Unsolicited advice is the worst. Unless it’s done anonymously over the internet, with the best of intentions… and then maybe it’s okay. Maybe. First we started with the rookies. Today is for those who have been at this for a bit. Finally, we’ll wrap up with advice for those who consider themselves “experts”.
#1. Develop a great relationship with a Good Tailor
Somewhere between beginner and intermediate, we all figure out that having our suits, blazers, shirts, etc… tailored is often (always?) a worthy investment. But always using the faceless tailoring department at a big box store or dry cleaners is sorta like having your hair cut at Supercuts. And no, that’s not a criticism of the talents of the person wielding the scissors. The downfall is having a different person doing the work each time, and never developing a relationship… and thus… good communication, with that person. You want someone you can get to face to face (and garment to garment) with. They’ll see you, get to know you, you’ll get to know them, and you become a team. They’ll come to respect you, and how you feel your clothes should fit.
They’re stunningly similar. Consistency + communication = great results.
#2. Get good at taking care of your stuff
Just like when you were a kid, you gotta put your toys away. Even if you’re on a strict budget, your clothes will look better and last longer if you get proficient at maintaining them. That means getting good at laundry (i.e. reading tags, not shrinking stuff, finding good detergent), ironing, taking care of your shoes, and storing all of it properly. It takes time. Lots of practice. You may sometimes wash a blazer, forgo shoe trees for your best dress shoes, or use crappy hangers for everything. Even sweaters (nooooo!). It’s a process. Respect what you’ve earned to acquire. But don’t forget to get out there and use it. Don’t be Cameron’s Dad from Ferris Bueller.
Oh look. Must be Sunday afternoon.
Short version: Trust yourself. Long version: When starting out, the web and its communities can be a big help. But the risk is you end up becoming part of the cycle of cyber-menswear-addicts who spend more time looking at pics of suited-up strangers on the web than going out and living their life. Pictures on the web, usually either photoshopped to death or alternatively with poor lighting, shadows galore, and bad angles, don’t give the correct representation of what something looks like in-person anyway. Put a still image within a frame and every little tiny imperfection is going to stand out. Post something that’s 90% awesome on the web, 95% of the viewers will crush that negative 10%, while 99.999% of people in public would never think anything other than “wow, that dude looks sharp“. This seems hypocritical coming from this source (a website) but when in doubt, log off.