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Mens Fashion

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:23 pm
by Jin+Guice
It seems like most of y'all are anti-fashion. We are an anti-consumer group and most recent fashion is based on shitty labor practices and fast turnover. I used to be anti-fashion for similar reasons. One day I was sitting in NYC watching all of the beautiful women pass by and something occurred to me, they were all well dressed. I started dressing better myself, which at the time involved buying fashionable sneakers (up until then I just wore my running shoes all the time, they usually had holes in them) and a few cheap dress and polo shirts. These things quickly wore out and my cheapskate and anti-consumerist sides were both frustrated. However, the increased attention from the opposite sex was enough to make the change permanent.

Rethinking the problem from an ERE framework, I realized I had been approaching the problem the wrong way. What I really want is quality. For men especially, it's not difficult to own a few classic pieces of quality clothing and always look good. Like most born into consumer households, I am very bad at determining quality.

Does anyone know how to determine quality in clothes? Specifically I'm looking for advice about mens jeans, polo shirts, dress shirts and suits. This is where I have the most trouble. In the spirit of ERE I'm more interested in what the signs of quality clothing are and why those things are important rather than specific brands, but if you have a brand of these you swear by, I'm open to hearing about it.

My specific wardrobe malfunctions include: Jeans always wearing out in the crotch (I bike a lot), dress pants always ripping when I take the high step onto a stage and shirts wearing out near the pockets, ripping in the back when I'm reaching for something or wearing out in the armpits. Perhaps there are specific construction elements (i.e. skinny vs regular jeans) that address specific problems?

Does anyone get clothes tailored or custom made?

How does thrifting and getting something tailored compare with having something custom made?

Does anyone make or mend there own clothes? What are the easy wins in this area? Is it necessary to own a sewing machine to mend? What problems are generally not worth solving?

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:02 pm
by 7Wannabe5
Well, I am not an expert on fashion, but these are the kind of pants I like to see on a man.



Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:04 pm
by prognastat
I don't spend too much time or thought on fashion. Also the female attention derived from wearing noticeably more expensive fashion isn't the kind of female attention I want. I don't want the attention to come from financial signifiers as this actively decreases the odds of finding someone like minded while increasing the odds that the attention is coming from someone more interested in the source of the clothes rather than what's in them(me).

I don't wear the cheapest stuff I can find though. I have 2 pairs of shoes. A pair of boots(Hanwag Grünten) for regular wear and some chuck's for in the gym. I spend a little more on jeans, I get heavier fabric which takes a little to wear in, but lasts well. I have price watches set to get them on sale. I have 3 pairs of jeans(2 blue, 1 black):

As for t-shirts I have too many already from birthday/Christmas presents etc, enough to last me for years. I tend to favour long skinny t-shirts.

I also feel that it's more worthwhile to invest in getting in shape as this will both improve your health, reduce healthcare costs and actually also improve your appearance. You can look better in a cheap t-shirt if you are in good physical shape than someone in bad shape wearing an expensive one.

I think 7W5 agreed with me on the worthwhile getting in shape part of my comment XD Or maybe she just REALLY likes those pants.

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:26 pm
by Bankai
I believe ERE is quite compatible with being well dressed. The reason is, since you are paying attention to both your budget and environmental footprint, you will naturally gravitate towards smaller but better quality wardrobe. Quality generally means better looking, and in the long term, also cheaper.

With this being said, things should progress in a certain order.

1) Getting one's body weight into the target range. There's little point spending money on clothing that will be too small/big in a couple of months.

2) Clothes should fit well. For example, someone tall and slim should be only buying 'slim fit' pants and shirts. Someone moderately athletic will look very good in pretty much anything, as long as it fits well.

3) Every skin tone has certain colours that complement it best. For example, I'm quite pale so I mainly wear navy blue and some brown, light blue, green and black. On the other hand, someone with darker, olive skin can look great in yellow, while I look ridiculous in it. Also, keeping your wardrobe in a few colours that all go well with your skin tone as well as with each other, almost anything will go well with almost anything else.

4) Shoes and accessories are best kept in classic colours. I personally prefer black or mainly black footwear as it goes well with everything.

5) Tops are more important than pants. In fact, no one really pays attention to guys' pants. They should be fitting well and not be in flashy colours, and that's pretty much it. If you want to wear a 'flashy' piece, shirts are generally a better choice for that.

6) T-shirts should be of good quality (you will wash them after each use), well fitting and single colour. Ideally, if you're in a t-shirt, women should be looking at your pecs and not try to read this bizarre sentence running across your belly.

6) You can buy all your socks the same and no one will notice as long as they are not flashy. It's much more efficient this way. Also, quality is king. I'm currently in the process of replacing all my socks with merino wool while they die.

It's worth remembering that women are very good at spotting details like that drop of ketchup on your shirt, or that odd hair sticking out of your nose.

Since vast majority of guys doesn't pay the slightest attention to how they look, I believe that almost any guy can get into 10% best looking by simply being normal weight, having correct posture and following few principles - only wearing clothes that fit well, are 'right' colours for one's skin tone and being clean and well groomed.

PS - I know this doesn't really answer any of your questions, but I just felt like writing it since I've been thinking about this a bit lately.

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:53 pm
by black_son_of_gray
My opinion on "fashion" stems entirely about the individual's motivation. Motivations range from: people like their clothes (either the cut, color, or material), a genuine expression of their stylistic preferences, signaling (wealth, clique, attractiveness, affiliation, etc.) to others, advertising-driven consumerism in its basest form, etc. All of these generate a sense of "feeling good" - i.e. it feels good to know that you are looking good in a nicely-cut outfit that you really like; it feels good to fit in with others; it feels good to scratch the gnawing itch of "something isn't right in my life and buying something will provide a brief relief"/"retail therapy". I recommend considering what your top priorities are, as that will steer your approach.

@ OP: I blew through the crotches of a couple pairs of pants ("phrasing"!) before I figured out that a slight adjustment of the saddle (specifically, where along the rails the seat post was clamping down) dramatically cut down on fabric wear. Maybe this will work for you.

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:10 pm
by C40
Well... I think clothing durability and fashion aren't related very strongly.

For looking good, in order:
1 - be in good shape
2 - be handsome/beautiful
3 - Wear clothes that fit you well and compliment your body
4 - wear something within what is currently fashionable (I aim to do this by wearing classic styles, not fads that will be out of fashion before the clothes wear out)
5 - actual quality of the clothes (it's the LEAST important)

Personally, when "out", I almost only wear:
- Levis jeans (you can figure out what style # and size work well for you one time, and then buy that when it's on sale for ~$25 without even needing to try them on)
- A plain white T-shirt (Hanes slim fit work pretty well for me)
- Old Redwing boots
- If it's cool, a Levis trucker jacket (in a color that contrasts the jeans and shirt
- If it's really cold, a waxed cotton field jacket layered over something else

This simple classic style looks better than nearly all others and as good as anything else (a suit or tux included). Complication and extravagance themselves don't add attractiveness, and can specifically detract from it when a person looks out of place, like they are trying too hard, etc.

I stopped thrifting (for now) because I ended up with too many clothes that don't all match eachother easily. So I've been buying only shirts that match the one color of jeans I buy. As for wearing out, idk if I'm easier on clothes or what, but mine don't wear out that quickly. I do buy cheap clothes (like $3-4 shirts and $25 jeans) so even as they do wear out, it's cheap to buy more.

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:51 pm
by daylen
One thing I was naive about until recently was picking the right shirt color for your complexion.

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:38 pm
by Jin+Guice
Haha, nice pics. There's something weirdly attractive about a woman I can't see when she stands next to me.

I agree that being totally cut is the best male fashion choice. Health beats fashion every time for reasons that extend beyond but include looking as attractive as possible. If having a six pack and wearing nice clothes were mutually exclusive I'd certainly pick the former, but they aren't. I admit I'm not in dime piece condition, though I am trying to improve (I'm not in bad shape, but I had really shit health advice early on which has left me with way more cardio endurance than upper body strength. I also like eating a lot and as a consequence I'm slightly fat).

I do think that having quality clothing is commensurate with ERE and a worthwhile goal. Fashion gets a bad wrap because we associate it with buying new clothes all the time and the dopeamine push from shopping. To be part of society we do need to own clothes though, so why not own a limited quantity of high quality clothes that look great on the person wearing them? I own simple high quality kitchen items that I use everyday, give me the cast iron skillet and pressure cooker of mens fashion. Ideally I would buy a few classic pieces that never go "out of style" that would last forever. I don't think this is possible but this is the gold standard. I'm not talking about buying overpriced shittily made t-shirt so one is "in style" for the next 2 months. I'm talking about owning the good shit. I don't see owning nice clothes as different than owning the nicest tool for any other job.

Perhaps the argument is function over form, but this just isn't how the human mind is wired. I've yet to meet the sweaty fat "nice guy" with a stained t-shirt who is pursing the sweaty fat "nice girl" in a dumpy top. The complaint is always that he can't get the cute girl in a nice dress.

Said differently, I like my women sexy and well dressed and I expect them to expect the same from me. I agree with the statement Banaki made that most men don't even try, so it's an easy win and I disagree that wearing nice clothes is simply signaling for sugar babies. In my experience women are as expensive as you want them to be. The vast majority aren't interested in supporting your broke azz, but there are plenty of them who aren't interested in being supported by you either.

My gf owns several high-quality dresses that look great but are also highly durable. She found one new brand that is high quality and otherwise buys vintage. I supposed I could do the same, but this feels like a sellout. I'd like to know what makes a quality garmet? How long should a piece of clothing last? Do attractive cuts sacrifice durability? How does one pick the right cut?

If anyone would like to comment on the more in depth OP questions about how to spot and attain quality, please don't lose the thread!

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:00 am
by Peanut
There is an old book from the 70s called "Color Me Beautiful" that is the best for determining what palette is most flattering for you. It famously says, 'you can wear every color, but not every shade.' And it has four palettes depending on the type of coloring you have. I am not sure if it works for everyone but it has worked for me. It is so ingrained in me I even reflexively use it to select soft furnishings, etc for my house. For men there tends to be a more limited palette to choose from anyway, so I think it's helpful to know what shades of blue are preferable for you, and whether you should select browns over black or greys.

For quality I like natural fabrics over newer blends like rayon and poly, except for when it comes to vintage (which I highly recommend in general for better quality and individual style). Follow your gf's example! This is because often older synthetics are heavier and more durable than newer ones. There are different types of natural fibers like ringspun cotton vs standard raw, merino and cashmere (with various plys) and so on. I'm no expert but I did read something interesting about how as the old mills for manufacturing cotton closed like here in the U.S. the quality of the fibers themselves have often declined. Nowadays technical blended fibers are all the rage bc of the athleisure movement. In general I'm not big on blends but some of them come with lifetime warranties so that certainly doesn't hurt. I do own one Lulu hoodie and it's very sturdy.

I think clothing should last forever but you can't wear it all the time if that's what you want. Rotating helps especially for woolens which sometimes just need airing out rather than repeated drycleaning. To keep clothes a long time it helps if you clean them well. I use oxy for pre-treating any stains, method detergent with a scoop of oxygen powder for color, and wash in a front-loading washer. Works for my stuff and especially the clothes my kids stain on a daily basis! If I have delicate t-shirts etc I use a mesh laundry bag to wash them in so they don't get too much rubbing contact with the other clothes in the wash. This preserves them really well. And I sort not by color but type, so I never wash jeans with more delicate shirts for the same reason.

To get the right cuts for you you need to figure out what body type you have. Like relatively short or long waisted, short or long legs. If some aspect is off ideal then you buy clothes to minimize the 'flaws' and maximize the attributes. For women for example different collars (crew, v-neck, boatneck, scoop neck) flatter better depending on your neck, chest, etc. I don't know how it works for men but you can find out easily. It's true that black is slimming but not everyone looks great in black (see Carole Jackson). Steve Jobs was ethnically Arab so he looked better in those turtlenecks than Tim Cook.

Ah, I have to go now but I'll return later.

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:11 pm
by chenda
If you struggle with this you might want to consider hiring a professional stylist. Also research capsule wardrobes.

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:54 pm
by ZAFCorrection
Fashion is kind of a rabbit hole dominated by people who spend an absurd amount of money on clothes (four figures per year to start). But fortunately, as mentioned previously, most men set the bar so low that basically any effort pays off a lot. I don't know anything about fabric quality, but I get by pretty well by buying super cheap jeans and t-shirts and jeans for work (academic engineering environment) and hit the mall for the cheap* "dress" stuff for social engagements where I want to impress someone. It's worked out pretty well so far with an annualized expenditure probably around $300.

*The sole (XD) exception is shoes, which I drop a lot of money on at Allen Edmonds. They last reasonably well and my feet are weird such that I have a hard time finding presentable shoes at most places.

Buying off the rack with an eye towards minor alterations is definitely the way to go for a really nice fit without paying a ton for bespoke. That means you should know enough about proper fit and know what can easily be fixed because you are always going to find something that fits in some dimensions but not in others. Hemming jacket sleeves is totally reasonable (assuming no working buttonholes). Re-doing the armholes or shoulders is insane. I'd also talk to a tailor about what can be done for reinforcing problem areas.

Also, if you wear close-fitting pants with no give in the fabric, they are gonna rip if you get all acrobatic in them. That, or they will hold together and you are going to fail at your attempt to hit the high step. Given the numerous reported wardrobe malfunctions, it might be possible that you are overdoing it for the style of clothes that you are wearing.

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:26 pm
by Jin+Guice
ZAFCorrection wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:54 pm
Given the numerous reported wardrobe malfunctions, it might be possible that you are overdoing it for the style of clothes that you are wearing.
I think it's because I get ~30% of my clothes from the trash and the rest free from friends or thrift stores. They usually last a year or two and I have a very small warddobe. I'm mostly wondering if high-quality fabric is more durable. I don't want a $1,000 bespoke suit unless it'll last me at least 25 years.

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:14 pm
by RealPerson
7Wannabe5 wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:02 pm
Well, I am not an expert on fashion, but these are the kind of pants I like to see on a man.
----------Photos removed to reduce size of reply post, as per forum guidelines--------
Or are these the men you want to see on the pants? If you look that ripped, you could wear anything.

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:30 am
by 7Wannabe5

True. However, the general problem for men is that the market is such that even messy, chubby, old women like me have no shortage of fairly ripped men to choose from. So, obviously, fashion is subsidiary to fitness, but fitness is also subsidiary to other qualities.

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:53 pm
by ZAFCorrection
Diogenes only wished he were Diogenes because 7w5 hadn't been invented yet.

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:51 am
by Lillailler
Jin+Guice wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:23 pm
Does anyone get clothes tailored or custom made?
I have some smart clothes that I wear occasionally when I want to impress someone - or at least meet a well-heeled professional on equal terms. I have used internet made-to-measure in order to get well-fitting jackets and shirts. Getting them in 'classic' styles means they will be OK for occasional wear over ten years or so. My experience is the 'top half' matters more than the 'bottom half', because the fit depends on 6 dimensions: chest, waist, length of body, breadth of shoulders and length of arms, whereas ready-to-wear usually just has two or three: chest size; long / regular / short; normal / slim. Of course there is a much wider choice of cloth from online made-to-measure, and you can choose classic vs in-fashion style. What surprised me is that you can get m-t-m as cheap or cheaper than middle-to-good readymade. I guess that is because the logistics is very different, in particular they don't cut the cloth until they have a paid order, so there is no finished goods inventory, no guessing which sizes and patterns to make, and no need to clear unsold inventory between fashion seasons.

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:18 pm
by Jin+Guice
I'm reviving this thread. I've started working on 1 DIY/ ERE goal/ topic each week and this weeks topic is fashion. I also need some new clothes due to my recent successful weight loss and most of my freely acquired clothes starting to fall apart.

More broadly this is a question of how to address the ERE stuff problem.

The first question, in my mind, for any ERE problem is Minimalism vs. Web of Goals. I could of course just own 1 pair of clothes that I find in the street (people leave clothes out in my neighborhood all the time). However, I would rather own quality clothes that look good and force me to learn how to take care of/ repair them. But I don't want to throw the minimalism baby out with the fashion bathwater. The goal is to own the minimum amount of quality clothes that allows for maximum fashionability. This is necessarily arbitrary and personal as the actual minimum amount of clothes is one set or none, but here's what I came up with.

2 pairs of jeans
4 dress shirts (1 blue, 1 striped, 1 white, 1 solid color)
2 polo shirts (1 black, 1 solid color)
2 high quality t-shirts (I acquire free quality t-shirts faster than I wear them out so I usually have closer to 4 and it's still a matter of getting rid of them rather than getting them)
1-2 sweaters (currently I have 1 black)
1 hoodie (currently black)
4 suits (1 black, 1 blue, 1 grey, 1 maroon pinstripe ala Robert Redford in "The Sting")
1 peacoat (currently I have 3, all acquired freely, 2 black and 1 grey)

The suits are definitely overkill, but I like suits. I also wear the jackets as light jackets when it's cold out. I'm in a bit of a suit quandary as I own 4 suits but they are off the rack or from thrift stores and the pants break much faster than the jackets. I'd really like to own one hand tailored suit... Should I just throw out all my suits and start over? I'm enough of a cheapskate/ hoarder that this would be hard for me, but doable.

I also have 2 pairs of running shorts and 3 running shirts a well as some shorts and shirts I wear under my scrubs at the hospital I work in. My hospital under shirts are all black so they double as work shirts if I pick up sound/ stage hand gigs.

After establishing the minimum necessary assortment of stuff, the next issue to address is the intersection of price and quality. I generally think owning high quality is better (though I was raised to maximize quantity and not quality, so this is a lesson I have trouble internalizing), but clothes wear out relatively quickly and are easily ruined. Another pitfall is buying the highest quality when it's not really necessary. Being an American man, I know very little about quality clothing which adds another dimension. If I buy an expensive piece of clothing there is always the possibility that it is not nice or I am paying for brand name or fad or something I'd rather not pay for due to ignorance.

Clothes can also be altered either by your own hand or a tailor. I'm hoping to gain some diy skills here, but major alterations is something I'm currently going to leave to a professional. I'm going to start out by learning to do repairs.

To summarize here is the purchase problem: 1) Buy new (I'm generally opposed to this in most other areas, but not necessarily for clothes). This breaks down further into buying bespoke, made to measure or off the rack. 2) Buy used and have it tailored. 3) Buy used and unaltered. 2 and 3 require being able to recognize quality in clothing more accurately and 3 requires being able to recognize good fit on yourself without the aid of a professional.

I'm still losing weight and trying to max out DIY skills as well as learning to care of nice clothing without ruining expensive garments so I'm going to attempt to start out with 3, which from an ERE perspective is the best, if it works. I'm also going to buy a made-to-measure and tailored dress shirt at some point and some expensive ass jeans from the internet. I'm interested in doing all of these once to see how quality and longevity compare among the 3 options.

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:36 pm
by TopHatFox
I like all of the stuff at the store Express, since it’s all form-fitting. Just get stuff off their discount rack (which is extensive) or wait for their 50%+ discount days.

I made a full business/smart casual wardrobe for about $400, which is way cheaper than even one suit.

As far as fashion, it’s hard to mess it up. Add 1 chino or jeans + soft-wash button up or v-neck. Matching set of leather necklace, watch, belt, bracelet, and shoes. Fit body, beard, and undercut.

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:42 pm
by 2Birds1Stone
@THF, he doesn't want to look like a hipster douchebag.

Re: Mens Fashion

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:44 pm
by TopHatFox
hipster douchebag look is in ( ;

Funnily enough, fake sleeve tattoos are now a thing. :lol: