Unsolicited advice is the worst. Unless it’s done anonymously over the internet, w/ the best of intentions… and then maybe it’s okay. Or totally not. Anyway, this one is for the rookies. Up next is advice for those who are well on their way. Then we’ll finish this series with (unsolicited!) advice for the self appointed style experts.
#1. Try a size down
Left: Medium. Fine, but a bit boxy. Right: Small. Fitted, but not tight.
It doesn’t hurt to just try a size down. There’s something about the “you’ll grow into it” clothing strategy that somehow sticks with men as we go from adolescent to adulthood… and sometimes real far into adulthood. We think that anything relatively fitted won’t be “comfortable.” Horse feathers. Clothing that fits isn’t tight. Nor is it loose. It skims the body. It doesn’t cling to it. So try a size down in shirts, pants (inseam and waist), and especially suit jackets, blazers, and sportcoats. You’ll look stronger and leaner. Here’s a few tricks that can help land the right fit.
#2. Get good at shopping smart, but don’t buy something just because it’s on sale.
For those of us who aren’t rookies at this dressing-better thing, think of the collective cash we all burned along the way. Only pay full retail if you REALLY want it, and you just can’t wait for a sale. Yet at the same time, don’t buy something you only think you might wear, simply because it’s marked down. This is especially true for items that are close to your size, but not actually your size. If it doesn’t fit, or can’t be tailored to fit, don’t pick it up.
#3. Go Slow
And suddenly, all of Frank’s co-workers at the salvage yard stopped talking to him.
It’s awfully hard to go from cargo shorts + graphic tee guy, to three piece suit guy overnight. It’s a process, and by jumping in head first, you risk looking out of place. There will be disappointments. And there are plenty of reasons as well as opportunities for a guy to dress well. But that doesn’t mean you have to start wearing a tux every night for dinner. Work up to it. Want to start wearing blazers more often? Pick up a cheap, cotton sportcoat, and get it tailored. Wear it out to dinner here and there. You’ll get there.