How to Shop like a Menswear Journalist

Closet Audit

Despite appearances, the stylish guy behind your favourite Instagram account or menswear blog probably isn’t shopping more — he’s shopping smarter. Take me for example. I make a comfortable living, but as any writer knows, it’s a tough industry. That’s why I live with one eye on that Japanese twill neck tie and the other glued to my budget. Here are my tips for tapping into your inner fashion writer to make your clothing purchases count.

Tighten up your high-low game. One thing that surprised me most about the fashion industry is just how widely accepted it is to wear budget brands, whether you’re making a writer’s salary or a CEO’s. The trick is punching those pieces up with pricier designs so no one can tell the difference. Shopping on both ends of the high-low spectrum lets you indulge your good taste while keeping your wallet intact.

“Investment” isn’t code for “expensive.” Investment pieces should play specific and long-term roles in your wardrobe, not just cost a lot. If you’re splashing on a statement, ensure your wardrobe will support it down the line — you’ll get more wear out of a bold Canali check blazer having crisp Oxford shirts and solid cotton chinos in the mix than if your collection is plaid-heavy, for example. If what you’re after is a more classic piece like a leather jacket, spend on one tough enough to hand down to your son one day. It will pay for itself.

Speaking of which, classics are a great way to go. I love my bold prints, but when you’re tied between trendier styles and timeless buys like a denim jacket, brown leather brogues, or skinny black tie, go with anything in the latter category.

Buy to build your personal brand. You should build a roster of around three signature pieces that act as your calling card. Distinctive eyewear, a set of unique accessories, or a colour-coded wardrobe are all legitimate choices and can be used to guide future purchases — simply go with items that complement the cornerstones of your look. If you don’t think you have a signature style already, consider the items that find their way into your weekly rotation and build around those.

Observe the one in, one out rule. If you’re a guy, chances are your wardrobe is overflowing with stuff you’ve had since high school. (I’m guilty of it, too — there isn’t a chance in hell I’m parting with my favourite black cotton jacket.) Removing one item hanging on your rack for every new purchase can help you declutter and spend smarter.

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