whywedressnowEsquire Magazine featured an interesting article in their latest issue (Mr. Dinklage is on the cover).

In “Why We Dress Now”, the article hops back and forth from coast to coast, quoting particularly stylish and influential (in their fields) guys about why men of today dress how they do.

While this isn’t an all-encompassing world view of men’s style—this is the US issue, by the way—and ignoring the fact they didn’t field any opinions from other cities (there are a few stylish folks in other regions of the US, I assume), what I like is the overall message behind both the article and the quotes from these guys.

Story, Purpose, and Passion: “We wear what we wear to tell the stories we want to tell”

Here are a few of my favorite excerpts. Hopefully you share some of the same sentiments and allow these to shape your overall, long-term view of your wardrobe and the role it will play in your life.

”…Style happens over time and over space, and everyone has to find it for himself. I’m a collector. I travel around the world, and my clothes are my story. My story–no one else’s.” –T. London

”…Putting on a suit focuses me in the morning. When you’re making a movie or a TV show, nobody wants to be on a ship whose captain looks like a disaster. I wear a suit and people see it as a sign of respect to them, to our work, and to the process. And I like the way that feels.” –P. Feig


The following quotes sound a lot like the Lean Wardrobe concept… just sayin’.

”Think about what you need and think about what you like, and then make it one simple story line. Clothes don’t need to be complicated.” –A. Tarlow

”I’m not such an adventurous dresser. Three suits, 501 jeans, button-down shirts: All I ever want to do is look respectable.” –V. Schnabel

”If you want to tell the world you’re happy with who you are, just enjoy what you’re wearing.” – D. Meyers

Here are some takeaways:

Go with a Lean Wardrobe™

machtIt’s not necessarily about having the latest and best, but clothes you love to wear and feel great in.

You don’t need a massive closet with infinite options. Strive for the classics and the basics in muted, neutral colors.

Keep it simple, and once you have those basics, consider adding interest through singular pieces, accessories, etc.

Know the rules, follow the rules, break the rules

There are always rules for everything, and counter points to those rules. And even opposing rules.

So who’s actually right and who is wrong?

Nobody and everybody.

Take the rules and style cues you discover and apply the ones you agree with… the ones that work for you. Discard the rest. Easy.

Don’t take clothing so seriously

Experiment, try stuff out, and come to your own conclusions.

You won’t learn everything just by reading; you have to get out there, find stuff you want to incorporate in your wardrobe, and then actually put them on and see how you like it.

If you hate it, that’s okay. You tried! Now try something else.

In the end, it’s just clothing.

Have fun and be yourself!

I always ask my wife how she would describe my style. Even I have a hard time figuring out how to classify myself.

I get my inspiration from many places and people, and after many years of experimentation, I’ve meshed everything together into this style of mine, which is reflected in how I dress on a daily basis.

The point is, have fun discovering your style, make sure it’s reflective of you as an individual, and enjoy the journey, since really, there is no destination.

Now is the best time ever to care about what you wear. Never have men been as free as they are right now to care about their clothing and the message it puts out into the world.

You have full control over what you wear, and the story you’re trying to tell through your appearance.

So, what’s YOUR story?

Why do YOU wear what you wear?

What is your wardrobe saying about you?

Is it saying what you want it to say?

If not, what needs to happen so it more closely aligns with how you think about yourself and what you want to say?

Let’s hear it below.

[all photos via Esquire]

If you found this article useful, make sure to check out our Lean Wardrobe resources page.


7 Responses

  1. Brandon on

    I wear what I wear to…
    …look like a “grown up” in my professional environment.
    …be comfortable without looking dumpy.
    …be stylish without being all like “Hey, look at me! I bought new clothes!”
    …to hear my wife say, “Dang babe! You look good.”
    …feel good about the investment I’ve made in myself the last few years (weight loss).

  2. Joshua on

    What I wear is my art. I love playing with layers and color to create a pleasing ensemble.
    P.S. I’ve written/played music, done photography, danced, now taking a drawing class…

  3. Alex MIller on

    I started dressing “better” for my career. I wanted a few promotions, so I decided I should look the part. (I say “better,” because looking back I see how many mistakes I still made).

    I dress better now because I like how it makes me feel. Simple as that.

    I like how people treat me with more respect. I like when people stop and say, “daamn, I like what you’re wearing.”

    I like noticing the details in how others dress, and I like being noticed.

    And I enjoy the art and science of style.

  4. Wayne on

    When you dress better for yourself, you will find that you take more pride in how you present yourself rather than doing what your job requires. I am a mechanic by trade and I ride chopped bikes so I wear work jeans and dickies shirts allot. When I am not working or out on the bike I dress well to present myself and my family in a respectful manor. Since I have been dressing better I have been treated with a little more respect by strangers and other men in the store ask my advice when they are picking out clothing. It is still kind of weird and new to me.

  5. Gazman on

    The better you dress the better you will feel. That’s my experience. When I dress poorly I feel like a slob and that affects my mindset. On the other hand, when I dress well I feel better about myself and feel more confident. This applies in just about every situation, whether at work or leisure. Dressing is a way of communicating; it’s saying a lot about who you are and influences how people perceive you. It also sets a good example to your kids and to those who may see you as a role model.

  6. PMurphy015 on

    My wardrobe says nothing. The idea of a lean wardrobe is just what I’ve been looking for. I simply refuse to buy tons of clothes and shoes in order to be stylish; I don’t think that is necessary. I have a mental picture of what I would like my style to be, but I’m not always comfortable with my body or with people actually seeing me I’m very fit, but I’m not built like the really slim male models. Often times, the stuff they are wearing doesn’t fit me, which is very frustrating. I’ve got to try stuff, which is tough.