Buying clothes has always been something that men do on a tiresomely manual basis, hasn’t it?
I notice this around my partner. She’s able to calculate which child is growing out of whatever size clothes they’re leaving on their bedroom floor almost by the day. In terms of seasonal fashion, she’s pretty much the same, a walking barometer of warmth and wisdom who knows exactly when the last spots of spring rain will stop falling and sunshine will envelop our village. For her, it’s automatic.
The weather changing is often a sign I need to take a closer look at my wardrobe and refresh a few items — except by then, it’s generally too late, isn’t it? The clothes I want are then at their highest price and lowest availability. As a result, I find myself chasing my tail a bit, catching the latter end of any seasonal trend just a smidge too late.
Or at least I did until recently.
Maybe it was the recent funeral for my partner’s grandpa — Read: The Clothes That Made The Man: How a Polo Shirt Crossed Generations — but, all of a sudden, I’ve found that clothes have become more important to me. Just like anything else, if it means something to us, we notice it more. From a loved one to a deadline, if we truly care about someone or something, then our senses are heightened to improving how we deal with it.
I was in that headspace when I took a longer look at my wardrobe and realized I didn’t just need to give it a spring clean; I was in dire need of an all-season clean across my tees, button-ups, sweaters, and pants. I’ve always thought of myself as someone who aspires to live equally in all seasons, but my clothes have never really reflected that. What’s the point of being as happy when the sun’s blazing as I am when the shadows lengthen in the snow if I don’t have the looks to match?
So I stopped to really look at my faded t-shirts and worn jeans and realized I shouldn’t be buying clothes to suit a single season if I could avoid it. Instead, I’d be much better minded to find myself a batch of contemporary looks that would last and look right throughout the year.
That wasn’t so easy to do promptly, but this was purely down to restricting my typical options. I would’ve usually headed to the store to buy a half-dozen tees that I inevitably would’ve either tired of or worn out before the season was over. Plus, if that wasn’t bad enough, what about the types of clothes? I couldn’t exactly shop for fleece coats to last me through summer or tank tops to wear in winter.
Faced with the task of refilling my wardrobe with clothes that would suit me in summer and winter alike, along with each seasonal shift in between, I found some quality items that would last me a considerable time. Paying a little more than I might’ve done before, I was really happy with my choices. Smart yet casual, hard-wearing yet stylish; what I chose would (hopefully) look good and last as long as possible, ideally through multiple seasons.
It’s easy to dress for the season, living in the moment and such, but feeling confident I have a plan these days makes my wardrobe, and therefore my life, feel more resilient. When autumn signals the end of summer, I’ll have long sleeve shirts ready to wear. When winter kicks in, I’ll have pullover hoodies and classic crew sweatshirts ready to go. Everything has become easier and better by making this simple change.
Change really does start with the man in the mirror, especially when it comes to style. If you want to change up your appearance, you naturally have to take a long look at yourself. I did and it led to cleaning out my closet in spectacular fashion.
Rather than feeling ambushed by each new season, I find myself ready for what’s ahead. To reevaluate such a key part of my life and make a difference for the better feels fantastic. Instead of chasing my tail, I’m ahead of the game from here on out and there’s no feeling like it.
— Paul Seaton