MANual of Style


“Douchebag” by Shreyas
6 February, 2010, 11:19 am
Filed under: Basic Concepts, Special | Tags:

My name is Shreyas, and some people think I’m a douchebag.

Chances are, some people think you’re a douchebag, too. What does that word even mean? Urban Dictionary certainly doesn’t have anything useful to say about it. The best I can figure out is, “A guy who I don’t like, possibly for reasons related to his personal presentation.”

In other words, a douchebag is someone who rubs you the wrong way. (My favorite is #9, “The name of the guy dating the girl of your dreams.”) Thing is, unless you’re a total care bear, there will always be people who rub you the wrong way, and since we humans are not identical, those douchebags might not be douchebags from where someone else is sitting. We gotta be cool with that.

What I’m getting at here is that you shouldn’t let a concept as vague as “douchebag” befog your thinking. If you see some dude on the street and instantly think, “What a douchebag,” stop and think about why. Is it that champagne polo shirt you swear you’ve seen on three other guys today? Is it the way he parked his car, or that he insists on wearing flip-flops in October like he’s still on spring break? I just want you to separate “that guy pisses me off” and “that guy’s outfit bugs me” because here at MANual, I don’t really care about the first, but the second bears some thinking about.

It’s easy to dress like your friends do, and a lot of guys you see whose outfits bug you are just doing that. They might not be thinking about it, or they might be dressing that way deliberately because they’re trying to convey a message with their wardrobe. The takeaway, for you, is don’t dress like that. You shouldn’t wear clothes that piss you off. You should wear clothes that make you look and feel good.

But at the same time, I don’t think you should judge people too harshly for the way they dress.

The other thing to remember is, everyone’s a douchebag to somebody. You shouldn’t let fear of looking like a douchebag dictate your style decisions for you. I’ve caught myself thinking “That guy is a douchebag” because I saw a guy wearing an outfit I loved, but wouldn’t have the guts to wear. Douchebag can imply fear or jealousy or disgust, and as a dashing and busy man about town, you shouldn’t take the time to worry about whether someone is applying that label to you because of your clothing. Never buy the first round at the bar? Sleep with your best friend’s significant other? Cut people off in traffic? Those are reasons to be concerned about your douchebaggyness. I attend roleplaying game conventions, and have been known to run games while wearing a three-piece suit and bow tie. I’ve gotten some askance looks from LARPers dressed in space marine regalia and suits of armor, anime cosplayers dressed like sailor scouts, and steampunk enthusiasts in goggles and ascots. I don’t really care, though: wearing a suit, looking sophisticated and turning heads makes me happy.

As long as you’re following your fashion rules for clothes that flatter you and not wearing anything blatantly offensive (swastikas, “now accepting applications for a Japanese girlfriend” T-shirts), wear what you like and don’t worry about anything else.



Lesson 12: Jackets by Shreyas
4 February, 2010, 11:16 pm
Filed under: Casualwear | Tags: , , , ,

I love jackets. Living in New England, you don’t have a choice but to have a warm layer you can wear all the time, and I find that in cold places like this, you’ll find that almost everyone has a great coat—because you need to wear one so often, it’s a smart thing to invest a little extra thought and money in. (If you live in a warmer climate, put in the thought anyway, but also keep in mind that you can make good use of an item with a shorter lifespan, since you won’t be using it as hard.)

Today we’re going to talk about short jackets. The trench and long woolen coat are a little more formal, despite the best efforts of Dick Tracy and Matrix lovers to turn the trench into everyday wear.

Choosing a Color

Remember what I said earlier about outerwear: it is easier to make it work with your whole wardrobe if it’s one of your neutrals. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should never have colored jackets (In my time I’ve had red, green, sky blue…), but they require a little more thoughtfulness to integrate into an outfit. If you do choose a strong color, it must be a color that looks really good on you, not one that’s merely okay, since while you’re wearing it, it’ll be the most visible color in your outfit.

When to Wear a Casual Jacket

As a rule of thumb, I think that as you shed layers you should become less formal, not more. Ergo, don’t wear a casual jacket with your interview suit. There’s a sort of cognitive dissonance that happens if you take off a piece of clothing and start looking more dressed up, and I generally think that your casualwear shouldn’t be unsettling.

Formal jackets should never be worn indoors, but lighter casual jackets can, especially if you’re somewhere you can’t settle in, like the mall. I wouldn’t suggest that you wear a snowboard jacket to your Sociology class, but you can certainly leave your track jacket on in a café and no one will think anything of it. Anything less massive than a biggish sweater can act as an integral part of an outfit, rather than as a removable outer layer.

The Bomber

Shades of Greige Herringbone Bomber, $165

Descended from WWI pilot gear, the bomber jacket has lots of functional details: a high collar, snug cuffs, a fitted waist, and a wind flap over the zipper closure. It’s designed to keep cold air out in windy conditions. The constructed silhouette of the bomber flatters the waist, but it can be bulky, particularly since many bombers have quilted or shearling linings. Don’t put anything in the breast pockets; if you do, they’ll sag. I particularly like the flat pockets of the jacket above; you’ll find that many military-styled items have pleated or bellows pockets, which add a lot of weight.

The bomber-and-scarf look is traditional and iconic, by the way, for a good reason: it looks cool. The most traditional implementation uses a pretty hefty scarf, but it’s more modern to use something more lightweight, which will drape rather than bulk up—the softness and motion add contrast with the jacket’s structure.

The Puffy Coat

Fred Perry Quilted Jacket, $215

Puffy/quilted jackets are often quite warm, but they also tend to add a lot of volume in an overstuffed way. The jacket you see above is one of the slimmest specimens I’ve seen. Skiing and snowboarding jackets are usually of the puffy kind as well; as a matter of personal taste I don’t wear snow-sports jackets unless it’s actually the season for the sport. Since they add so much bulk and erase the contours of the body, I suggest wearing with caution unless you’re quite thin. Wear them with narrow pants to counteract the Michelin Man effect.

The Track Jacket

Oakley Faded Track Jacket, $46

Track jackets generally offer a slimming silhouette, backed up by ribbed cuffs and waist. They also have a collar that can be zipped to a stand-up position; that can add some height to your look, but if the collar is so tight it stretches when you zip it up, the folds that result from stretching it will cancel out the effect. Personally, I don’t wear my collar up unless it’s windy. Track jackets sometimes come with raglan sleeves, so if the raglan look works for you, you should go and find one. As with other sports jackets, I personally feel like it’s a little more appropriate to wear track jackets when the sport is in season, but don’t let that stop you.

I wouldn’t ordinarily accessorize a track jacket. The collar isn’t the right shape to accommodate a scarf, and it’s too lightweight to wear with gloves. You should generally zip up a track jacket whenever you’re wearing it, because the structure of the collar makes it drape in an unattractive way when it’s open.

The Leather Jacket

Diesel Lade Leather Jacket, $550

Just some notes about leather here—jackets of many styles are made from leather, from the track look here to the iconic double-breasted motorcycle jacket. Leather jackets often have metal details and linings of some delicacy, so they require extra care. Since leather shouldn’t stretch very much (it weakens the material), you should be absolutely sure you have the right size before you choose a leather jacket. Unlike fabric, a tight spot in a leather jacket won’t gradually creep into place and become more comfortable, without damaging the stitching and lining. I recommend trying jackets on until you find one that’s uncomfortably small, and then go one size up from that; don’t get a jacket that’s too big, either, because the way leather folds breaks up your silhouette and adds a lot of visual distraction you don’t want.

I prefer to wear wool gloves with leather jackets. For some people, wearing matching leather gloves works, but it’s not for me.

The Hoodie

Unconditional Zip-Off @ ASOS, £290

Since hoodies have more substance around the neck, they’re good for adding volume to your shoulders; by the same token you shouldn’t wear a hoodie with a scarf or turtleneck, because all the mass will make it look like you don’t have a neck at all. Although historically hoodies have been baggy rather than tailored, more recently designers have been introducing slimmer and more constructed silhouettes, and playful pieces like the one above (which is pretty damn cool if you ask me, but since it’s so unusual it’s a big style statement).

There are more jackets in the world, but I hope that’ll give you an idea of what you’ve got to look for and think about. Remember: wardrobe integration, silhouette, accessories. Should you ever wear it open? Collar up or down? At some point I’ll talk about layering in greater depth, too. For now, I’m signing off. See you on Saturday, when we’ll talk about what it means to be a douchebag.



Lesson 11: Jeans by Shreyas
2 February, 2010, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Casualwear | Tags: , , , ,

Though you can wear other pants casually, today we’re just going to talk about the cornerstone of casual buttwear: jeans. Jeans are America’s greatest contribution to fashion; they’re sturdy, versatile, and expressive. They have wildly different personalities: a man who wears Wranglers would have little to say to one who wears Rag & Bone. Today we’ll talk about why some jeans are so expensive, which jeans fit your personality, and choosing the right fit, wash, and length.

About Denim

Denim is a unique fabric because of the way indigo dye works. Rather than sinking into the thread and dyeing it evenly the whole way through, indigo bonds to the thread surface. That’s what allows denim to develop the shaded patterns of fading and wear that it does—the cores of denim threads are lighter-colored than the outsides, so as the cloth is subjected to abrasion, the contact surfaces become lighter. (Most denim sold today has been made with synthetic indigo dyes that act similarly, but not identically, to the real thing. Real indigo dye has more imperfections in it, which lead to more unpredictable and interesting fade patterns.)

A lot of jean manufacturers manipulate this fading process in various ways, like the infamous acid wash of the 80s or the more recent manipulations of fading and “whiskering”—artificial crease patterns in the crotch. You can learn how to do your own artificial jean-aging on your favorite DIY website, too, but I prefer to let jeans fade and wear naturally. The color variations of jeans also come from post-dyeing processes; indigo only comes in one color (a deep, cool blue), and any other color notes come from operations that manufacturers call “washes.”

High-end jeans are generally made with selvedge denim, which means that the fabric was woven on special looms that create a tighter, stronger fabric. These shuttle looms are slower and therefore more expensive to operate than mass-production projectile looms, so the jeans are more expensive. You can identify selvedge jeans by looking at the inside of the outer leg seam; regular denim will have a cut-and-stitched edge, while selvedge denim will have a woven edge that usually has a brightly-colored stripe running along it.

Fit

There are basically two points of fit for jeans: rise and leg. “Rise” is the distance between crotch and waistline. Low-rise jeans are for hipsters with hipbones and guys with pot bellies; low-rise means they cut directly across what is typically the widest part of your frame, so they’re good to show off flat stomachs or to avoid cutting across the belly. (If you’re one of the latter cases, make sure your shirts are long enough to cover your belly when you raise your arms, because your pants won’t do the job for you.) Medium-rise is what I recommend for most people. The waistband of these jeans should sit slightly below the waist, but safely high enough to cover your buttcrack. (Low-rise jeans wrap around the hip bones; medium-rise sit on them.) The medium rise is forgiving of less-than-perfect abs without looking too uptight.

Finally, the high-rise jean, whose waistband actually reaches the waist. Who should wear these? Well, a lot of vintage-style jeans have a high rise, so if you’re going for a Man Men casual look or a sort of old-fashioned workwear effect, go for it. It’s easier to wear high-waisted jeans with a tucked-in shirt, too. (The added bulk of the shirt would otherwise conceal your waist and make you look like you have a gut.) Either way, it takes a pretty intentionally-styled outfit to make high-rises work, and you must take care not to wear jeans that go above your waist, or you’ll look like Urkel.

The leg has a lot more variables; each brand styles their legs differently. They do fall into some basic categories, though: the skinny leg, boot cut, straight leg, and wide leg.

  • Skinny-leg jeans work best for slim dudes without a lot of muscle definition: the point of the skinny leg is to emphasize tall, lean lines.
  • Straight-leg jeans work for most builds, and if your thighs are much larger than your calves, it can provide good camouflage.  The idea with the straight leg is to emphasize height, but focus more on strong than lean. (So if you’re a skinny kid who’d rather look strong than lean, or a skinny kid who’s also a bike messenger, wear these instead of skinny jeans.)
  • Boot-cut jeans are wider at the bottom than straight-leg jeans, and are usually narrowest at the knees. It creates the look of muscle definition if you don’t have much, conceals extremely large calves, and is good for people who actually wear boots. If you already have strong legs, though, you might find the thighs uncomfortably tight. (These and the skinny jeans run the greatest risk of looking like women’s jeans if worn incorrectly.)
  • Wide-leg jeans are enlarged versions of the straight-leg jean. They lack any definition of silhouette, so they’re good for making a specific fashion statement (“I enjoy urban streetwear”), but not for making your butt or legs catch the eye.

When you’re shopping for jeans, you have to look at your butt in the mirror. (If you’re not comfortable doing this, bring a friend to look at your butt for you.) Jeans that fit properly will show some definition. Some styles will wrap all the way around (Wranglers are infamous for looking painted-on in this region), while ones with roomier legs will contour to the roundest part and fall from there. Either way, you can tell your pants don’t fit if either there’s a horizontal crease at your seat, which means they’re too tight (there should be enough room for you to sit down), or if you can’t find your butt, which means they’re too loose. Also check where the rear pockets are. Unless you’re looking at specialty jeans of one kind or another, the rear pockets shouldn’t reach your thighs. They go on your butt.

Okay, enough of that. What about length? Test! You shouldn’t be able to see your socks when you sit down, and you probably (again, specific styles excepted) don’t want them pooling at the ankles very much. Pooling makes you look shorter, and creates a lot of wear-and-tear on the cuffs, which will make your jeans wear out faster. Wear the same (style of) shoes to the store that you plan to wear with your jeans so you can see how they work together. The shape of your shoes and the thickness of the soles affect how your pants hang, and you’ll want slightly longer pants to wear with, say, work boots, than you would with flip-flops.

Wash & Detailing

We’ve already talked about color. Just go out and pick a wash that you like and look good in, keeping in mind that your pants go next to your shoes. There aren’t a lot of washes like this that are popular now, but ones with a lot of texture or contrast count as patterns when laying out your outfit. I’d also treat complicated hardware or embroidery (adorned rear pockets, button flys, built-in chains, whatever) as accessories. Basically, just remember that interesting details make people look at things.

If you want to preserve the original color and contrast of your jeans, wash them after every few wears. Use cold water, the delicate cycle, and turn the pants inside-out before you wash. Turning them out keeps the dyed surface from rubbing up against your other clothes too much. To create a more contrasted wear pattern, wear them longer between washes, or if you think that’s gross put them in the dryer with some tennis balls on the no-heat cycle (that’ll create a different wear pattern than actually wearing them, though). Always button your jeans before washing them; it takes stress off the fly so it doesn’t wear out as fast.

Join us on Thursday for jackets and outerwear, and on Saturday I think we’ll do a rundown of some denim brands and the way they style their jeans.



Products I like: Shirts by Shreyas
30 January, 2010, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Casualwear | Tags: , , ,

Wicked Quick V-Neck Tee

This shirt is great. It’s got some very nice silhouette-shaping details: the textured dye job makes bright areas at the collar and sleeve hems, drawing the eye to the face and to the widest point of the bicept, which is great for making your muscles look bigger. The sleeves are just the right length (Note that if you’ve got especially long or short arms, your results will vary), and the belly area is subtly darker than the chest, for a slimming effect. Plus, that color is amazing. (It comes in a wide variety of colors, some of which are tamer than this.)

The texture also follows my fashion rule: Wear richer, not fussier, fabrics. It looks handmade and is visually interesting, without being a noisy or distracting design. In addition, the cut is obviously very intentional; hems don’t land like that by accident. (I just found the Wicked Quick brand today, actually, and I’m very impressed.)

MK2 Fitted Stretch Cotton Shirt

I really love the arresting color and black details, but the military style is what makes this shirt stand out for me. Military styles have the strong structure to make my shoulders look their straightest and my torso look its leanest, and the epaulets atop the shoulders help add the perception of bulk where it needs to be. The sleeves are long, but can be rolled and buttoned to a shorter length, making for a neater appearance while still keeping things casual. This is definitely a shirt that could be dressed up or down: with a blazer, the double front pockets would disappear, and you’d simply see a tablespoon of well-tailored crimson cotton. It doesn’t hurt that the model is wearing a shade of dark-wash denim that is a staple in my wardrobe; when I first saw this shirt, I said to myself “Oh! That’s a whole outfit for me, right there.” You know an item is worth purchasing when it mentally pulls together an outfit (or two, or three) with items already in your wardrobe.

Of Vice And Virtue Hooded Henley

I’m always on the lookout for warm clothes with interesting necklines—living where I do, it’s hard to be warm and fashionable. Even with the hood up, the lighter-colored lining on this henley draws attention to the face, and the sleeve detail is a nice thing to have peeking out of the cuffs of a jacket. I like the slim cut on this piece, important when you’re layering, and the extra length on the sleeves to help keep my hands warm and add to the slouchy, casual feel. It’s super casual without making you look like a slob.



Lesson 10: Shirts by Shreyas
28 January, 2010, 8:15 pm
Filed under: Casualwear | Tags: , , , , , , ,

In this unit, we’re going to break down casualwear into specific items of clothing and talk about them in some detail. Let’s start at the top, with shirts.

There are three basic types of shirts: tee shirts, collared shirts, and pullovers (sweaters and the like). Any of these shirts can be casual. There are formal versions of each as well; how do you tell the difference? In a lot of cases, the difference is what you wear them with—that is to say, you can dress the item up or down, as we discussed in the intro.

Tees

Tees are the most casual shirt, and there are a lot of different types to choose from.

The basic crew-neck is probably somewhere in everyone’s wardrobe. It’s safe and reliable. Fitted correctly, the shoulder seam should land just at the point of your shoulder and the hemline at the bend of your hip, as on the model. Be sure it’s long enough; check by trying on the shirt and raising your arms straight overhead. If it rides up and exposes your belly, it’s too short. It pays to shop around for tees with the right proportions; if you’re particularly narrow-shouldered you will need to find adequately narrow, long shirts to get the shoulder seams to fit right; a shirt that’s overly wide will make you look small-armed and boxy.

Raglans and baseball tees have a diagonal shoulder seam that ends at the collar. They put a lot of emphasis on the chest and shoulders, particularly if the sleeve color has a lot of contrast with the body color. If you’re narrow in the chest and torso, you’ll want the brighter color on the body section; if you’re wider, then go for raglans with bright sleeves and a darker body. Baseball shirts always have three-quarter length sleeves, which is great if you have nice arms, but otherwise tricky. However, raglans are also available in full- and short-sleeve versions, so experiment and see which works best for you. Note that the hem of a raglan is usually a little longer than a crewneck of similar size; this, along with the longer sleeve length, may make raglans a superior choice if you’re overweight and concerned about those particular areas.

Henleys and v-necks are designed to draw the eye up to the face, while also exposing a little bit of skin. (The one above is a pretty heavy knit, and you could conceivably treat it as a pullover, but the details at the neckline, hem, and cuffs make it an ideal example of this genre.) Henleys can read more formal than raglans and crew necks, but the V effect is nice on a casual short-sleeved tee as well. I highly recommend these for anyone with visible collarbones (girls love collarbones), but consider your chest hair when choosing a low neckline—if it’s very prominent, it’ll create a focal point that keeps the eye from going to the face. I’m not saying you should all wax your chests here, but for the more hairy among us, it’s always an option.

While we’re on the subject, I’d also like to warn you off the extremely low v-neck that goes past, say, the midpoint of the sternum. Unless you’re built like an underwear model, it looks like particularly sloppy sleepwear.

Collared Shirts

We discussed collared shirts in passing in the intro, as something that’s easy to dress up or down. Collared shirts that are inherently casual tend to have bolder patterns, decorative details, and less traditional construction. Many of them are designed for rolling the sleeves up—they have contrasting cuff linings that may match a contrast collar. (Note that the white-collared, white-cuffed pastel shirt is actually a formal item, for historical reasons. Back in the day, shirts were made with detachable collars and cuffs, and when the original parts wore out they were often replaced with white rather than attempting to match an aged fabric of unpredictable color.) Rolling up the sleeves to three-quarter length, or up to the elbow, is a common way to dress down a more formal shirt.

Layering a shirt and a tee can be an effective way of adding color and interest, but keep these things in mind: If you wear the shirt unbuttoned, it hangs straight down and does no good for your silhouette, and regardless of how you wear it, more layers add more bulk to your figure. If you’re layering, try to use a well-fitting tee made of pretty thin fabric.

Polo shirts (and their cousins, like the rugby shirt) are about as casual as tees. Because of their athletic roots, these shirts are usually cut for strong, lean figures and aren’t particularly forgiving, so wear with care.

Pullovers

The casual pullover—sweatshirts, hoodies, sweaters, cardigans, fleeces—should be worn with something underneath, thus the term “pullover.” Since it’s a top-layer item, you should always try these on with the appropriate kind of shirt underneath, and you might end up buying a size up from your t-shirt size when you do. That’s to be expected; pullovers need to be larger to accommodate the clothing underneath, and if they fit well they won’t make you look any bulkier.

I find that pullovers that display a lot of the lower layer, such as cardigans with low necklines, half-zip sweaters, and so on, are easier to combine with other clothes if they’re a neutral or one of the key colors of your wardrobe.

Fabric is a lot of what separates the casual pullover from the less casual. A finely knit cashmere sweater can be dressed up quite a bit more than a cable-knit fisherman’s sweater, and there’s no hope to dress up a jersey hoodie. Most solids are easier to dress up than most patterns; however, stripes and argyle are a little more formal than most patterns, especially when they’re in subtle colors.

That’s all for today. Join us on Saturday for some of my favorite shirts.



Lesson 9: Intro to Casualwear by Shreyas
27 January, 2010, 12:35 am
Filed under: Casualwear | Tags: ,

Welcome to Unit 2! For the next few weeks, we’ll discuss casualwear.

First let’s talk about what we mean when we say “casualwear.” I don’t mean “things you wear in your house by yourself,” that’s loungewear or laundry day. Casualwear is the stuff you wear when you’re out of the house or otherwise seeing people, and no stricter dress code prevails. People have different stances on casualwear; what we consider casualwear might be what you wear when you’re dressing up. That’s cool, as long as you’ve done your closet cleanout from Lesson 4 and you’re not going out in things that are soiled, in disrepair, or otherwise inappropriate.

Casual vs. Work

While we’re talking casual, let’s briefly acknowledge the issue of work clothes. Most professions have an official or de facto dress code, as do some leisure activities such as running, most sports, metalwork, etc. The guidelines for casualwear don’t apply here. Even freelancers have to look somewhat businesslike when conducting meetings with clients. We’ll talk more about work clothes in a different lesson.

The Freedom of Casualwear

Since there are fewer widespread expectations for what to wear in a casual setting, you have a lot of flexibility to express your own style. I encourage you to milk that opportunity for all it’s worth. If you’re experimenting with a new silhouette or color, the least risky way to do it is to incorporate it into an outfit when you’re going out for a coffee with a friend, a walk around town, or whatever. Then, when that job interview or date rolls around, you’ll know whether it’s a good idea or not.

More formal clothes can be dressed down in casual ensembles by pairing them appropriately, too. That expands your potential wardrobe dramatically. You can wear an untucked tux shirt with jeans for a sharp twist on a classic look, or bring out a special pair of trousers to go with a tee shirt. It isn’t usually possible to dress up garments in the same way, though, so I wouldn’t advise trying to revitalize your style with your favorite dinosaur pajama pants. The classic tee-with-blazer look is great, too, but do it carefully: the tee in question is nearly always solid, black, and well-tailored. You can get away with colors and graphics, carefully, but this is one place where you can’t let silhouette slide or the blazer won’t fit right.

Casual vs. Comfortable

The word “comfortable” is the number-one excuse that people use for dressing poorly. “I’d rather be comfortable than fashionable” is a denial based on a false dichotomy; you don’t have to choose just one. As long as your clothes fit right and are made from quality fabrics they will be physically comfortable. This is kind of a big deal, and it’s why you should always try on clothes before you buy them. If they pinch or pull or chafe or sag or itch, either they don’t fit or they’re made of something your skin doesn’t like. Check the garment label and find something different.

Psychologically comfortable is an entirely different thing, and if you’ve got a piece of clothing you look good in, that fits well, and makes you feel psychologically uncomfortable, I think you should wear it. Take it as a challenge. Back when I was into bold patterns, I tried on this white shirt with a big floral print in brown. The colors looked good on me, the fabric was appropriate for the season, and the silhouette made me look great. I was super nervous about it. Still, I bought it anyway, and got a couple of compliments on it when I forced myself to wear it the first couple of times. Success. I don’t mean to suggest that you should buy and wear clothes you don’t like, but you should give clothes a chance if they follow your rules, and really examine your reasons for disliking something. I was just nervous about wearing flowers that big (I mean, really big) on something that clearly wasn’t a Hawaiian shirt. You’ll find the more compliments you get on clothing, the better you’ll feel in it. So, if you’re nervous about trying new clothes, bring honest and supportive friends to cheer you on while you shop (and offer a second opinion when you make missteps).

I think you’ll also find that a lot of your “comfortable” clothes feel that way for psychological reasons. They might have emotional significance, or you might’ve had them for a long time, etc. I used to have a pair of jeans that I loved, long after the cuffs and knees gave way and the belt loops started to tear off. They made me happy but I tripped on them all the time, had cold knees, and didn’t fit right because I couldn’t wear a belt. I think they’re still at my parents’ house somewhere, because I don’t want to throw them away, but I’m not wearing them anytime soon. They don’t make my butt look nice, they don’t keep me warm, and they hinder my motion. Why wear them?

That’s it for now. Thursday, we’ll talk about casual tops.



Products I Like: My Style by Shreyas
24 January, 2010, 12:08 pm
Filed under: Special | Tags: ,

Here are some things that I like. I don’t own any of them, but if I did I’d wear them.

Levi’s Authentics in Dusk, Straight Leg

These are the sort of jeans I wear every day: A little slouchy, but not too wide in the leg, in an unsaturated wash. The subdued color doesn’t take too much upkeep, and it frees me to wear more daringly colored tops.

Guess Byron Shirt

I like this shirt a lot. It’s not too fitted around the waist, so it’ll still fit all right if I gain a few pounds, but it’s cut slim overall, and has a nice vertical detail, which adds a nice height and deemphasizes the stomach area (since the line is straight, the eye will just skim along it rather than pausing in the middle). I like the subtle sheen of the fabric and the glossy detail, which add richness.

Express Half-Zip Sweater

I own a couple of half-zip sewaters in this style; the mock turtleneck effect adds presence to my shoulders. I particularly like the color of this one and the details on the sleeve and wrists—again, drawing the eye to my arms (which are nice) rather than my middle (which is squishy).

The North Face ‘Nimble’ Jacket

By now I think you get the drift. For outerwear like this jacket, I prefer grays, so I can freely layer colors underneath with relative impunity. Notice the shoulder and side details.

You can see that, simply by following my style rules, these garments all fall together into an outfit effortlessly. Neat, right? See you on Tuesday!