Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

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Gardener
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Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by Gardener » Sat May 12, 2018 9:12 am

I want to get your advice on building a time less quality men's wardrobe with as few articles of clothing (I'm a bit of a minimalist) as possible for both business and going out after work. It'd be good to just buy some essentials that I can interchange during the week.

I'm willing to spend more for clothing that will last, but certainly don't want to spend more than necessary.

I am in my mid-30's, newly single, and live in the north east. Appropriate attire for my work is business casual to suit and suit and tie a couple of days per week. Also, I am beginning to date again and probably need to step up my game a bit.

Any advice on building a wardrobe would be appreciated.

TheFishGuy99
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by TheFishGuy99 » Sat May 12, 2018 9:16 am

Polo’s.

You can wear them to work, or at a bbq

Orange44
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by Orange44 » Sat May 12, 2018 9:20 am

Are you at the Size you want to be? If you are going to lose or gain then you have to plan for that. Right now I am losing weight so going cheap with Haggar brand until it gets me into the size I want to stay in is good for now until the next phase of my life.

livesoft
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by livesoft » Sat May 12, 2018 9:21 am

I was just at an international meeting where more than 20 years of past meetings were reviewed with photos of all the participants. Many of the folks in the old photos were wearing today the exact same shirts and sweaters as they wore 20 years ago. How's that for timeless?

So it is the usual stuff: Khaki/Dockers slacks, same ol' BrooksBrothers-esque shirts, the occasional dark Navy blazer or tweed jacket, and blue jeans.

There is nothing fancy and nothing has changed since you were born.

I'll add that a knit shirt just shows your beer gut nicely.
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3funder
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by 3funder » Sat May 12, 2018 9:28 am

A few dark suits (two would suffice)
A navy blue blazer
Khakis (tan/beige, navy blue)
Long-sleeve button-down dress shirts (white/sky blue mostly)
Neck ties (conservative colors; go easy on the patterns)
Short-sleeve polos (conservative colors; go easy on the patterns)
Dress socks (black/grey, navy blue)
Sperry Top-Siders (or something similar; light or dark brown)
Black dress shoes (w/laces)
Brown dress shoes (w/laces)

Don't spend a ton of money; my father was upper-management (bordering on executive) for decades and shopped mostly at Sears, Kmart, DSW, Famous Footwear, etc. No one cared, not one little bit.
Last edited by 3funder on Sat May 12, 2018 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

DirtyJobs
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by DirtyJobs » Sat May 12, 2018 9:29 am

I'm 34 and I think the biggest plus I've found is first concentrating on keeping a healthy weight/frame. If you're out of shape or obese, it won't matter how much you spend on clothes. A guy in decent shape wearing a $20 Kohl's brand polo will look better than a guy with a beer gut in a $300 tailored shirt.

If you're looking for longevity in fashion, good luck. Trends change way too quickly. The best bet is to buy decent quality brands in more neutral colors. I've found the best luck with navy, grey, black, blues, and whites. Those are the most timeless colors.

Also, on dating, I've noticed women will complement good looking shoes more than anything. So it's usually the most expensive part of my wardrobe.

nimo956
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by nimo956 » Sat May 12, 2018 9:41 am

No matter what clothes you buy, the most important rule is that they fit well. I'd therefore recommend using a tailor to have pants/shirts made for you (can be made to measure or bespoke, but bespoke is $$$). It makes so much difference not to have baggy/blousy shirts.

You want to avoid black pants, since that's for evening wear. Get a few pairs in different colors and fabrics. Either wool or cotton, and something like brown, dark gray, light gray, olive, and khaki.

You want to avoid wearing shirts that are darker than your pants, as it just looks odd. Light blue, white, ecru, and lavender all work. Stick with solid colors or vertical stripes for now, and then mix in a few patterns (check, gingham, etc). A buttoned collar and oxford cloth = more casual; a pointed collar and finer fabric = more formal. Be sure to get metal collar stays for pointed collars.

Get a navy blazer and maybe one other color like brown. The navy blazer can be worn with any of the colored pants mentioned above, making it very versatile (though it can't be worn with black pants, which is another reason to favor gray pants instead).

For shoes, you want to get goodyear welted shoes in a few styles (oxford, wholecut, monkstrap, etc.). Go with black, brown, and burgundy to start. More broguing = more casual. Different colored shoelaces are an inexpensive way to change the look without having to buy different shoes. Be sure to get shoe trees for your shoes.

Socks should be to the knee, otherwise they slide down over the day and people can see your calf if you cross your legs.

For belts, get full hide leather only in black, brown, and maybe burgundy.

Choose ties that bring in several different colors in the shirts, pants, blazer. Never wear a tie without a blazer.

This site has several helpful articles on how to select clothing: https://www.gentlemansgazette.com/
Last edited by nimo956 on Sat May 12, 2018 12:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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stoptothink
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by stoptothink » Sat May 12, 2018 9:51 am

DirtyJobs wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:29 am
I'm 34 and I think the biggest plus I've found is first concentrating on keeping a healthy weight/frame. If you're out of shape or obese, it won't matter how much you spend on clothes. A guy in decent shape wearing a $20 Kohl's brand polo will look better than a guy with a beer gut in a $300 tailored shirt.
This...then again, there is the issue of finding clothes that fit well if you are in good shape. I wear clothing to work that I've had, in some cases since I was in high school (20yrs ago), but buying new clothing is a total PITA because I am muscular and lean. I had to buy a specific color button-down shirt for a speaking engagement next week, even "extra extra/ultra slim fit" shirts look like moo-moos when you need a 17" neck, but have a 32" waist. Fit is more important than anything.

FIBoston
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by FIBoston » Sat May 12, 2018 9:57 am

Pants:

2-3 Pairs LuluLemon Commission Pants (Khaki, Navy, Olive/Grey). These are super comfy and if you work in a business casual office definitely work appropriate (they are particularly popular in Wall Street offices right now).
1 Pair dark wash jeans

Shirts:

2 Light Blue button down shirts
1 Gingham button down shirt (any color but Navy or Forest Green looks great)
1 White shirt (formal occasions/important meetings only)
2 polos (Grey, Navy)
3 T-Shirts (Any colors)
3 v-neck undershirts

Sweaters:

2 merino wool crew neck sweaters (Navy, Grey)
1 Quarter Zip jacket (Patagonia's better sweater 1/4 zip is perfect for this)

Outerwear:

1 wool top coat (Grey/Navy)
1 waterproof Mac Jacket (Grey/Khaki/Navy)

Shoes:

1 pair black oxford shoes
1 pair brown brogues
1 pair white sneakers (Nike Kill Shots from JCrew are my favorites)
1 pair Blundstone 500 Chelsea Boots (these do me great in Boston winters and on rainy days in the spring/fall)
1 pair running shoes

Suiting:

2 Suits (Navy, Grey)

Don't know if you wanted it down to this detail. I used to work in men's retail and was really passionate about helping my customers be simple, functional, and stylish. I concluded that this is about as simple as you can get without sacrificing style, and about as stylish as you can get without being superfluous.

Depending on your body type you can decide to go classic or slim fit. Slim fit almost always looks better, and I would always push my customers to try a slim fit on, even if they had thought all their lives they were classic. You may end up being classic, but at least give it a try.

The best kind of shirt collars are spread collars. Oxford style button down collars are fine without ties, but with ties they make you look like a college professor. Spread collars work with both tie and no tie so if you really want to be minimalist the spread collar is the way to go.

When simplicity and minimalism is your goal, button down shirts are the hardest part. Unless you want to become an expert ironer, you need to get them dry cleaned to continue looking fresh and clean. I find that I go through button down shirts about every six months, but I also do a lot of walking on my commute which means I get quite sweaty and those shirts don't stay fresh!

Don't forget to add some running gear to your closet too! It's important to stay healthy so you can enjoy the nice long life that the Boglehead mentality should allow you to financially live!

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Cb
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by Cb » Sat May 12, 2018 10:17 am

The Arthur Fonzarelli line works for me.

boglegirl
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by boglegirl » Sat May 12, 2018 11:05 am

livesoft wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:21 am
..
There is nothing fancy and nothing has changed since you were born.
...
I don't agree with this...men's clothing doesn't change as quickly as women's, but it does change.
DirtyJobs wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:29 am
...
If you're looking for longevity in fashion, good luck. Trends change way too quickly. The best bet is to buy decent quality brands in more neutral colors. I've found the best luck with navy, grey, black, blues, and whites. Those are the most timeless colors.
...
+1 When I married my husband, he dressed in sharp business attire which included pleated, cuffed, slacks that "broke" on the shoe. Today his slacks are flat-front, no cuffs, and barely skim the shoe. His old slacks would look ridiculous and dated.

I agree with the other posters who recommend staying in shape - your clothes will look much better.

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praxis
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by praxis » Sat May 12, 2018 11:23 am

3funder wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:28 am
A few dark suits (two would suffice)
A navy blue blazer
Khakis (tan/beige, navy blue)
Long-sleeve button-down dress shirts (white/sky blue mostly)
Neck ties (conservative colors; go easy on the patterns)
Short-sleeve polos (conservative colors; go easy on the patterns)
Dress socks (black/grey, navy blue)
Sperry Top-Siders (or something similar; light or dark brown)
Black dress shoes (w/laces)
Brown dress shoes (w/laces)

Don't spend a ton of money; my father was upper-management (bordering on executive) for decades and shopped mostly at Sears, Kmart, DSW, Famous Footwear, etc. No one cared, not one little bit.
This is a good list. A navy and a charcoal suit are smart choices. So is a navy or gray overcoat if you wear suits in winter weather. And you don't have to buy all these clothes at once. All these items cycle in sales all the time. Even decent quality clothes. Department store brands are mostly fine and any clerk will coach you on when the sales are coming. I still wear some of these staples that I bought 25 years ago.

Take care of them and they will last as long as you will, i.e. clean them regularly, hang coats on wide, not wire hangars, use simple shoe trees and polish your shoes when they get dull-it keeps the leather healthy, synthetic socks wick better and last longer than cotton and you can wash them in the shower on trips, same with underwear, avoid trendy styles and patterns-they'll look dated as early as next year.

Good advice to go easy on the patterns. I never wear any of my ties anymore, but I still have every tie I've ever owned probably because they take up no room in my closet. Luckily, I began avoiding loud ties early in my career, so I could wear most of them to an office today without stares from the jazzier dressers.

I

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topper1296
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by topper1296 » Sat May 12, 2018 11:32 am

TheFishGuy99 wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:16 am
Polo’s.

You can wear them to work, or at a bbq
Agreed. They are a timeless classic that has been a staple of my wardrobe for decades. I'm 44 now and have always been lean looking (6'4 205lbs) and I have several polo shirts I've been wearing for probably 12-15 years and they still look great.

I do think that a nice automatic watch is great addition (you don't have to spend a fortune for a decent one if you don't want to or can't afford to). I have a diver watch with a stainless steel bracelet that is great with khaki shorts or jeans or the occasional time I'm wearing a suit.

In general, I think building a timeless wardrobe also depends on your career/work environment and where you live (rural, urban, suburban...). I'm a professional (director of finance) in an urban area, however I work in an industry that is very casual and I wear jeans to work everyday. Our CEO wears Chuck Taylor's all the time.

GCD
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by GCD » Sat May 12, 2018 11:33 am

Bespoke suits and sports coats have more fabric in them in crucial places so they can be let out over time and not look bad. You may plan on getting fit and/or swear you're not gonna get fat, but life happens. It can go the other way too. TBH, you shouldn't even need to tell a competent tailor that you might gain or lose weight, they incorporate that almost universal eventuality into what they do. I returned to custom tailors over the years to have jackets and pants let out or taken in as my lifestyle changed.

When you go to buy your initial wardrobe, the salesman will inevitably try to sell you some of every color. Don't fall for that. What ends up happening is you wear the colors you like over and over and the green or brown jackets and pants sit in the closet. Stick to a few stock colors.

MJW
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by MJW » Sat May 12, 2018 11:36 am

nimo956 wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:41 am
No matter what clothes you buy, the most important rule is that they fit well. I'd therefore recommend using a tailor to have pants/shirts made for you (can be made to measure or bespoke, but bespoke is $$$). It makes so much difference not to have baggy/blousy shirts.

You want to avoid black pants, since that's for evening wear. Get a few pairs in different colors and fabrics. Either wool or cotton, and something like brown, dark gray, light gray, olive, and khaki.

You want to avoid wearing shirts that are darker than your pants, as it just looks odd. Light blue, white, ecru, and lavender all work. Stick with solid colors or vertical stripes for now, and then mix in a few patterns (check, gingham, etc). A buttoned collar and oxford cloth = more casual; a pointed collar and finer fabric = more formal. Be sure to get metal collar stays for pointed collars.

Get a navy blazer and maybe one other color like brown. The navy blazer can be worn with any of the colored pants mentioned above, making it very versatile (though it can't be worn with black pants, which is another reason to favor gray pants instead).

For shoes, you want to get goodyear welted shoes in a few styles (oxford, wholecut, monkstrap, etc.). Go with black, brown, and burgundy to start. More broguing = more casual. Different colored shoelaces are an inexpensive way to change the look without having to buy different shoes.

Socks should be to the knee, otherwise they slide down over the day and people can see your calf if you cross your legs.

For belts, get full hide leather only in black, brown, and maybe burgundy.

Choose ties that bring in several different colors in the shirts, pants, blazer. Never wear a tie without a blazer.

This site has several helpful articles on how to select clothing: https://www.gentlemansgazette.com/
This x150.

Also ditto to the feedback about losing/gaining weight. I lost about 35 lbs over six months and have gone down a size or more with most of my attire.

OP - it sounds like you are in a nice situation with your office dress code to mix it up a bit with some days being more conservative/formal and others add a little more business casual flair. For more formal I go with navy or grey suits with white, blue, lavender or stripe shirts and generally conservative ties. The next tier down can be the most fun. A navy or tan/brown blazer with a pair of odd trousers, a conservative shirt and a colorful tie is one option. OCBD and long sleeve BD sport shirts are great options as well. They can be dressed up with wool trousers and a blazer or sweater, worn a little more casually with a pair of chinos or even with a nice pair of dark denim and good shoes. I do all of the above depending on the situation.

Have fun. Wear stuff that fits you well and compliments your personality and sense of style.

livesoft
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by livesoft » Sat May 12, 2018 12:17 pm

boglegirl wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 11:05 am
+1 When I married my husband, he dressed in sharp business attire which included pleated, cuffed, slacks that "broke" on the shoe. Today his slacks are flat-front, no cuffs, and barely skim the shoe. His old slacks would look ridiculous and dated.
I think most people would agree that pleated, cuffed slacks always looked ridiculous. I remember avoiding them at the time. Flat-front, no cuffs were always available.

Gingham seems to be a thing nowadays, but one doesn't need any gingham patterns in their wardrobe.
https://www.thecut.com/2015/10/men-wear ... hirts.html
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Sandi_k
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by Sandi_k » Sat May 12, 2018 1:47 pm

TheFishGuy99 wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:16 am
Polo’s.

You can wear them to work, or at a bbq
God, no. The collars curl quickly, and the knit clings to every extra ounce.

They scream "I shop at Sears, and can't be bothered to find something flattering and snazzy." If OP is on the dating scene, do not slide into the laziness of Polos.

IMO, of course. A *bit* of tongue-in-cheek, but not a lot.

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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by Sandi_k » Sat May 12, 2018 1:52 pm

One additional note:

Every woman I know is a fan of a *good*, well-proportioned, nicely fitting button-down *white* shirt.

Not a business shirt, but a "casual" button down white shirt - Robert Graham is a current hot brand, if a bit expensive and a bit...flashy for my tastes. They're cut a bit long and a bit wide, meant to be worn outside your trousers, and unbelted. For a more casual outing, it might be worth buying a couple of his plainer shirts. ;)

With a closer-fitting white shirt, you can add a sport coat, or a zip-up merino wool sweater, in conjunction with flat-front trousers and good shoes. A nice watch is a classy touch.

ETadvisor
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by ETadvisor » Sat May 12, 2018 2:00 pm

3funder wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:28 am
A few dark suits (two would suffice)
A navy blue blazer
Khakis (tan/beige, navy blue)
Long-sleeve button-down dress shirts (white/sky blue mostly)
Neck ties (conservative colors; go easy on the patterns)
Short-sleeve polos (conservative colors; go easy on the patterns)
Dress socks (black/grey, navy blue)
Sperry Top-Siders (or something similar; light or dark brown)
Black dress shoes (w/laces)
Brown dress shoes (w/laces)

Don't spend a ton of money; my father was upper-management (bordering on executive) for decades and shopped mostly at Sears, Kmart, DSW, Famous Footwear, etc. No one cared, not one little bit.

This but I would add wool dress pants (black/blue/tan/gray) a gray suit, belts (black and brown) and dress/casual shoe (w/o laces). Caveat: Only timeless if your body appearance stays the same or similar.

stimulacra
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by stimulacra » Sat May 12, 2018 2:01 pm

Gardener wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:12 am
I want to get your advice on building a time less quality men's wardrobe with as few articles of clothing (I'm a bit of a minimalist) as possible for both business and going out after work. It'd be good to just buy some essentials that I can interchange during the week.

I'm willing to spend more for clothing that will last, but certainly don't want to spend more than necessary.

I am in my mid-30's, newly single, and live in the north east. Appropriate attire for my work is business casual to suit and suit and tie a couple of days per week. Also, I am beginning to date again and probably need to step up my game a bit.

Any advice on building a wardrobe would be appreciated.
You can Google “Capsule Wardrobe” for a lot of interesting ideas filtered through a minimalist lens.

A great foundation book on classic menswear as a general topic would be Alan Flusser's “Dressing the Man”. The colors of the clothes you wear need to compliment your complexion and frame your face. The book is great at explaining the how and why of timeless style for men.

For me, my capsule wardrobe foundation are wingtips, slacks and OCBD shirts for work. With accessories (blazer and knit tie to go up in formality, jeans and sneakers to go down) that can get me through 90% of scenarios. The remaining 10% either involves me wearing t-shirts and shorts or a suit.

Casual clothes for dating is a whole other ball of wax. I guess more context would be needed to give any meaningful advice there. Avoid “restaurant shirts” if you want to date women under 35.
Last edited by stimulacra on Sat May 12, 2018 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PhilosophyAndrew
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by PhilosophyAndrew » Sat May 12, 2018 2:02 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 12:17 pm
I think most people would agree that pleated, cuffed slacks always looked ridiculous. I remember avoiding them at the time. Flat-front, no cuffs were always available.
Livesoft, I’m not sure how old you are or where you have lived, but I’m in my 50s and remember several periods when cuffs and half- or even full-breaks were respected choices for formal menswear.

OP, any ‘timeless’ wardrobe will have some elements that go out of fashion in the future. However, if your clothes fit you, you enjoy wearing them, and you wear them with sufficient poise and confidence, then it is fine to ignore the noise fashion trendiness. Some men today can pull off pleats and cuffs perfectly fine, just as some coudl pull off flat front, no-break trousers when those choices were unfashionable.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve cared more about having fewer, nicer pieces. I now try to research the provenance of my clothes and prefer to purchase brands that I am reasonably confident don’t use slave or other exploiters labor.

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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by MJW » Sat May 12, 2018 2:29 pm

Sandi_k wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 1:47 pm
TheFishGuy99 wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:16 am
Polo’s.

You can wear them to work, or at a bbq
God, no. The collars curl quickly, and the knit clings to every extra ounce.

They scream "I shop at Sears, and can't be bothered to find something flattering and snazzy." If OP is on the dating scene, do not slide into the laziness of Polos.

IMO, of course. A *bit* of tongue-in-cheek, but not a lot.
I wear polos as casual-wear only and do not see them as business or "dressy" attire. Since moving to the west coast I see fewer examples of people wearing them compared to the Midwest. Polos with khakis as "business casual" seemed to be more a thing there. Probably because of the longer, hotter summers. But, meh.

pintail07
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by pintail07 » Sat May 12, 2018 4:21 pm

I buy all suits and sport coats and shirts custom made. Below is a link to great shirt tailor with incredible prices, have some of their shirts that are 10 years old:

BestCustomShirt.com

stimulacra
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by stimulacra » Sat May 12, 2018 5:13 pm

MJW wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 2:29 pm
Sandi_k wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 1:47 pm
TheFishGuy99 wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:16 am
Polo’s.

You can wear them to work, or at a bbq
God, no. The collars curl quickly, and the knit clings to every extra ounce.

They scream "I shop at Sears, and can't be bothered to find something flattering and snazzy." If OP is on the dating scene, do not slide into the laziness of Polos.

IMO, of course. A *bit* of tongue-in-cheek, but not a lot.
I wear polos as casual-wear only and do not see them as business or "dressy" attire. Since moving to the west coast I see fewer examples of people wearing them compared to the Midwest. Polos with khakis as "business casual" seemed to be more a thing there. Probably because of the longer, hotter summers. But, meh.
The only time I see polo shirts (or golf or tennis knit shirts) as business casual is with IT or manufacturing-oriented sales rep.

BrooklynInvest
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by BrooklynInvest » Sat May 12, 2018 6:02 pm

1. Decent white shirts, and donate 'em when they're anything but bright white. Charles Trywhitt on sale is my go to. Good for work, good for after work

2. Couple of decent sport coats if work environment warrants. Bonobos has some neat and fun jackets that also look good with jeans

3. Speaking of, their weekday warrior pants are good for work and wear well

4. Don't laugh, Target's Goodfella jeans for going out. The price is right and they look much more expensive

5. Shoes. Don't need to go nuts but Johnston & Murphy are my sweet spot for fit and price

Good luck!

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Cycle
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by Cycle » Sat May 12, 2018 6:11 pm

DirtyJobs wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:29 am
I'm 34 and I think the biggest plus I've found is first concentrating on keeping a healthy weight/frame. If you're out of shape or obese, it won't matter how much you spend on clothes. A guy in decent shape wearing a $20 Kohl's brand polo will look better than a guy with a beer gut in a $300 tailored shirt.

If you're looking for longevity in fashion, good luck. Trends change way too quickly. The best bet is to buy decent quality brands in more neutral colors. I've found the best luck with navy, grey, black, blues, and whites. Those are the most timeless colors.

Also, on dating, I've noticed women will complement good looking shoes more than anything. So it's usually the most expensive part of my wardrobe.
Yep, cold but true. Paleo diet will get and keep one there. Exercise every day, perhaps by cycling to work which is an easy way.

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FIREchief
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by FIREchief » Sat May 12, 2018 6:12 pm

Being FIRE'd and in a long term marriage makes this a whole lot easier. Just buy what's comfortable and have one cheap suit (in case somebody gets married or dies). :sharebeer
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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tdirgins
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by tdirgins » Sat May 12, 2018 6:16 pm

Dappered.com does a $1500 wardrobe breakdown every year. Check this out: https://dappered.com/2017/11/how-to-wea ... robe-2017/

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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by afan » Sat May 12, 2018 6:51 pm

styleforum.net

This question gets asked constantly and there are innumerable threads with opinions.

Pleats and cuffs have been in style for at least 100 years. If you look at OLD movies, pre WWII you will see plenty of them. You will see them throughout the twentieth century. The question is not whether "styles change" but whether you intend to follow those changes. MANY men simply refuse to do so. They get a suit they like, in a style they like, and wear it until it wears out. Over the years, it will be right in style sometimes and out of style others. They don't care. They know it will cycle back.

Right now, short slacks that stop way above the ankle, short sleeves that ride well above the wrist, tight fits and narrow lapels are in style. According to people who care about that. At my work, very few people dress like that. They all wear suits that were in style 20 or more years ago. They buy new suits in the same style.

As long as you don't go too far in the extremes- a zoot suit, some Saturday Night Fever monstrosity,- keep yourself in the middle of the road, you can blithely ignore the winds of fashion and those who tell you that a suit is "out of style". Or tell them "I know, but I like it anyway'" Maybe add a boglehead classic "it's paid for."
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kjvmartin
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by kjvmartin » Sat May 12, 2018 7:30 pm

stimulacra wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 5:13 pm
MJW wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 2:29 pm
Sandi_k wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 1:47 pm
TheFishGuy99 wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:16 am
Polo’s.

You can wear them to work, or at a bbq
God, no. The collars curl quickly, and the knit clings to every extra ounce.

They scream "I shop at Sears, and can't be bothered to find something flattering and snazzy." If OP is on the dating scene, do not slide into the laziness of Polos.

IMO, of course. A *bit* of tongue-in-cheek, but not a lot.
I wear polos as casual-wear only and do not see them as business or "dressy" attire. Since moving to the west coast I see fewer examples of people wearing them compared to the Midwest. Polos with khakis as "business casual" seemed to be more a thing there. Probably because of the longer, hotter summers. But, meh.
The only time I see polo shirts (or golf or tennis knit shirts) as business casual is with IT or manufacturing-oriented sales rep.
Plain clothes law enforcement is typically business casual. Polo shirt, khaki pants of various hues. I own very comfortable black and brown shoes and switch them every other day. For dating, I don't think you need to step much up. Long sleeve button down "sport shirt" for cooler weather and polo shirts for warmer. You could pair those with jeans, or go fancier and tuck it in with a sport coat.

My biggest folly in clothes buying is going crazy when something is on sale, buying a lot of them, but then determining it's a poor fit or choice for me.

Now I know to look for the stores that stock what fits *me* best and resist the temptation to window shop at malls/Costco.

kjvm.

reisner
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by reisner » Sat May 12, 2018 7:36 pm

Given that most of us wind up wearing casual or semi-casual shoes most of the time, to my thinking focus falls on the belt. Almost every man wears crap from a department store, even Nordstrom. Try Narragansett Leather on the low end ($60) or for the very best Clintonville Leather on the high end ($130) for something that you will wear the rest of your life and be proud of. Hollows Leather is overpriced and wears quickly in my view. One Star leather ain't bad.

afan
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by afan » Sat May 12, 2018 7:53 pm

I cannot imagine being proud of a belt.

The concept makes no sense to me.

If I had grown the calf, killed it, skinned it, tanned the leather and fashioned the belt myself then, still, probably not. But at least maybe.

But if I went to a store and bought a belt, what would there be to elicit pride? That my credit card was accepted?

If anyone knew I had paid $130 for a belt I would be humiliated at the waste of money. Pride? Hardly.
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Redfactor
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by Redfactor » Sat May 12, 2018 8:11 pm

For suits, I would do one solid navy and one solid medium or charcoal grey. No pinstripes and any pattern should be from the fabric weave.

I would get medium width labels, each notch rather than peak. No pick stitching. Stay away from suits that are too tight or arms holes that are too small. On the other side, stay away from "traditional" fits unless that's your body type. The jacket length should cover your butt, despite the current trend of ultra-short jackets. Sleeve lengths should not be too short, but should also not hang to the same length of your shirt cuff or longer.

Trousers should be flat front and not cuffed. The trousers should have a slight break. Stay away from no break -- especially if socks are seen from the front -- or half or full break. Don't make them too skinny but also baggy trousers look terrible and will continue to do so in the future.

I would get one blazer (navy) and one sportcoat (primarily grey).

Shirts for suits: White and blue -- no pockets. To wear with blazer or sportcoat: white and blue button down collars (pockets optional).

No skinny ties. If you can find wide-width ties being made right now, stay away from them, too.

I would stay away from polos. Those are fine if you're going to a BBQ or the beach. Unless it's a part of a business uniform, it shouldn't be worn to work if the intent is to convey professionalism.

Mr.BB
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by Mr.BB » Sat May 12, 2018 8:19 pm

Classic pinstripe suit
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PhilosophyAndrew
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by PhilosophyAndrew » Sat May 12, 2018 8:32 pm

afan wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 7:53 pm
I cannot imagine being proud of a belt.

The concept makes no sense to me.

If I had grown the calf, killed it, skinned it, tanned the leather and fashioned the belt myself then, still, probably not. But at least maybe.

But if I went to a store and bought a belt, what would there be to elicit pride? That my credit card was accepted?

If anyone knew I had paid $130 for a belt I would be humiliated at the waste of money. Pride? Hardly.
I can imagine valuing a belt’s materials, workmanship, or aesthetic beauty, and see nothing absurd in taking pride in owning an object with characteristics I value.

To me, “intentional consumption” of an object I valued in those (or other!) ways — and that I can afford — isn’t problematical at all. If you can’t afford to pay $130 for a belt, of course it would be unwise to purchase it. However, I see no virtue in unnecessary frugality.

To expand that last point: I find it useful to view savings and investments as deferred consumption to be used at some point by me, my spouse, my charities, or,after my death, by my heirs. Accumulating assets for accumulation’s sake may appeal to some, but seems pointless to me. Boglehead philosophy certainly does not require that.

Likewise, some voluntarily choose to live extremely frugal lives, but that is neither required by the Boglehead philosophy nor is especially virtuous according to Boglehead lights, at least as I understand Bogleheeadism.

Andy.

reisner
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by reisner » Sat May 12, 2018 8:38 pm

Afan,

I believe in not buying junk, made in a sweatshop, and replacing it every few years. I don't have the money to be a wasteful consumer, nor do I buy the costly short-lived gadgets stacked up in Costco. Nor fancy wheels for a fancy SUV. If buying something made by a craftsman, in America for a living wage, and enjoying it daily makes you feel ashamed, then there is something wrong with American consumerism. Well, of course there is.

The stuff I most demand quality of is the stuff I use daily, e.g., a belt, pen, wallet.

This website is full of discussions of goods priced comparably to the belts I mentioned. Ralph Lauren, Allen Edmunds, Alden. Hell--Dom Perignon! Few of these are of the quality that the craftsmen I named can produce.

I too am a minimalist, but that doesn't mean I'm not a materialist. I have only a six-foot closet, but what is in it will last a long time and looks good on me and I don't foul the earth with my discards.

For the original poster: Obstacles that I can see to buying a quality, well-rounded wardrobe and keeping it a long time are a few: For suits and blazers, lapels keep shrinking and narrowing, as do neckties. And remember pleated pants? The best shoes will last and last, but feet change with age. Myself, I hardly ever need to wear dress shoes.

Outside of business, at least in California, most men dress as if they are about to clean out the rain gutters. Baggy, bland, and often soiled or with holes.

In terms of a daily, classy outfit, cowboy clothes win the prize--a uniform but with panache. Boots, jeans, light-colored shirt
sturdy and possibly hand-tooled belt with an interesting buckle, hat. Dress wear is the same but nicer, maybe with a bolo tie and a jacket.
Last edited by reisner on Sun May 13, 2018 12:28 am, edited 3 times in total.

huy178
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by huy178 » Sat May 12, 2018 8:39 pm

https://www.youtube.com/user/RealMenRealStyle

Has a ton of great advice regarding how to dress well.

golfCaddy
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by golfCaddy » Sat May 12, 2018 8:59 pm

irishnick23 wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:57 am

Depending on your body type you can decide to go classic or slim fit. Slim fit almost always looks better, and I would always push my customers to try a slim fit on, even if they had thought all their lives they were classic. You may end up being classic, but at least give it a try.
Slim fit can look good if you have the body type for it, but is best avoided for most people in the office. Men's dress clothes shouldn't have the painted on look of skinny jeans. Nothing looks more unprofessional to me than when an overweight guy is wearing low rise pants and you can see the outline of his ... when he sits down.

randomguy
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by randomguy » Sat May 12, 2018 9:32 pm

Redfactor wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 8:11 pm


I would stay away from polos. Those are fine if you're going to a BBQ or the beach. Unless it's a part of a business uniform, it shouldn't be worn to work if the intent is to convey professionalism.
+1. Wearing a fancy polo shirt is a clear sign you suck at your job. The professionals that are competent all wear tshirts from the last conference they went to.:) Seriously wardrobes are very industry specific. I can't think of a single programmer I met that every wore a suit or even a tie to work. It would be considered unprofessional. At the other end I haven't met a single lawyer that doesn't wear one. It would be considered unprofessional to be seen without one on.

Dating is the same thing. You need to match you outfit to the audience. You want the best version of you not some version that has nothing to do with who you are. Find what your comfortable with and go with it.

bsteiner
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by bsteiner » Sat May 12, 2018 10:27 pm

The high end stores have major sales in June/July and in December/January.

HereToLearn
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by HereToLearn » Sat May 12, 2018 10:52 pm

I skimmed the responses so may have missed, but has anyone mentioned that young men are not wearing black shoes with their navy suits? All I have seen the past few years is a shade of brown that I think of as British Tan.

Also, someone mentioned the expense of dry cleaning. Brooks Brothers (even the outlet center) makes a no-iron shirt that is truly no-iron. Comes out of the dryer looking amazing, wash after wash. More expensive up front but you will save on the dry cleaning. J. Crew's no-iron shirt emerges wrinkled, so take a pass on that one.

Agree with skipping the polo shirts in the office.

Gardener
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by Gardener » Sun May 13, 2018 5:35 am

Original Poster Here.

Very grateful for the quality of responses here.

I'm going to sit down today and inventory what I have and what I want to add to complete my wardrobe.

Amateur question about button down shirts and clothes in general. Do I simply purchase a shirt or whatever article of clothing that fits me as well as possible and then if needed take it to a tailor to fine tune it to fit my body better? Totally agree that clothes that fit is very important and looks a lot better.

Are there any one stop shops to complete an entire wardrobe (w/higher quality clothing) that will last?

ChrisMD
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by ChrisMD » Sun May 13, 2018 6:31 am

Gardener wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 5:35 am
Original Poster Here.

Are there any one stop shops to complete an entire wardrobe (w/higher quality clothing) that will last?

https://jhilburn.com/

Hockey10
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by Hockey10 » Sun May 13, 2018 8:13 am

If you are physically fit, stay there for the rest of your life. If you are not physically fit, get in shape, and then stay there for the rest of your life.

I was in great shape when I left the Army. But, during 3 decades in the corporate world, I added 40 pounds at one point. I am now back to my Army weight. This drop in weight made most of my clothes useless. I went from an XL Polo to a M for example. I have essentially purchased a new wardrobe and donated all of the older clothes. I don't even want to think about the thousands of :dollar that I wasted by letting myself gain that much weight.

afan
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by afan » Sun May 13, 2018 8:26 am

reisner wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 8:38 pm
Afan,

I believe in not buying junk, made in a sweatshop, and replacing it every few years. I don't have the money to be a wasteful consumer, nor do I buy the costly short-lived gadgets stacked up in Costco. Nor fancy wheels for a fancy SUV. If buying something made by a craftsman, in America for a living wage, and enjoying it daily makes you feel ashamed, then there is something wrong with American consumerism. Well, of course there is.

The stuff I most demand quality of is the stuff I use daily, e.g., a belt, pen, wallet.

This website is full of discussions of goods priced comparably to the belts I mentioned. Ralph Lauren, Allen Edmunds, Alden. Hell--Dom Perignon! Few of these are of the quality that the craftsmen I named can produce.

I too am a minimalist, but that doesn't mean I'm not a materialist. I have only a six-foot closet, but what is in it will last a long time and looks good on me and I don't foul the earth with my discards.

For the original poster: Obstacles that I can see to buying a quality, well-rounded wardrobe and keeping it a long time are a few: For suits and blazers, lapels keep shrinking and narrowing, as do neckties. And remember pleated pants? The best shoes will last and last, but feet change with age. Myself, I hardly ever need to wear dress shoes.

Outside of business, at least in California, most men dress as if they are about to clean out the rain gutters. Baggy, bland, and often soiled or with holes.

In terms of a daily, classy outfit, cowboy clothes win the prize--a uniform but with panache. Boots, jeans, light-colored shirt
sturdy and possibly hand-tooled belt with an interesting buckle, hat. Dress wear is the same but nicer, maybe with a bolo tie and a jacket.
Two completely separate issues.
Quality
Pride

Quality
It will take a lot more than simple assertion to convince me that one needs to spend $130 for a durable belt. I have a belt that I "made" years ago. I bought a strap of latigo of appropriate length, width and thickness. Added a buckle, punched some holes and I had a belt. It is still in excellent condition and should last me a long time. It cost nowhere close to $50.

Pride
I am not proud of my belt. It is just a belt.

It would make no more sense to be proud of it than to be proud of the pencil I am about to use. There is nothing wrong with my pencil but there is nothing to be proud of either.

I assume if I searched I could find someone who would sell me a $10 pencil. That person might try to justify the absurd price by claiming I should be proud of it. It would still be nonsense. It is a pencil.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama

afan
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by afan » Sun May 13, 2018 8:35 am

PhilosophyAndrew wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 8:32 pm

I can imagine valuing a belt’s materials, workmanship, or aesthetic beauty,
I suppose. Maybe, barely. I mean. It is a belt. There are billions of belts in the world. What is the big deal?

But even if I could stretch to appreciating the object itself, somehow above the billions of other pencils in the world, why would I take pride in it?

Could I just as much appreciate a belt I saw at a store or online but never purchased? The belt would have all the same properties whether I owned it or not. Could I take pride in having seen it? Or in knowing it existed without ever seeing it?

Should I be proud that there is probably someone, somewhere, who will make me a $130 pencil? Or do I have to buy one to get this feeling of pride?

And why is purchased pride something I would want?
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama

livesoft
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by livesoft » Sun May 13, 2018 8:36 am

Gardener wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 5:35 am
Amateur question about button down shirts and clothes in general. Do I simply purchase a shirt or whatever article of clothing that fits me as well as possible and then if needed take it to a tailor to fine tune it to fit my body better? Totally agree that clothes that fit is very important and looks a lot better.

Are there any one stop shops to complete an entire wardrobe (w/higher quality clothing) that will last?
You have some wishful thinking going on here.

1. Almost nobody uses a tailor to touch up their clothes. Ask your friends, family, and neighbors and they will be incredulous that anybody uses tailors.

2. Clothes that are worn, washed, and used cannot last. For instance: The points of collars will wear. The edges of pants cuffs that scrape the ground will wear. Shoes will wear. If you want your clothes to last, then don't wear them and don't wash them. That means when you come home from somewhere you change into gym shorts and a T-shirt.

If you wash your clothes, then be sure the zippers are zipped up and the fly buttoned. Open zippers will snag and damage other clothes in the washer / dryer with them.
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Jags4186
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by Jags4186 » Sun May 13, 2018 8:50 am

I do my best not to participate in events which require more than t shirt and jeans. Levi jeans and American Apparal poly/cotton blend t shirts. In the winter I have some pull over 1/4 zip up sweaters.

I have 1 suit I bought from Macy’s. It is my interview/wedding/funeral suit.

I am a manufacturers rep and my work attire is either a company branded polo/button down and dockers khakis from Kohl’s.

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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by abuss368 » Sun May 13, 2018 8:50 am

A few things that I did as the years went on to make getting ready for work each day easier, and my spouse who does all the laundry, was to eliminate a few things that I historically purchased. Specifically, I went to plain black socks. I removed all the different colors with no more need to match once washed or in the mornings. I also eliminated brown belts and brown shoes. Did anyone ever notice how bad worn, scorched, or scuffed brown shoes look when black is so much better. If anything, we have folks in our office who are beginning to wear casual sneaker type shoes and they look fine. I used to buy and maintain all these combinations and all it did was result in more expense and complexity (at least for us).

In my experience, a few things can go a long way.
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Re: Advice on building a timeless mens wardrobe?

Post by nimo956 » Sun May 13, 2018 8:57 am

Gardener wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 5:35 am
Original Poster Here.

Very grateful for the quality of responses here.

I'm going to sit down today and inventory what I have and what I want to add to complete my wardrobe.

Amateur question about button down shirts and clothes in general. Do I simply purchase a shirt or whatever article of clothing that fits me as well as possible and then if needed take it to a tailor to fine tune it to fit my body better? Totally agree that clothes that fit is very important and looks a lot better.

Are there any one stop shops to complete an entire wardrobe (w/higher quality clothing) that will last?
Look for a men's clothing store with a made to measure program. You essentially choose a pre-made design for a shirt and pants that fits you well. Then you flip through huge books of fabrics to choose how you want it made. Also, I wouldn't recommend doing it online. You really need an experienced tailor to measure you.
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