As a man, we all go through that moment where we want our personal style to grow with us. We over look the graphic tees and athletic sneakers for a basic tee, oxford shirts, slim pants and casual running sneakers if not shoes. This can be a daunting task because you might try to dive head first into this transitioning process. I know the feeling because I made that mistake myself. The true objective is to start slow, start with the basics and then build around them.
So your first question might be, where do I start? The first step is the most crucial step of them all and get looks over 85% of the time. ASSESS YOUR CLOSET!! Just because you want to transition to a new style does not mean you need to completely dismiss every item you already own. You may already have a few basic tees or oxford shirts. This process can save you money and time in the long run.
While assessing your closet, you must be brutally honest with yourself. Guys I know we like to do everything on our own, ‘we are men’, but having someone assist you on this project can be very helpful. If you have a significant other, this can be a great opportunity to bond. Having someone assist you also helps out with the items you need to let go but won’t because of the memories. You are looking for pieces that fit the look/style you want to achieve. If the piece does fit that look you must let it go.
Next step is to build a story board as illustrated in the photo above. Now your board does not have to be so intricate and detailed. Its sole purpose is to keep you in line with what you are striving for. Begin by browsing through a few menswear magazines like, GQ, Details, VMan, Esquire and Complex just to name a few. If you do not have any magazines at the moment and do not want to invest in purchasing them, you can always use the internet for sources. You can Google the style you are looking to achieve with search terms such as ‘The Teddy Boys’, ‘Fine And Dandy’, or even a simple term as ‘Modern Menswear’. You can also check out the latest blog post on sites such as ‘Selectism’, ‘Hypebeast’ and ‘Marcus Troy’s Blog’. While online, save any photos that spark your interest to a hard drive and print out a hard copy. Take these hard copy photos and paste them to a white poster board then hang it up on your wall. We all have smart phones or tablets now. Take a picture of your board posted on the wall. It will come in handy for the next step.
Now that you have your direction and poster board with inspiration, the next step is to shop. This can be stressful but since you have your inspiration and direction already set it should be fun. If I had to decide, I would start with pair of raw denim(preferably not selvedge) and a light wash with minimum distressing, five oxford shirts(three light blue and two white) and a pair of white Chuck Taylors and a brown loafers or monk-straps. These pieces will serve as your foundation. Building a wardrobe is just like building a house. You must build a secure foundation before anything else or the house(wardrobe) will fall to pieces.
So your foundation is set, you are feeling confident in what you are doing and expressing, you can now add to this foundation. For example, add the super distressed pair of jeans to your wardrobe and pair it with the white oxford and brown monk-straps or add a red oxford shirt to pair with your raw denim and white chucks. Once your foundation in your closet is complete, there is no limit as to what you can do with your style. You can add a fedora or 5-panel hat. A pair of Nike Roshe or New Balance 1500. Some wingtips, knit ties and a blazer. It becomes effortless as you grow your wardrobe. You will begin to feel more confident in yourself and confident in what you can do at the work place. It will also become an easy task to get dress in the morning.
Extra Tips: Shops To Check-out
Now I am not one who is big on brands, but I do believe in quality and fit which is more important than the brand itself. Here is a few shops to check out while on your quest of transitioning your style and closet.
203 Grand Street
(Between Bedford and Diggs)
Has a great selection of High End brands at various price points.
235 W Broadway
New York, NY 10013
If you want to stick to a classic Americana style, this is your one stop shop for that.
Now when it comes to denim, I firmly believe in spending some money on them. Just like shoes, jeans are an investment. Here are some brands who make quality denim.
True Religion – I know, the brand has a negative stigma to it right now but there is change in their horizon. Going for a more cleaner look, cleaner lines and simple silhouettes. True Religion has released two pairs of selvage denim and a pair of raw denim without their traditional smiley face/Buddha symbolism on the pocket. You can not lie, True Religion makes really good denim.
Club Monaco – Ralph Lauren’s little brother company houses a brand that makes really great quality raw denim. That brand is Acne. If you have a chance, stop by to one of their shops and try a pair on.
A.P.C. – Culturally cool and accepted, A.P.C. has been the go to shop for raw and selvage denim. If you find the right fit and take care of them(washing and cleaning), you will have a pair of go to denim for all occasions that will last you some time.
Uniqlo – If you aren’t into spending a few bucks on a pair jeans yet, then check out Uniqlo. This is the only fast fashion company that I will cosign as making good jeans. They aren’t the best, you are getting what you pay for but you will have a pair of jeans that can serve its purpose.
There are other brands that make great denim as well, these are just a few that I am personally familiar with.