A Guide to Men’s Fashion: Building Your Wardrobe

Growing Your Closet Takes Effort, but is Immensely Rewarding

By: Brenton Mitchell 

Personal growth reflects both sections of our lives: the internal and the external.

While explaining the path to internal growth is incredibly difficult and complex, discerning the external is a much more manageable affair.

The most obvious form is the way we look, specifically the things we wear. Therefore building a wardrobe is essential to mirroring and exemplifying the internal aspects of our lives.

As established in a previous article, the importance of fit is paramount when it comes to making new purchases. But when it comes to developing an actual style the first step is subtraction, not addition.

It is impossible to know what is needed without truly knowing what you have, and often the contents of one’s closet is a mishmash of clothes that are either used irregularly or haven’t been touched in years.

As such, the best beginning is to sort out every single item into three categories: often worn, sometimes worn, and never worn. Everything in the never worn pile can be set aside and dealt with however you please.

Everything in the sometimes worn pile can go too, unless it’s sentimental or serves some important function. After clearing out the “never worn” pile, the items in the “sometimes worn” pile get more attention due to the reduction in clutter.

Whatever the case may be, after the culling, the next step is the fun part: building the wardrobe.

Though before investing in any clothes, there needs to be a predefined goal that will help guide your purchases and keep everything focused. These goals will be related to the missing aspects of the wardrobe after the unused clothes have been removed, taking into account the current season and other factors.

For example if, after the removing unused clothes, it becomes apparent that you don’t have enough pants in your collection while going into fall/winter, then acquiring new pants becomes a priority.

Applying this theory across the board to suit the given situation is the best way to spend money in the most effective way possible.

Moving forward, there needs to be an understanding of what look is desired after everything is purchased. For example, if one is removing the amount of graphic t-shirts in their collection and wants to replace them with alternatives, then that provides excellent direction for future purchases.

Building off that, it is best to start simple when building up your wardrobe. It is easy to say “I want to dress like this.” Then spend an immense amount of money achieving a look, just to find out that the look is not what they truly wanted in the first place.

Thus, the best way to begin is to take it slow and simple. Clothes that have no graphics, good prices and are readily available is the best way to experiment and see what works without sinking a large up-front cost.

Excellent stores for this are H&M and Uniqlo.

The former provides cheap clothing that probably won’t last longer than a season, but serves the function of letting one experiment without breaking the bank. It is very hard to go wrong when shirts are in the ten dollar range.

Uniqlo has better quality than H&M, but still has a large amount of simple pieces that look good, fit great and have reasonable prices. Being a Japanese company, their sizing can be a bit odd, but overall they are an excellent place to start for those looking for simple and clean styles.

Honorable mentions go to American Eagle, American Apparel and Zara. Each provides their own spin on similar fashion styles, with AE having pieces that can be more interesting than Uniqlo for similar quality but often pricier.

American Apparel in its current state is a toss-up, as they were recently bought by clothing giant, Gilan, and re-released under their umbrella. You could find some potential there, but proceed with caution as to clothing quality.

Zara has a lot of trendy styles fresh off the runway for similar price points and quality as the previous stores. Finding things there is a bit more advanced, but for those that know what they want it’s a perfect place to shop.

Whatever the case may be, building a wardrobe is both an incredibly fun and rewarding experience that is sure to have you looking and feeling good all year long.

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