This column will be encroaching upon a topic that I’ve always wanted to write about but have always shirked away from for a number of rather insecure reasons. I didn’t want to be that columnist writing about clothes and I figured no one would really care about what I had to say. I didn’t want to be pretentious, nor did I want to make a fool of myself. But now, I realize: why does any of that have to stop me?
I like clothes. I feel weird saying that, but I have to be honest with myself and I have to be honest with you. I view it as a hobby. I’d never brand myself as a metrosexual or some sort of couture fetishist. I don’t use Tumblr or Lookbook, nor do I draw inspiration from magazines or celebrities. People could even argue that I look like I don’t even know how to dress myself. That’s all fine and dandy with me though.
More specifically, I will be talking about purchasing clothes in this column, as it will remain vaguely tangential to my overarching column theme. Let’s get to it, shall we?
As many of you have probably noticed, there is a dearth of places to shop for clothing in the immediate Davis vicinity. Sure, there are smatterings of vintage/thrift boutiques around downtown, as well as a Forever 21, but then again, these locations mostly cater to women.
I’ll be frank; I don’t know what it is that most guys wear. I haven’t been aware of what guys have worn since probably the middle of high school when the typical garb was a mixture of PacSun and Hollister. I don’t go around asking my friends where they buy their apparel from. It’s not a typical exchange most guys would be savvy to have.
I, personally, buy all of my clothes online. Ever since I was able to figure out how to set up a Paypal account, I spent my time scouring the recesses of the internet, refreshing page after page in search of certain pieces that I found appealing and that I could work well into my wardrobe. Some people don’t take pleasure in the idea of buying clothing online.
“I can’t try it on to see how it looks!”
“How will I know if it will fit?”
Contrary to what some may believe, your tagged size in one brand may not translate into the same size in another. Wearing an M in “X brand” will not be the same as wearing an M in “Y brand.” So it’s always best to know your measurements. For guys, standard measurements to know would be pit to pit, shoulder to shoulder, waist, inseam, sleeve length and maybe even your neck girth for good measure.
Getting the shoulders right is probably the most important, as the rest of the article of clothing can be tailored to your desired proportions, should you be so inclined (if you’re really nit-picky about the fit of your clothes, or if you have abnormal proportions).
I don’t really have the space to go into depth about how to measure yourself properly, but a simple tape measure combined with some common sense should get you a long way. I haven’t bought a single item of clothing from a physical location in probably five years (save for boxer-briefs, I guess).
I suggest shopping online, simply because we’re in an area where it’s pretty difficult to get your hands on a variety of clothes and styles. A trip out to the Bay may suffice, but shipping can be as cheap or cheaper than gas. A lot of stores offer free shipping and even free returns to boot.
I usually buy my clothes through forums or from out-of-state retailers, so I almost always get to skimp on tax as well. I never really mind buying clothes that are “gently used,” but I do have to advise against buying used shoes.
My philosophy toward making clothes purchases is to buy less but to buy better. Also, I suggest making a list of items that you want/that you need to fill in your wardrobe so you don’t end up buying items just because they were on sale. It just ends up being a waste of closet space and of money. I have a lot more to say, but I’m out of space, so maybe I’ll pick up on this next time.
ANDREW POH doesn’t really like to talk about clothes, unless you’re from the future. If you get the reference then you can get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.