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A guide to help the average man... look less average

Growing up your look

Mark Kwak

One of my buddies at work, Matt, is getting married soon. He's an established man. Great job, great friends, great fiancee, great everything. Can't really see much of a fault with this dude. So you can understand why I was a bit surprised to hear one day that he was in need of my help for something.

Well I decided to have a chat with Matt, and I discovered that he had an issue. He said he was going to be a married man soon, but he still had the wardrobe of a 20 year old college junior. And though I never really noticed, his comments did have some merit. We work in a tech startup, so attire isn't necessarily the most important thing to care about. Thus, he was always dressing in hoodies, run-down sneakers, and university branded T-shirts.

So we decided to go shopping. We spent a good chunk of a Saturday hopping from store to store, finding some pieces that I thought would look good on Matt. The goal was simple. Find three new full outfits for the guy with pieces that can be mixed and matched quite easily.

So we did a little Nordstrom's, a bit of Bloomingdales, some Macy's, some J.Crew... And all in all it ended up being a pretty successful run. Three full outfits, not a huge hit to the wallet, and hopefully a load of compliments from the to-be Mrs.

Here are the list of items we ended up buying: Black jacket, mustard sweater, gray collared shirt, blue gingham shirt, navy cardigan, desert boots, black jeans, burgundy pants, blue jeans, brown belt, bulkier brown boots, shawl collared sweater, and three pairs of socks. Not bad huh?

To illustrate, here are a couple pictures of how Matt used to dress at the office:

before1

Hmm, the hat's a bit much. Though I guess it matches the truck in the back a bit.

before2

Nothing terribly wrong with the attire, but I felt it might be time to graduate from the college branded T shirts and flip flops.

Well, ever since buying these clothes, he's now walking around the office like this:

after4Ah much better.

after3Again, who says black can't be worn with brown? Looks great to me. Also, the balance of rugged and classy keeps things appropriate for a tech startup office like ours.

after1To me this is a grown up look. An elbow patch cardigan sweater with a gingham dress shirt and rugged leather boots. Not a bad way to go.

after5

Sweater: J.Crew | Shirt: Banana Republic | Belt: Calvin Klein

Pants: Levi's | Socks: Perry Ellis | Boots: Timberland

I personally think this shopping trip helped "grow" Matt's overall look. Based on what I've seen, he's been walking around with a little more pep in his step, people are subtly taking him more seriously in meetings, and hopefully, his fiancee is approving of his new refreshed image. Go get 'em, man.