I've been away from this site for a few years and thought it was time to come back. I have a specific question about clothes. I just retired from the Marines and am beginning my civilian career. Unfortunately, my closet contains mostly uniforms, blue button-down shirts and tan pants. For the last 20 years I haven't needed much in the way of "business casual" clothing. I did go buy some nice suits recently, but I need help building my casual work wardrobe without spending a fortune. I checked out GQ and Esquire, but skinny suits aren't for me and I refuse to pay $800 for a pair of shoes. I'm 43 years old and am not trying to impress the ladies. I just want to look professional, clean, and stylish...without looking like I'm trying to be a Tommy Hilfiger model. I don't want to look like your typical retired military guy who only wears button-down shirts and web belts.
What are some good resources (books, videos, magazines, websites) to help me build a nice, affordable wardrobe? Thanks. It's good to be back on AoM.
That is where I have been heading lately. Wife has been trying to get me to buy at Macy's and absolutely none of what they have had has been my style. Hopefully JC Penny lasts a little while longer
A style expert Antonio his to sites are as follows.
Esquire The Handbook of Style: A Man's Guide to Looking Good by The Editors of Esquire Magazine (Jan 6, 2009)
As to where to shop, you need to shop where merchants offer items that fit your body and / or have the items tailored to actually fit you. I go to brooks brothers for my shirts because they have a fit that actually fits my shape. For pants JC Pennies and tailored hems work just fine.
Welcome back. I usually tell AoMers with the same question this:
1. It'll cost a bit more, but you can always go to a department store and tell a salesman exactly what you've said here. That's totally lucid and specific enough that a good salesman should be able to get you stuff you'll like.
2. Instead of fashion magazines, it's usually better to look at ads from places you're likely to shop - Get a Sunday paper and review the department store circulars. See if you can get on the mailing list for BrooksBrothers and LandsEnd. Fashion magazines are supposed to be edgy. Advertising needs to be more middle-of-the-road.
I recommend the book "Dressing the Man" as an excellent resource for how to dress well, regardless of your budget or situation. It is jacket and tie focused, but covers other styles as well, and the advice on what looks good on different men is outstanding (what will complement your appearance and what won't, how to match patterns, etc...).
As to where to shop, opinions vary. I like Brooks Brothers a lot, though I have to wait for the sales (or sometimes buy off eBay). Nordstrom Rack will often have good stuff at a discount. J Press has nice stuff, though again, it tends to be expensive. GAP is fine for cheap cargo shorts and such. I'm a big fan of Allen Edmonds shoes, and they're readily available secondhand on eBay, or can usually be bought at reasonable prices when a model goes on clearance.
As with so much in life, you can pick two of cheap, good, and fast. I tend toward the first two, which means lots of buying off-season (maybe soon I'll get to wear a spring/summer suit I picked up last fall).
Hear, hear. Dressing the Man is a fun read as well as a great source of ideas. On its cover? Cary Grant. In its pages? Hundreds of pictures of dress-up and dress-down styles.
I take a run through the mall about twice a month. I know the stores that carry the styles I like and just cruise through checking out what is really, really cheap. I never buy anything that is not on sale! Most these sales aren't advertised (or I'm too lazy to investigate) so it really takes a walk through. Since I limit where I go and what I look at, it doesn't waste the whole day. About the time it takes to get down a large coffee.
I agree with Shane, pick out your style then just keep an eye on places that cater to that style and I'll add only buy off the clearance rack.
> Off season is a great time to find stuff. Spring is a good time to build fall/winter wardrobe, for example.
> Once or twice a year I hit outlet malls.
> Not for everyone, but K&G Menswear usually has good prices. I find their stuff a bit too trendy but then again I am pretty much the guy in the button down shirts you refer to above..No web belt though!
Have you tried Uniqlo? They have well priced clothing that lasts a good while from as far as I've experienced, slowly becoming my personal store of choice as I can seem to find everything I need there!
Already lots of good suggestions in this thread. I really like BR, J Crew, and Uniqlo for basic stuff. I find Dappered is a great place for general fashion advice and sales. Effortless Gent has some good advice about discovering your own personal style. How stuff fits should be your first priority. Find a good tailor in your area.