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Know your wardrobe
We’ve all experienced the (not as much of a) cliché of waiting around ages for our girl friends to get ready to go out. From choosing the look, to hair and makeup, we’re facing anything from 30 min to an hour of precious wasted time. However, as menswear becomes more and more intricate and men in general become more self conscious about their image, this old cliché is bound to work both ways. If you consider the amount of combinations for mixing and matching your garments and accessories, the possibilities are endless, which along with a thorough grooming routine may place your better half for quite the wait.
Remember those pics of dapper Italians cruising the streets in complex attires, making it look utterly effortless? The much praised sprezzatura? Don’t be fooled…I remember Scott Schuman addressing this subject and reminding us common mortals that “those men spend countless hours indoors making sure everything’s perfect before leaving the house, so once they do, they don’t have to worry about a thing for the rest of the day”. No impeccable look comes from randomly throwing some pieces on, hoping they’ll magically work perfect together (it may, if you have THE perfect wardrobe). Some thought has to be put into it. So, how about when you’re on a tight schedule and only have a few minutes at your disposal to look your best? How to pull it off then?
Simple: know your wardrobe. Surely you remind certain looks you loved or pieces that go well together; when pressed for time, these are your best allies. By knowing what you have in stock by heart, you’ll be able to make it work in a matter of minutes. No doubt this task is made much easier if you keep a few basic/essential garments in your closet: a navy blazer, oxford shirt, dark slim denim and brown wingtips will look good every single time. So, do yourself a favour and spend some time getting acquainted with your garments…it’s the only way you’ll end up looking as good as this:
No strings attached
I’ve mentioned over and over again the importance of investing in quality pieces, in accordance to the motto: buy less, but better. Doing so, will enable you to build a coherent and valuable wardrobe, based on quality rather than quantity. As menswear is less prone to sudden seasonal trend changes than womenswear, those investments are well worth it and you’ll eventually come to appreciate a collection of fitted, well constructed and durable items. Furthermore, when you make an effort to save over time to purchase a specific garment, you’ll most likely end up valuing it that much more.
Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with cherishing something you worked hard for, be it clothes or anything else in life for that matter. The only downside is, if taken to an extreme, you might end up saving that particular piece for so called “special occasions” alone. This is perfectly understandable and I’ve done so many times before…The thing is, for most people (myself included), those occasions are seldom and spaced in time, meaning you’ll only get to wear your pieces a handful of times over the year.
I’ve long changed my attitude after going through my closet and finding a few mint pieces, almost unworn, which I had been saving for special events. If there’s one thing fashion math has taught us, is that to get a proper return from your investments you must wear and tear them over time, which again highlights the importance of quality and durability in the equation. My advice? Face everyday as special and make your items pay for themselves by making you look flawless over and over again. Besides, what’s the use of ending up with a number of possibly outdated garments you didn’t have a chance to wear?
Why leave them hanging?
As we’re currently entering a new season, it seems the perfect time to address the taboo subject of the wardrobe purge. An exhilarating experience for some and one much dreaded by others, it still remains one of the most crucial and effective means of running a successful wardrobe. Think of it as getting your garments serviced just as you would your car, bike, whatever…
Undoubtedly, many factors come into play when reevaluating your clothing stock, one of the most important being your shopping habits and profile. Most of the times careful, pondered shoppers who buy less, more timeless pieces are less prone to require major purges. But even they don’t get it right all the time…Lets face it, sooner or later we’re all left facing a variety of outdated/unwanted garments in our closets.
In average, I revise my garment status twice a year, coincidentally with season changes. This doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll toss a few items; for me it’s the perfect way to filter future purchases, establish a wishlist and make a roundup of my items. While doing so, I usually start 3 piles:
- Giveaways: starting with what most consider the worst part, here’s a rule of thumb to make things easier - if you haven’t worn it for the last couple of seasons, throw it in here. You can either give these items to charity/friends or even make a profit at your local flea market;
- Potential keepers: Personally, I find this to be the hardest task. Here you should include pieces you are not quite sure about, be it because you find them special, they are designer pieces or simply you feel it in your gut they’ll become trendy once again. Word of advice…don’t let the price tag be your only criterion. To sort this pile out you have to rely on your instincts and trend spotting abilities, which makes it all the more difficult;
- Keepers: Ok, this pile is the easiest…throw in your most loved items and essentials. These will comprise the core of your wardrobe.
Go into it with an open mind and remember that items you no longer treasure, may be the perfect match for someone else’s wardrobe or those in need. Also, consider this a chance to replace dead stock with newer alternatives you’ll love, but don’t use it as an excuse to clutter your closet once again.