5 Ways to Hack Dressing Well
** If you’re on HackerNews, upvotes are very much appreciated.
There’s a certain confidence that comes from knowing that we look our best. I always thought it took a lot of effort and/or money to dress well, but in spending the last year and a half building an apparel manufacturer, I’ve found that it’s easier than most people realize.
Pick a couple basic outfits and wear just those for the next few months. The more you wear the same style, the more confident you’ll get. For me, it’s jeans and a v-neck or henley. For others, it’ll be chinos and an oxford. Either way, go for conservative versions of whatever you pick - solid colors, no logos or design flourishes, etc.
2. Safe colors
You really can’t go wrong with earthly, natural colors. Grays, muted blues, dark greens and reds, white and black.
3. Fit above all
Everyone’s body is different, and each brand builds their sizing to accommodate their target customer so it’s important to try on different brands until you find what works best for your body. When you find your go-to brands, shopping becomes incredibly easy and can be done online.
** Don’t shop H&M, Zara, or other fast fashion retailers, because whatever you find won’t be in stock when you want to buy it again.
4. Find inspiration
Search for #menswear on Tumblr and Instagram. Find the looks you want to replicate before you go shopping.
5. Ask for help.
There are 300,000 dudes on the Men’s Fashion Advice sub-reddit that are helpful and have tons of information. Search and ask questions - these guys are serious about helping out. They also have incredible articles on how things should fit and what the best brands are in each category. A lot of the information below comes directly from MFA.
If you’re willing to spend, you really can’t go wrong with a service like Trunk Club. A Nordstrom’s visit can also do the trick. The downfall is that you’re out $1,000 with an outfit or two.
If you’re looking for a less expensive way to look your best, here is where I’d start:
Available at Levis. (Also available at Amazon, JCPenny and other retailers, but there is debate on whether all retailers sell the same quality. Anyone know the answer?)
Levis are tried and true. Get some classic blue, indigo, or switch it up a bit with Rigid Blue or Black.
(via I AM GALLA)
If you’re thin, try the 511s.
If you squat, check out the 508s which have the thigh of a 514 and the ankle of a 511.
If you’re heavier, the 514’s have a bigger thigh/calf/ankle.
If you want high quality raw/selvedge, go for a small, local craftsman - for me that’s Rogue Territory here in Downtown Los Angeles.
I don’t wear khakis often, but I’ve heard Levi’s commuter chinos and Docker’s Modern and Alpha khakis are good.
Vans Core Classics ($42) - can’t go wrong with classic whites.
Converse Jack Purcell ($60)
New Balance Classics ML574 ($75)
Clarks Desert Boot ($80) - Beeswax is a solid choice.
Sperry Top-sider ($85)
River Island ($79)
Splurge on Rancourt or Alden boots or shoes if you can afford it.
Oxfords (OCBDs): $29
(via Uber Hommes)
As far as I can tell, Uniqlo makes the best inexpensive oxford. The fit is spot on and quality is reasonable. While there is a clear quality difference between these and the more expensive options, they look and feel great.
If you want a more expensive option, J Crew’s Secret Wash ($65) are some of the best fitting shirts I’ve found. Also, the guys at Taylor Stitch ($125) make a killer premium product as well.
Casual shirts: $20-$45
Pistol Lake henley
The lack of go-to brands for casual shirts is why we started Pistol Lake. We just launched a pre-order campaign for henleys and hoodies at pistollake.com.
My go-to are the dark colored v-neck, henleys, and hoodies. Others prefer crew necks and polos.
The next best options are J. Crew or Alternative Apparel. You could spend more for Vince, Theory, James Perse, or Rag & Bone, but I’m not sure why you would.
What are your go-tos? Discussion on HackerNews.
Free Clothes For Life contest
First, the bribe:
For everyone that you get to pre-order, we’ll give you a free crew or v-neck shirt, your choice.
Second, the contest:
You’ll also get an entry into the Free Clothes for Life contest for each person that pre-orders.
What exactly is “Free Clothes for Life”?
Every time we make a new prototype of a new style, we’ll send you one first. So you’ll have one of everything we make, and we hope you’ll let us know what you think about the design.
In addition, every month we’ll send you a shirt to keep your closet fresh.
Monthly shirts will be in the form of $20 in credits added to your account each month. You can use them how you’d like.
The drawing will be held on 10/10/2013. The winner will be picked at random from all entires. We’ll blog the results.
Fresh air. #SantaMonica #Boardwalk #California #PacificOcean #Pier (at Santa Monica Pier)
Kickstart the first tailor-fit, American-made henleys and hoodies
(HN readers: We launched on HN ten months ago. HN drove a huge bulk of our first Kickstarter pre-orders. THANK YOU ALL.)
tl;dr buy our shit.
Almost two years ago I left tech startupland to build a manufacturing company.
I’d been dwelling on a single problem that had bothered me for years — despite buying almost everything online, there wasn’t a single, go-to place to consistently buy reasonably-priced basic shirts that fit well.
Specifically, I wanted to fix:
1. Lack of sizes: The traditional small, medium, and large sizing don’t accommodate the wide range of body types in the real world.
2. Inconsistent fit: Shirts from the same brand often fit differently. I wanted to be able to order different styles without sweating fit.
3. Disconnected prices: Prices are almost always disconnected from the craftsmanship and cost to make, forcing you to pick between either quality, price, or fit/design — but never all three. Throwaway fast-fashion and high fashion’s pricing for exclusivity continue to aggravate this disconnect.
We manufacture just six shirts, all made with a single fabric from the highest quality cotton. By limiting the number of items, we’re able to focus our attention on details that make the difference between an average shirt and a great one.
Since we manufacture small batches here in Los Angeles and stock and ship from a single warehouse, we’ve been able to expand the number of sizes to twenty so we can deliver a shirt that is tailor-fit to your body. Unlike traditional retailers, we don’t need to stock a million stores.
To make the best product we moved into our workshop in the Fashion District of Downtown LA, just minutes from our fabric mills, sewers, and dye houses. We believe true craftsmanship is the result of many small decisions, so we live close to our partners and work with them every day.
The support of our friends on Kickstarter allowed us to design and manufacture our first run of tee shirts and polos. The response to these shirts was incredible, and now, with the manufacturing processes down, we’re expanding our use of our incredible six-ounce cotton to include three additional lightweight long-sleeve shirts: henleys, v-neck pullover hoodies, and zip up hoodies.
All are versatile and equally perfect for layering or throwing on alone after a long day at the beach, the office, wherever — all-around the perfect additions to every guy’s closet.
Here is the pre-order campaign
If you’re curious, here’s a bit of history:
Where it all began. The inaugural class of TechStars Boston, 2009. Shane and I were working on separate companies at the time, we always talked about how awesome it’d be to build something together. Also below, James, the smartest co-founder, not often seen in photos.
Fast forward 3 years and many miles later. California, here we come. Shane moved from Chicago (by plane) and I drove cross-country from Boston. The stack of books is the first stack we poured through when we first dug into learning the biz.
Picking fabric swatches, making the first patterns, checking dye results, picking up the first sample fabric, and checking the fit on the first prototype. Crisp.
We thought that if we were going to spend this much time perfecting our shirts, we might as well put the same attention to detail into the packaging for the shirts. 100% recycled and biodegradable paper and twine really show some character.
Picking up the fabric for the first ever batch of Pistol Lake shirts. Go time!!
A last check on the full-size run. Shane’s pretty stoked about some shrinkage tests ready from the dye house, some deep thought in selecting last colors, and some final measurements post-dye.
The first run is dyed and ready for finishing! The Pistol Lake workshop (aka our home). Meeting John at the factory - having mentors like John is what has made it possible to do what we do. Beers with Trent Kitsch, one of the main inspirations in starting Pistol Lake. His Mixergy interview was one of the last things we heard before making the plunge. Now a mentor.
Delivering the first run to our warehouse in Fresno. Unpacking & stocking product for the first time and discussing how to package and ship.
On the rare occasions when we’re not working, we fill it with basketball & fireworks. 4th of July in Venice.
The morning of an 8AM ferry departure… one co-founder is clearly a tad more organized than the other. Field tested our shirt with some camping in Catalina.
Bringing the new pre-order campaign together. We do it all! Filming, coding, selfies, you name it.
We’re over a full year into the transition from tech startup’er to maker and we can tell you — there is nothing more rewarding than wearing something you made. There are been a million unforeseen challenges and the apparel business is unique one — but at the end of the day, as with many things — if you can’t build it yourself, you can’t make the best product.
I’d strongly encourage everyone to give it a shot; make something you are passionate about. Feel free to reach out anytime, I’d love to help in any way I can.
We love being in front of the camera.
Something big coming up for y’all… stay tuned.
Introducing our new summer color. Kidding. But seriously, we’re working on something new here. #WhatCouldItBe
Lubing you up for Friday.
Box, box, box, box, box. EVERYBODY! #LilJohn #Friday #packaging
One of the main inspirations behind @PistolLake, @trentkitsch, founder of SAXX Underwear. cc @riakitsch You guys rock.