A woman friend recently contacted me in the midst of a debate with a man. She said that she tried to stress the importance of a man being magnolia fresh everyday. While her companion agreed that the fashion featured here is indeed excellent, he thought it impossible to do it every single day without being wealthy. I immediately disagreed and shared my opinion on how it can be done (and, indeed, how I do it) in three rules:
1) What to Buy: Purchase Pieces
Buy pieces that you can match with multiple things in your closet. Avoid going to the store and buying outfits, especially tightly linked outfits that you can only wear as a unit. Buying pieces gives you versatility and flexibility and broadens the sheer number of outfits in your closet. If you purchase 5 shirts and 5 pairs of pants as individual pieces rather than as 5 outfits you give yourself potentially 25 outfit combinations rather than only 5. For example, look at the pieces that reappear in the following pictures. That’s the wonderful thing about clothes, they’re reusable.
2) When and Where to Buy: Bargains and Seasons
Yes, some pieces are more expensive than others. Can’t always get a super cheap suit or blazer, but not everything has to be expensive to look nice and have good quality. Thing is, those things can be harder to find. It takes a lot of energy to peruse crowded clearance racks (and even more to thrift if you’re into that; I’m not for a few reasons) even though you can find good things there. Also, shop out of season. For example, buy coats immediately after winter when stores are trying to clear their racks for their spring clothes. There may be slightly fewer options than shopping in season, but you can find good deals on gems for when that season rolls around again. And search novelty shops for interesting accessories. They typically have bracelets, necklaces, pins, and scarves for really low prices, and they’ll be very unique. (Also, be wary of pseudo-sales. For example, almost everything at Macy’s is always 25% off. No real deals there. The “sale” is a ploy to convince you that you’re saving money so that you’ll spend more money. Stores will really tank the prices, 50-75% off when they’re seeking to get rid of items.)
3) How to Buy: Patiently
You don’t build your wardrobe through one trip to the store. It takes time and patience. I own over 100 dress shirts, but it has taken years to get to that point. (But keeping clothes in good shape for years requires work. Use a dry cleaner!!!) I didn’t go clear out the mall one day. But remember to avoid simply hoarding clothes in the interest of building a closet. Sometimes clothes have to go. They get old, they go out of style (this is a smaller problem for men), your body changes so they stop fitting. A closet is a dynamic place, where you not only add things when appropriate but you eliminate them when appropriate. Like a garden, you take time to cultivate your closet to get it right.