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?
1. Never wear a pair of jeans in the civilized world. (Grueling hard work off the edge of the map is an exception.) Trousers, when the time is ripe. Slacks & such whenever.
I strongly disagree, at least in America. I know that abroad, to a lesser degree now than in the past, an American could be spotted by his white tennis shoes, bluejeans and baseball cap, but to dismiss a uniquely American iconic article like jeans from a wardrobe is, well - just not Merican.
Dress to occasion on the forward edge of the stylistic bell-curve. A guy in a ballpark in a tux looks like a buffoon, as does a guy in denim at a wedding.
If you don't have two pairs of jeans that you look EXCELLENT in, you should not be allowed to vote in American politics.
I especially like custom jeans. My girlfriend took two of my favorite pairs, ripped the pockets out and made new ones with a few of my beloved red bandannas, added some very subtle embroidery (light blue elegant snowflakes), and they are now a favorite that draw compliments.
How can you own a world-class set of cowboy boots without owning jeans?
Well, you've shamed me into putting away (for the time being), my strategic photograph reserve...
Let me ask you this, though - why would a man WANT to live soft? I'm pretty far from having a can of pork and beans on layaway - in fact I've held a lifetime habit of collecting money, but I use it as a tool to purchase freedom, and to make more money to buy more freedom. There is much to be said for purchasing quality, and I have bought pretty things to look at, and things that make life more comfortable, but are those really the hallmarks of a life savored and celebrated? The things I've spent the most money on, that have brought me the very most joy, satisfaction, and sense of accomplishment can't be touched, titled, or compared to anything owned by any man of any class.
I think the accouterments of a soft life are a polish that stiffens. A hard life in and of itself is a thing of beauty, and no superannuated dandy grown old and ornamented is half as beautiful as a rugged man salted and seasoned by a life of odyssey as opposed to opulence.
But I haven't asked you to explain what you mean by hard and soft life.
Invest in quality. Yes it can get expensive, but a great pair of shoes will last you for years. Find a high end mens clothier in your area. Go and look around, you don't have to buy anything. This will give you some ideas when you go to a thrift store near the higher end side of town. You would be suprised at what brands you'll find hanging from the racks at affordable prices. Go to a Cobbler in the higher end side of town. They sell shoes that you can afford, that you wouldn't be able to afford new. It is better to buy one thing at a time, that is quality made, then buy a bunch of clothes that are obviously of sub par quality. As it was stated so well by Chuck Knight, the details matter.
On the other hand you should be careful with this one. A study of American millionaires discovered that the typical self-made millionaire has never paid more than $360 for a suit in their life. They can afford to buy from the highest of the high end but not doing so is one of the reasons they're a millionaire.
This is true, however from experience, his wife probably has, and that is who is taking the clothes to the thrift store!
Heh. I suspect it also depends on who this study (citation please from the chap who mentioned it) looks at. Who's a self-made millionaire? The business owner who started small is the guy we all think of, but what about professionals (lawyers and doctors) or entertainers (musicians, athletes) or stockbrokers or even (the horror) politicians? The guy who had a plumbing business and made it big is going to have very different needs than the guy whose livelihood depends on looking like a million bucks.
It's the Millionaire Next Door (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Millionaire_Next_Door).
The interesting thing is that professionals, entertainers, stockbrokers etc. tend not to reach millionaire status because their outgoings are just too high. You get wealthy by earning lots and spending little and that's overwhelmingly business owners who start small. There's a terrifying example in the book of a surgeon who earns $900,000 a year and, if I recall correctly, has a net worth of something like $1.1m
Really that the man was just about living from high five figure paycheque to similarly large paycheque. I admit it's a very first world problem kind of terrifying.
I'm not wholly sure. I think there's something about a doctor, of all people, blowing their paycheque on Ferraris. I think I expect doctors to be basically prudent.
I don't think anyone here is arguing against prudent spending habits. The post that prompted this rabbit trail was advising on how to thrift shop, after all. Neither a profligate nor a miser be and all that.
Cheapness can be more expensive than quality. I'm sure most of us have seen examples of money wasted on buying cheap junk that falls apart quickly and then has to be replaced. See the Sam Vimes Boot Theory of Economic Injustice.