From the Beginning, From a Beginner


This is a guest post by Trent Beven


It’s a new year with new resolutions (or a revision of last year’s) and there are probably a few people out there who have sworn to never go to the supermarket in track pants again and hopefully a few who’s aims are even higher. There are a lot of good articles on this and other websites about how to build a good wardrobe so I’m not going to touch on that. Here are some practical tips for those just starting out to compliment general advice on wardrobe building you read elsewhere.

Don’t rush yourself
I decided I’d like to wear neck ties without being obliged to do so. They fit in well without looking “too formal” at an art opening or taking your girl out for cocktails. But now, when I look at the first few ties I bought all I can think is “business dad”. Not the style I’m aiming for. So don’t let your eagerness for a new style of dress get the better of you. You are only starting to discover how wide you want your ties to be, in what fabrics and in what patterns (not to mention the scale of the patterns). Inform yourself with a variety of articles on the subject and then look at some of the blogs dedicated to photographing style to see how people make each item work for them (no article of clothing is an island).

Don’t overdo it

Please make sure you heed this advice. Dressing well doesn’t mean dressing formal or stuffy. I hate to think of the times when I was extremely overdressed instead of looking smart and relaxed with dark blue jeans and a well fitting gingham shirt as would have been appropriate.

Spend a bit extra

When you can and when you’ve refined your taste a little, it’s great to spend a bit extra on something nicer than usual.
I’d recommend a good pair of shoes for two reasons. Firstly because the more you spend the longer they last (which is great while your building a wardrobe) and secondly because most men do poorly here, so getting it right will make you really stand out.
A tie, be it neck or bow, wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Sometimes you have to pay a bit extra for that extra panache. Provided that you don’t get yourself into scuffles your tie shouldn’t come across much harm so it will last for decades.

Quick tips

• Spend a little on getting your jeans hemmed, not just your suit pants.
• Buy a variety of belts, maybe start with two which you can wear casually and one more formal.
• Don’t be afraid of wearing something you wouldn’t think of a few months ago; that’s the point of change.
• Don’t underestimate the little details.
• You should learn the rules but not always follow them. I wear tan semi-brogue shoes with light grey suit pants and a blue and white boxcloth belt. By basic rules this combo shouldn’t work, but it really does

This is all something you should enjoy, so don’t take it to seriously, get excited and enjoy yourself.

Trent Beven is a fine arts graduate in rural Australia with weakness for fine hats, blazers and american folk songs.