Part of my journey toward manliness includes dressing more manly, and less…um…boyish. I wear business casual stuff at work (boring!), and usually a t-shirt or polo and jeans whenever I’m not at work. Is there anything wrong with that? No. But, I’m starting to see that I need to give clothes a little more credit. Impressions, especially first impressions, are pretty important, and your clothes, your style, do influence people’s impressions of you. Being well-dressed will also help boost your own confidence. (For more reasons why being well-dressed matters, read this article.)
How you dress says something about who you are. “So, who am I?” thought I. I know what I am not. I am not a college student. I’m not a wanna-be rock star. I’m not a young father trying to hold onto cool by dressing like a college student or wanna-be rock star. (Yes, I have a pair of Toms, but I won them fair and square in a my-shoes-are-so-old… contest). Nor am I a suburbanite soccer dad who wears Dockers or dad jeans and those trail shoes and sweater vests all the time. I’m not manly (or bearded) enough to be a lumberjack. I’m not an urbanite. I’m not this or this or this or this. So, I know what I don’t like and what kinds of things don’t “fit”, and I have a few ideas about what I do like and what may “fit”, but I think this is going to be an evolving thing. My “style” will evolve over time.
I started reading about clothes. What is men’s style about? How can you build a wardrobe with clothes to match all occassions? I know that I want to buy quality clothes, not just fill my closet with cheap junk that will fall apart in a year or two. Style Forum, Art of Manliness, and A Tailored Suit have been very helpful in learning the whys/hows of style, and what makes a quality shirt, or pant, or shoe. Building a comprehensive, quality wardrobe is going to take some time.
It’s also going to take some money. Quality and quantity come at a price. Money is tight ’round here (just like everywhere else), so it’s really out of the question to do all of this at once. I’ve decided to take the long-view. They say that to build a complete wardrobe instantly would cost over $5,000, but if you spread it out over 5-10 years and take advantage of sales, you can save a ton and possibly bring it down to $2k-ish. If I buy quality items that will last 20+ years, that seems like a worthy investment. There’s also a wild card that can save me a LOT of money: thrift stores. In Memphis, you can find pants for $5, sport coats for $8, and suits for $15. If you’re patient and know what to look for, you can find some nice stuff for dirt cheap (really, there’s a whole blog about it).
I feel prepared for this step, but I think having the patience to slowly build is going to be difficult. I’ll take you along this part of the journey, posting updates about things I’ve bought (or haven’t bought) and why.
If you want to know more about how you can build your wardrobe, I found this article to be extremely helpful.