This, so much this. As someone with a very weirdly-proportioned body (short thick tree-trunk legs and a big Eastern European ass, thank you maternal genetics), I do not EVER trust that two pairs of pants with the same waist/inseam measurements will EVER fit remotely the same. I think the pants I wear have waist measurements between 34 and 40 and all still fit.

What I tend to do is grab three pairs of whatever I intend to buy. One in my “normal” size (36/30), one a size up, and one a size down. Even if one fits well, always try the other two on to see if they’re more comfortable or look better.

Shirts go the same way. I have a proportionally short torso coupled with long monkey arms, wide shoulders, and a squat, wide neck. There is no such thing as an off-the-rack dress shirt that fits me properly, so I wind up either settling for “Okay, I’m going to need to just roll the sleeves / leave the collar unbuttoned” or shelling out upwards of $80 for a tailored dress shirt.

tl;dr - if you’re buying off the rack, ALWAYS try multiple sizes.

A lot of guys wear shirts that are entirely too big for them. (Not saying this is you.) If the seam at the shoulder is down on your arm, your shirt is too big. If fabric is pooling at your wrists when you stand up, your shirt is too big. If you can pull the back of your shirt away from your body like eighteen inches, your shirt is waaaay too friggin’ big. Yet I see this stuff every day, all over the place.

You can try on two pair of the same pants that are labelled the same size and see/feel a difference. I don’t like to buy clothes online because, even though I know my size, it doesn’t mean that size is the one that’s going to fit me when I put it on. I have medium, large, and even small sized shirts in my closet. I have 32x32, 33x32, and 32x34 sized pants in my closet. Sizes are all over the place. Not only that, but some brands (I’m looking at you, Banana Republic) will shrink more than others, so you learn to take that into account when picking things out.

You can get great stuff at cheap stores, but chances are you’ll find better fitting stuff at higher end ones.

Blegh. See, that’s why I hate shopping with a violent passion. Trying on twenty pairs of the same size and same brand of jeans to find that not one of them fits right = rage. And I’m too little for a proper rage-out, so it just looks silly.

Shopping isn’t that big a deal. Most people don’t buy a pair of jeans every month, so shop twice a year at a big place that has a lot of selection, grab some armfuls of shit and try it on in the dressing room, and those obnoxious sales people are actually super helpful when you want to try different sizes. Figure that on average you can walk out with maybe 15% of what you tried on if you’re picky.

If you’re into clothes, then you’ll do seasonal shopping in the spring and the fall, and if you’re a bargain hunter, you’ll do the after-season sales. Right now, for example, is a great time to buy shorts, spring handbags, and espadrilles or other open toed pumps and wedges.

Bacon, you’re talking to a girl who goes shopping maybe once every other year. :P

Turning in my man-card here, but you can learn a lot of cool and interesting stuff by watching What Not To Wear.

then make that trip count =)

Actually, yeah, that show at least goes a long way towards showing you how blind people can be to their own wardrobe dysfunction.

I have a picture of me from my, uh, bad days, taking my kids fishing. Cargo shorts, gray wifebeater, buzz cut, thick glasses, and Tevas. Showing off fish belly white fat guy arms and a gut trying hard to escape beneath the shirt.

And at the time I thought it was totally fine because, hey, only shallow people care about what they wear amirite?

My wife describes my style when we first met as “fratboy chic”, in that I tended towards jeans/cargoes/khakis coupled with untucked polos and button-down shirts. After we moved in together and got married, she made a point of showing me which of my shirts and pants were just too ratty for me to keep (despite my arguments on how broken in and comfortable they were). She persuaded me to ditch some of my older, more well-worn clothes and replace them with newer, better quality items of similar style. I love that she chose to recognize and enhance my personal style rather than try to replace or remake it.

Oh, and all guys, if you buy khakis or other types of slacks, please make sure you get them hemmed. Almost every guy I know buys pants that are too long.

I got lucky and hit it off with the fashion editor for a magazine for about 3 months!

Try go that route - worked wonders for me

Some things I learnt along the way:
Don’t try wear what other people wear because it looks good on them. You have your own body type, personality, demeanour and style. If you don’t know what it is then ask a close girlfriend, they can usually pick that kinda stuff up.

More expensive stuff is really worth it!
I used to wear t-shirts and baggies 70% of the time and the magnificent women mentioned above pointed out how crap they looked on me and how much better and more confident I looked in a good pair of jeans, top and a fitted jacket, all stuff I didn’t normally wear.

Jacket - find something that you can “own”. When you put it on, it must be an extension of yourself, not just a layer of clothing to shield you from the weather, but a projection of you (in fact, most of your clothing should feel like this).
She pointed out a jacket at some shop, well above what I would ever dream of paying, but when I tried it on, I knew I had to get it.

Buy 2 - if you find a great pair of jeans or shoes, get 2 pairs… why not…

Good luck and happy spending!

Nordstrom’s, once a year for starters. No need to know your size for different types of clothes; they will. No need to do much other than give broad strategic guidance and then try it on. Bring a trusted female for gut reactions, and don’t be shy about what you will or won’t wear in terms of business, casual, and nighttime clothes.

Naturally, this only applies to men. Women have to know their brands and stores and whether their preferred constellations are in ascendance in order to find the ideal clothing. Men usually just have to accept that about half of what we own is shit and most of the rest is marginal, and simply replacing it with slightly upgraded versions is not usually enough (eg old navy->gap, for instance. banana republic can represent a divergent path from boring into douche country especially if it becomes a primary source of clothes…ymmv).

Once you find a salesperson you like, they’ll warn you before a sale and let you pre-select clothes that you then pick up a week later, all tailored up and everything if they require it, at the improved rate. Yes, it’s expensive, but here’s what goes into that cost: no fuss, minimal analysis paralysis, and a guarantee that even though you’re not pushing the envelope on style (which isn’t really a goal for most of us) you won’t embarrass your SO by looking like someone who staggered into a really unimaginative teenager’s clothing selections. If you can find something that fits the swiss army knife role of a comfortable polo shirt while still being a grown up brand, don’t go overboard as you can usually find more online for cheap. But with button up shirts you can’t go wrong.

In general I support the Nordstrom’s personal shopper theory, but in practice this really depends on a lot of variables. First, the personal shopper themselves – sometimes they have a clue, but sometimes they can lead you astray if they’re trying to do the ‘right’ thing and get you into something fashionable as opposed to timeliness or vice versa.

The second issue is, just like many of the projects on What Not to Wear, many shoppers just end up uncomfortable with the choices that were made. They don’t understand the clothes, don’t like them, aren’t comfortable with them, and end up just blowing $1000 on stuff they never wear because they don’t get it.

This is why educating yourself first is kind of the first step. Using a personal shopper is sort of like hiring a nutrionist to fix your diet. If you don’t believe in what they’re selling, you’re sort of doomed no matter what, and if the consultant ends up giving you advice that you just can’t accept, it’s all for naught.

I’ve had more than one friend up with “Nordstrom’s Remorse” because they tried valiantly to go with the recommendations, brought the stuff home, and then would never wear it, reverting back to their trusty cargo pants, too baggy and faded QuakeCon T-shirt, and Crocs.

Hey, fair enough. I’ve never bought anything that I couldn’t stomach in the mirror at the store, so perhaps I approach the dismissing of salesperson recommendations in a more cavalier manner. Again, that’s why I think the cross reference with a trusted/SO woman is important. You don’t want to start assigning clothes items arbitrary value just because they are expensive.

But that’s kind of the paradox, the What Not to Wear effect – if you could stomach it, then there’s a good chance you weren’t too bad off to begin with. And if you’re bad off to begin with, then almost anything other than what you already own is probably loathsome to some degree. It often takes a significant kick in the nuts for people to change their dressing habits (similar to cutting off hair, losing weight, whatever).

Like the whole “cleans up nicely” thing is sort of a myth for both men and women. A guy that is slovenly who puts on a suit suddenly isn’t James Bond, because he’s going to feel (and thus look) awkward. A tomboyish girl that has never worn heels or a dress in her life isn’t suddenly going to look graceful and bedazzling because she has on a gown and 3" Manolos.

Point being that the thing that makes us need the help in the first place is often the thing that prevents that help from sticking =)

You don’t want to start assigning clothes items arbitrary value just because they are expensive.

Totally agreed. As I said earlier, fit and integration are far more important than cost.

I usually wind up finding something I like from Lands End, buying it in several sizes, and returning the ones that don’t fit to my local Sears store. Or I’ll just hit the Van Heusen outlet. I like the stuff at Orvis, say, or Brooks Brothers, but it’s too damn expensive.

My problem tends to be finding the cut or pattern I like in an all-natural fabric. Cotton’s fine with me. Linen’s great, too. Wool’s okay, but better if it’s something a bit less itchy, like Merino. I absolutely hate cotton/poly or rayon blends. Unfortunately, that seems to make up a lot of what’s out there in the more economical garment world.

If I had to choose a standard look, I like comfortable slacks (preferably with a bit more durability than the usual khakis), a nice button-down shirt with either thin stripes or small checks (or just a dark, solid color), maybe a simple sweater vest if it’s cold, and a casual sport coat. I’ve got a simple, black corduroy one around here somewhere, that I’ve got to have cleaned. Shoes are usually a comfy, sturdy-yet-soft pair of suede Chelsea boots. Preferred colors are usually navy or burgundy.

I should have bought another pair of the boots when they were on sale. It’s hard to find footwear that fits me well, since while my feet are a bit short (between 9 and 10, depending on the brand), they’re also a bit wide. I tried to buy some Merrell shoes last year, but couldn’t get my feet into any of them!

I am going to preface my argument by telling everyone that I am really good looking. It’s true. Though I had nothing to do with it, I am extraordinarily handsome. My eyes - the sea after a storm. My eyebrows - rich and expressive without unruliness. My forehead - smooth, high, pleasing. My nose - patrician. My jaw - strong. My chin - cute. My lips - exquisitely kissable. My hair - full, chestnut, lustrous. My skin - my shortcoming, so fair and soft that I’m disposed to breakouts. It’s possible that I’m one of these testosterone-deprived boys: my prettiness and fairness of skin + my infertility and unfortunate endowment leads me to believe that I’m hormonally feminized. But girls still think I’m adorable. I won’t elaborate further or post pics, because if you guys realize that I’m being serious then you might become jealous and the forum will be set against me.

It’s important for me to set out my gorgeousness, because I’m the kind of person that has the most to gain by drawing attention to my appearance. However, I practice the opposite: I believe that men should not care about their wardrobe, other than to ensure that they’re dressed inoffensively. No dressing up, no dressing down. If the situation calls for slacks, so be it. If it calls for shorts, fine. A tie, OK. But do not send a message with your clothes! “I have money.” “Another man and my wife buy my clothes for me.” “I spend most of my life on the internet.” etc. Your clothes should suggest one thing: “You’re going to pay attention to me in spite of what I’m wearing, not because of it.” That’s real power. That’s the real men’s fashion. Everything else is just vanity, suggestibility, and tastelessness.

@Omniscia: Viberghandmakes excellent, relatively affordable boots that are sized on a width spectrum.

If I’m reading that right, you are saying you dress poorly to make up for your small penis?

Totally. Any drycleaner place will do alterations and it makes a world of difference.

ElG, dress style can be a bit regional. Things are pretty douchey in Vegas, which is why I find myself attired in quasi-expensive jeans and either dress shirts or stupid Ed Hardy/Affliction style screen T’s that look like someone threw up on them. I’ve met you IRL, you’re a good looking guy who is kinda douchey (douchey is what the HATERZ call confident, YEAH), so this should work for you.

Do you like my moccathinth? I usually buy straight leg or boot cut jeans. NO I DON’T WEAR BOOTS. THOSE ARE FOR QUEERS (j/k Warning).

Both of my jobs put me around a lot of women of varying ages (aw yiss) and I listen for what items of clothing they compliment me on. The clear winners so far are a sweet long sleeved printed screen doodad such as this:


A common style has the long sleeves that are meant to stay neatly rolled up or short sleeves like this:

I shave my neck to look more cut. I dunno about that color, but that’s the style.

Blue steel! Also dress shirts with designs or whatnot (not boring plain colored ones) not tucked in over jeans. Don’t tuck your shirt in, that’s for Poindexters.

Make yourself in Sims 3, and then see how you turn out from a distance. Pretty fun/horrible :).

I have no sense of style, but i’d argue that the you’re no longer “defining your tribe” by your clothes; your clothes now should reflect the actuality, not the desire. Don’t dress like a office manager / indie rock star because you hope to be one in fifteen years, that’s something you do when you step out of college. Dress appropriate to who you are now - when you go past thirty, it’s time to stop pretending that you can define yourself with petty things like clothes. If you’re a ladies’ man/businessman, dress as such. If your middle management, dress like middle management, ect. Clothes should instead of reflecting your aspirations be the outward manifestation of your grasping and taking ownership of who you have become with both hands, even if you’re not the person you exactly wanted to be.

Oh, and always get tailored clothes if at all possible. Anything custom fitted will always, always, always look better. It was what your great-grandfather expected, and it still works now.