How do I fashion?
December 18, 2017 7:55 AM   Subscribe

I'm a 42 year old male. Having spent the last decade or so extremely overweight, I'd completely stopped giving any thought to what I wore. In fact, I'd gone full Zuckerberg. Now I've lost 100 pounds and I'm thinking that maybe I should treat myself to nicer clothes, but I have no idea where to start. Help?

I'd like to start putting together not just a new wardrobe, but an improved sense of personal style. But I don't know where to start. I've aged out of the punk/indie tastes I wore years ago the last time I was normal-sized. And this time around, I have a bit more income to play with. I don't need to swap out my entire closet. I think I'd rather have a half dozen truly nice pieces than a new armload of interchangeable discount stuff.

In terms of direction... I admire men my age who dress in a way that sort of acknowledges style and fashion, but in a subdued, low-key manner that doesn't try too hard or cry out for attention. I like clean lines and darker or muted colors (though I'm not totally averse to pops of color). I despise visible logos and can rarely tolerate any but the most subdued patterns. I've still got an ex-punk's distaste for pretentiousness or ostentation, only now it's paired with a middle-aged person's aversion to flash.

As an example, I admire the way americana musician Jason Isbell dresses. He has a style that is consistent, even as it has room for both sharp suits and denim jackets. He has a kind of elegant pseudo-casual look where he can sneak in a pair of designer sneakers with blue jeans. He wears the kind of clothes that look like a regular person on a regular day, but of a quality and style such that he's never more than a jacket away from looking classy. That's not necessarily a perfect encapsulation of my goal, just the one guidepost I have so far.

What blogs, articles, stores, clothing brands, etc. should I check out that might help me find direction? I'm deciding on my own style, but I have no idea where to start looking.
posted by DirtyOldTown to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Don't have recs for men's clothing per se, but I went though a similar style refresh and Pinterest helped me a lot. I'd cruise around the internet, and when I saw something I thought looked stylish I'd pin it, and after a while I could go to the board and be like, oh hey, turns out I dig asymmetrical necklines. It helped me mentally define the parameters of what I liked, so that when I shopped I was more directed. Narrowing down a colour palate helped, too --- you can get by with fewer higher-quality pieces when pretty much everything goes together.
posted by Diablevert at 8:11 AM on December 18, 2017 [5 favorites]

These kind of 'fashion as a service' services seem to be getting a lot of traction lately. Many of them promise a consult with a personal stylist or at least a questionnaire about what you’re into & they’ll all let you keep only what you want to keep. I’d poke around and see if one seems up your alley. They usually have a discount on your first order as well, so check retailmenot.
posted by churl at 8:21 AM on December 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

You could do a lot worst than looking over the casual end of the clothes covered at Put This On.
posted by mmascolino at 8:21 AM on December 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

Do you have a Nordstrom near you? You can book time with a personal stylist for free who will walk you through your fashion goals and help by digging out things you may not have thought to find on your own, give you terrific feedback on how to wear things, and it's honestly no pressure. It's one of the most positive retail shopping experiences I've had, and I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't know where to start for fashion, has an event they want to shop for, or just to pamper yourself a little bit.
posted by xingcat at 8:30 AM on December 18, 2017 [8 favorites]

I mean this completely seriously - just do what they do (and you like) at
posted by cnc at 8:36 AM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

If I were you, I'd start to follow blogs and/or stores that you like on Instagram and start saving images that you really like.

Because you mentioned Jason Isbell and your handle is DirtyOldTown, I feel like maybe we could like some of the same things... so check these out: Billy Reid (a Southern designer out of Alabama), Sault New England (a men's shop in Boston), Imogene and Willie (they make jeans in Nashville), General Quarters (a shop in LA, much like Sault - outdoorsy guy stuff).

Some of that stuff leans toward Redwing boots, jeans and wax cotton jackets though Billy Reid will get fancier at times. If you check out some of the above (particularly on Instagram) you can go down a rabbit hole of men's fashion and maybe find lots of stuff to say, pin to a Pinterest board.

Good luck!
posted by jdl at 9:40 AM on December 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Gustin has lots of low-flash/minimal logo, well fitting, American made, high-quality shirts, pants, denim, and shoes. It's an 'order & wait' kind of place, where they wait until enough people order a certain item before manufacturing, but it's worth the time if you like the style. I have multiple pairs of their jeans, khakis, shirts, and leather sneakers. It's all really nice stuff.
posted by gyusan at 10:24 AM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

If I had the money, I would shop for every man I know at Sheehan&Co. Some of his stuff might stray into the flashy category, but most of it is classic, versatile, and deliciously masculine.
posted by SamanthaK at 2:47 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Okay yes I am being pedantic, but I think Sault New England is based out of New Hampshire, not Boston.
posted by KazamaSmokers at 7:51 PM on December 18, 2017

You might want to check out the guides section at r/malefashionadvice. Also I think a search term that might be helpful for you is "rockabilly."
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 3:37 AM on December 19, 2017

KazamaSmokers - They have a shop in Boston and one in Portsmouth, NH - also a pop-up in the South End (Boston) over this holiday season. They started out in the South End. Not that it actually matters, but thought I'd correct your correction.
posted by jdl at 8:18 AM on December 19, 2017

Re: stores - for simple, streamlined, quality basics, uniqlo might be a good place to start (it's on the cheaper end from what you described, but you may realize you want some affordable basics in addition to higher-end statement stuff.)
posted by mosst at 8:22 AM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

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