Skip to main content

Critical Mass, Part II: Dressing Well Made Easy. . .

Today's ensemble: navy wool flannel blazer, gray wool flannel pants, cotton oxford cloth button-down collar shirt, silk necktie, and silk pocket square.  Black leather belt and tasseled loafers not shown.

Forget for a moment how exciting it is to rediscover forgotten items twice each year when you switch from warmer weather clothing to cooler weather gear each fall and vice versa in the spring.  Let's return to one of last week's posts about reaching critical mass with your attire.  Here's the magic formula according to my way of thinking.  If you've got three or four sports jackets and a blazer, four or five pairs of dress pants, and four or five pairs of dress shoes -- all of which can, more or less, be mixed and matched easily -- along with two dozen dress shirts, maybe 6-10 neckties, and two dozen pairs of dress socks, you've reached the critical mass.  

You've got enough items in your wardrobe that you won't be wearing the same thing every seven days, yet you can assemble an infinitely varied and presentable adult combination of classic male attire quickly and easily.  Your clothing will remain visually interesting to you, and people won't notice that you wore the same item two days previously because you're able to change things up a bit.  Moreover, each individual item will last much longer because 1) you won't wear it to death on your body, 2) it won't be beaten to death with weekly laundering in the case of shirts and socks, 3) fall apart from too many trips to the dry cleaner's.  Simple, right?  As I asked rhetorically last week, who says dressing better than average has to take lots of time?  Guys who voice such a complaint just don't know what they are talking about.

Building a versatile classic wardrobe like this takes a little time, of course, but it needn't break the bank as I've said before here at The Average Guy's Guide to Classic Style.  Just watch for retail sales online and in physical stores, or shop consignment, thrift, or charity shops routinely.  It simply takes a bit of time (not much) and effort (not much).  If you've done your research and learned about classic male attire in the meantime, you'll know what to look for and recognize it when you spot it.  And if you live somewhere where the thrift pickings are better than they are in my small Midwestern city, you might even be able assemble a functional classic wardrobe in a year or two.  

Buy what you need, have it altered to fit your frame in the best way possible, and wear it with aplomb.  It's no good to anyone if those newly acquired clothes are left hanging in your closet.  Grow a backbone, become immune to those "Why are you so dressed up?" questions, and  put 'em on.  You look great.

-- Heinz-Ulrich


  1. Only 6-10 ties? Where did I go wrong as I have about 40 (it was 60 at one point) built up over many years but necessary when I was working in the City of London. I have found a lot of really good name silk ties on Ebay for about the equivalent of $3. Agree with you sentiments on thrift shops - very difficult to find one with high quality names here in UK.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I've actually got around 90-100 ties left in the 'collection' after weeding out 30+ this summer.


Post a Comment

All opinions are welcome here. Even those that differ from mine. But let's keep it clean and civil, please.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Popular Posts

Four Little Words. . .

  R egardless of the cut of one's sports jacket, odd pants, suit, or shirt collar, four key words spring to mind when it comes to being intentional about our attire, personal habits, daily interactions and so much else.  Here they are: Polish -- Good manners and ease with people. Sophistication --  Refinement, good taste, and subtlety in not only a social context but also the cultural and intellectual senses . Finesse --  Sensibility, grace, and social competence. Awareness -- Perspective, empathy, and emotional intelligence    And my point?  We should strive to cultivate these qualities in ourselves with (more) conscious intent.  More of the four within and from everyone would make the world in 2024 a far more pleasant place in which to live and operate.  Best of all, these four things cost nothing, making them accessible to everyone regardless of education level or income bracket. -- Heinz-Ulrich

The Problem of "Business Casual" Attire. . .

This is how it's done.  Business Casual the RIGHT way, ladies and gentlemen.  Even during the summer months.  A photograph (taken by Studio B Portraits ) which appeared in 425 Business Magazine in May 2017.   T his post on the problem of business casual dress began as a quick postscript to a previous blog entry last week but quickly grew and grew as additional thoughts occurred, were developed in more detail, and revisions made.  So much so, that it seemed, eventually, like a better idea to make the initial P.S. afterthought into its own entry .  Are ya ready, Freddy?  Then, here we go. . .  ------------ U nless you actually plan to sell beach snacks and trinkets on Cozumel, become a serial barista, or greet customers at a fancy nightclub after taking out huge student loans to attend university somewhere for four or five years, plus an MBA afterward, it's really a better idea to err on the side of (somewhat) more formal work attire any time you head into the

Friday Breakfast Style. . .

  N ow and again, the Grand Duchess and I manage to find the time for an adults' breakfast out on Friday mornings once the Young Master has climbed aboard the school bus.  Today was the first such outing in quite some time, and we visited our favorite quick and greasy about 10 minute up the road.   Since I've got a couple of Zoom meetings midday and in the early afternoon, I opted for a sports jacket over an OCBD shirt rather than the more typical Rugby top or flannel shirt.  Hey, it's still quite chilly here in the mornings. -- Heinz-Ulrich