The Answer: Go Classic, Go Basic

The Question: How do I make style easy?

There’s no need to think so hard.

The reason that men have a hard time shopping and putting together great looking outfits is that we have too much. Too many stores, too many brands, too many colors, etc.

Some time ago, there were only a handful of clothing makers and you only had a few places to get good clothing. Also, brands just made stuff better with a higher level of quality commitment. These days, many of those quality family brands have been bought out by bigger companies. When things get bought out, usually the quality dives. Notable examples like Florsheim and Persol come to mind.

So now we have all these brands producing endless options, which leads to problems in choosing what to wear. Most of my clients have a closet stuffed to the brim with clothing and still tell me they have nothing to wear. These days, we suffer from problems of abundance rather than problems of scarcity. You’re more likely to die from obesity than you are starvation.

So how does a guy like you cut through the noise?

Go classic. Go basic.

Timeless styles will always win. Granted, you might not be looked upon as the most fashion-forward guy, but you’ll never look stupid.

When you go classic and basic you won’t have to buy new clothes every season to keep up with da trendz. Because you’re going with classic and timeless brands, you know the quality of your items will be high. Everything you own will pair well together because of its simplicity. This is the easiest way to look good. You don’t need a lot of clothing, you need the right clothing.

Let me give you an example: Often during consultations, guys will be taken back when I recommend a pair of Levi’s, thinking they’re not a very fashionable item. Hardcore menswear guys like myself love Levi’s. They basically invented jeans, and you don’t mess with that. Furthermore, their construction is good and so is their price point. It’s at this intersection of quality and price that you should aim to purchase most of your clothing.

Here are the keys to accomplishing this kind of simplicity:

First, staple colors. A very good chunk of your wardrobe should be staple colors: Black, white, navy, and gray. These colors all look good on most men and pair extremely well with each other and other colors. The majority of my wardrobe is made up of these colors because I don’t want to think about pairing. I’ve had all the colorful clothing - it doesn’t interest me these days - elegant simplicity does.

Second, your items should be basic in nature. t-shirts with no branding or designs, jeans with no stupid distressing, bejeweling or fading, shirts with minimal patterns, etc. You get the idea. The fits should be slim, but not too slim that they look skinny. Slim means things conform to your body, without being tight. Go too tight or too loose, eventually, your items will be out of style. There is no exact fit that is right here. Many brands fit will vary. I’m an extra slim in some things and a classic fit in others. in general, European brands will fit slimmer and American brands will fit wider. Adjust accordingly. This is another reason why you always try everything on and buy things in person when possible.

Third, your items will mostly come from heritage brands. Brands that have been in the game for a long time usually know what they’re doing. I can’t tell you how many items I’ve seen fall apart that were hastily purchased from a random Instagram ad. Think about it like hiring someone with experience… If a brand has been doing one thing, such as making shoes, or sunglasses, for 50-100 years, you can bet they know a thing or two. In this article, I was quoted listing some of my favorite British heritage brands

To sum it up: Stick to “plain” items that fit well in staple colors from heritage brands.

That is how you cut through the noise.

As a bonus here is a little “simplicity starter pack” with some timeless items I love.

Levi’s 501’s

Uniqlo Supima Cotton Tees

Clarks Desert Boots

Cap-Toe Allen Edmonds

J.Crew Oxford Button-Down Shirt

Bass Weejun Black Penny Loafers

Polo Ralph Lauren Chinos

Belstaff Leather Jacket

Moscot Lemtosh Sunglasses