Menswear To Skip: Save Your Closet Some Space!
As we go on a journey in menswear, instead of shedding ourselves of our old skin, clothes just keep piling up and staying with us in our closets. The problem is: not only would these pieces be better off with someone else who would actually wear and appreciate them, but those pieces also detract from the things you actually want to wear, but maybe you just can’t see. Check these items out to check them out of your collection.
1. Your First Black Suit
The first thing you don’t need anymore is that black suit that you initially bought when you didn’t have a clue about fit; that is probably fused with a canvas and that you wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing to a funeral anymore.
I get it. We all started somewhere. I had a charcoal suit that my dad wore for his wedding! You may buy one that you think is versatile, but maybe it’s a bit of shiny wool or is polyester-blended, or it simply is not the style anymore that you would like, and it’s simply not up to snuff anymore.
So, what’s wrong with black, you might ask? You’ve seen the suits in Men in Black or Reservoir Dogs, and you thought Will Smith looked pretty cool in it. So, why can’t you wear one? Chances are you felt like Tom Ford the first few times you wore it until you realized when standing from the mirror that something was off and you couldn’t quite put your finger on it.
Young Preston in a black suit
You then probably realized that a black suit and a white shirt and maybe a red tie, or something else that’s really bold, was pretty much the only combination you could wear. Because even with a light blue shirt, the black suit just looks weird.
If you look back at old photos, you may even see that the vents weren’t undone at the time, and chances are you buttoned all your buttons because you were just starting out and learning and didn’t know how you should button suits and jackets properly.
If you’re anything like me, you look back at old photos where you wore those suits, and you just have to cringe at the kind of baggy fit, the wide shoulders, and maybe the white pants. And it’s not just limited to black suits.
Raphael wore an all-white ensemble at his graduation.
For example, for my high school graduation, I wore this white suit made of a Nehru jacket and had this kind of mild collar, and I found a white shirt, and there were black square-toed shoes. And it was just horrible. And, I mean, just look at the pants and how they were puddling. But I thought I looked like a million bucks.
I know there might be a sentimental value; it’s your first suit. But now that you realize that maybe a charcoal or a navy is so much more versatile and has the same effect as a black suit, you probably don’t need it anymore. And honestly, it’s okay to let go.
A navy suit will be more versatile than a black one. (grenadine tie and pocket square from Fort Belvedere)
Of course, if it’s the only black suit you have and it fits you reasonably well, our guide covering when to wear a black suit can help you get some life out of it. However, for most men, in most situations, it’s not something that you’ll wear often. Therefore, it’s better to get rid of it.
2. That Garment You’re Still “Meaning to Wear”
The next thing you should skip is that blazer, sport coat, or jacket that you had for years and meant to wear, but you just never did. We all have a piece that we once bought that was a little bolder and more daring, and we thought looked really handsome.
The truth of the matter is: we hardly ever wore it, if at all, and it’s still in your closet. Our style and taste level also changed along the way as we experiment with what works best for us, and that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be a jacket, but any item. For example, it can be a sweater or a knitted polo shirt in turquoise with orange horizontal stripes.
Time to remove that knitted polo shirt you don’t always wear from your closet.
You probably got this item marked down in the first place because it was on clearance, and it seemed like a great deal, whether from a retail store or eBay. Initially, you might think, “Well, it looks really great on the mannequin.” Once you have it in your hands and have to combine it with a shirt and pants and shoes and try to create a cohesive outfit, it gets a lot more tricky, and that exactly is the problem.
Unless you’re really into preppy style, you probably won’t get much use out of a madras sport coat. Personally, I love to wear madras patterns, but I also have a passion for this. This is my business, and I’m a collector. You might not be so inclined to wear this bold kind of jacket.
As you can see, there’s no absolute right or wrong answer. It’s all about you and how a garment makes you feel. And if you don’t feel comfortable wearing it, which is probably why you haven’t worn it for the last four years, you probably should get rid of it.
Unless you’re into preppy style, it’s time to say goodbye to that madras jacket.
Sometimes, you may have seen a character wearing something cool in a movie that you really liked; just think of the pink jacket that Robert De Niro wore in Casino, but when you actually end up getting it, you don’t look anything like it. I mean, just because I wear a waxed cotton jacket that Steve McQueen wore doesn’t mean I look like him.
So, if you go through your closet and you see items that don’t make you excited to wear them, that don’t make you feel confident, it’s probably time to let them go.
3. “Goal” Items
The third menswear to skip of is the so-called “goal” items: “goal” pants or “goal” jackets. They’re just in the wrong size, they don’t fit you, and you always hope that you get there, but you, in fact, haven’t. When you’re younger, you take it for granted to have a 30 a 32 or 34-inch waist (unless you’re Preston, then you have a 28 or 27 waist). But, that aside, when you get older, typically, you gain more weight.
Sell or donate items that no longer fit.
Yes, it’s a good idea to work out, to remain fit, and in shape, but it’s getting progressively harder. Don’t get me wrong. It’s great to have an aspirational fitness goal and to work regularly. However, if you have pants in your closet that have been too tight for years, what are the chances that they will magically fit now or half a year from now? Probably not that big.
Keep in mind, that spot in your closet could be occupied by something that actually fits you and that you will like to wear. In my mind, it’s better to put a fantasy to rest and actually get something that you can wear in the real world and enjoy it.
While working out is a great idea, you just have to make peace with the fact that your clothes will not magically fit you again overnight.
Remember, keep the things that work for the body you have, not for the body you wish you had. And the good thing with quality clothes is there’s typically quite a bit of reserve so you can make things bigger. But, if you’re not quite sure about what an alterations tailor can and cannot do, our guide has you covered.
4. That Great Deal…with the Tags Still On
That “great deal” that has the tags still on it years after was probably not that great a deal after all. I know I like getting a good deal, and so do many others. The problem is we often look at the initial cost rather than the cost per wear.
For example, I like to wear green, but I bought this lime green duffle coat that was really inexpensive, and I haven’t worn it other than for a post on things I regret buying. I bet you have an item like that, too.
This green duffle coat was a poor choice for Raphael!
Every time you open your wardrobe, you can see it, and it’s there, but the only thing it’s really wearing is layers of dust. Chances are you bought it on a whim, you thought about wearing it next season, and the season came and went, and it came and went, and you just never wore it.
Sell or donate those unused items in your closet.
Do your closet and wallet a favor by putting it on eBay, so someone else can learn from a mistake like that, or you can just donate it.
5. Hawaiian Shirt
Another item to get rid of is probably a Hawaiian shirt unless you live in Hawaii or in a similar environment where you can wear it often. Yes, on the one hand, it’s a classic menswear item, but it has been abused for “business casual Fridays” and “business casual everydays.”
The concept of Aloha Friday, complete with Hawaiian shirts, was a forerunner to modern business casual.
Yes, the Aloha shirt has been around in the US since the 1940s but is the epitome of something that’s really not versatile at all. Of course, if you love wearing it for a Halloween party or you want to look like a cheesy tourist, by all means, keep it. Otherwise, probably time to get rid of it.
6. Square-toed Shoes
The sixth thing you should get rid of is square-toed shoes or shoes you bought early on, in weird shapes that you would like then but just don’t end up wearing. I certainly had those. My dad’s from Brazil, and when we were in Brazil, there was this brand called Ferracini, and they had really chunky, wide, toe-box shoes. I thought they were the coolest shoes at the time.
Even though the toe box may be round, sometimes you have shoes that are just odd like this pair here. And I still have it because sometimes I need negative examples for other guides on our website, but frankly, this one is so bad, I’ll just donate it.
Just think back to the time you bought your first pair of dress shoes. Maybe you were at the store, and you wanted to buy some quality, but then you saw the prices and thought, “Well, the sales lady tells me that these shoes look really great on me and they’re really inexpensive, so I get those” And then you wore them for a year and realized, “Well, this is actually really worn out. Let’s move on to the next pair.” At least, that’s my experience.
As you learn more about Oxfords, derbies, and Goodyear-welted shoes, you realized that there was a huge difference between those glued, cardboard-insert shoes that you can buy for a hundred dollars from Johnston & Murphy or any other brand of that caliber.
A derby and an oxford will look more elegant than a chunky square-toed shoe.
Yes, I get it. There’s sentimental value, and it’s hard to part with something that served you as a stepping stone and that, maybe, you have memories attached to. But, frankly, it’s time to go for these shoes.
7. Novelty and Bold Ties
The seventh thing to leave behind are those novelty or bold or dated ties or other accessories that you maybe inherited from your uncle. No, not all vintage ties are bad. I love vintage ties and their very classic, sophisticated pattern. But then there’s also the color palette of ties that is really bold and just odd.
Even though you tell yourself that you’re a prep guy and that you’ll wear such ties eventually, you just never will because they’re too bold and look weird.
Let go of old ties with bolder patterns that will no longer complement anything in your wardrobe.
I’m not just talking about these obvious Mickey Mouse ties, dollar bill ties, and sports team ties. But, about ties that have maybe somewhat of a classic pattern, but maybe even the color range is totally off. It’s very 90s-inspired, and yes, that may come back in style, but, frankly, do you want to wait around for three decades just in case you like it again? Probably not.
Moreover, if you store ties on top of each other, it becomes very easy to block all the ones you’d actually like to wear and that work with your existing wardrobe.
8. Worn-out Items
You probably should also say goodbye to items you enjoyed wearing and love but are now frayed and simply worn out. We’ve all had that go-to shirt we owned for years. It was probably white or light blue, but now, if you take a closer look, you can see the cuffs are worn out. You can see the interlining, as with the collar, and maybe they have stains. It may be visible enough that you should not wear it anymore in a regular rotation.
Get rid of wardrobe items that are visibly and obviously worn out.
However, you can wear them at home. Personally, I like to wear them for gardening or cooking and, sometimes, maybe there are other things you can do with them. For example, I talked to a craftsman who wrapped pipes with old shirts that he then starched, but that’s an extreme, rare use case. And, if it doesn’t apply to you, it is okay to get rid of and throw away an old worn-out shirt.
Raphael keeps older, worn-out shirts around for activities like cooking and gardening.
One thing I like to do is cut up all the mother of pearl buttons so I have plenty of spares in case a button should ever come off on a different shirt.
9. Bold & Jewel-toned Shirts
The ninth thing you should get rid of are any bold, jewel-toned dress shirts. Chances are when you first learned about dress shirts, you were enamored with bold-colored blue, purple, or turquoise shirts. And we liked red or deep maroon or shiny black in kind of polyester blends that just looked flashy.
You might even watch The Office or Better Call Saul or watch some Hollywood celebrity wearing it and thought, “That’s what I want.” The problem is these really harsh contrast typically scream, “I have no clue what I’m doing. I’m a novice to dress shirts.”
Bold and jewel-toned shirts like this turquoise one tend to be a bit flashy and too casual.
No matter what your complexion, white, light blue, or other pastel tones, maybe green or yellow or pink are so much more versatile and make you look better; that having those bold colored shirts are simply something you should get rid of, even though they may still be in perfect condition.
10. That Faux Leather Jacket
Last but not least, another menswear to skip is that faux pleather jacket that you probably invested in when real leather scared you off. Likewise, you may have gotten a real leather jacket, but the cut was just baggy and saggy, and it’s just not flattering at all.
Also, when you first bought your leather jacket, you thought it fit like a glove, but if you look at it in the mirror now, you realize the sleeves are too long or too short, or it’s too wide or too slim.
Faux leather or not, it’s time to get rid of that leather jacket that no longer fits.
Unlike with a jacket made out of fabric, it’s much harder to do alterations on a leather jacket. They’re also more costly and more visible, so you really have to think twice about whether it’s worth altering your leather jacket or just starting all over.
I used a pleather jacket from Italy that I loved, but the fit was just off. So, when I came across the Belstaff Trialmaster leather jacket with a nice color, it was water-repellent. It fit me really well, especially in the sleeves and at the right length. I was like, “That’s it!” and I got rid of the other jacket way earlier because it was just not a good fit for me. So, that’s just something to keep in mind.
Raphael sporting the Trialmaster Panther
You’re stuck with a pleather jacket from a brand like Forever 21 or H&M. They may have a good cut, but they’re just not meant to last, and any kind of vegan leather or pleather is just not something that will age nicely over time and develop that rich patina that makes leather jackets so desirable.
That being said, most pleather is also not very environmentally friendly. Now, you could argue leather is also hard on the environment, especially if it’s chrome-tanned, but that’s the subject of an entirely different guide.