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What would you suggest for someone of my body type and age looking to build a capsule wardrobe inspired by classic menswear?

Ddubs

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Picture of myself of reference, 5'5 around 110:

1000008713.jpg


I'm 24 and am looking to slowly rebuild my wardrobe after becoming increasingly dissatisfied with how I dress. My main inspirations so far have come from the likes of Derek Guy/dieworkwear and permanent style, particularly the capsule wardrobe guide from PS, but I'm still very much a novice regarding classic menswear.

I'm definitely not ready to jump in the deep end with full bespoke suits yet, but am looking to take things in a more formal direction, particularly for my smart casual office environment at work. Although, most people there dress much closer on the casual end of the spectrum. Personally however, I like to put effort into my outfits and appear well put together when out in public.

This post has come off the back of an earlier thread I made about trousers which generated some great discussion and really got me thinking how I would like to dress moving forward. I'd like to expand the discussion more broadly outside of just trousers. So if you're at all curious for more context, feel free to have a look at the post.

What I'm looking for when asking for suggestions is: which route mainly in terms of the cut, fit, silhouette, details and the clothing items themselves would help me 'dress for my body type' and age when laying the foundations of a capsule wardrobe based around classic menswear. As an example, TheIronDandy recommended flat front trousers (as opposed to pleats) with a moderate width and medium rise with belt loops for my body type and offered a great, insightful accompanying explanation which helped me understand the reasoning.

I think I have a decent understanding of which items I should be looking into from the PS guide, but feel free to fire away what you think.

I'm not at all looking for someone to personally curate exactly what my wardrobe should look like, but rather to learn and take advice from the plethora of highly knowledgeable individuals on here. For now at least, I think the user ThinWhiteDuke from my previous post best summarised my current attitude and what I'm looking for when talking about cotton/hopsack and tweed blazers: "not so formal that you feel self conscious as 'that guy' in the office who's always 'dressed up'. And if you are? Screw 'em! That's their lookout if they want to be schlubs!"
 
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acconrad

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You seem tall and thin, the entire fashion industry is centered around you. So you can basically wear whatever from whomever and probably be fine. I know it's not helpful because truthfully you can actually just like wear lots of stuff and it will work.
 

comrade

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You express yourself very well and have some inkling of good dress. If you are
in a major cosmopolitan city, I recommend that you visit all the mens' shops or
mens departments at leading retailers get an idea of what you like from what is
offered. If you are like me- I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you will like nothing
at the high end shops who sell mostly awful " Italian" clothing that one never sees in
Italy. Next step is a trip to New York, Boston, if you like Ivy, and the Internet. DO
NOT DO MTM from the Web. I have been personally measured for MTM and on more
than one occasion, they srewed it up. Good luck !!
 

TimothyF

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"Classic menswear" is not some monolith. There are many hues and variations within: some varieties based on aesthetic, others geography, history, cultural, socioeconomic status, etc. Which sub-category within "classic menswear" will you identify with, or will you eclectically choose from a number of them? Only you can answer, and you won't truly know without some good introspection and experimentation. Best of luck
 

Ddubs

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You seem tall and thin, the entire fashion industry is centered around you. So you can basically wear whatever from whomever and probably be fine. I know it's not helpful because truthfully you can actually just like wear lots of stuff and it will work.
I'm actually only 5'5 haha, so I've found quite the opposite in that I can't really wear a lot of things! I guess the angle is deceiving.
 
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Ddubs

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"Classic menswear" is not some monolith. There are many hues and variations within: some varieties based on aesthetic, others geography, history, cultural, socioeconomic status, etc. Which sub-category within "classic menswear" will you identify with, or will you eclectically choose from a number of them? Only you can answer, and you won't truly know without some good introspection and experimentation. Best of luck
I guess I'm still figuring that one out in many ways, but I would say my initial influences stem from the likes of Derek Guy, permanentstyle, menswear musings, the guys at the anthology, Yukio Akamine, Ethan Wong and people on Instagram like Gerry Nelson, Urban Sartorialist and Bienluienapris off the top of my head. I appreciate that probably encompasses a huge variety of classic menswear styles.

Just something further: no offence intended to your advice at all as it is really appreciated, but I feel like I see some iteration of the idea 'finding your own style that resonates with you and works for you' (as I think you are implying with your last couple of sentences) thrown around a lot, but seldom is it explained what that actually means. So what do I actually do to explore that avenue? I think 'identity', 'introspection' or 'experimentation' are concepts too broad for me to grapple from a passing sentence.

There also seems to be a lot of talk stressing the importance of 'dressing' for your body type', but conversely a train of thought that advocates for not putting too much thought into such cues or what is 'right' by simply dressing in what you like irregardless. I find things a bit muddled in that regard.
 
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Bartolo

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Just something further: no offence intended to your advice at all as it is really appreciated, but I feel like I see some iteration of the idea 'finding your own style that resonates with you and works for you' (as I think you are implying with your last couple of sentences) thrown around a lot, but seldom is it explained what that actually means. So what do I actually do to explore that avenue? I think 'identity', 'introspection' or 'experimentation' are concepts too broad for me to grapple from a passing sentence.

Here's "what it means" to me / here are my experiences.

First, realize that you can see online all sorts of great pics/fits -- they look great on the person wearing them. But will they (A) look great on you AND (B) will they be an image that YOU want to project and (C) will you feel good wearing them?

Unfortunately it takes time and some trial and error to answer all of these. You have to visit some good stores, try on a bunch of stuff, and ideally have someone in your life who can go with you and give you some honest feedback.

The items mentioned in the PS capsule article are all fine. You cannot go wrong with any of those.

But when it comes to developing YOUR style, it really does take time, some trial and error, and some purchases that in retrospect don't work out.

My own 'journey' has been aided greatly by my wife who has an excellent eye for design, color, and style. 80% of what's in my closet was purchased with her along with me. We've been walking down 5th or Madison and she'll see something in a window and say "Go and try that on." She's helped one of my good friends with a few mtm pieces (picking out fabrics, etc) too. So that helps.

Finally one story. 15 yrs ago when I was where you are -- wanting to dress better -- I was on the forums and smitten by all the Alden shoe looks I saw posted so often. I bought probably 6 pairs of Aldens including 3 or 4 shell cordovan classics. And some of the classic Chinos. After a very short while I realized that it's not a look I really like (and that those Alden f'ers are SO HEAVY). Lucky for me I could sell off the shoes and not lose any $. Now almost all of my shoes are Italian but with lasts that are relatively conservative by Italian standards. I found what I like. You will too.
 

acconrad

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I'm actually only 5'5 haha, so I've found quite the opposite in that I can't really wear a lot of things! I guess the angle is deceiving.
Well in that case shorten the hems on your pants and go for higher rise pants with shorter tops. It will give you the appearance of longer legs (thus taller). It goes without saying that clothing must fit, but err on the side of too tight than too loose, only because you are so thin and you are shorter - bigger, blousier clothes will only add to the "I look like a kid in my dad's clothing" effect which is a bit more on trend these days. Also I think vertical stripes probably will work for you too, and bolder patterns (like thicker, block stripes over thin, bengal stripes)
 

notdos

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You’re young, and the iterations of your style will change over time. The simple answer is to start somewhere, trial and error. Frankly, you can start with Brooks Brothers and get everything you need for a beginner and at a reasonable price. Don’t over analyze, it’s not gonna be a perfect road.

Phillip
 

Ddubs

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Well in that case shorten the hems on your pants and go for higher rise pants with shorter tops. It will give you the appearance of longer legs (thus taller). It goes without saying that clothing must fit, but err on the side of too tight than too loose, only because you are so thin and you are shorter - bigger, blousier clothes will only add to the "I look like a kid in my dad's clothing" effect which is a bit more on trend these days. Also I think vertical stripes probably will work for you too, and bolder patterns (like thicker, block stripes over thin, bengal stripes)
Thank you for this! As regards to high waisted pants, they are something I really enjoy (but don't have many right now) and a few others have suggested them to me. The one detail I am uncertain about however is whether to go with belt loops or side adjusters on more formal pairs. I believe (and correct me if I'm wrong) high waisted formal trousers were traditionally worn with braces or side adjusters. I don't see myself going down the braces route, so would you suggest belt loops or side adjusters?
 

Bayou Tiger

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Picture of myself of reference, 5'5 around 110:

View attachment 2190579

I'm 24 and am looking to slowly rebuild my wardrobe after becoming increasingly dissatisfied with how I dress. My main inspirations so far have come from the likes of Derek Guy/dieworkwear and permanent style, particularly the capsule wardrobe guide from PS, but I'm still very much a novice regarding classic menswear.

I'm definitely not ready to jump in the deep end with full bespoke suits yet, but am looking to take things in a more formal direction, particularly for my smart casual office environment at work. Although, most people there dress much closer on the casual end of the spectrum. Personally however, I like to put effort into my outfits and appear well put together when out in public.

This post has come off the back of an earlier thread I made about trousers which generated some great discussion and really got me thinking how I would like to dress moving forward. I'd like to expand the discussion more broadly outside of just trousers. So if you're at all curious for more context, feel free to have a look at the post.

What I'm looking for when asking for suggestions is: which route mainly in terms of the cut, fit, silhouette, details and the clothing items themselves would help me 'dress for my body type' and age when laying the foundations of a capsule wardrobe based around classic menswear. As an example, TheIronDandy recommended flat front trousers (as opposed to pleats) with a moderate width and medium rise with belt loops for my body type and offered a great, insightful accompanying explanation which helped me understand the reasoning.

I think I have a decent understanding of which items I should be looking into from the PS guide, but feel free to fire away what you think.

I'm not at all looking for someone to personally curate exactly what my wardrobe should look like, but rather to learn and take advice from the plethora of highly knowledgeable individuals on here. For now at least, I think the user ThinWhiteDuke from my previous post best summarised my current attitude and what I'm looking for when talking about cotton/hopsack and tweed blazers: "not so formal that you feel self conscious as 'that guy' in the office who's always 'dressed up'. And if you are? Screw 'em! That's their lookout if they want to be schlubs!"
The Modest Man (Brock McGoff) is a similar height and build, and he has plenty of good YouTube videos, articles, and photos that might provide some good ideas.

 

ppk

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You’re young, and the iterations of your style will change over time. The simple answer is to start somewhere, trial and error. Frankly, you can start with Brooks Brothers and get everything you need for a beginner and at a reasonable price. Don’t over analyze, it’s not gonna be a perfect road.

Phillip

I'm not a big fan of "capsule wardrobes." Most people who write/talk about those on the web are trying to sell you something. This is your journey, don't let someone else tell you what to do. This might be a contrarian view.

I agree with the above. I dropped into this rabbit hole last year. I am a nerd - I completely become obsessed with things that fascinate me. I read a lot (here, Die Workwear, Put This On, etc.) and listened to a lot of podcasts, made some hypotheses, and bought stuff to test them. Failed a bunch; nailed a bunch.

I started on eBay, moved on to Luxire, Spier and McKay and a couple of bespoke projects with Divij Bespoke and Edward Sexton. I still occasionally do eBay, Buyee.jp, etc. but I won't pull the trigger unless I'm absolutely sure.

If I were to do it again, I'd still start on eBay, but not compromise on size. Size is related to fit, and fit is more important than color, cloth or any other detail. Have someone take good measurements of your body, and carefully measure shirts, jackets, and trousers that you think fit well and write it all down. Every time you want to buy something compare the measurements to your notes. When you buy something, and you alter it to fit better, write those new measurements down.

Get feedback from here and IRL from people you trust. Don't avoid hard truths. Sometimes, something I was infatuated with online was simply not for me. An example for me is Neapolitan tailoring. It doesn't look good on me. Tons of people rave about it here and elsewhere, but that doesn't matter. It isn't my style, and I don't look good in it. I learned that I look better and feel better in English tailoring.

The way I progressed was to write everything down and get feedback - don't guess and wing it. Your fit and style, will improve remarkably quickly.

That's my $.02.
 

Ddubs

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I'm not a big fan of "capsule wardrobes." Most people who write/talk about those on the web are trying to sell you something. This is your journey, don't let someone else tell you what to do. This might be a contrarian view.

I agree with the above. I dropped into this rabbit hole last year. I am a nerd - I completely become obsessed with things that fascinate me. I read a lot (here, Die Workwear, Put This On, etc.) and listened to a lot of podcasts, made some hypotheses, and bought stuff to test them. Failed a bunch; nailed a bunch.

I started on eBay, moved on to Luxire, Spier and McKay and a couple of bespoke projects with Divij Bespoke and Edward Sexton. I still occasionally do eBay, Buyee.jp, etc. but I won't pull the trigger unless I'm absolutely sure.

If I were to do it again, I'd still start on eBay, but not compromise on size. Size is related to fit, and fit is more important than color, cloth or any other detail. Have someone take good measurements of your body, and carefully measure shirts, jackets, and trousers that you think fit well and write it all down. Every time you want to buy something compare the measurements to your notes. When you buy something, and you alter it to fit better, write those new measurements down.

Get feedback from here and IRL from people you trust. Don't avoid hard truths. Sometimes, something I was infatuated with online was simply not for me. An example for me is Neapolitan tailoring. It doesn't look good on me. Tons of people rave about it here and elsewhere, but that doesn't matter. It isn't my style, and I don't look good in it. I learned that I look better and feel better in English tailoring.

The way I progressed was to write everything down and get feedback - don't guess and wing it. Your fit and style, will improve remarkably quickly.

That's my $.02.
Thank you, really love this response and thanks for providing a contrarian view.

Regarding your points about capsule wardrobes, I definitely agree it can be a misguided concept. I'd say what I'm aiming for is a smallish collection of items that are versatile in relation to each, purely from a budget perspective at the moment and as someone who's become increasingly conscious about the implications of owning too much, particularly clothes. I guess I like an orderly wardrobe, or the idea of one at keast. In that sense, how would you suggest I go about things?

I've forayed into eBay before with not a lot of success, even after taking really taking into consideration my measurements. Maybe I've been unlucky, but I've never really found anything of quality out there for someone my size even after countless hours of searching. Oftentimes a lot of stuff still hasn't fit me despite aligning with my measurements, which in part is where tailoring comes in admittedly.

I think as well IRL, I only have a small tight knit group of people I trust, and none of them are as into clothes as people seem to be on here, especially the increasingly niche nature of classic menswear these days. I still trust their opinions no doubt, but I'm sure I have people to turn to for this kind of thing. But maybe that's not the point you're making.

Out of interest, what about Neapolitan tailoring was not a fit for you as opposed to English tailoring?
 
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acconrad

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Thank you for this! As regards to high waisted pants, they are something I really enjoy (but don't have many right now) and a few others have suggested them to me. The one detail I am uncertain about however is whether to go with belt loops or side adjusters on more formal pairs. I believe (and correct me if I'm wrong) high waisted formal trousers were traditionally worn with braces or side adjusters. I don't see myself going down the braces route, so would you suggest belt loops or side adjusters?
doesn't really matter. side adjusters are better but its more expensive. may not be worth the upcharge. if youre going with suspenders you'd ideally want neither, but if you wanted one as a fallback you could do side adjusters. its just going to cost more
 

ppk

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Thank you, really love this response and thanks for providing a contrarian view.

Regarding your points about capsule wardrobes, I definitely agree it can be a misguided concept. I'd say what I'm aiming for is a smallish collection of items that are versatile in relation to each, purely from a budget perspective at the moment and as someone who's become increasingly conscious about the implications of owning too much, particularly clothes. I guess I like an orderly wardrobe, or the idea of one at keast. In that sense, how would you suggest I go about things?
I prefer to pursue an organic approach. The issue I have with trying to be orderly from the beginning, is that I didn't know:
  • What fit me well - I did lose a lot of weight the last two years. I am also tall and skinny with narrow shoulders, with longer arms and freakishly long legs.
  • What attributes of style are important to me - during my journey, I learned that elegant, classic and distinctive are the three attributes that I value (in order).
  • What I really liked which is derived from the point above - I used to like everything slim-fit. I have turned 180 degrees. I realized I look much better in the classic, high waisted, wide-legged look.
I had to wander to discover this. I am also an experiential learner - I need to do things to learn. If you already have a clear view of what you like, then being orderly and building a capsule wardrobe, might work.
I've forayed into eBay before which not a lot of success even after taking really taking into consideration my measurements. Maybe I've been unlucky, but I've just never really found anything of quality out there for someone my size even after countless hours of searching. Oftentimes a lot of stuff still hasn't fit me despite aligning with my measurements, which in part is where tailoring comes in admittedly.
This could definitely be an issue. There is a lot of junk on eBay. Also, I assume that anything I buy on eBay will need to be altered. I reserve some budget for alterations with every purchase. Grailed, and Marrkt are sometimes better than eBay.
I think as well IRL, I only have a small tight knit group of people I trust, and none of them are as into clothes as people seem to be on here, especially the increasingly niche nature of classic menswear these days. I still trust their opinions no doubt, but I'm sure I have people to turn to for this kind of thing. But maybe that's not the point you're making.
To get feedback, I post fit pics here quite often - especially, when I am experimenting or not sure about the combination. People here are generous with their knowledge and experience. I was terrified the first few times, I posted, but getting one's ego bruised is also part of the journey. BTW, there are some whose feedback I ignore.

I also trust my partner. She is absolutely not into menswear, but she has an eye for silhouettes and colors, and when she gives feedback, I incorporate it and adjust.
Out of interest, what about Neapolitan tailoring was not a fit for you as opposed to English tailoring?
As I wrote above, my three attributes are elegant, classic and distinctive. To me the people who embody that aesthetic are Fred Astaire, Cary Grant and Gary Cooper (who also had long legs) - a modern example is Bill Nighy. They mostly wore, or wear in the case of Bill Nighy, English tailoring and I think their silhouettes are attractive.

As noted above, I have narrow shoulders and a narrow waist. Neapolitan tailoring (and Italian for the most part) eschews structure. The jacket tends to hang directly on the body, and it results in a slouchy, hunched look on me. If I had broad shoulders, it might look good. Whereas English tailoring has a bit of structure on the shoulders, some drape in the chest and waist suppression. On me, it results in the silhouette that simply looks good. The feedback that I have received supports this.

Good luck. My journey has been great so far and has had positive impacts in my professional and personal life. However, one caveat is that I have spent much more than I thought I would. I am probably not as disciplined as I should be.
 
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