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Help with upgrading lackluster wardrobe

badwithnames_canada

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I'm pretty new to the idea of dressing better, as you can probably tell from the title.

I'm a second year university student in a large city. My wardrobe is currently quite casual and consists of a pair of jeans; a pair or two of chino shorts; three pairs of chinos, only one of which I wear regularly (I stupidly bought the other two because they were on sale); a flannel; and some T-shirts, mainly stuff I got from school events, that fit poorly. Of course, there are also some ill-fitting dress shirts and pants "just in case", as well as assorted undergarments.

A factor complicating my clothing purchases is that I am quite skinny, and borderline underweight in fact. I do plan to change this soon; however, for the time being, this is making it hard to find clothes that fit comfortably. I've heard of tall sizes, but I'm unsure how much this would help my situation. I've attached a photo with my face redacted for some context.

Considering the above and that my campus is quite progressive, I'd appreciate any advice for a clueless guy and his unfortunate wardrobe!



FAF10A37-E4D0-49E7-A415-EC39A303980EL0001 - Copy.jpg
 

dieworkwear

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Try reading the side bar at Reddit's Male Fashion Advice. I think they give better advice on how to dress better, especially for people your age.

 

BespokeBrooklyn

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If you are a college student; I would leave the traditional menswear side of your wardrobe alone — there is no need to upgrade your tailored clothing until you interview for a job that requires it. Even more so if you may put on weight in the near future. I would invest in a good pair of jeans, a handful of t-shirts and casual button-down shirts that fit you well, a gray crew neck sweatshirt, and a pair of chukka boots that can be resoled. If you do not already have a pair of street wear sneakers (which is to say, sneakers that are made for being part of an outfit, rather than for the gym or for hiking), that should be among your top priorities. The “street wear and denim” side of the forum can steer you to some specific brands, but if you are on a typical college student’s budget then I would start by looking at J. Crew. Find a sales associate whose style you like and ask them to help you find clothes that fit you appropriately. For chukkas, look at Allen Edmonds; be sure to get professionally fitted in an Allen Edmonds store or a high-end department store like Nordstrom. For sneakers, retro Nikes or Addidas Stan Smiths will probably give you the most versatility.
I'm pretty new to the idea of dressing better, as you can probably tell from the title.

I'm a second year university student in a large city. My wardrobe is currently quite casual and consists of a pair of jeans; a pair or two of chino shorts; three pairs of chinos, only one of which I wear regularly (I stupidly bought the other two because they were on sale); a flannel; and some T-shirts, mainly stuff I got from school events, that fit poorly. Of course, there are also some ill-fitting dress shirts and pants "just in case", as well as assorted undergarments.

A factor complicating my clothing purchases is that I am quite skinny, and borderline underweight in fact. I do plan to change this soon; however, for the time being, this is making it hard to find clothes that fit comfortably. I've heard of tall sizes, but I'm unsure how much this would help my situation. I've attached a photo with my face redacted for some context.

Considering the above and that my campus is quite progressive, I'd appreciate any advice for a clueless guy and his unfortunate wardrobe!



View attachment 1623889
 

badwithnames_canada

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If you are a college student; I would leave the traditional menswear side of your wardrobe alone — there is no need to upgrade your tailored clothing until you interview for a job that requires it. Even more so if you may put on weight in the near future. I would invest in a good pair of jeans, a handful of t-shirts and casual button-down shirts that fit you well, a gray crew neck sweatshirt, and a pair of chukka boots that can be resoled. If you do not already have a pair of street wear sneakers (which is to say, sneakers that are made for being part of an outfit, rather than for the gym or for hiking), that should be among your top priorities. The “street wear and denim” side of the forum can steer you to some specific brands, but if you are on a typical college student’s budget then I would start by looking at J. Crew. Find a sales associate whose style you like and ask them to help you find clothes that fit you appropriately. For chukkas, look at Allen Edmonds; be sure to get professionally fitted in an Allen Edmonds store or a high-end department store like Nordstrom. For sneakers, retro Nikes or Addidas Stan Smiths will probably give you the most versatility.
Thank you for the information!

Unfortunately, it looks like Allen Edmonds hasn't expanded to Canada yet, and Nordstrom doesn't carry them either here, so I would need to buy them online from the US site (not preferred). The only brick and mortar store I could find that carried their chukkas had them for sale for $575 CAD, which is far out of budget. They do look nice though...

Would buying slim fit shirts right now cause them not to fit if I gained some muscle mass? I'm not sure if the "slim" refers to build (tall and slim) or to my arms being skinny. Forgive my ignorance, please.

I do actually own a pair of Stan Smiths right now, funny enough. However, holes have started forming in the soles, which means probably that they are due for replacement. Which Nike models would you recommend that could be worn with casual outfits?

Try reading the side bar at Reddit's Male Fashion Advice. I think they give better advice on how to dress better, especially for people your age.

Funny enough, that's where I found out about this forum! I actually read their sidebar and their "basic bastard" wardrobe guides, which seem to agree with the other advice given here, except that the price point recommended there leans a little lower. They seem to be a good starting point for basics.
 

BespokeBrooklyn

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Being Canadian complicates things a little bit. I grew up in Buffalo, NY, and it was very common for Canadians to cross the border to shop for clothes, because they were so much less expensive in the United States (even before you account for the higher taxes in Canada). My advice is to go to Nordstrom or Harry Rosen, look around, get measured, ask some questions, and try on a few things. Do not feel intimidated in those stores, or shy about walking out without buying something. Getting a young college student interested in dressing well is in their long-term interest! Once you've been professionally measured, you can shop at secondhand stores and browse eBay with confidence. Also, one way to shop well for clothing on a budget is to browse and handle more expensive clothes and see what you like and do not like, see how things are paired together, and then try to seek out those attributes or styles in less expensive stores. You'll notice things -- all of the shoes have soles that are stitched on, instead of glued; most things have no or minimal overt branding, etc. -- that will inform your future shopping in less expensive stores.

Shoes are one of the things that always seem to be far more expensive in Canada than I'd expect them to be. Allen Edmonds' outlet stores sell slightly defective shoes (many of the defects are almost impossible to detect, and many others became impossible to detect once the shoes have been worn a few times) for a fraction of retail price. They are having a sale right now, and although I do not know whether they ship to Canada, they are selling some relatively classic chukkas and oxfords for $80-$130 USD. It may be worth sending them an e-mail and asking if they'll ship to Canada. Even if you have to pay a fair amount for shipping, it sounds as if they will be far less expensive than shopping at full retail at a Canadian store. The good news is that, as a university student in Canada, you'll probably wear sneakers or bad weather boots for much of the year, and even one pair of stylish shoes is one more than many of your peers will have.

Thank you for the information!

Unfortunately, it looks like Allen Edmonds hasn't expanded to Canada yet, and Nordstrom doesn't carry them either here, so I would need to buy them online from the US site (not preferred). The only brick and mortar store I could find that carried their chukkas had them for sale for $575 CAD, which is far out of budget. They do look nice though...

Would buying slim fit shirts right now cause them not to fit if I gained some muscle mass? I'm not sure if the "slim" refers to build (tall and slim) or to my arms being skinny. Forgive my ignorance, please.

I do actually own a pair of Stan Smiths right now, funny enough. However, holes have started forming in the soles, which means probably that they are due for replacement. Which Nike models would you recommend that could be worn with casual outfits?


Funny enough, that's where I found out about this forum! I actually read their sidebar and their "basic bastard" wardrobe guides, which seem to agree with the other advice given here, except that the price point recommended there leans a little lower. They seem to be a good starting point for basics.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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A factor complicating my clothing purchases is that I am quite skinny, and borderline underweight in fact. I do plan to change this soon; however, for the time being, this is making it hard to find clothes that fit comfortably. I've heard of tall sizes, but I'm unsure how much this would help my situation. I've attached a photo with my face redacted for some context.
FWIW, your body type is basically ideal for clothes. It's not so much about build, but proportions. It's easier to look good in clothes if you have shoulders that are much broader than your waist. Also easier if you have shoulders that aren't overly sloped, rounded, or forward. These proportions can be had in an athletic, average, or skinny build.

The challenge is just finding an aesthetic that you think reflects your personality, needs, cultural identity, etc. There are so many casual looks out there, it's hard to prescribe something.

Get some basics that will allow you to explore different looks, and then follow Instagram accounts you like. Don't invest too much into building a "full wardrobe," but rather basic pieces that allow you to play around with different looks and develop your taste/ eye.
 

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