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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.


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-- Heinz-Ulrich

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