Upgrading dude clothes: from hoodies to hellooooo, Mr. Dapper!

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Photo courtesy of Dapper Lou
Photo courtesy of Dapper Lou

My man is trying to update his style from the college t-shirt, jeans, and hoodies that he’s been wearing for the past few years. The thing is when we try to look for inspiration fashion blogs for men on the internet, it’s far harder then for women.Any ideas for something that’s a little classy and a little funky in the male fashion blog world? -Lauren

This is my husband, wearing his fancy clothes. Photo by Jonas Seaman.

Ok, so a funny thing happened this summer: someone told my husband Andreas about Pinterest, and suddenly my sweatpant-uniformed yoga-teaching partner has become obsessed with men’s fashion. Like: OBSESSED. One minute, dude is wearing the same men’s Lululemon pants for weeks at a time — and the next, he’s coordinating bow-ties and monk-strapped shoes, reading men’s style blogs, and building a Pinterest board dedicated to his favorite men’s fash.

(Side note: I’d been encouraging him to get more interested in fashion for YEARS — ultimately, all my efforts were a fail. Pinterest beat me. I mention this only to say that if you’re trying to persuade a partner into taking an interest in their personal style, stop wasting your time. 14 years of loving prods got me nowhere; Andreas needed to find his own inspiration and motivation.)

Anyway! My husband’s transformation in mind, I decided I’d pass Lauren’s question to him to answer. Here are his recommendations for men’s fashion inspiration, complete with a visual sampling from each site.

Source: gq.com via Andreas on Pinterest
Source: gq.com via Andreas on Pinterest
Street Etiquette
Great all around site out of New York. Good articles detailing various aspects of fashion and/or specific clothing essentials. The two guys that run it have a really refined, yet bold style that I really like.
Source: tetinotete.tumblr.com via Andrew on Pinterest
Source: tetinotete.tumblr.com via Andrew on Pinterest
Tetino Tete
My favorite tumblr! Basically just pictures culled from all over the web, but the curator posts a LOT and has a nice aesthetic.
Source: menofhabit.com via Christopher on Pinterest
Source: menofhabit.com via Christopher on Pinterest
Men of Habit
Profiles, articles, and advice. Pretty extensive site and some good stuff to be found within.
Source: nantucketyouth.tumblr.com via Ryan on Pinterest
Source: nantucketyouth.tumblr.com via Ryan on Pinterest
Nantucket Youth
If you are interested in preppy style (and I mean preppy) this is a pretty good place to get inspiration.
Source: dapperlou.com via Joel on Pinterest
Source: dapperlou.com via Joel on Pinterest
Dapper Lou
Personal site with tons of great photos and articles culled from all over the web. Lou himself also has a really bold and interesting personal style that I like.

And of course…

My main source of inspiration. Find some fellow fashionistos whose style you like and follow them. Tons of great stuff on here, each board curated by different people with different tastes. Here’s my Pinterest page!

Now, DUDE-HOMIES: I know you’re out there lurking. Now is your time to step out of the shadows and share your sources of dude fashion inspiration.

Comments on Upgrading dude clothes: from hoodies to hellooooo, Mr. Dapper!

  1. It’s funny, my man did the exact same thing. He would never, ever wear anything but cargo pants and baggy t-shirts, with his hair long and left alone, and exactly one pair of sneakers. Then one day he came across a men’s fashion thread on the Penny-Arcade forums (with people whose opinion he already respected for other things) and suddenly it’s tight jeans and sweaters, short styled hair, and at least 6 pairs of shoes that all cost more than most of mine combined. 🙂 He’s pretty dapper these days, but I don’t like feeling underdressed when I’m wearing a tshirt and old jeans next to him!
    Anyway, I don’t know what the thread was, so I can’t really pass it on, but it might be something to look into. There was apparently a lot of discussion among the members that shed a lot of light on the entire subject of having a style.

    • but I don’t like feeling underdressed when I’m wearing a tshirt and old jeans next to him!

      This is my experience exactly! Suddenly I’m all, “Uh, these yoga pants and an old sweater aren’t really cutting when placed next to your bow tie and orange jeans…”

      As your dude about the Penny-Arcade link! I’d love to have it.

  2. This is awesome! Boy and I have been taking turns upgrading our wardrobes, I never thought of using pinterest 😉
    And Andreas’ board is actually pretty awesome!

  3. And here’s me feeling all triumphant that I managed to get him to buy a couple of cool trilbys to replace the never ending array of baseball caps he had, a pair of khakis and some boat shoes. In my wildest dreams he’d give up those non-descript baggy jeans and the Sneakers-I-Despise. But you ladies make an excellent point. At least I don’t have to worry about looking under dressed beside him, and while he is blending in to his environment I don’t have to worry about anybody else realising what a diamond in the rough I have and snaffling him from me.

  4. As a man in his 30’s who is also trying to move beyond the jeans and t-shirt phase, it’s not always a matter of laziness that determines my style choices. Largely, it’s availability.

    Go to any department story and look at the men’s section sometime. Stores either try to make you dress like you’re 20 or 50 with very little in between for casual attire.

    I guess the assumption is that we’re supposed to wear the same clothes we wear to work everywhere else?

    • Haha, it totally depends on what you are allowed to wear to work! But I can see your point. I think that is why so many people here are pointing out more “offbeat” ways of “dressing up”, but I do tend to think of those styles as young. They don’t have to be! But I would probably be in your same position. :/

      I think a big way to “move beyond the jeans and tshirt phase” without having to wear a button-down shirt all the time is to wear jeans and tshirts that actually fit you well (i.e. snug but not tight). This makes such a diference in appearance, it’s ridiculous. You can totally be a hot guy in your 40’s if you wear fitting jeans and a nice, non-baggy tshirt.

      • You’re absolutely right on the “snug but not tight” jeans front.

        I used to wear baggy jeans for YEARS and one day realized they were doing nothing for me. I found a straight-leg jean that fit and it looks MUCH more adult.

        Snug but not tight shirts on the other hand… talk to me after I lose 20 pounds or so!

      • This! We just bought my husband his first non-military parachute pants EVER for his birthday (he turned 31). They are well fitting jeans. It’s amazing what they do for guys, even ones that aren’t swimsuit model fit.

    • I definitely don’t think you need to wear work-style clothes like suits all the time to be stylish. Fit is a big part of it, but so is colour – learning which colours suit you and which ones go together helps a lot.

      Also, accessories! My fiance tends to wear jeans with cons, but then a casual button down shirt with rolled up sleeves and a vest – he’d also wear a hat, but doesn’t have anything that goes with his vest… yet.

      Or he’ll do jeans, t-shirt and suit jacket, just for something different. That’s just a couple of examples of finding your own style within the comfort of jeans and shirts. Hope it helps!

  5. I’m finding it very hard to upgrade my wardrobe without dropping serious cash.

    I know WHERE the good men’s clothing stores are in Des Moines and I know what I like, I just can’t afford them without promising my first-born.

    • So true and so sad. Usually, even in women’s fashion, the more you pay the more you do get, which means that expensive clothes will fit better and make you look better and will last longer, etc etc etc. Which totally stinks for those of us who hate spending more than $30 on a pair of shoes…

      I would say look for a Nordstrom Rack in your area, and Express often has good-fitting clothes for cheap (they will look good but may not last for long).

      And then, as much as I hate to say it, start trying to change your expectations in terms of how much a good wardrobe will cost you. I had to go through this with my wedding dress (“WHY do I want to pay triple for sik instead of cotton?? Oh yeah, it flows better…”), and I’m not saying go into debt or anything, but when you start looking for a “good” winter coat, for instance, expect to spend well over $200. When you need a quick pair of jeans for walking the dog, go to Kmart! 🙂

    • Honestly, some of my best pieces are from Target or similar stores. I have a shirt I love, a really unique bold coloured plaid, light weight fabric, that I got between seasons on sale for 4 dollars.

      My best advice is gather pieces from all over, and check out cheaper places frequently. I also like to mix in my younger pieces (Pacsun, Top Man, etc) with some more traditional items for a bolder but still put together look. A big step fr me was going slimmer I jeans and shirts, and not hiding myself in baggy clothes. I am solidly a medium (though large at places like Pacsun) and I had to work on being confident in the proper size that suits my body.

      I would also suggest coming up with some key words that describe how you WANT to look, put them down and then find closing pieces for each word, and mix. Define some terms for yourself and fill in the blanks. Good luck!

    • Only if you are in England. In American English, those are called Garter belts. In the united states, the difference is that suspenders attach with clips on the bottom, whereas braces have buttons.

      • Or indeed in the rest of the UK; suspenders are underwear in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland too. But yeah, once one has got over the initial amusement it’s just another one of those things. When discussing clothes with my American friends we just add a description to make sure we’re all on the same page.

  6. My husband buys the majority of his clothes from department stores or BJ’s but occasionally I can interest him in a piece from a more youth oriented store. Recently we teamed the pants and vest from an old 3 piece pinstriped suit we found in the back of the closet with a pink shirt we picked up at Macys on sale, sleeves rolled up. Added a loosely knotted designer tie we also picked up at Macys on sale. A VERY COOL pair of leather shoes we bought during the Boxing Day sales and an awesome trilby we picked up for $20 at one of the uber cool youth oriented stores. We know the shoes AND the suit were cool because the kid working at Dangerfield where we bought the hat asked us where we got them. I think the total cost of the outfit was $150 and he looks amazing in it. Nobody would know that the pants and vest are over 20 years old.

    I can understand that guys would find it difficult and expensive but it doesn’t have to be that way. Most women complain about the types of clothing found in department stores and how the 30 & 40 year old demographic is ignored. AND clothes can be horrifically expensive but like anything you just have to learn the nuances.

    Find out when the sales are on. Work out good wardrobe basics. Learn to accessorize. Trawl the internet. Target and other stores in that price range often have excellent knock offs of more expensive brand clothing. NEVER walk past a sale rack. Work out what colours look great on you and wear them often. Don’t be afraid to mix things up a little and play dress ups with stuff you already have. You might be surprised what you have lurking in the back of the wardrobe.

    My husbands $20 trilby can turn him from blah to rock star in 2 seconds and it elevates a lot of his boring clothes. Now if I could just get him out of those craptacular sneakers all would be perfect in the world.

  7. Hey guys,
    As my husband’s personal shopper (he is not a style visionary, but always loves what I pick out for him), I empathize with limited selection/ cheap options.

    What I find great about consignment stores like Crossroads, Buffalo Exchange, and other vintage/thrift stores is that you can find great vintage jackets, designer jeans, sport coats and even shoes (if that doesn’t skeeve you out) for 20- 70% less than new, and saving on shipping and tax much of the time.
    It’s a good place to find those more expensive and better-cut items.

    Vintage is great for that one focal point in your outfit (scarf? vest? tie?) that, combined with tamer aspects, can really punch up your look for not much cash. Try Ebay, Etsy, or a local vintage store.

    While transitioning, here are some cheap graphic tees that pair well with upgraded jeans and jackets:

  8. If your dude is secure enough in his masculinity to take fashion cues from butchy types, or your partner is more on the butch/female-masculine/tomboy identified side of things, I cannot recommend http://www.dapperq.com/ enough. For serious.

    My Viking joined a skilled trades organization that requires better dressing, and he discovered a love of looking pretty, but we totally get the limited selection thing. At 6’5″ with, like 50″ shoulders and an 18″ neck, we have problems finding shirts and jackets like you would not believe. We’ve had pretty good luck with thrift stores and upscale men’s consignment, but oddly, no luck in new stores. It’s kinda weird.

  9. Any suggestions for fat fellas? My man is a big sexy Bear with stylish hopes, and not a lot of options. Any else out there I am unaware of besides “casual” male? (worse name for a store other than Dress Barn)

    • My husband finally found a shop he liked for work wear – suits in sizes that fit with variety! Not just one suit for fat guys in navy or black! Nice shirts with a good cut that are long enough to stay tucked in over a tummy! – but they closed all their Melbourne stores. Luckily we know his size and can buy online from the Sydney stores, but it’s a real pain. I’d love to hear other places people have found.

      As it is, when he’s not working he lives in tradie style work pants and his cotton firefighting tshirts which are full of holes from being in contact with all kinds of stuff. Nice jeans and tshirts would be a welcome change. 🙂

  10. My man is finding that the one thing standing in the way of his stylishness is finding a button-up shirt that fits. He’s typically a size small, but at 6’3″ he has long arms that mean either the arms fit or the body fits, and both options look comical. If anyone has any suggestions for long-armed men, that would be awesome! 😀

  11. It only takes me two months to see that my question was answered 🙂 I blame it firmly on have several 20+ page papers due. Seriously though thank you all so much for your answers. I’m forwarding the link to him and I think he’ll be really pleased 😀

  12. i have to say though, hubby is so incredibly resistant to what i want him to look like… and i worry that as ladies, we end up playing dress up with our men and their tastes.

    it easy to pick out the guy who was dressed by his gf… or dresed to ‘impress’. never a turn on for me.. 😛

    at first it frustrated me, then i realised that he was never really happy when i insisted he wear what i thought worked. and also in hindsight, he knew what worked for him – i only *thought* i did

    so every now and again when we’re not too broke, i’ve started taking him shopping, walking into a store i particluarly like (and one he may not really ever have wanted to shop @), and just opening the gates and saying: i’ll buy you anything you want!

    he’s finding new ways of dressing (he picks the item so it means he sees himself in it, and would now want to wear it – instead of relegating it to the back of the wardrobe like like my previous buys)

    i’m liking the fact that it’s no longer a power struggle (he’s a jeans and sneakers man – i love the dapper look). he finds something that clicks from a wide range of what i think looks nice.

    he’s still a jeans and sneakers man, but his confidence is way improved (his brothers find themselves “borrowing” his stuff now, instead of the other way round… or they always have something to say)

    and i find i like that i havent changed his sense of style – it’s what attracted me to him and keeps drawing me back. 😀

    • I love hearing about women who help dress their dudes — because it’s completely reversed in our relationship. My husband is the stylish one, and when I want something cool and new I just ask him to shop for me. I hate shopping, and I had my druthers I’d wear a black tee and skinny jeans and chucks all day and all night.

      Actually? If I REALLY had my druthers? I’d wear a swimsuit every day.

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