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The distillation of who you are, and its effects on you sartorially and otherwise

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Where as a year ago, two years ago, four years ago, I had a vague notion of what my style was, and was able to dress in a way that communicated it maybe one or two days a week (without wearing any particular garment more than maybe twice in a week), I now feel like nearly every day of the week, I'm firing on all cylinders and am happy with my choice of jackets, shirt, trousers, colors, textures, shoes, etc.

SF is famous for causing new members to come along, get extremely excited about their newfound knowledge of quality, fit and brands, then blow a bunch of money on successive purchases via B&S or eBay. Often, those purchases are high quality, but they ultimately become neglected in their closet (because nothing else they own goes with it) or they attempt to wear it with completely incoherent other pieces (the concept explained by Vox in an attempt to educate so many of such forum "n00bs").

In contrast with that experience, my experience has been one of necessarily slow wardrobe expansion. I found styleforum while in college, and was married about a year later. We've been poor most of our marriage (relatively speaking), making the acquisition of exciting new pieces of clothing difficult.

This used to frustrate me. Sometimes I even think to myself, "if I were single, I'd have one helluva wardrobe!"

But within the past few months, as my wardrobe has begun to expand ever so slowly with carefully considered additions one at a time, I've begun to feel like I've finally been able to dress every day in a way that reflects my style—that deep, inwardmost aspect of who we are that we can either effectively or ineffectively communicate via our dress. Further, I feel like by being forced to carefully decide each piece at a time, the way I dress, act, style my hair, etc. have all in effect distilled my style down to an ever more concentrated form. A negative way of looking at this might be to look at me now and say I've become a caricature of myself. My glasses are even more a style statement than the ones I wore a year ago; my choice of color coordination even more a representation of what I feel comfortable in than what I wore a year ago; etc.

But It's an extremely satisfying feeling. I feel more "who I am" than ever before, and I am extremely pleased to say that it's rare that I have an off day, either sartorially or in regards to how I behave, treat other people, and feel about myself. This distillation of who I am has not only helped me put together fits every morning that satisfy me creatively and sartorially, but also make me be a better, more accurate representation of who I am, which is manifest in how I treat others, how I feel, how straight I stand, etc.

Discuss biggrin.gif
post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mossrockss View Post

Where as a year ago, two years ago, four years ago, I had a vague notion of what my style was, and was able to dress in a way that communicated it maybe one or two days a week (without wearing any particular garment more than maybe twice in a week), I now feel like nearly every day of the week, I'm firing on all cylinders and am happy with my choice of jackets, shirt, trousers, colors, textures, shoes, etc.
SF is famous for causing new members to come along, get extremely excited about their newfound knowledge of quality, fit and brands, then blow a bunch of money on successive purchases via B&S or eBay. Often, those purchases are high quality, but they ultimately become neglected in their closet (because nothing else they own goes with it) or they attempt to wear it with completely incoherent other pieces (the concept explained by Vox in an attempt to educate so many of such forum "n00bs").
In contrast with that experience, my experience has been one of necessarily slow wardrobe expansion. I found styleforum while in college, and was married about a year later. We've been poor most of our marriage (relatively speaking), making the acquisition of exciting new pieces of clothing difficult.
This used to frustrate me. Sometimes I even think to myself, "if I were single, I'd have one helluva wardrobe!"
But within the past few months, as my wardrobe has begun to expand ever so slowly with carefully considered additions one at a time, I've begun to feel like I've finally been able to dress every day in a way that reflects my style—that deep, inwardmost aspect of who we are that we can either effectively or ineffectively communicate via our dress. Further, I feel like by being forced to carefully decide each piece at a time, the way I dress, act, style my hair, etc. have all in effect distilled my style down to an ever more concentrated form. A negative way of looking at this might be to look at me now and say I've become a caricature of myself. My glasses are even more a style statement than the ones I wore a year ago; my choice of color coordination even more a representation of what I feel comfortable in than what I wore a year ago; etc.
But It's an extremely satisfying feeling. I feel more "who I am" than ever before, and I am extremely pleased to say that it's rare that I have an off day, either sartorially or in regards to how I behave, treat other people, and feel about myself. This distillation of who I am has not only helped me put together fits every morning that satisfy me creatively and sartorially, but also make me be a better, more accurate representation of who I am, which is manifest in how I treat others, how I feel, how straight I stand, etc.
Discuss biggrin.gif

...cliffs?

post #3 of 14
I think OP means to say that having had to acquire his wardrobe in dribs and drabs has been positive in that it forces him to make sure that every addition to it is really him.
post #4 of 14

I get what you're saying. I'm just about to graduate law school, and I'm getting married next year. I'm just starting to change my wardrobe piece by piece. Even so, I don't expect anything to be stellar for at least a few years. Right now, it feels like everything is just a slight step up. It's the process of refinement that really helps bring out your own personality, though. 

 

For example, my main focus right now is to get rid of all of my t-shirts. I am trying to have a collection of 4-5 sport coats and 5-10 dress shirts to wear. I'm also losing a lot of weight, and I will slowly keep building and refining. Next round of purchases will be for when I lose more weight. I also will focus more on having better cut clothing, better color combinations, etc. 

 

I totally get that feeling you're describing, OP. It's exciting and it gives you a sense of renewed purpose and self confidence as you refine your tastes. 

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivar View Post

I think OP means to say that having had to acquire his wardrobe in dribs and drabs has been positive in that it forces him to make sure that every addition to it is really him.

Thanks. I agree with that. When you buy quickly, it's easy to buy on whims.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jester87 View Post

I get what you're saying. I'm just about to graduate law school, and I'm getting married next year. I'm just starting to change my wardrobe piece by piece. Even so, I don't expect anything to be stellar for at least a few years. Right now, it feels like everything is just a slight step up. It's the process of refinement that really helps bring out your own personality, though. 

 

For example, my main focus right now is to get rid of all of my t-shirts. I am trying to have a collection of 4-5 sport coats and 5-10 dress shirts to wear. I'm also losing a lot of weight, and I will slowly keep building and refining. Next round of purchases will be for when I lose more weight. I also will focus more on having better cut clothing, better color combinations, etc. 

 

I totally get that feeling you're describing, OP. It's exciting and it gives you a sense of renewed purpose and self confidence as you refine your tastes. 

 

You don't have to get rid of them. Just don't let people see you wearing them. If you want to wear them around the house (or underneath layers) go for it.

post #6 of 14

Before SF, I was definitely buying clothing that were very "me," and buying it slowly. The first month after joining, I definitely made a few purchases I regret. I'm not even bothering to get them tailored. I think I've moved through that phase and now am a lot more patient with what I buy. 

 

I think I might have to thank Man of Lint for that. His No Purchase Club has definitely slowed my roll.
 

EDIT: Before SF, I was definitely brandwhoring ties though. BB and TP. Now I'm a lot of selective with my ties.


Edited by Claghorn - 11/22/12 at 8:37pm
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claghorn View Post

Before SF, I was definitely buying clothing that were very "me," and buying it slowly. The first month after joining, I definitely made a few purchases I regret. I'm not even bothering to get them tailored. I think I've moved through that phase and now am a lot more patient with what I buy. 

 

I think I might have to thank Man of Lint for that. His No Purchase Club has definitely slowed my roll.
 

EDIT: Before SF, I was definitely brandwhoring ties though. BB and TP. Now I'm a lot of selective with my ties.

 

What is this "no purchase club" of which you speak?

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinnyMac View Post

...cliffs?

I tried not to bury the lede, sorry haha. Ivar was right in part. But in addition to a low income having a positive effect on my purchasing decisions, the post is also about the satisfaction that comes from coming into one's own, stylistically.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jester87 View Post

I get what you're saying. I'm just about to graduate law school, and I'm getting married next year. I'm just starting to change my wardrobe piece by piece. Even so, I don't expect anything to be stellar for at least a few years. Right now, it feels like everything is just a slight step up. It's the process of refinement that really helps bring out your own personality, though. 

For example, my main focus right now is to get rid of all of my t-shirts. I am trying to have a collection of 4-5 sport coats and 5-10 dress shirts to wear. I'm also losing a lot of weight, and I will slowly keep building and refining. Next round of purchases will be for when I lose more weight. I also will focus more on having better cut clothing, better color combinations, etc. 

I totally get that feeling you're describing, OP. It's exciting and it gives you a sense of renewed purpose and self confidence as you refine your tastes. 

Yeah! That's awesome! The way it's been for me for so long has been that I'd get to "dress up" maybe once a week, but because my options were so limited, the rest of the week I'd have to fall back on my go-to comfort zone of how I used to dress (which was, for me, chinos, cords or jeans with a button up shirt and maybe a merino sweater). Not having to fall back on those safe but extremely boring outfits because my closet is now stocked with more dressy pieces that can be combined in more ways is what gives me such satisfaction.
post #10 of 14
I feel the same way. I used to take bags of clothing to sell at Buffalo Exchange, mostly culled from thrifting and sale racks. I bought with price as my main driver. After years of experimenting with looks and trying to find one that's 'me' I feel like I'm finally arriving at where I've always wanted to be.

I think the most important thing is to have a wish list of the solid pieces that you want to build your wardrobe on. When shopping around, if a piece doesn't fit your criteria don't go for it, regardless of how attractive the price may be.

Thanks for this thread, I feel like it hits home for a lot of guys. The development of style doesn't happen overnight, but you may find yourself waking up one morning and everything kind of falls in place. It's all about keeping your goals first and foremost in your mind.
post #11 of 14

Oh yeah, and I also wanted to post a few threads and links that I've really enjoyed reading and have helped me when figuring out what I am trying to achieve. 

 

jrds-guide-to-coherent-sportcoat-combinations

 

Put This On - Guide for Thrift Shopping

 

Do you guys have any links that you return to very often?

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jester87 View Post

Oh yeah, and I also wanted to post a few threads and links that I've really enjoyed reading and have helped me when figuring out what I am trying to achieve. 

jrds-guide-to-coherent-sportcoat-combinations

Put This On - Guide for Thrift Shopping

Do you guys have any links that you return to very often?

I didn't see the sportcoat combination thread. Thanks for the link!
post #13 of 14

Here's another good one:

 

Pocket squares discussion

 

Lots of good pictures.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
“I just try things. And the things I like, sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. You can look at pictures where I just look terrible. But the older I get, the more I know what works. It’s for the better.”
Andre 3000 speaks some truth here:
http://putthison.com/post/36667312247/i-just-try-things-and-the-things-i-like

This quote is very apropos to this topic. Because even for me, even though my wardrobe is now expanding to the point that I have access to enough stuff to put together cool fits each day, that doesn't mean that I still know exactly what'll look best every day. It takes experimentation and sometimes you try something that is outside your comfort zone and you aren't sure if it's exactly "you," but it turns out to be awesome. But it sometimes turns out really bad.

This can also come from watching threads on here for style inspiration or following blogs of people whose style you like—then trying certain things and weighing them against what you know works for you and seeing if they work.

I guess mastery comes when a complete stranger sees you on the street and they don't find your clothes to be out of the ordinary, even if they are (i.e. you're more dressed up than everyone else around, which I'd guess is kind of normal for many MCers).
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