You all know how much I love social media. This is not another commentary supporting an argument that local fashion industry professionals need to be more creative in the use of social media. (I will save that for a discussion over drinks). Instead, I want to dedicate more than 140 characters to a question I get asked often on Twitter, “Where would I recommend for quality guy shopping?” This query is the elephant in the room as an Indianapolis men’s fashion and style blogger.
I have 7 things to help navigate the desert waste land of Indianapolis men’s shopping. No wonder American Eagle’s button down shirts, Buckle’s over-embellished t-shirts, and Express’ polo’s are taking over local men’s style. Lets be honest: The only way to help move guys forward in style is to be realistic about the current state of men’s fashion. Local men want to up their fashion game, but have no idea where. Not a shocker if you have been to Circle Center Mall recently. Not to mention we have to up our street style. This is for the average guy who is wanting to mix up his style aesthetic. So, here are 7 steps you need to follow in order to avoid getting stuck shopping at the same places.
Know your digits
Guys, you have to know your sizes. I am not talking the sizes that you most normally buy, but the size that you are supposed to be wearing. We at least need to know the sizes of: shoulders, neck, arm, chest, torso, waist, and inseam. Knowing these numbers will help you determine what size you need in a range of products. Find a tailor – he or she will gladly take your measurements. Building a relationship with a tailor will also be of benefit when you need something altered to fit your specific body shape .
Basically, ask what celebrity or fashion icon influences you. This doesn’t mean asking who you want to look like, but, rather, it’s asking who’s style you like. The easiest way to go about this is to perform a quick Google image search for a particular celebrity. Many celebrities have a stylist who helps them out, so look at these guys and see what you like about them. Like how they wear suiting? Like how they wear casual streetwear? Do you like the picture of the celebrity at an event? These are all basic questions you should ask. Having someone who influences your styling choices is crucial to formulating your personal fashion aesthetic.
Clean out your closet. The old college t-shirt you have has probably seen better days. The denim that you always wear is probably ready to be retired. Go through and actually clean out the stuff you don’t wear, shouldn’t wear, or have duplicates of. There are local stylists who offer such services to assist you in reaching your fashion goals. Cleaning out your closet and really looking at what you have will give you a better idea on what you need to buy. You might realize that you have one decent pair of denim, so it might be time to buy a few more pieces. Also, donating gently used clothing might make a world of difference to a non-profit who assists homeless or unemployed men.
I know that locally the shopping for men is nothing to be to excited about. Unlike other cities, Indianapolis doesn’t have good boutiques to buy unique pieces. The options we are left with are Nordstrom, The Rack, Sacks, and a limited amount of specialty stores at The Fashion Mall. Guys, we have to be creative. We have to look at thrift stores. We have to shop at multiple locations to find a single good piece. Look local, connect through social media to local networking group, and find out what local designers are doing and if they have product in any local stores. You might be surprised what can be found. Not to mention supporting local businesses is always a good thing to do.
The only hope we have, for now, is to shop online. That is why it is important to know your sizes – it cuts down the amount of returns you might have to make from online purchases. Even if you can’t find stuff at local stores, chances are high that better things are being offered in other markets. We have to embrace the fact that Indianapolis is in a weird market for retail product. It is annoying but there’s not much we can really do about it at the moment. The majority of clothing that I have purchased has been from online sales. Their are a lot of stores that have yet to reach our region, but offer some cool items for guys. The bonus is that you are wearing something different than most of the guys in Indy wear.
Organize your looks
Don’t be afraid to organize your looks together in the closet. Group the looks by casual, social, and work. That way you always know what options you have in your closet when getting ready. A well organized closet says a lot about how you organize other areas of your life. Plus, it just makes things easier.
Enjoy the payoff
Yes shopping in Indianapolis is a challenge for guys. It is way easier to just stop by the standard staple men’s stores: Express, Gap, Banana Republic, and H&M. Be creative. When watching that next reality show that takes no brain power at all to focus on, do some online shopping. Check out what is offered at some of your favorite stores. It is very hard to not appreciate a well-dressed man. And, a well-dressed man looks different to different people – the secret is the styling. A well put together look will always payoff in some capacity, I promise.
The sweat and hard work of searching will be worth it. I mean, what are your other options? Looking like all the rest of the guys in Express solid-colored button-front dress shirts?