The age old question: one pair of $200 jeans, or five pairs of $40 jeans? Which do you go with?
As part of your resolution to have a more stylish 2010, you’ll likely face this question many times as you add to and modify your wardrobe. Sadly, there is no one right answer. Fortunately, it presents an opportunity for you to become more in tune with the style direction that you want to head in.
Building a stylish and functional wardrobe means striking a balance between investing in quality pieces while also having enough quantity to provide a certain amount of variety and options for yourself. As you evaluate your wardrobe, keep the following things in mind:
- Never let your closet get so cluttered that you can’t clearly see everything you own.
- Don’t buy something just because it’s at a certain price. Regardless of how attractive the price is, if the garment isn’t attractive, or is so poorly made that you’ll only get a few wears out of it, it’s a bad buy.
- Likewise, don’t just buy the label. It doesn’t matter how popular a brand is – if the garment doesn’t make you look your absolute best, it’s a bad buy.
- If you find a garment that you really like but don’t think you’d ever wear it because it’s too nice/expensive/etc., don’t buy it. Likewise, make sure you’re wearing everything in your closet. A great looking article of clothing does nothing for you if it’s stuck on the hanger.
- Remember that building is a wardrobe is a process of multiplication, not addition. You’re looking at building outfits, which is a function of the number of shirts you have multiplied by the number of pants, ties, belts, sweaters, shoes and so on. Versatility should be a key consideration in the majority of your pieces.
- Allow yourself opportunities to add accessories to multiply your options even further, which can often be done at a lower cost. Belts, socks, hats and jewelry can all be mixed in to further expand your options.
- Have just enough pieces in your wardrobe so that you’re actually wearing what you own. Better to wear something out and get your money’s worth than to have it sit in your closet unworn.
The goal with building your wardrobe is to have the right quantity of quality garments for you to make your wardrobe work. Consider where you spend the majority of your time – for most men, that is at their job. If a suit or dress shirt and slacks is your standard outfit most of the week, then start the quality and quantity discussion there. How many pieces do you think you’ll need to provide the variety you’ll desire? What’s the best way to maximize your clothing budget while achieving the quality and quantity that matches your style?
The answer to the question of quantity versue quality is one that you will decide on for yourself based on your own style and wardrobe preferences, and is one you should constantly reevaluate to ensure that your wardrobe is built the way you need it to be.
Next time: be committed to the care of your clothes.
Read more from Seattle Menswear Examiner Patrick Lagreid, subscribe to his columns via e-mail or RSS, and follow him on Twitter. Do you have a men’s style question? E-mail it to Patrick, and it may just be answered in this column.