Today we’ve got the first post in what we hope will be a new series of Style Success Stories.
EG was founded to help guys build confidence and feel great every day. So we’re thrilled when we hear from guys – like Justin – who have been able to do just that.
Meet Justin. He’s 33 years old and lives in Rome, Georgia. He’s a self-described “pretty big dude” at 6’8″ and 265 pounds.
Justin went to Auburn University on a football scholarship to play Tight End. Unfortunately, a neck injury cut short his football career. Today, he’s a high school teacher and runs an independent living program with his wife.
We asked Justin a few questions to get an idea of his approach to style. Turns out he’s struggled a lot to find clothes that fit well and make him feel comfortable.
Sound familiar? It’s a frustration that many guys – and a whole lot of EG readers – have been through.
That’s why we interviewed Justin, who was generous enough to share his experience with us. We’re sure you’ll sympathize with his frustrations and learn from his efforts to create a Lean Wardrobe and step up his personal style.
How would you describe your personal style before you decided to make changes and improve it?
Style for me has always been thought of like this: If it buttons around my waist, bunches at my shoes, is under $40, and it was Christmas or my birthday, I got it.
As for shirts, I had no clue about fit. If it buttoned around my neck, went past my wrist, and I could tuck it in, I got it. Polo shirts were always a huge miss because my torso is so long that the shirts always had a swing in the back that made them look way too small.
How did you feel about your style then?
Despite great success in school and athletics I was always aware that I was not one of those guys with good looking clothes.
I just got used to it. I got to the point that I didn’t care. I just wore whatever.
A lot of guys feel the same way. What made you decide to break from that, start caring, and step up your look?
I got a job working at a private school where the expected dress is shirt and tie. I spent $1,500 before school started on clothes for work – including a suit and a sports jacket – but everything fit awfully.
That’s when I started to think about my clothes more. I noticed how sharp others looked and it really made me want to look good.
I had a realization that I had lived for 33 years not being comfortable or confident in my clothes. And I decided that was all finished.
Great! So what did you do then to start making a change?
I actually saw an ad for Bombfell come across my Facebook page and thought to myself, “I’m going to sign up to get some good looking clothes.”
Needless to say I found out that they didn’t have anything in my size! Go figure!
So then I thought, why did I care? It was never going to work for me.
I looked at every clothing box subscription and it was all the same story – nothing would fit me.
So I started researching everything I could find about clothes. I looked up clothes for tall guys, clothes that match, clothes that are business casual. I started to learn about how to pair shirts with ties. I started to learn how to pair shirt with pants and socks.
That’s when I came across EG and read about the Lean Wardrobe. And for the first time I felt like I had some hope for finding clothes that I could feel good in.
After all your frustrations, what was it about the Lean Wardrobe concept that stood out to you?
The Lean Wardrobe stood out to me because of its simplicity and structure. It let me see that I don’t have to be overwhelmed with trying to build a wardrobe. Rather, I can start at the bottom and build my way up, taking time to make sure each thing fit and I really liked it.
It kept me from blowing a ton of money trying to buy a lot of clothes at once – like I did when I started my new job.
It gave me confidence to get rid of the crap that I never wanted to wear again and feel good about knowing what I was going to start replacing it with.
Awesome. But building your Lean Wardrobe can be quite a project. What challenges did you have to contend with? Or was it easy to start from scratch?
I made a decision that I was going to scrap everything I had and I was going to start over. My only rule was this: If I don’t feel good/confident in it, I will not buy it.
Locally, my shopping options are extremely limited. There’s a mall with a Belk and a few other small chain stores, but nothing that carries my size.
Even the Big and Tall section of our Belk doesn’t have anything that fits. It’s all big and baggy. I have been able to find shorts and a few polo shirts, but even those are rare.
I knew that I would not be the type of person that would be able to find something at every store, so my strategy was to find companies that make clothes that I feel good in and use them exclusively.
I am still in the process of finding this list of companies. And I am still in the process of refining the fit that works with my body.
I look at little dudes and have to realize that I am probably not going to be able to get “that look” because my thighs are the size of their waists. But there are clothes out there for me and I am starting to find them.
How do you feel now compared to when you first spent $1,500 on dress clothes for work? What have you learned during this process?
Comparing where I am now to where I was $1,500 ago is night and day. I have definitely been playing a balancing act trying to find my fit.
To start with, I bought a few things that were way too tight because I was going for that slim look. However, my wife reminded me that I was 6’8” 280 lbs. (at the time).
I started to loosen up just a little and started finding a good sharp/tailored look. I have some brands that are now my definite go-tos for certain things.
I am still trying out new brands, one Lean Wardrobe essential at a time. If it doesn’t fit, I just send it back and mark that brand off the list.
I have learned that it takes a few times to find your perfect fit. I have also learned how nice it feels to have people notice there is something different about you.
Want to dress sharp and feel confident in every situation, like Justin?
Smart Sharp Style is the program for you if you want to fast-track your style improvements and avoid the $1500 mistake Justin made at the beginning of his style journey.
The program is currently closed, but we’ll be opening up registration in a few weeks! Want to learn more before we open it up again?
Thanks again to Justin for sharing his story with our readers.
We know that a lot of you are feeling the same frustrations as he did. But we hope his story will help you stay positive and motivated to find the fit and style that’s right for you.
Regardless of where you are on your journey towards a stellar personal style, we’re here to help and keep you motivated.
Have you faced the same frustrations as Justin? What has helped you find brands that fit and match your personal style?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. And if you’ve made a drastic, life-changing style transformation, let me know here. Maybe you can be our next featured success story!