Since no one reads this site on weekends, I think weekends would be the ideal time for me to post about stuff that most of you don’t want to read about: Music, foods, fashion, that sort of thing. We read the Internet to have our obsessions and opinions reinforced, not to have our horizons expanded, right? Are you with me!?
A few people have asked me for some clothing pointers since the last bit I posted on the topic. Not in a “You are a fashion expert” or “Rate my wardrobe please” sense, because that would be ridiculous. Just a few requests for some general pointers on where to find decent, respectable threads… which is good, because that’s all I’m qualified to weigh in on.
The short answer is “find a good consignment shop,” but I guess that’s not very reliable. So let’s try again.
There are a lot of factors to consider when finding a favorite spot — pricing, quality, style, all that stuff — but again, I find myself slave to fit. It’s hard to find the sweet spot of clothing that fits your style and your body, but the latter is definitely the more important consideration since you can always tweak style or accessorize or whatever to make something your own. But if you look like your clothes just shrank in the wash or like you’re 10 and just raided your dad’s closet, you might as well not even bother.
For my money, I’ve found good success with an online joint called Frank & Oak, which launched last year specifically with the intention of making shopping a no-brainer for 20- and 30-something males who find the idea of fashion bewildering. They have pretty good prices and respectable quality, and while the sizing guidelines on their site can be a little misleading (I wear their clothes in a 38R for jackets, S for shirts, while their charts led me to assume I should be buying a 40R/size M) the things I’ve bought from them over the past half year are steadily becoming my go-to selections on a daily basis.
Their clothing runs the gamut from athletic to dressy, but their athletic stuff is a step or two above typical shapeless sweats and their dressy stuff dresses down well. Their style manages to walk a tricky line between formal, retro, casual, and hipster, being none of these things but lending themselves to interpretation, and they use a lot of interesting fabrics that keep their prices down while still adding a touch of personality to their offerings.
For instance, this is the most recent shirt I picked up from them. I’ve worn it both tucked in with a blazer and tie, and loose over jeans, and it works either way. The fabric has an unusual texture — the site describes it as “denim-like,” bit it’s almost like chambray with a bit of tooth. In any case, it’s nice, and the texture helps it tread that middle ground between dress and casual.
I also recently picked up a red chambray tie, which is already one of my favorite ties. The cottony material means it doesn’t work for formal wear, but it pairs nicely with jeans, cotton, and casual wool… and it’s the first tie I’ve ever owned that doesn’t work its knot loose by the end of the day. The tooth of chambray makes it slightly self-adhesive, so the knot stays tight. It’s a pretty clever application of textile design.
Anyway, that’s a good starting point if you want a quick cheat sheet to upgrading your wardrobe without abandoning the casual look — F&O actually does live up its billing, and I’m a fan. I actually went about my visual improvements the wrong way, going very dressy and only recently coming back around to more casual but deliberate. Don’t make this tragic error yourself, my friends.