Dressing yourself when you haven’t learned how

Hello everyone:

There are some fellows whose wives either always bought their clothes or always gave them advice on what to wear. They may find themselves in the dilemma of not knowing what colors to pair up or what tie to put with which suit. If this is your situation, there are several solutions.

The first is to go to an upscale department or clothing store and ask for help. The problem with this is that the sales people may be very helpful but they are there to sell you more new clothes. Many of them are on commission and they don’t make money by helping you match clothing you already have.

The next solution is to ask your friends for help, specifically those with an interest in fashion. This might be a good short-term solution but then you might end up wearing clothes that are their taste but not necessarily yours. The final solution would be to learn how to match clothing yourself.

I spoke recently with a friend who works as a personal stylist at Nordstrom.  Jen told me that men whose wives have always selected their clothing should start with a few basics. She suggested wrinkle-free khaki pants, no-iron shirts, and comfortable shoes.  The pants should be in neutral colors because that is the easiest way to match ties to the clothing.

Shirts should be white or blue; she especially cautioned that the blue should be an Oxford (light) blue rather than a French blue. When you are shopping for clothes (whether male or female), you should keep in mind that different vendors design for different body shapes. You can, therefore, be in great shape but you still might not be able to wear a certain designer’s clothing.

As far as whether to wear pleats or no pleats, pleats are sometimes not as becoming to some men while other fellows look much better in them than in a flat front pant. Try several styles on from a variety of designers and see which pant accommodates your body type the best. If you are not sure, take an honest friend with you to try on clothes.

Some men prefer to not wear a belt, but if you like having one on, pick one that is reversible and you will have two belts in one. As you add to your wardrobe, keep in mind that you don’t need a lot of clothes in your closet, but you should have more tops than bottoms.

One mistake-proof way to purchase pants is to take the Garanimal approach to clothing selection, and one manufacturer is helping you out. Bonobos offers a different color khaki pant for every day of the week. The label tells you which day of the week to wear which pair of pants. If you are willing to invest in seven or more pairs of pants, the fact that the pants are all in the same color palette means that you will not make a mistake when pulling out a shirt and a pair of trousers when you get dressed in the morning. These are all no-iron, tailored pants that range in color from light gray to blue to brown to black, so you might find them attractive. One thing to keep in mind is that your body changes through the years and it is a good idea to go to a high-end store and get measured to make sure you are wearing the right size!

If you enjoy wearing sweaters, here is the scoop on having the best style for who you are. Crew-necked sweaters (round neckline) appeal mostly to younger men. The V-neck sweater is the best bet for older men because it is more flattering on them. V-necked sweaters can be dressed up or down. Add an Oxford blue shirt and T-shirt and you look dressy. Remove the Oxford shirt and just wear a T-shirt under the sweater and you will be more casual and hip.

Quarter-zip sweaters also look stylish and are a good selection if you have shoulder issues or mobility problems. They are also nice for transitional seasons. Cardigan sweaters give you the, well, Mr. Rogers look. However, they can be helpful if you are older and frequently chilly. They can be much easier for your caregiver to help you into, if you are unable to dress yourself.

Jen also said that every man needs at least one pair of jeans. If you are the type of man who would wear a sports coat, make it a navy blue one, since that will go with everything. Before buying one, ask yourself where you would wear it. If you can’t answer the questions, you don’t need the coat.

Coats are also a way to look “together.” North Face coats are hip and trendy, and their 3 in 1 coat is especially good. Denali also makes a good fleece coat and Burber is another good quality jacket. If you do not have a “forever” watch, Hermes, Michael Kohr, or Rolex watches have an excellent reputation.


Dr. Sheri

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