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

Ask me: wave #3

Mark Kwak

Thanks so much for all the questions guys. As some of you may know, I've been answering you directly via email, but I wanted to post up a couple more questions (and my answers) for all to see. Without further ado...

I had a question about the quality on Uniqlo's products. Their dress shirts seem super inexpensive, do you own any of them? How do they hold up? I'm looking to slowly upgrade my wardrobe and if their dress shirts, especially their no-iron are high quality, it seems like a great option. -Ed

Sure! As you know I'm a big fan of Uniqlo, and have been for a while. They make nice quality, basic clothing at reasonable prices. I actually do own a couple dress shirts of theirs, and I stand by their quality. Now, I wouldn't say that they are revolutionary, or mind blowing... but at $30 bucks, I didn't expect them to be. However, I think they're better constructed, then say, Gap or maybe even Banana Republic, so for the price, you're getting a bargain.

Also, I'm a big fan of non-iron shirts, as I travel for work often and it makes it so easy, but I do hear that non-iron shirts don't hold up in the long term due to the chemical properties infused into the clothing. Haven't noticed this myself 1st hand, but could definitely see this being the case. Your mileage may vary, but just a warning. As a result, I generally buy 100% regular cotton, without non-iron.

Do you have any belt recommendations? Every time I buy a belt it seems to lose its function very quickly. I'm looking for both business and casual belts to add to my wardrobe. -Adam

Ah belts... my unending love/hate relationship with them. I personally do not buy very high end belts because they inevitably wear out, and it's always frustrating if I spent a lot of money on them. However, I will say that you shouldn't just find some cheap belt and call it a day.

Ultimately there are a couple things you need to think about:

1. Shoes. What color / material are most of your shoes? We want to match our belts as best to our footwear as possible. Make sure you have all your blacks covered with a nice, thin black leather belt, your browns with a leather in a matching shade of brown (doesn't have to be exact, but close), and a casual belt that can usually either be brown, grey, or black as well.

2. Next, material and width. Dress belts are always leather. Consistency of the leather should change based on shoes again. Crocodile shoes? Crocodile belts. Casual belts on the other hand, can be a number of materials. I think all materials are fair game, but keep colors a bit muted so they match with more, unless you have a variety of belts, in which case get whatever you want to stand out. Width should be 1 and 1/4" wide for dress belts, and can be any width that fits in your loops if casual. I prefer slimmer belts though.

3. Size. Buy belts a size larger than your pants. Wear a 30W pair of pants? Get a 32W belt.

4. Brands: If you're willing to spend a bit more, go to a nice shoe company like Allen Edmonds, Alden, etc. They make some great belts in a variety of blacks and browns. If not, head to a Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, or Marshalls. You'll get a belt cheap, and generally at a decent discount from retail price. Look for "Genuine Leather" and a bit of grain on the belt itself. Most of these brands will be similar in quality, so just find a design and feel that you enjoy. Expect to replace every couple years.

How do you feel about a gray suit with camel colored shoes? - Obed

Great question man. This is a bit tricky, but I'll try to explain as best as I can. A grey suit is one of the most versatile pieces you can wear. The camel shoes, on the other hand, are not as liberal. However, I think that the two can be pulled off, assuming a couple things. But before I got into that, let me try and put down a foundation for you:

Lighter grey suits can go with light brown, dark brown, and black shoes.

Darker grey or charcoal suits can go with dark brown and black shoes, but not as well with light brown shoes.

Just from this, you can probably tell that charcoal or dark grey suits will likely not work with camel shoes. So that's out. However, with a light grey suit, it may be possible to still look good depending on how light the shoes are.

If they are more like a light brown, and you have a matching belt, I'd say that I wouldn't count the combination out, and it can actually work great. However, if they're closer to a light beige, then I would advise against. The contrast might be a bit too high, and peoples' attention will go straight to your shoes, and not your outfit as a whole.

Hope that helps!