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

Ask me: wave #2

Mark Kwak

Time for the second heat of question answering. Thanks for writing in guys! I know there's several more questions that have come to me, so I'll make sure to get to them in a future post. Also, you can leave comments below as well!

Are cargo pants back in? If I wanted to get some, any recommendations? - Andrew You're in luck! Cargo pants are coming back in, but you must know that it's a different breed of cargo pants that are in today, compared to ten years ago (give or take a couple years). Cargo pants today are slimmer, tapered in the leg, and with a little less fabric on the pockets, to keep the slimmer look in tact. I own a pair of Uniqlo Perfect Shape cargo pants and love them. Not only are they great quality, but also relatively inexpensive at $39.90. Uniqlo is only in NYC (and SF, starting Oct 5) so if you can’t get them there, I’d recommend either Ralph Lauren or GANT by Michael Bastian.

Not a question, simply feedback. All I can say is that I love what you're doing, this blog is absolutely wonderful. The blog is simple and easy to follow and your posts are helpful and informative. Please keep posting more! :) - James

Man, you are too kind. Thanks so much for following, and I appreciate the comment. Things like this keep me going!

Is it OK for a dress shirt to be a little baggy when wearing a suit? Also, I like the option of wearing my shirt untucked with jeans or tucked with chinos, so I get 16.5 34/35 slim fit Brook's Brothers button downs that seem to do the trick. The problem, however, is that I can't close the collar without feeling uncomfortable, so dressing up the casual a bit with a tie is out of the question. Do you have any recommendations? I know BB is European cut and thus the better fit, but do I need to sacrifice the collar space for a better-fitting shirt?- Adam

Great questions Adam! To your first question, having a baggy dress shirt is OK, but unfortunately that's about it; you can certainly look better.  We want to make sure to get rid of as much excess baggage as we can with our clothing, since it will only make us look bigger than we are (even if you are already quite a big dude). This is true even when you are wearing a suit. If you notice carefully, you'll find that the suit gets a bit wider on the sides when your dress shirt bags up. Plus, we oftentimes take off our suit jackets, so it pays to have a slimmer shirt. Now, this doesn't mean go and find the slimmest possible shirt on the market. You'll look ridiculous if you're bursting at the seams. I would opt to find a shirt that fits well in the shoulders and chest in a slim / city / tailored / European cut. If they still don't fit, then buy a sizing that is slightly more loose (again with the shoulders and chest fitting well) and then get it taken in from the back by a tailor for $15-20 bucks.

To your second question, the short answer is no, don't sacrifice the collar space for a better fitting shirt. Part of the reason a BB button down is so valuable is its versatility both casually and formally, and you don't want to throw that away. However, there is a way to make this work. If you like BB shirts, I'd say stick to the slim fit in the larger size, (maybe 17 34/35) and again, pay 15 bucks to get the sides taken in by a tailor. This is a really easy job, so I'm sure your local laundromat can do it for you cheap. You'll find that the collar fits fine, and you also have slim sides. As long as the shoulders fit fine, and the sleeves aren't too long/short, you'll have yourself a very nice looking shirt for both casual and dress occasions. I can't stress this enough... just take it to a tailor and your shirts will look 20x better.