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You've got your measurements, now what?


A selection of Brooks Brothers button-down shirts.  True classics in the word of menswear.


Alright.  After braving that all important visit to the tailor, what's next on the agenda for average guys, who are interested in kicking up their style up a notch or two?  Well, once you have your exact measurements, you'll want to begin by purchasing a few long-sleeved cotton shirts.  Avoid shirts that are sized as small, medium, large, or extra large.  Opt instead for shirts that are as close as possible to your precise collar and sleeve size.

Keep it simple for now and pick up half a dozen dress shirts to start.  A good mix is one white, two  blue, and three patterned or striped ones  (keep the patterns and stripes understated) with button-down collars.  This type of shirt is extremely versatile and will work with a tie and sports jacket or blazer, or without.  If you are in the United States, button-down shirts can also be paired with the right kind of suit for that traditional East Coast ivy league preppy look if that's your thing.  In any case, whether you ever wear a tie or not, be sure that your shirts are always clean, pressed, and tucked in (you'll need a belt or two).  You’ll look more pulled together instantly.

 A prime example of how the simple act of tucking in a correctly fitted, clean, and pressed shirt will instantly kick up your style several notches.


Now, how can you begin adding shirts (and eventually other things) to your wardrobe without breaking the bank?  Watching for sales at you local department stores or menswear store is one way.  Even better, shop online at places like Land's End  or L.L. Bean and check out their overstocks or clearance pages.  You can, of course, find and purchase much more expensive shirts, and there are many possible options, but those available from these two outlets are decently made, affordable, and will last for quite a while with normal care and maintenance.  Occasionally online sellers like these will run sales or other kinds of special promotions that will allow you to save big bucks.

Remember though to think the purchases of sale items over carefully before you part with your hard-earned cash.  The guys at Put This On have a number of interesting things for you to consider about clearance sales, both the kind that are offered in the physical and the virtual worlds.  On that note, Ebay and Etsy are also good online sources for clothing if you don't mind gently used items.  The only difficulty here is that you might not be able to find five or six shirts in your size all at once, so it might take a few weeks for you acquire everything.

A fourth option, and the most fun one, is to find and frequent your local thrift or clothing consignment shop, your local Goodwill, or the Salvation Army store.  Usually, those located in more affluent neighborhoods will have a wider variety of higher quality items to sort through.  Naturally, you'll need to examine the stock carefully and wade through lots of less-than-stellar clothes, but occasionally you'll strike gold.  When you find those sought after items, buy them right then, because they won't be there when you come back later.

A blue cotton oxford cloth button-down shirt like this one will go with anything from jeans to suit.  You can't go wrong with a few of these hanging in your closet.

The subject of thrifting effectively can fill a book, and if it appeals to you, have a look at An Affordable Wardrobe (link at right).  The guy behind the blog has an encyclopedic knowledge of thrifting and tailoring tips.  He also offers some amazing clothing finds for sale in his online shop.  Check it out.

One final word on shirts for today.  Stay away from the short-sleeved variety.  Unless you will be at the beach or around the pool, these always scream 'guy who doesn't know any better'.  And before anyone wonders about it, never, ever, EVER pair a necktie with a short-sleeved shirt.  Why risk looking like a goofball?  Otherwise, it's got to be long-sleeved 100% cotton shirts since these are the most versatile kind to own and the most comfortable.   You can always roll up your sleeves (neatly) should warmer weather warrant it, and most places are air-conditioned these days anyway.

Next time, here at The Average Guy's Guide to Style, we'll talk pants.  Tune in then!

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