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Different approaches to developing your wardrobe and buying clothes

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by Dr Huh?, Mar 14, 2016.

  1. StanleyVanBuren

    StanleyVanBuren Senior member

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    also, side note, somewhat on-topic, sometimes I look back through my tumblr where I've cataloged all my fits from around 2012 forward and can't believe all the random shit I've had. In the last couple years or so, I've pared down quite a bit.
     
  2. StanleyVanBuren

    StanleyVanBuren Senior member

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    @LA Guy this "DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO DEVELOPING YOUR WARDROBE AND BUYING CLOTHES" is the most uninspired thread title anyone could have come up with; petition to change it to "Minimalist to Maximalist: the Complete Wardrobe Approach Debate Showdown Extravaganza"
     
    5 people like this.
  3. Master-Classter

    Master-Classter Senior member

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    I'll throw in a few points here I guess.


    While philosophically I agree with the idea of finding the 'best version of something', I also hate to 'make a mistake' but committing to an item which I'm not sure is going to work for me, or I'm not sure if I've found exactly quite the right version of, especially when I have limited resources, whether they be money, space, etc. So one of my techniques has been to use fast fashion, ie Gap/H&M etc to buy a simple basic version of something that's an experiment for me, and if I find I'm constantly using and enjoying the item, then after 2-3 seasons, I'll upgrade and replace the original version. If it's something I never end up wearing or I feel like it's not authentically me, then there's only a small loss there. For example, I tend to do a minimalist military / americana workwear lite look, and figured hey an MA-1should work well with this, but I've never owned one. It's a bulky cut and a certain look, so I got one from H&M for $40-60 and have worn it now for 2-3 seasons and really like it, so I'm on the lookout for something nicer like say that Lad Musician version.

    Another point related to finding your grove versus experimenting, one technique that I've done is when I find an item I love and it feels like a certain look of what I'm going for, whenever I'm out looking at new stuff, I use that one piece as an anchor and ask 'will this go with that item?'. So let's say I have a Patrick Ervell Cadet sweater. I totally love the thing, and I only own one, but whenever I wear it I feel great and I think it really encapsulates the look of what I'd like to go for. So whenever I buy anything now, in my mind I'm thinking about if it would go with that aesthetic where that one item is the anchor piece. Now I don't only have 'one look' a la zoolander, but I have 2-3 very concentrated concepts. I also use this idea to cull the collection so if it helps me identify items that aren't really committed to any one style I'm going for which might be why I haven't used it much, so then I'll drop it to clean up the lines between the looks and make them more pure in a sense.

    One final random thought here... When I was younger, I definitely tried out and experimented with a lot more stuff (clothing-wise he he), and while I like to adapt to the seasons or play with colors and textures, I do find something comforting in the familiarity of fit. So call me boring, but now when I find something that feels right, I tend to buy it in a stack of colors and fabrics. So I have 5-6 pairs of jeans, all the same cut, but different colors, washes, fabrics, etc. I found a t-shirt I love, I bought it in 5-6 colors an doubles of the basics. Etc. So even when I'm changing colors and fabric weights for the seasons, everything moves and feels the same.


    Oh, one more thought. I mentioned the technique above about an anchor piece, both as a way to either make sure that new items coming in adhere to a certain concept, then the first point about if I skip that then using cheap low risk experiment pieces, and then the third point about taking the basic look and feel and 'experimenting' within it by getting the same feeling but with a bunch of colors and textures so it's more adaptable without having to add whole new items... The point I want to add here is another technique I've used to remove items. I generally organize everything as a color range, from black grey white, then colors from darker to lighter, etc, and also by textures from lighter to heavier, but sometimes I find resorting the data can find outliers. So if you group all one color together and step back, you may see you have way too much of X, or that you love your Y colored shirt but only have one so maybe get another one etc. I do the same thing with texture so see if I have too many spring/summer or fall/winter items.

    Another technique I've used, which may seem a bit strange, is a forced rotation. So basically I have a pile of t-shirts, sweaters, button up shirts, etc and every day I have to wear something in the top 2-3 of the pile, then it's worn and goes to the bottom. This forces me to assess each item with roughly a 2-3 week period depending on the rotation of that item. If I find I keep not wanting to wear something and skip it for the others and it's sat at the front for too long, then it makes me aware there's something wrong with it and I stop for a second to look at why. In most cases it's something to do with the fit being off, or I don't know what to pare it with, etc. So the point here is that instead of shoving things to the back and letting them sit there, I make sure to actively keep looking at the items and assessing them. Sometimes I've reworn something and said ah now I remember why I got this, I totally missed out on wearing it this whole time, and other times I've said yeah I don't know what I was thinking, eh suck it up and sell or donate.


    Anway, just some blabbing. Maybe I'm OCD but fuck it, we're on a clothing forum, you're probably the same way too non?
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
    3 people like this.
  4. raginberriodoom

    raginberriodoom Senior member

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    A lot of interesting stuff in this thread. It's funny that most posters here seem to end up in the same place, which is trying to pare down their wardrobe (vs. increasing size). It makes sense given most of us are not fabulously wealthy, so there's the money, space constraints etc.

    I've pretty much followed the same path. I really like the idea of a "mobile" wardrobe that I can easily take with me whenever I move (since I move a fair amount), so by definition, that forces me to keep it small and versatile (I usually think in layers. I've lived in extremely cold climates like Chicago, but I've only ever owned one pretty light down jacket. So, I wouldn't need a dramatic overhaul if I moved to somewhere warm like LA). The versatility is nice as it allows me to wear different looks but also limits the types of pieces I can buy, which I'm OK with. Of course, sometimes, I just say fuck it and will buy a piece even if it doesn't fit any of the above if I like it enough. Ultimately, it comes down to how much you like something right?

    Some other things I've noticed that greatly influence my purchasing decisions: whether something is comfortable or not (I can no longer do raw denim like I used to. If something isn't comfortable, I just won't wear it anymore), if something sheds a lot, if something doesn't fit me well (i.e. sleeves too short), etc. There's probably some more if I think harder. If a piece violates any of the above, no matter how much I like it, those flaws will keep nagging at me until I eventually stop wearing it altogether, and the item becomes a waste of money.
     
  5. mythage

    mythage Senior member

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    ^ Same here. I don't wear raw denim because I just can't stand breaking them in. I also don't like scarves, sweaters, and wool pants that are crazy itchy or shoes that are uncomfortable etc.
     
  6. cumulative

    cumulative Member

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    Adding to "the best (insert item)" discussion. Everlane's founder says it's part of our mentality to think that way, and he takes advantage of that:

    "To Michael Preysman, it begins with the male psyche. He’s the founder of Everlane, an online retailer that sells designer-quality basics like oxfords and T-shirts to men by sourcing its own factories,. "‘Is this my new shirt?’ men ask," according to Preysman. "‘Do I want to buy all my button-downs from here?’" Men often look to find the best shirt or pair of pants for their dollar, and then buy a bunch of them, he says. "It’s a hunting mentality," says Preysman. "Once you find that good spot, you say ‘Fuck it, I’m going to get everything from here.’" Thus, Everlane created what it calls The Perfect Tee and has spun up an appealing story to help sell it.

    Source: http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/14/...es-to-bros-online-everlane-frank-oak-outlier-
    Edit: Can't link cuz j a c k t h r e a d s is in the url after outlier
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  7. Gruff

    Gruff Senior member

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    I agree with the Everlane guy's sentiment. Once you find your spot, that's it. Why go anywhere else if it has everything you like and need? Unfortunately, you often have to hunt for the spot, which leads to a lot of misfires and wasted cash.
     
  8. Dr Huh?

    Dr Huh? Senior member

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    Does there come a point where you stop searching for the "best" of an item? Anything you don't mind cheeping out on? For me, often a white shirt really is just a white shirt.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. ManofKent

    ManofKent Senior member

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    I've never really gone with "best" of anything, but unless I want a specific collar style I'll stick with Uniqlo for oxfords - the dearer one's I've tried aren't significantly better. Their T's and cotton roll-necks are decent enough for me too - I might find slightly better, but I'd rather put the cash towards something else where I'll really notice the difference.
     
  10. krede

    krede Member

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    Hi guys,

    Interesting subject. I guess I'm a bit in the middle. I buy a lot of standard stuff, which doesn't have to be anything else than a good fit and decent quality. I like Uniqlo quite a lot buying tees, merino knits, chinos, socks, underwear in various colors.
    I have my shirts made by Proper Cloth.
    To add to the standard stuff I pick what is the best of the best for me. Examples are:

    Arcteryx Veilance Galvanic coat
    APC jeans
    SNS Fisherman
    Common Projects sneakers
    Mackintosh Mac

    I use the same approach for working wardrobe. Here I priorities shoes.
     
  11. gettoasty

    gettoasty Senior member

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    There's so much I want to buy right now but I am really holding off until I see everything is available from each store I like to visit online. It is unfortunate that some stores are able to up their buys earlier than others during the start of the season. If I miss out on something because i end up waiting I'll just assume it was not meant to be. Usually it is the case because I don't think too much about it. There's rarely something at the start of the season I must get or a end up with regret. I am trying to be much more selective nowadays, too. And as I settle into a certain outfit I am less inclined to try something new that I may be able to fit into the rotation. Rather, I think about the standard outfit currently and how I can "upgrade". Aside from a pre-order that is due soon and some stuff I picked (Uniqlo) I think I have been pretty good about keeping this minimal in terms of shopping. More so, I noticed some things from last season popping up either at a pretty good discount, is in my size, or the worst, cheap and in my size...I am fighting every urge to instant buy. I think if a good part of the season is over, it's time to look ahead and bookmark things for next time around.
     
  12. tgaith77

    tgaith77 Senior member

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    So, since about 2006, I've been keeping a spreadsheet of my closet. I like clothes, but I’m also an engineer, so the idea of a clothing spreadsheet and being able to analyze data arrives at a perfect intersection for me. It’s evolved over the years and has provided an interesting visual “history” of my tastes and spending habits.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1u6olit5b688ablBTjmfA-wuqbVMEoD4yZDjv-QSeYvY/edit?usp=sharing


    Pretty early on, I realized I had a ton of stuff. Stuff I wasn’t wearing, items I bought because they were super cheap or a great deal, multiples of the same items, thrift purchases, etc. It really wasn’t until I started tracking everything and seeing it all in front of me in a spreadsheet that I didn’t need most of what I had and that I always returned to the same few items.

    So, the spreadsheet tracks a few things:

    Yearly purchases (since 2010): Current year is near the left side, past years get moved to the far right side. Items greyed out, I no longer have; either sold or gotten rid of. Generally, doesn’t include items purchased and returned right away.

    Current inventory list: All suits, sport coats, pants, shirts, denim, shorts, sweaters and outerwear. Originally (around 2006), these totaled well over 200 items. Now, for the past 3-4 years, its hovered around 60-70 items and has been as low as 50. Other items (shoes & accessories) are on a separate tab. I haven’t really tracked that number, but I really should.

    “Mnmlist” tab: A “wardrobe essentials” (ugh) list that I was tracking for a while, probably around 2011 or so, during the start of the online minimalist/ simple/ mindful living movement that’s since exploded. Top rows above the green line was my “ideal” minimalist wardrobe, below the green line were items that I actually owned. Haven’t really updated this much in the past few years. I still own most of those items, maybe will revisit this again.


    So, what has the spreadsheet shown me?

    1. I’ve nearly replaced my entire wardrobe since 2010. I currently have very few items of clothing from that year or before. I don’t expect a turnover rate like that in the next 5 years, but who knows.

    2. Each year since 2010, I’ve purchased less and less. I’ve likely spent more each year, but I’ve returned more and have made better, faster “go/ no-go” decisions about what I’m keeping. Hopefully, this is a indication of moving towards contentment and buying only what I know I’ll enjoy.

    3. There will always be something new to kop. Always. You can’t help but be a member of this forum and get caught up, to some degree, in the constant kopping/ binging and purging cycle that takes place here. In looking at the enormous, greyed-out list of items I no longer own, I remember that for most of them, they were items I needed to have; internet hype, brand cache, mindless kopping, thumbworthiness, 90% off sales with discount code stacking - these were the factors that drove a lot of my purchasing decisions. I’ve accumulated enough data points and history now to come to this conclusion: Just buy what you love and will enjoy. Buy less, but better. Focus. Don’t buy based on price alone. Only time and experience will teach you that.

    4. Quality is subjective. Brand, provenance, price, coolness factor are not, in and of themselves, indicators of quality. Garbage exists at all price points. The longer I’ve been around and the more I’ve handled clothes from all over, the more immune I’ve become to trends, labels and sales. This could also just be the onset of old age and having little to no disposable income.

    5. More than anything, I prefer utility in my wardrobe. I hate having separate, seasonal wardrobes, items that serve a singular purpose or items that only work with select other items. This is a unique challenge, seeing that I live in Wisconsin, I’m a dad, a minister, and have and office job that also requires outdoor/ field work/ construction site visits. My wardrobe needs to cover a lot of ground (4 seasons, weatherproof, layering ability, functional, dress/ formal, kid proof, office/ casual) so I need to squeeze the most out of the few items I own. I guess that makes me a maximalist in some ways, but it also forces me to think more carefully about something before I purchase. As my wardrobe stands now, it checks all those boxes. It fits my life, I wear most my items interchangeably and year round. More importantly, I enjoy what I have.
     
    7 people like this.
  13. venividivicibj

    venividivicibj Senior member

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    X-posting

     
  14. soband

    soband Active Member

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    I just buy AnnD.

    I think it's kind of hilarious to mindlessly buy clothes that are about thoughtfulness and poetry etc., but it's what I do and it makes me happy.
     
  15. 1969

    1969 Senior member

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    I used to get sucked into the fantasy that I could just dress "one way" (sometimes minimalist, sometimes 'gourd farmer') because it would limit my physical possessions as well as the amount of head space I give to this hobby. In reality I prefer the more complicated/satifying path of figuring out how to blend things into a more personal style and unfortunately that just requires more clothes.
     
  16. venividivicibj

    venividivicibj Senior member

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    Damn, now with all your guys' introspection and one-in-one-out//optimal purchasing I feel like I've been buying too much stuff (most likely true), and is causing me to re-evaluate what I 'need' in my ideal wardrobe.
     
  17. t3hg0suazn

    t3hg0suazn Senior member

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