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Rebuilding a wardrobe from scratch?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Nick M, Jun 27, 2003.

  1. Nick M

    Nick M Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,491
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Gentlemen, I've spent the last few days paring my wardrobe down significantly - giving away lots of things that don't fit quite right, things made from poor materials, stuff that's worn out. I'm looking to build a solid foundation of basics - streetwear, suits, shoes, shirts, accessories - followed by some more unique pieces, and I'm looking for ideas. So, let's assume your entire wardrobe has gone up in flames (my condolences if this actually has happened to you.). What do you buy to start rebuilding it? Be as general or as specific as you like. I'm up for any suggestions, be they off-the-rack, bespoke, couture, or from department, chain or thrift stores - I'm interested in what you would buy, as befits your lifestyle/job, to give me some fresh perspectives... Thanks in advance...
     
  2. hermes

    hermes Well-Known Member

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    Jan 27, 2003
    Location:
    canada
    given i wear a suit to work everyday, i'd have to start with likely 3 basic suits, blue/charcoal grey/black, half dozen dress shirts, half dozen ties and likely 2 pairs of dress shoes to start

    one pair of jeans, one pair of chinos, one pair of cargo style pants, one pair of athletic type pants

    a few polo type shirts, camp shirts, casual dress style shirts, if it's winter a cashmere sweater and one wool pullover

    at least a pair of trainers and some sort of casual loafer

    one overcoat, one casual coat of some sort

    a dozen pairs of some sort of underwear and socks

    i think with those basics, you can at least start fresh and just build on that every month or other month adding more suits, shirts, ties, casual clothes and the all important shoes
     
  3. Joe G

    Joe G Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    404
    Joined:
    May 22, 2002
    Location:
    Brussels
    Funnily enough, sometime similar did recently happen to me. I moved recently, and the bulk of my wardrobe is in a container on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean somewhere, so the only clothes currently with me are what I was wearing on the plane and two moderate-sized shipped suitcases worth. (I always ship my suitcases on FedEx, because then I don't have to deal with checking baggage in, and if a bag does get lost (which has yet to happen, because FedEx is considerably more efficient than the airlines.) I'll be properly compensated rather than getting US$600 to offset a disappearance of five figures worth of clothing.) I wish that I was given more lag time between accepting my new job and reporting to work, but as it were I had all of eleven days to get everything packed and close up my old life. So long story short, instead of asking how to pare my wardrobe down as you did and provding myself with more solid direction than my own intellect could provide, I'm going to tell you what I came up with on my own. So far, it's been surprisingly good to me. My entire usable wardrobe right now is literally as follows, from the packing inventory I kept in my Palm, with all paranthetical notation added today. -two pair glasses in their cases \taluminium/black chrome \tmetallic lime green rimless (I wore glasses with titanium rims and tan plastic temples by TAG Heuer on the plane.) -One raincoat (NOTE: a black nylon Prada knockoff from Banana that falls to midthigh) -One dinner jacket (6x2 DB) -Three suits \tnavy, three-button roll-lapel with ticket pocket, double-vented \tcharcoal, three button, flap pockets sans ticket-pocket, double-vented \tmedium grey with dove grey pinstriping, high-stance two button, ticket pocket, double vented -Four sportcoats \ttwo-tone grey high-stance two button with narrow lapels and besom pockets, unvented \tblazer with matt silver buttons, three-button, ticket pocket, double-vented \tblack three-button, unvented (Also, I wore a a double-vented seeksucker deal from Jil Sander that I bought a few days before I left. It was a "last trip to Last Call" purchase, and irresistable at US$78...anyone have any idea what season this piece came from? It is Prada Group quality, unfortunately, but the price was right.) -Two wool jumpers \tolive-drab collared 15milmil15 \tdark grey v-neck cashmere -Fifteen long-sleeve shirts    white linen formal shirt pique front and wing collar.    black formal shirt with pique front, pique French cuffs, and moderate spread collar \twhite linen, cutaway collar/French cuff \ttwo white, cutaway collar/French cuff \twhite/sky blue dashed windowpane, cutaway collar/French cuff \twhite with red and blue stripes, white spread collar/white French cuff \twhite, double-button spread collar/Turnback cuff \tcutaway collar/barrel cuff in salt-and-pepper \twhite/blue Bengal stripes, spread collar/Turnback cuff \tbrick red with fine silver striping, spread collar/Turnback cuff \tbright royal blue, moderately spread collar/barrel cuff \tmulticolor striped point collar/barrel cuff, in medium-wale corduroy [​IMG] \twhite polo-collar oxford    sky blue linen casual shirt with pointish collar and Turnback cuffs (I wore a white with blue stripes shirt with barrel cuffs by Zanella on the plane.) -Four short-sleeve shirts \tred/green tartan pique polo with green collar/cuffs/green dyed shell buttons \tsalmon cotton pique zippered polo \tblue-grey linen camp shirt    red with white extended placket "Friends" camp shirt. (NOTE: so named because Matthew Perry wore it on the season finale of Friends this year. The brand is Nat Sherman or something like that.) \t -Three pair wool trousers \tcharcoal, pleated/cuffed \tmedium dark grey, flat front/uncuffed \tdove grey, pleated/cuffed \t -Four pair casual trousers \ttwo pair dark indigo jeans \tpleated/cuffed tan linen \tolive low-rise moleskin/canvas hybrid-type (NOTE: these are by Miu Miu and fit very well despite their low rise but I have yet to actually wear them in public. I couldn't pass them up at a final markdown of US$12 at Last Call. Yes, that's a Prada piece selling for just about its actual worth. I'll probably wear them for hiking or something.) (I wore a pair of pleated and cuffed camel-coloured tropical-weight wool trousers by Incotex on the plane.) -Fourteen ties \tmonochrome red embriodery on burgundy \tburgundy with textured diagonal ridges and diagonal stripes in sky and navy blue, seven-fold    titanium with embossed titanium rep stripes, seven fold    electric blue with Medusas and polka dots    yellow, goldenrod, and black zig-zaggy rep stripe with button holder thingy    cream with blue design and matching pocket square, button holder thingy    burgundy with yellow small square dots    sky blue with monochromatic woven stripes and pearlescent squares, seven fold    hot pink with square-knot rep stripes    moss green cashmere    kelly green cashmere    olive drab and grey rep stripe    teal GG logo orange with little housepet graphics -Six pair of shoes \tpatent formal pumps    brown bowling shoes \tgrey all-terrain jogging trainers \tbrown pebblegrain double-buckle monkstraps \tblack calfskin cap toe oxfords \tburgundy shell cordovan cap toe oxfords (I wore brown wingtips built on the platform of Tod's incomparably comfortable bowling shoes.) Accoutrement \tformal braces \tall my cufflinks, knots, and my stud/cufflink set \tbrown belt \tblack belt \tTen pair athletic socks (seven white, three grey) \tfive pocket squares (white cotton, white linen, white linen with sky blue and peach tipping, burgundy cotton, navy blue linen with white tipping.) \teight pair dress socks in navy, tan with red rings, and various gradients of grey \tten white cotton v-neck undershirts \tbedshirt    stainless tank watch thirteen pair boxer shorts two bathing suits (purple, teal) (I wore my TAG Heuer S/el watch and a tan linen pocket square with olive drab tipping on the plane.) While my wardrobe is definitely lacking the vibrancy of colour I generally prefer, I've been lucky to not yet be caught something vaguely appropriate to wear. My only serious omission was actually planned: I stuffed my shoes with socks and boxers for shipping, so I had to buy some inexpensive temporary shoe trees first thing here. I don't even know what kind of wood they are. Not cedar, but some sort of light hardwood. I trust they'll not destroy my shoes with a month's use of these supermarket shoe-trees. More to the point, I've really started to wonder if I need everything else, except for the winter coats and jumpers. More pressingly, I have considerably less storage space now than I did, so I will not in all probability be able to keep my entire wardrobe properly. But we'll cross that hurdle once it presents itself... Peace, JG
     
  4. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2002
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    Well, it's definitely not this S/S season. The 2002 S/S season was mostly safari stuff, and featured primarily earth tones, so that probably wasn't it either. The 2001 S/S, on the other hand, was at the end of the whole "smartening up" trend that started in F/W 2000 (Great stuff that season. Varvatos' first season, for example, was spectacular.) So, my bet would be that it was from the S/S 2001 season. The low, low price would also indicate that it was older than just one seasonal circuit.

    BTW, Joe, your "pared down" wardrobe is bigger than most men's wardrobes at their largest. I am moving soon too, to the east coast, also for a new job. I plan to pare down my wardrobe to what can be packed into one moderately sized suitcase and one large garment bag, both of which I'll carry with me. My sports gear and sneakers will follow in just one large, shipped, box. Everything else except for my books goes to Goodwill. After all, the great thing about moving is that you get to start fresh and simplify your life.
     
  5. Joe G

    Joe G Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    404
    Joined:
    May 22, 2002
    Location:
    Brussels
    Yeah, I knew it wasn't 2002; I've never really followed Jil Sander because I never found much by Milan Vulkovich (did I get that right?) that I liked, and the quality was pretty clearly Prada. Also interesting that you mention Varvatos, because another of my "last Last Call" finds was an unlined denim sportcoat from his SS2001 collection. (That one's on the boat though [​IMG] ) As for my conception of "pared down", I have to confess that I chuckled a bit when PStoller first mentioned how many shirts he owned. When I took the first inventory of my entire wardrobe (parts of which had been living all over the place until recently), I all of a sudden didn't think it so outrageous..... I see your point about paring down. I thought it was amazing I could fit what I needed in two (admittedly large, weighing between 30 and 40kg a piece) suitcases. But my current wardrobe does exclude any consideration of seasons other than summer. Like you, I'll most likely end up not having space for my entire wardrobe when it gets here, and of the items in my container clothes are the least important. (Books come first, followed by the pieces of furniture I kept and all atheltic gear except the tennis racket I couldn't live without.) I'll be making a trip to Humana (the Euro Goodwill) with the stuff I don't end up keeping. I don't have the time or inclination to deal with individual sales on eBay. Also, if one wants to find cool stuff at thrift stores one should also contribute good stuff to them, no? Peace, JG
     
  6. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2002
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    Athletic gear actually takes up a lot of space, I find. Most of my athletic gear is in the form of running shoes, and considering that you should be rotating between at least two pairs to prevent injury, plus additional pairs for trail runs and racing flats for practicing sprints (something I hardly ever do any more,) and you end up with half a dozen pairs already, not to mention shoes for hiking and backpacking - approach shoes, mesh shoes for water, heavy hiking boots, etc...

    Cheers,

    LA Guy.
     
  7. The_Foxx

    The_Foxx Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Apr 11, 2002
    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    interesting topic. i'm also in the process of building (rather than rebuilding) my wardrobe, as i have some time to acquire before i reenter the corporate workforce again.

    along the same line of thinking, how many suits do you guys have? do you maintain a constant level of quality, or do you have to dip now and then into quantity, over quality?
     
  8. VMan

    VMan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Joe,

    Sorry to hear about your situation, I would be crushed if that happened to me.  Clothes aren't just any ol' possesion, they are a symbol and reflection of yourself; in essence they define personality.  Also, from your wardrobe it doesn't sound like you need the money but I'd be happy to buy any clothes you don't want that you would be otherwise donating.  I know it goes against the sense of goodwill, but if you decide to sell me anything I will be sure to make a donation at my local Goodwill store with some of my old clothes, so you will still get that sense of humanitarism.  I am serious about buying the clothes though. I'm kind of in the process of building up my wardrobe, I've been getting a lot of nice pieces inexpensively off of ebay and from thrift stores. I'm going on my second year of college so the moeny situation isn't the greatest at the moment. But, I still need some nicer things since I'll be starting up internships in the next year or so and hopefully my career in a few more years. Thanks again, and respond if you are interested.

    Eric
     
  9. Joe G

    Joe G Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    May 22, 2002
    Location:
    Brussels
    Actually, I'm quite happy with the situation. I live within an overnight train ride of my wife's place of study, and have a new job doing something useful in a place I am already far more attached to than my old home. It's on top of a lovely old building, and has some lovely aesthetic flourishes. It also costs less than my half of a house did.

    As for the clothes transfer thing, I'm not altogether opposed to the idea, although I'd prefer the donation to a group clothing the needy in the developing world such as Humana than to a Goodwill. (Not that Goodwill doesn't do great things, but the need elsewhere is just more dire.) Also, trans-Atlantic shipping might be more headache than it's worth.

    Besides, I probably overstated how much I'll give away. What I'll have the most of to donate will be shirts, which correspond roughly to size 41L. There is a Hadith (documented quote of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) said that his favourite article of clothing was the shirt, and perhaps animated by that spirit I seem to have amassed over a hundred of them. I don't anticipate giving away any suits, sportcoats, trousers, or winter coats. Perhaps some shoes, but storing shoes shouldn't be a problem.

    Peace,

    JG
     

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