A Beginner’s Guide on Styling as a Pro for Men20.07.2022
Is it worth buying higher-quality clothes?
These questions are certain to have crossed your mind. My answer is…
It is difficult to make something good at a low price. It doesn’t matter if you need jeans, a laptop or a home-cooked meal. There must be compromises when you have a tight budget.
It is commonly believed that higher quality, designer clothes will make you look more shady as a customer. Sometimes, you will see men on forums and blogs claiming that they are just paying for marketing costs.
It’s not true, I can assure you after 11 years of experience as a designer for menswear. You will pay more for better materials, better construction and better design.
It’s difficult to understand how much better that $1,500 cashmere sweater or zipper is without actually trying them. You can’t really understand how I can tell you that the best meal I ever had cost $220 per person.
WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW: Visit a store you can afford. You might find it difficult to afford a store. There is no need to purchase anything. Simply walk around and feel the clothes. You might even be able to try it on. Take note of how it fits, feels, and how you feel when you wear it. Next, go to Zara or H&M to try on similar items. Take note of the differences and similarities. Is there anything surprising?
Buy the best quality you can for your budget
We are now left with the question: How much should you spend on clothes? Simply put: I recommend to my clients to purchase the highest quality product that is within their budget.
A $200 pair of jeans may not seem like a huge deal if you make mid-six figures per year. If $200 is not much, you can find great options at lower prices.
WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW: I recommend J.Crew as a place to start. They are easily accessible in most major cities, have a classic look with a hint of trend and good prices.
The “PULL 3” trick will save you time in the dressing room
When I go shopping, I see people taking one size and then moving back from the showroom to their dressing room. It drives me insane! It is a complete waste of time.
Imagine making a home-cooked meal with just one ingredient from your fridge. One trick will cut down your shopping time. Pull 3 of the same item when you are pulling clothes for the dressing room.
- One to your true size
- One size larger
- One size down
If you are shopping for jeans, and think you are a 33, take a 32 and 34 with you and all three of them to the shop. This saves you time and provides insurance in the event that the cut is changed or a different size.
WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW: When you go shopping, use the “Pull 3” trick
Gradually get out of your comfort zone
You can’t make a change if you don’t step out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have be scary.
My clients learn what I call the “Swap Trick”. This is a method of gradually introducing something to your wardrobe, such as a trendy piece, a new colour, or an item of clothing you have never considered.
Here’s how it works.
It’s like trying hot sauces. It would be difficult to go straight from mild hotsauce to super hot ghost pepper sauce. Start with something slightly hotter than your last, and then work your way up.
The same applies when you try something new with your style. It’s unlikely that you would want to switch from a black leather jacket, to a neon-colored one. A brown leather jacket would be the next level.
For summer, you will want to wear more colors and more patterns.
Let’s start with a simple outfit: linen oxford shirt and navy lounge pants. I also have sunglasses and white sneakers. Although the color scheme is perfectly fine, it feels boring and safe. Let’s change the shirt for something more vibrant. You can choose a brighter colour or a pattern/print.
Although the shirt choice isn’t too crazy, it already feels much more vibrant than the original outfit. It’s even more summery with the printed version.
You’d be surprised at how one small change can transform the mood of an outfit. This is the key to wearing more color. To brighten your look, you don’t need to wear much.
I recommend that you only do one phase of swapping. You will become more comfortable wearing certain colors and patterns as you progress.
WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW: Consider something that you would like to incorporate into your style, but are unsure how. What could you do to break it down and slowly introduce it into your wardrobe with “The Swap Trick?”.
About the confidence
Consider when you learned how to drive a vehicle. You were most likely afraid. Within 10 seconds of you hitting the road, it was clear that you were going to crash.
You weren’t confident. But you continued driving and your confidence grew. Driving became easier. You can now illegally Snapchat from your phone, while you sip your coffee and play with the radio. While you steer with your knees, you still have to do work.
The same goes for your style. To improve your style, you don’t have to be confident. As you improve your style, confidence will grow. Like driving, it becomes easier the more you practice it.
WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW: Get one outfit. Only one. Follow the tips above – choose neutral colors and classic styles that fit well. You will feel and look great. This is a quick win. You can now use that feeling to motivate yourself to continue. Next, you can read my next tip to increase your confidence.