Let’s be honest, most men hate shopping even for ourselves. I personally don’t mind tagging along with a girl and watching her try on dress after dress, finding the most minuscule thing not to like about it. I think it’s adorable. But when it comes to me? I hate it. I haven’t tried on a shirt in a department store since 2002. I shop for clothes once a season, and rarely do I actually leave my apartment or the office to do it.
How? I know my body. I know the brands I like and how they fit me. I know that I’m one of those guys that is in between sizes, so I buy pants that are in my range and get them tailored every time. I’ve got it down to a science to maximize productivity and minimize the amount of time I ever have to spend in a store. Here are some tips on how to shop like a (well-dressed) guy without spending too much money while minimizing your trips to the store.
Shop like you’re sponsored. At any given moment, I’m wearing one or more of these three brands: Ben Sherman, Original Penguin and Hugh & Crye. The reason for this is because I know how all of these brands fit me. They are the only brands in my years of shopping that fit me off the rack almost perfectly. It takes a little trial and error, but find what brands are in your style and fit you well, then buy them online.
Automate your bargain hunting. I used to love going to the mall.Then I realized that malls are magnets for people who don’t get out much and walk too slow. So now I do most of my shopping online and I rarely buy items at full price. For this purpose, I recommend the following sites:
Shop It To Me – This site compiles all the sales that are happening on hundreds of different sites and emails me once per week. It’s fully customizable, so it only alerts me about sales on brands and sizes that I choose.
Rue La La – This is an email-based online retailer that sort of works like Groupon. Each day, they have a deal on some expensive stuff. I once bought a pair of $700 dress shoes for less than $200. A little warning, though: their emails can get a little annoying. I set up filters for them so only emails that would interest me get through.
ASOS – This UK-based online retailer has free shipping both ways. So the trial and error that I talked about earlier doesn’t cost you a dime. Plus they usually have ridiculous sales.
Know your fit. As I stated above, I know how certain brands fit me and fit is very important to looking good. It doesn’t matter if you buy a $1,500 suit. If it doesn’t fit, you’re going to look like a jaggoff. Enter Alton Lane. Using a combination of technology and old-fashioned ball-fondling measurement, Alton Lane will scan your entire body and give you the exact measure of every part of your body. They store your information, and when you go online, you can order fully tailored suits for less than $700. They also sell blazers, pants and shirts. The scan is painless and free, just make an appointment. We’ve raved on and on about Hugh & Crye on this site, so I won’t need to go into detail about their well-fitting shirts for every body type.
And speaking of fit. Do you have a tailor? Every man over the age of 25 should have one go-to tailor. Tailored attire not only makes you look sharper, but also tends to last longer. You’ll have to do your research on which tailor you choose. For example, I live in DC, but I get my heavy tailoring done in Tysons Corner. If you’re just adjusting pant length, then a local dry cleaner will usually do the trick.
Have an outfit in mind. Don’t buy a shirt just because it looks cool or it’s a great deal. If you don’t already own something that goes with it, chances are you’re buying out of your comfort zone. Think of your favorite pair of jeans or a shirt and ask yourself will this go with them? Also, a side note on jeans, I’m a firm believer that guys should not own more than one pair of going out jeans.
Stick with classics. Stay away from trends, they come and go. Appear classy (even if you aren’t) by remaining loyal to the classics. I like to browse blogs like Liftluxe and GQ from time to time to get ideas on how to pair certain items before I start shopping. Liftluxe has a great “Dress Like…” series with a guide on how to pull off the same look as celebrities, such as Joseph Gordon Levitt, without ending up looking like you watched 500 Days of Summer too many times are in search of your very own Zooey Deschanel.
There you have it. The season is almost over so start stocking up on t-shirts and short-sleeved shirts. You can wear those at any season around DC. Happy shopping.
- Eric Wang