guidance wardrobe-wise. I guess the only difference would be that I am not that flush with money so will need to budget concious!

Keep up the great work!

35 art April 16, 2010 at 3:30 pm

@Richard I have to agree with Matt about the engineering student wardrobe. Engineering firms tend to lean towards business casual, so there’s nothing to lose by investing in khakis and polo shirts now. In terms of alienating your sloppier professors, keep in mind that there’s a big wardrobe arc in academics. Freshmen and tenured professors can get by looking like slobs. Senior PhD students and post-docs are either wearing lab clothes or suits. If you’re an undergrad wearing un-ripped pants and a clean collared shirt you’re ahead of the game.

36 Todd S. April 16, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Looking forward to this series.

Finally, remember that purchasing quality is an investment; purchasing quantity on the other hand is an expense.

Sage advice, and something most of us (myself especially) need to pay more heed in every purchase we make.

37 Richard April 17, 2010 at 1:49 am

@Graham

I laugh when I read your comment.
The $500 navy Classic Brooks Brothers blazer I found today and the charcoal Harris Tweed blazer were found in a thrift store – total cost, about $15.

Both need minor alterations to fit me like gloves.

The beautiful Thomas Pink shirt I found last week was $4, and looked almost new.

Garbage in? I’ll proudly call myself a garbage picker. :)

38 Tayo April 17, 2010 at 2:19 am

Antonio, i am really happy that you wrote this article. I have been trying to upgrade my wadrobe to only include shirts, trousers, ties and coat. I am not a fan of American made suit, i like European suits better. Thanks for the great post….Appearance really does matter. Thanks.

39 Dawsy April 17, 2010 at 5:31 am

Great idea for this series, and well written…I think the sheer number of clothing items in some sections is a bit of overkill (eg: 10+ business shirts, when four or five is plenty – as long as they’re clean and in good nick). Despite that, the advice is spot on, and having it all in one place like this is long overdue…wish I could have seen this 10 years ago!

40 Ozone April 17, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Great article! Ironically, I *am* an engineering professor and a faculty administrator, and to the student posters on this site, you can’t depend on emulating how engineering professors dress for a sense of style! I wear a suit when needed, but most of the time, dress “business casual” as that seems to be the midpoint for most of the campus staff and faculty. My position requires me to counsel many undergraduate students, and wearing a full suit or even a business suit would tend to distance me from the students and make me less approachable, as well as put me uncomfortably apart from my colleagues given my relative youth. Most of the time, I’m dressed in slacks, leather shoes, open collar business shirts, with a jacket or other top hanging ready to go. However, I can see this article helping out: I wish to evolve my wardrobe a bit, but wasn’t sure how to go. Strangely enough, when I first came to this job I bought several sport coats and mixable shirts and slacks, only to find that most faculty dressed more casually (or just dressed more poorly) than I would have thought. One thing however that I have picked up as an “accessory” that impresses everyone to no end is my Saddleback Leather Briefcase. Almost everybody notices it!

41 James Milholen April 17, 2010 at 3:43 pm

A quick, and possibly stupid, question:

What exactly is the difference between Dress Shirts and Button-up collared sport shirts?

42 Antonio April 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm

@Conor – You are welcome! Your blog clearly leads the pack when it comes to Teacher Style!

@Stephen – Good points, although I’m looking to go deep with my content. Have you read ReWork?

@Ali – Thank you sir! I’ll have that wardrobe in my Style Guide soon!

@Art My only issue with your comment sir is who wants to “just get by”? I write for those who want to excel:)

@Todd S. – Thank you!

@Richard – Great Points!

@Tayo – You are welcome Sir!

@Dawsy – You have to forgive my bias, I’m in the clothing business:)

@Ozone – Thanks for the insight sir!

@James – Sport shirts will make use of more casual fabrics, styles, and patterns. A dress shirt is typically more simple and plain.

43 Kit April 18, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Here’s a suggestion for a fashion blog, his work on the Hispanic Gentlemen a couple months ago was fantastic: http://thesartorialist.blogspot.com/

44 Shaun April 18, 2010 at 6:07 pm

What about the man whose job tends to be more active, say athlete, coach, personal trainer ect. Work wear tends to be athletic wear, how do you keep your closet from looking more like the product display at or yourself looking like an employee of your local Foot Locker?

45 Derek April 18, 2010 at 10:16 pm

I’m sorry, but I dislike articles like these. I love the blog, it’s definitely my most frequented, but in my personal opinion, no “man” should care this much about how he looks.

I do not plan on having a professional “career” – the concept is an illusion. Men are not designed nor programmed to comfortably live in an office setting for 8 hours a day. You preach simplicity, yet you suggest men own 6+ suits. You even admit that the only reason to dress like this is to make good career impressions, for money. I’m all for keeping organized, keeping orderly, because it’s a reflection of one’s control over his life. But to me, a wardrobe this large screams abundance.

Some aspects of this site conform too much to the American, capitalist, career-oriented idea of what a “man” is. Other aspects don’t. You say it’s unfair that people judge based on appearances. Well when you play along and dress up, you’re doing nothing but reinforcing that. Excuse me if I sound self-righteous, it’s not intended.

46 Carl April 19, 2010 at 5:05 pm

This is a great article, as most advice columns fail to take into account those who don’t necessarily dress in suits every day. I spend most of my time wearing flight suits or other uniforms, but am 3/4 of the way through putting together an adults wardrobe for my off time. Thanks for the help and solid advice.

47 Steve April 19, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Do you have any suggestions on good websites for men with a football player build? Often big and tall, means big and husky. As a 6’6″ muscular guy, I can barely buy off the rack or find shoes to fit my size 14/15 feet. This is even more frustrating in the area of business casual/clubwear. Help!

48 Dave April 22, 2010 at 7:21 am

@Derek,

If you don’t want to read this type of article, then don’t. One of the most valuable things about AoM is that it allows for many different ideas of “a real man”.

I seem to be the exact opposite of you – I actually have a professional “career” so it obviously is not an illusion. I’ve worked for the same company for 10 years and will almost certainly continue with them for at least 10 more years. I fit fairly neatly into Antonio’s “Constant Professional” category and, after great efforts to simplify my wardrobe, I have reached the point of almost exactly what he recommends. Except for the sweaters. I almost never wear them, so I only have one for wearing on occasional weekends in the winter. I don’t wear hats with overcoats, since nobody I interact with does either.
I meet with government officials and CEO’s all over the world. Clothing like this is absolutely essential for my work. I agree that it would be great if everyone stopped judging people by the way they dress and we could all just wear robes, but there is no way it will happen. I’m not American and I certainly have higher priorities in my life than chasing money, so I disagree with your impression of the lists. On the whole, I found the first list fit my life perfectly and while the other lists seem a bit excessive to me, it seemed like I shouldn’t judge because I don’t know those lifestyles as well.

I’m not saying that having a wardrobe like this makes me more manly than the guy who has two pairs of jeans and six T-shirts to go with his workboots. It seems like you are – who’s judgemental now?
Why don’t you try making an accurate and detailed list of what *you* own for clothing? Don’t just do it right now from memory, but go and look at what is actually there. I bet you’ll be surprised at how much you actually have.

49 LB April 23, 2010 at 2:09 am

@Dave & Darek: I agree with many of the things Derek said but agree with Dave that it comes across that to truly be a “Man” you need to have jeans and t-shirts all time (which I have a feeling was not intentional).

I However DO agree that to simply “buy into” the idea that dressing up to meet the expectations of the masses is to reinforce a BS ideal that this site can have a tendency to purport. And that is that the ideological history of men within the last 150 years is one that should be brought back as “better” times for men because we were allowed to be more “manly”.

Brett McKay pretty much sums this up in his “The Menaissance” lecture seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AxLaCltp2o. And the only issue I see with this is the same issue I see with this article as well. That the American idea of success is driven by money and social status and (thusly) wearing a suit. One day you see an article about getting back to basics (doing your own shaving, etc) and in the same breath now you see that having suits is the only way to sell yourself in the marketplace. I am a professional myself and deal with government officials and CEO’s the world over as well. And I will wear a suit, but I do so ONLY because it has been explicitly required of me (and will make sure my supervision knows it). I also make sure that I promote the idea of relaxed dress having NO bearing on ones ability to perform they’re job. Image, like currency only is worth what someone else will pay for it. Your actions, i.e. HOW you do your job is the only true measure of a man in my estimation.

So basically, you’re both right. You can’t get by (without great struggle) without succumbing to the inflated west’s idea of what constitutes “professional”. But that doesn’t make it right and SHOULD be railed against at every opportunity. I have managed to talk my way into relaxed dress (jeans and T-shirts) at 2 jobs now as a result, and will continue to fight the idea of the “well dressed man” for as long as I live.

50 Kelly April 26, 2010 at 2:49 am

Great article Antonio. Any suggestions for a medical student? I basically wear suits but change out my suit jacket for my white coat. I need to look professional but not showy.

51 Yeoman April 26, 2010 at 9:09 am

Surely we’ll see more about hats.

Hats, that is, not caps, as in not baseball caps.

Well, we’ll give a pass to newsboy caps.

But otherwise, you know, fedoras and the like.

52 Eric April 27, 2010 at 12:16 am

So does a handkerchief qualify as a pocket square or are they different items?

53 Men's t-shirts April 28, 2010 at 3:46 pm

This is a superb post. So many men seem happy to be ‘dressed’ by their significant other…It’ll be a sad day if that ever happens to me.

Keep ‘em coming!

54 Stephen April 30, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Kelly:

Medics need hard wearing clothes. My background’s law so all my suit needs to do is look nice but your white coat was originally designed to protect the clothes under it from getting covered in bits of patient. All you need is an inopportune bout of vomiting and your clothes are ruined.

Depending on how up close and personal (students generally need to get up close and personal, right?) you get to sick people the more hard wearing and easy to clean your clothes need to be. My mother was a dentist and she would deliberately wear things that were machine washable on days when she was doing any surgery.

55 Christopher Hodge May 2, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Does anyone know of a comprehensive list of upscale brands I should be looking for while thrift-shop hunting? Does such a list exist online?

I want to start building a quality wardrobe on a students budget, but as a novice (I didn’t even know what Brooks Brothers was until today) I’ve hit a wall. I know a few brand names, but for the most part I couldn’t tell a good blazer from a hole in the wall.

Any help would be appreciated.

56 Will May 3, 2010 at 10:39 am

@ Eric:

Handkercheifs and pocket squares are technically the same thing. The “cultural elite” (for lack of a better term) tend to think of the term handkerchief as being uncouth. I’m not sure why.

That said, I think the two have diverged a bit in recent times – items labeled “handkerchief” tend to be cotton or a cotton blend, while those labeled “pocket square” tend to be silk or linen.

57 Will May 3, 2010 at 11:09 am

A few trains of thought:

“Back in the day,” or so they say, it seems to me that the suit wasn’t just a professional’s daily manner of dress. Those who worked hard manual labor jobs wore hard-wearing clothing during work hours, but would not be caught dead in downtown without a coat and tie. A suit was the generally accepted wear for just about anything other than jobs for which they would not be appropriate. The idea of a t-shirt and jeans while performing anything other than hard labor was an alien concept. Even the poorest of the poor went about their days in an albeit banged-up and frayed suit.

It also seems that suits were just that much more hard-wearing themselves in those days. They were made of well-constructed wool flannel and could take punishment (I still wonder how they cleaned suits back then without dry cleaners). These days, even the best suits won’t stand up to repeated wearing during the work week, and I think that’s where the necessity for six suits for the working office professional comes from. It’s unfortunate how true quality and longevity has gone the way of the dodo in most suit construction.

I agree with some of the points made here – the true measure of a man isn’t in what he wears – but in the end, what we wear is how we present ourselves to the world, and first impressions are the rule of law. They always will be.

What began my journey into dressing better was the day I was sitting outside in downtown Boston one day a few years back. I was waiting for my fiance for something – I forget what – and I began to people watch a bit.

For the first time, it struck me that, at least here in the U.S., we spend much of our days looking like total slobs. I resolved not be one after that.

Anyway, my train of thought is running out – I know I’ve waxed nostalgic, but there are days I truly believe I missed my decade.

58 Eric May 3, 2010 at 3:35 pm

@Will:

Thanks for the input on pocket squares/handkerchiefs!

I agree with your thoughts, so many people just don’t care about their appearance anymore and while the true character of someone (not just men) comes from within, all the world has to go off of is what we all choose to wear on the outside.

I am kind of a prime example because most items in my closet are jeans/t-shirt and are well over 10 years old. I’m re-examining my wardrobe so this article series is definitely helpful to help me rethink what I wear both to work and on my off days.

:)

59 Tobias May 4, 2010 at 6:18 am

great stuff… ive been looking forward to part 2 (hint hint)

60 John Gillis May 5, 2010 at 6:16 am

I don’t know how many JPress or Brooks Brothers suits, jackets, pinpoint cotton shirts and silk ties I’ve gleaned from thrift shops…not to mention the Holy Grail of Goodwill Hunting itself, a Burberry trenchcoat (for $10). Ebay tends to be competitive in bidding, especially when everyone in the world wants that 42R Brooks Brothers suit, but there are still steals to be had. I bought a custom-tailored midnight pinstriped suit made by Joseph Davies & Sons, Savile Row, London (with the tailor signing off on the suit) for $4. It fits perfectly, looks as if it was built around my body’s measurements, as surely it was for the original owner. I find Junior League thrift shops the most productive. Many Junior Leaguers are married to physicians and they clean out their closets with some regularity. Male physicians have money and status but not power, so they compensate with outward signs of status…hence the German luxury autos, Rolex watches…and the expensive, conservative clothes.

61 terry adams May 5, 2010 at 6:31 am

No man should EVER wear cuff links !!!!! They just ooooooze sleaze !!! They’re right in there with the pinky ring and whatever those things are that look like large safety pins and are won under the tie knot.

62 John Howard May 5, 2010 at 10:00 am

I own no suits and no ties. Such items should be listed under uniforms. I always wonder whether ties evolved from nooses or leashes. I don’t like uniforms and don’t admire or automatically trust those who wear them. There is a whole universe of neat and attractive clothing that is worn by those who don’t sit on their buts in offices, looking physically lazy. The author of this article needs to get out of the office more often. Perhaps visit a Cabela’s outlet. And walk there instead of driving.

63 Bill Jones May 5, 2010 at 7:02 pm

I spent 20 years as a Bankster in a very large Private Bank : My tailor came to my office rather than vice-versa, The shirts were custom made (no tacky initials and none of this contrasting collar shit) the shoes were Churches (It helped that my sister lived in Northampton England where they were made.) Ties were always silk, watches were always slim.

The central purpose behind all this was very simple: You were creating a man of substance who could be trusted with other peoples money.

64 MetaCynic May 5, 2010 at 8:39 pm

An old but timeless, not to mention priceless, resource for dressing properly for all occasions is the book, “Dress For Success,” by John T. Molloy. My copy is about 35 years old! I don’t know if it is still available.

Molloy was a business fashion consultant. He actually did detailed studies in order to determine which cuts, materials, colors and patterns project an image of success and trustworthiness. His conclusions are probably as scientific as possible in compiling fashion rules. It is sobering, yet comforting, to know that despite the bewildering sartorial choices available, relatively little, mostly the classics, announces that the wearer is successful and trustworthy!

For those unable to afford custom tailoring or Brooks Brothers, Lands’ End is an excellent and affordable option especially at their factory outlets where 80% discounts can be had.

65 Alice May 6, 2010 at 11:41 am

My husband is a high-school math teacher (ex-CPA, a career that led to 2 heart attacks), and in our small town in PA, he’s the only faculty member, other than the principal and superintendent, who wears a suit and tie to work. The other male teachers wear business casual and face fuzz (the 3 men who wear suits are also clean-shaven). My husband is also the most respected and popular teacher in the school. He didn’t spend a fortune either — he picked up a dozen 4-digit-priced European designer suits at a lawyer’s estate sale for $5 apiece, and I altered them for him (my mother taught me dressmaking as a child). The one thing he spends the money on is shoes — not only for looks and long wear, but for comfort. And when you do buy those nice shoes, keep them spit-shined. He uses pantyhose to buff them. I’ve also trained my children (2 teenage boys) to dress nicely since babyhood. When the school, 2 years ago, switched to a polo/khaki dress code for the students, my boys didn’t have to go out and buy a new wardrobe, since that is what they wear all the time anyway.

@the poster who said they have size 14 feet: Dinkles (marching band shoes) go up to size 15 and look sharp. Put a set of Dr. Scholl’s in them to make them more comfortable. They come in black or white, in about 4 different designs.

66 Will May 6, 2010 at 11:52 am

@ John:
The tie evolved from regimental scarves worn by elite British military units. These scarves had bold colored diagonal stripes – a feature you will see in many ties to this day (hence the term “regimental stripe”).

67 Shaun HIll May 6, 2010 at 3:11 pm

This post is amazing. Me being a small business owner, it really is going to help me further my business by helping me decide what to get to be more professional looking. I look forward to the next two sections.

68 Sonie May 6, 2010 at 7:49 pm

This is a great article. I would be so happy to read something like it for women, to be honest. Obviously not from this site… but I feel like most clothing guides in woman’s magazines and the like are too trendy or too expensive. I would like something that focused on the basics and what you really need. I don’t have a lot of cash but I try to look sharp most of the time. Anyway on the off-chance that anyone had any suggestions I thought I’d leave a comment.

69 Demetrius Range jr May 7, 2010 at 2:36 am

i read alot of magazines and alot of mens fashion articles>>>many of them write about this subject but they dont fully break it down for people who really may need help, you guys bring something new to the table and alow everyone the chance to learn something from you. im only 17 so most of the stuff i read on is all about men and they tend to neglect my generation but you guys bring both ends of the industry together…keep doing what you guys do plz! if yur ever in cali, hmu u guys can teach me more!

70 Maruku Jarvis May 8, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Okay, you’ve addressed the white collar office types and uniformed men…what about the blue collar guys? What about the factory workers, iron workers, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, truckers, etc…what kind of wardrobe advice do you have for us “regular working guys”?

71 Richard May 10, 2010 at 11:49 am

Is this useful series going to be continued?

72 Derek May 10, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Hm…. well can we agree that the ABSOLUTE most MANLIEST thing ANYONE can EVER wear… is the hide of a grizzly bear conquered with one’s own hands? I mean, really, is anybody going to argue with that?

73 norman May 10, 2010 at 11:16 pm

I love traditional suit and tie. I belive in dressing like a human bieng and not like the trash you see with chains and du rags and enough chrome hanging on thier face to weight down a diver’s belt. They should have a planet to dump all the people on that wear that crap.

74 jk May 11, 2010 at 11:34 am

Ready for the next article!

75 Zack May 17, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Great article like the sequel. On the Constant Professional depending on what is expected, some may be better off backing off as many suits and going for more sports coats. If I wore suits instead of odd jackets I would have too much uneven wear between the jacket and trousers as I have the jacket off more on some days than a typical suit wearer might.

76 Harold Crews May 30, 2010 at 9:51 am

If you live in hot climates I would recommend that seersucker suits be added to the wardrobe. They certainly are not as formal as other suits but sweat stains and odor will certainly make a negative impression.

77 Joshua Fenton June 2, 2010 at 12:07 pm

What about the college student? I truly don’t feel that any of these hits the mark. I would like to see more polo’s and a few pairs of pleated golf shorts for the summer. What do you all think?

78 R.A. Stewart July 8, 2010 at 4:33 pm

@Maruku — good question, one I’m certainly not qualified to address. I grew up blue-collar, but in a time, as was mentioned way up in the comments, when a man of whatever walk of life would put on a suit and tie to go to church or synagogue or an evening event. Seems to me that someone in the trades has a whole set of challenges we office-and-lecture-hall types don’t face, since what you wear has to hold up to the physical demands of the job, keep you safe and comfortable as much as possible, and sometimes meet the requirements of an employer at the same time. And then if you go into business for yourself you’re a businessman on top of everything else. Part Uniform Man and part Business Owner perhaps?

@Derek, I’m certainly not going to argue with the grizzly hide. But this week, in Chicago’s stretch of 90-degree/90%-humidity weather, I’m not going to wear one either, even if I did win it with my bare hands!

MetaCynic mentioned Molloy’s Dress for Success; I’ll add a recommendation for a book I’ve mentioned on another thread, Alan Flusser’s Clothes and the Man. That came out in 1985, I think, and I read it several years later. Even though Flusser was in a sense writing for a world that, as a librarian with a modest salary, I’d never inhabit, the core of his advice about quality, fit, and timeless style (as opposed to fashion) has proved invaluable.

Chiming in on the praises of thrift stores. Aside from underwear and footwear, most of my clothes for years have been from thrift stores, and I think I’ve been considered one of the better-dressed men in all my workplaces. I’ve worn my TS suits to job interviews with no apprehension, and gotten the jobs more often than not.

79 Sharon July 13, 2010 at 3:46 pm

As the future wife of someone that falls into the “creative” slot in the aforementioned article, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the overall suggestions for guys who do think the “rolled out of bed” look is acceptable, even for client meetings. If any women do read this article, it’s true – many women that love to shop for their man tend to lean toward “what would _I_ wear as a man”, rather than thinking about what the man would find practical. That said, and this (I think) applies to Richard the Student; cultivate a ‘signature’ item for yourself, be it a hat, type of tie, style of glasses (as in our case) – something in accessories that you feel comfortable with, and that will make you recognizable from others… “Oh, that guy with the porkpie hit, Richard. I remember him.” Even if you work in a conservative environment, there are still ways to do it.
And, as an end note; my mother works for an antiques/auction house. You would be AMAZED at the prices some of the stuff goes for – so i agree with others that say, check out thrift and consignment stores; you never know!

80 norman August 7, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Polos and golf pants are okay if you want to look like a rich, snobby elitist. it makes blue jean t-shirt, working people with real jobs like me think ” That guy otta get a job that humbles his high, pointy nose and work a hard living like the rest of us have to do.”

81 norman August 7, 2010 at 9:23 pm

I have a little saying about people that wear penny loafers without socks and wear shorts: “i wonder if that guy is gonna wear long pants when he grows up?” As for flip flops, Wear ACUAL FOOTWEAR. All those stupid looking things are good for is for wearing in campsite showers to keep from getting whatever was in that guy’s piss that was there before you, since they clean those stalls about only once a year. And good luck walking with broken toes when that soda carton slips from your hands. Also, nobody wants to see your hairy, grubby toes at a restaurant while they’re eating. Yes, there was a time when people dressed like human beings, presentable to anyone who you happened to run into. now the whole world wears shorts sun glasses and flip flops like they’re still on vacation.

82 norman August 8, 2010 at 11:46 am

To john howard: you wouldn’t be able to buy groceries or live a good life without “people who sit on their butts and are lazy”. they trade your stocks and direct companies that bring us such wonderful things like michelob and american rifle magazine. as for disliking uniforms of any kind, say that to a soldier from iraq on home visit or a ww2 veteran and hope he doesn’t choke you to death or stab you with his issued K-bar. mabeye you should write to the president saying how troops should wear shorts and sunglasses to a fallen soldier’s funeral and service instead of uniform clothes and officer’s hats. uniforms, especially military ones are a symbol of pride and honor, and a destinction between good honorable people and grunges that no one wants to be around.

83 norman August 9, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Witch will give you a better chance at a decent job interview ? A: showing up in blue jeans ans sun glasess and saying “Yeah, man” Or “cool, dude” to every question and acting sleepy, Or B: Showing up in a fairly executive but casual suit with you pants creased wearing a nice watch and shoes and saying “yes, sir” Or “no, sir” and acting as though you really want the job and you want to impress your future boss. If you behave and talk like a carless bum they’ll either give you a job emptying the trash or simply say ” get out of my office”. If you come in my office for an interview you’d better look presentable or you can turn around and walk out. You have to look like people will like, respect, and trust you. But for some that dissagree with looking nice i guess all YOU have to do with your job is hurry up and pack up your tools in your “mobile garage”, take the money out of the guy’s hand, and move on to the next sucker in the next county before the previous one notices the how the pipe you “fixed” still leaks and the split siding you “fixed” is split open again even worse.

84 norman August 11, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Well, everyone, my wife and I are moving to vermont in an area with no internet, so this will be the last time you hear from me. Keep healthy, dress as if it were your last day to enjoy life on earth and the best of luck to you in your future endeavors.

85 Bob September 26, 2012 at 9:30 am

Very good articles.

86 Stephen December 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm

This is extremely useful. I have this page opened up in one tab, and my shopping cart in another as I write this.

87 JTP2 July 27, 2013 at 10:39 am

What color dress slacks should I purchase. Any suggestions on who carries the best slacks? I wear suits 4 days per week and a Blazer or Sports coat on Friday’s or Date nights. I currently have black, olive, light khaki, light gray, and navy slacks all from a Brooks Brothers outlet store. I want to get rid of them and start over. I am looking for a better quality and fit. What brand and what colors should I start with?

88 Timothy W August 22, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Thank you for including the Casual Creative wardrobe. I’ve been wondering how to step up my appearance without looking stuffy and out of place. As a musician, college student, and Northwesterner (where style is decidedly casual) I want to look nice without looking like a banker (which I’m not).

89 Jeremy Trice November 17, 2013 at 12:21 am

Nice article, I began working on this a couple years ago and got side tracked but am now recommitting myself. I’m almost 41 years old and dress like a teenage boy!!! LMAO!!

90 Benjamin November 26, 2013 at 8:18 am

LOVE this website….

I’ll be 50 New Years Eve and am very excited about my mid-life makeover. I have a quite decent income, but work on projects (refineries, power plants, etc) all over the world. I generally wear ‘working man’ clothes (jeans, Fire-Retardant Clothing) most of the time. Looking forward to building a wardrobe of crisp causal/dressy clothes for when I’m off…

91 Kevin January 13, 2014 at 4:33 pm

So glad Norman’s comments are gone. People can dress however they want. The people who read this article want to look better than people who do not care. It is not my job to judge people and whine about how they do not look as good as me. Honey is more effective than vinegar, and the internet is full of bullies who ironically cannot hold a respectable conversation with those they look down upon.

92 Jakub January 18, 2014 at 5:40 pm

I’ve done some research prior to reading this article and I must say they all provide similar information (the amount of clothes one should assemble differs, but overall there is little varience).

I’m just about finished with my MBA course and am in the beginning stages of putting together a new wardrobe (bought 2 cashmere sweaters over the Holiday’s) so this a great way for me to visualize what must go and what must be acquired.

Will definitely use this as a rough guide so that I can tailor the wardrobe to my needs.

93 Justin.B February 21, 2014 at 9:48 am

This is a must read article for any young man trying to advance his style.It’s a simple yet detailed explanation to what types of clothing to shop for. I am currently expanding my wardrobe and this has really helped me, as all the Art of Manliness articles have. :D

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