Monday, March 16, 2009

Finding function in menswear

I learn a lot from customers who seek items specifically suited for their destinations. For instance, one gentleman last week was trying on navy blazers that were a wool/polyester blend, which resists wrinkling. He also wanted a raincoat that would protect him in the mountains of Peru, and found one that suited his needs. It was a matter of fit and confidence in the product that would determine his decision to purchase both.

The first blazer he tried on was clearly too big. I suggested he go one size down, and that one fit him like a glove.

Now back to the coat. The man wanted an assurance that it's waterproof. I suggested a Barbour coat, but he already had that particular brand and we agreed it would be too heavy to hike in.

Realistically, no garment can keep out water forever, but the information on the coat was fairly thorough. If it was not up to his satisfaction, I said, bring it back with the receipt for a refund.

He bought both items and walked out with what he wanted.

This is one of many stories I hear from customers who are focused on purchasing clothes for travel around the world. So I looked at my wardrobe and wondered what I can weed out because it lacks a functional purpose.

These days, I don't wear leather-soled shoes as often because I'm on my feet on the selling floor, and leather soles are less and less comfortable over time. I have in the past donated shoes to charity for that reason. Similarly, I've purged T shirts that pile up because I wear dress shirts more often. (I would not give up my denim, though, despite not being allowed at my workplace to wear jeans while selling clothes.)

In a recessionary economy, it's important to think about what kind of use you expect to get out of your clothes. It's less about just looking nice and more about bang for buck. Maximize Style Points, yes -- and put your clothes to work for you as well.

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