As of late, I have been trying to carry myself better and improve my personal appearance. However, I have had a difficult time figuring out how to dress nicely. I'm doing alright when it comes to casual clothing (I mostly wear boat shoes, jeans, and a nice T shirt or polo, with an occasional sweater mixed in), but I have trouble with dressing up if I need to look professional or go to a formal event. I don't have any fashion savvy mentors/friends who understand male dress (so far, I've been relying on my mother to answer my fashion questions... and I'm a college freshman. Embarrassing, eh?), so I've been floundering on my own until now. I barely understand what color matches what, let alone how to throw a complicated outfit together.

Do any of you have any good tips or resources for a young man looking to learn more about the world of fashion?

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Shockingly the study also found that pretty much the most common thing that self made millionaires had in common was a thrifty wife ;).

I am a musician/artist personality, so I have always had an eye for style.  My dad was in the Navy where he really learned to be detailed and taught me the same gift.  :)

by the way if you want some pointers on things, I would be happy to speak with you.  I love helping people who want to improve their wardrobe and style.

I use to work the “Dress for Success” school of dressing and spent a lot of money on stuff that just filled drawers and closets. When I became fugal, not cheap but not spending unnecessarily, I found that I dress much better when I think of utility, making the best use of whatever I buy. All my shirts for example are dress/casual, my sports shirts are casual but dressy with a simple sports coat, and even the pull over shirts are nice enough to be appropriate for almost any public venue, except obviously things like church, or business. Partly what I learned I learned from working in offices where you have to know how to adapt quickly. Most women know how to do this but men have to put a lot of thought into getting started with it. What most commonly works for me is what can best be described as classic style, simple, neat, and angular if you are in condition.

1. Buy good-looking, good-quality stuff as cheap as possible.

2. Study photographs/movies/TV shows with the styles that you like, and see what works.

3. Grow balls.

That's about it, in a nutshell. Confidence is everything, really. If you feel like a sheep when you wear your new style, it'll show automatically, even if you're decked out to kill and look awesome.

It helps to familiarise yourself with classic brands and styles of clothing as well. I don't mean that modern "designer" crap. I mean the oldschool brands. Van Heusen, Stetson, Albert Thurston, etc etc. The ones that have been making quality stuff for decades.

Antonio helped me a lot.  I looked at the exercise as an online class.  Read through the posts view the podcasts and see what resonates with you.


Good for Suit purchasing and the general WHYs for how thing will look good on you: Style and the Man by Alan J. Flusser (May 11, 2010) 


Good for care and casual: Esquire The Handbook of Style: A Man's Guide to Looking Good 


Grab catalogs, cut out outfits you like and paste them into a moleskin book.  Cut off the heads of the models and note what you liked why and where you found it.  This will help you build your OWN sense of style. 



You have gotten some stellar advice here, but one thing I would point out.  You need to determine your own style.  What I mean, is what looks good on you and how you feel about wearing the same.

If you know what you plan to major in or what type of career you plan to go into after college, find the man who is successful in that area and ask for an informational interview.  This is not where you are asking for a job, but just to interview to see how the man got into the profession. What training or certification are needed.  Do not take a lot of the man' time, just ask for ten minutes and stick to the time.  Most of the time, the man will give you more time. Have your questions written out and watch the time. If you are given more time have more questions.

Notice how the man dresses and ask him if you could ask where he gets his wardrobe.

The other point, is find a local men's store in your area.  This most of the time not a department store or chain store, but a locally owned store.  The exception would be specialty men's stores like Jos A Banks or Brook Bros. Go in ask to speak to the manager, and tell him you want to build a wardrobe and ask for his help.  Tell him you cannot buy it all now, but you want to build one piece by piece.  He can get your measurement and keep them in your wallet. .  You may just start with a good pair of trousers, cotton shirt and a tie. You can build and add things later.  Plus  family or friends can go to the store and get you things that will match for holidays, birthdays or graduation.  You are at a great age to determine your style.

I am old school, and found early that Khaki pants and a oxford cloth button down works for me. I practiced law for 20+ years, and now I teach high school.   I have a closet full of suit and I still wear these for church services and PTA meetings.  But most of the time I am in trousers, button down shirt and a bow tie.  I can get away with it for I am 52 years old.  I have worn this since I was in college.  I may not be the height of fashion, but I have found that fashion changes as do fads, but style stays the same.  Good quality, freshly pressed clothing, shoes shined, a good hair cut and you are ready to go.  Watch the accessories, don't over do it. A good watch, a class ring or  signet ring, but nothing else that will show.  You can always wear a small religious emblem around your neck, but that is not for show.  That is about it.  You can eventually have a nice alligator belt, a good wallet, a nice brief case. I highly recommend you always carry a nice all cotton handkerchief.   But only get these when you have the need.  Again, consider the profession.  If you are an entertainer all of the rule may go out the window.  This worked for me as a lawyer and now a a teacher.  I do agree with a  prior post, don't mimic your teachers, unless they are well established.  

With all of this being said, I still wear a coat and tie when I fly, go to a wedding, funeral or other celebration.   I always have a handkerchief and a shine on my shoes.  These were things my father taught me and I never go out of the house without a handkerchief. This is my style,  I do not dress exactly like my dad, but I still remember the basics. He was a contractor and I was a lawyer.  I took the basics and built upon it.  Good luck, now is the time to experiment.  Find you style and it will look good on you. 

all my best-

I read the crap out of GQ and Esquire.

Hard hat, safety glasses, t-shirt or flannel shirt depending on season, Carhartt dungarees, Red Wing steeltoes. This is how a man dresses. Nevermind all that frippery the white-collar crowd indulges in. Ties represent a safety hazard.

Don't sweat the grease, blood, and sweat stains. These happen when you work for a living.


I will admit ties are handy for wiping your mouth after a meal, or quickly wrapping a cut appendage. If only they weren't worn around the neck...

Relax, I jest.

Truly, I was only intending to poke fun at the notion that one must dress in nice clothing if one is a gentleman. The clothes don't make the man. Being a gentleman is a state of mind, or a frame of reference.

Clothing may make a statement of gentlemanliness(if such can be said to be a word), but my grandpa taught me that actions speak far louder than statements of any sort. Poseurs are inevitably exposed for what they are.

In all seriousness to the intent of the OP, just be yourself, define your own image, and let the social chips fall where they may.

But, I thought the necktie was a talisman that made the wearer nearly invincible!

As a general rule, I've found that if you feel that you look good, that confidence matters more than the actual clothes. However, for the sake of social acceptance, look at yourself in the mirror and ask: would I hire me? If the answer is yes, you're probably dressed well.


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