Building up a basic wardrobe for men

When it comes to clothing, you want to rely on your own incorrupt eyes and the classic taste of a seasoned menswear sales assistant. If you have both at your disposal you’ll only need a few hints in the right direction to build up your basic wardrobe. If you don’t, don’t bury your head in the sand. Even if you’ve thought up to now that clothing is something only women care about and that you have more important things to do than to think about that, now is your time to tackle it! Compiling a basic wardrobe requires cleverness, courage and knowing what occasions you will need your clothes for. I’m sure that you have those traits, so get started:

1.    Your incorrupt eyes: Stand in front of a head-high mirror. (If you shouldn’t have a mirror like that, go and buy one, since you can’t make any observations without it). You may want to take off your outer layer of clothes in order to get a better look at your body. If the first thing you notice are the spare tyres around your belly and you want to get your untrained muscles fit, renew your membership at the fitness studio and get out your running shoes, depending on what your focus is. Don’t underestimate the importance of your satisfaction with your own body and a self-confident appearance for your charisma and the impression you make on other people. Leaving aside the state of your fitness, take a look at the proportions of your body. How big is the head in relation with the height of your body? Are your upper and your lower body the same length or different? What does your shape look like? Do you have broad shoulders and a narrow pelvis or are your contours very straight? All of these considerations will help you choose garments. In general, humans find “harmonic” proportions, i.e. proportions that are as balanced as possible (upper body has the same length as the legs), aesthetic, as well as natural contours. Clothing makes it possible for us to change the shapes and lines of our body to a certain extent, but exaggerations are usually repelling. I’m sure you remember the guy in the suit with the big shoulder pads that wanted to con you into something? Did you like that fellow?

Take different T-shirts out of your closet and try them on one after the other. Yes, I know, this is tiring, and the sole thought of having to try different garments makes most men break out in a cold sweat. Not you though, since you know that you’ll only have to do this once, and after that, you’ll have gained some very useful knowledge.

Ok, T-shirt no. 1: Look at the front of your body in the mirror. How long is the T-shirt? Does it go to your hips or your crotch? Is it fitted or loose? Are the sleeves, short, very short, long, loose, tight? Is the neckline round or angular, is it a V-neck, does the shirt have a collar? Also pay attention to how the different colours make you look. The more shirts you try on the better your intuition will become on what cuts look great on you and what colours give you special charisma. You’ll also know what pieces you should better avoid from the start when shopping. The general rule is that your upper body will seem elongated when you wear long shirts or shirts that are not tucked in and also trousers sitting low on the hips. In return, your legs look elongated in trousers sitting higher up on your hips/waist, shorter shirts or tucked-in shirts. Obviously, tight clothing emphasizes your natural shape, while looser garments flow around it. After trying on your T-shirts, you’ve made some good progress. Of course, you can do the same with your trousers, dress shirts and suits. It is crucial that you look at your whole body in the mirror and pay attention to your proportions and body shapes. Also, try different combinations with the respective garment.

When it comes to the choice of colours, building a wardrobe becomes easier when you determine a few basic colours that suit your type perfectly and are easily combinable with other colours. This is true of the basic colours for trousers and suits, but also for T-shirts and shirts. In a classic colour consultation, there is a distinction between warm tones (spring and autumn types) and cold tones (summer and winter types).

Choosing shirts and ties with patterns requires a sure instinct, and unfortunately, even seasoned sales assistants get sometimes led astray by their own likings. If you don’t feel comfortable in a patterned shirt as a general rule, it often means that unicoloured garments really suit you better. Don’t listen to clichés such as “Longitudinal stripes make you look slim”. Those are just very gross generalizations. A rule of thumb is that very slim men have a more ample scope when it comes to patterns.  If you count yourself among the weightier men, be careful and definitely try the plaid shirt in front of a mirror before buying it. Pay attention to the size of your facial features (eyes, nose, mouth). If those are rather small, it is better to pick smaller or thinner patterns or a unicoloured shirt paired with a moderately patterned tie. If your facial features are big, feel free to grab garments with big squares or a tie with wide stripes. Patterns that are too delicate could look strange. However, as mentioned before, your build also plays an important role in these decisions.

2.    The classic taste of a seasoned menswear sales assistant can save you. Have you
ever gone shopping with your wife or your sister? If so, you’ll know the famous statement “People are wearing this now” or “This is totally trendy at the moment”, and maybe you left with that pastel pink shirt or that too long frock. You’ve probably never worn either (voluntarily) but let them get dusty in your closet, and you’ve been annoyed because those items were the same price as a shirt or jacket that you could have chosen yourself. Please remember that women focus on other criteria than men when shopping for clothes. Many women focus on fashion, and our society also requires that to some extent. However, when they let the newest trends dictate their femininity, they often also tend to ask their husbands or brothers to dress “fashionable” rather than “manly”. Many men find that unpleasant, and hence they look for an ally. Men’s fashion doesn’t fluctuate as much as women’s fashion, and you can get great use for years out of well chosen garments. The sales assistant in a menswear shop may become an important helper. If he has a classic taste, you can trust that he will reliably keep you away from the strangest fashion trends that may be happening. He will talk you out of buying the double-breasted suit on a sale if he already knows that that type of suit won’t be fashionable anymore the season after. He will recommend a more neutral suit to you if you want to wear it only a few times a year, but on different occasions. He will be able to inform you what is best to wear for festive occasions, and if you yourself should get married, he won’t put you into a designer piece with all sorts of nick-nacks, but into an elegant high-quality suit, which you’ll be able to use later on. Furthermore, he’ll make sure that your garments fit you well, e.g. he will check on the length of your trousers and make sure your shirts and vests are taken in if needed. Once you have found a sales assistant like this you’ll be in good hands. Still, keep your courage and don’t get too stuck on one direction, and try new things sometimes.

3.    Knowing what occasions you’ll need garments for: a rule of thumb says that 80% of your wardrobe are garments for your daily life and 20% are garments for special occasions. Look at your closet and get rid of those pieces that you’ve been wanting to part with for a long time. Afterwards, divide your clothing into a few piles: job, leisure, evening, festive occasions etc., each for summer and winter. This will quickly show you where your wardrobe is lacking. Consider that you’ll also need clothing for funerals, working in the garden and going to the rubbish dump.

You love putting on your black jeans when going out with your wife but wonder every single time what top goes with them? You have a bunch of ties and many shirts, but are still clueless in front of your cupboard and ponder how to combine these garments ideally? You have a royal blue jacket that you never wear since you have neither a shirt nor a tie to go with it? Try different combinations from your existing wardrobe. If you find individual garments that don’t go with anything but that you want to keep, you’ll have to go shopping for them specifically. It’s best to take the respective garment with you. And don’t forget: the perfect fit is essential in order for you to feel comfortable in your clothes. – And your wife will be surprised how great you look.

More blogs on this topic:

Colour consultation for men

Image consultation for men

The male spring type

The male summer type

The male autumn type

The male winter type

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