It’s you against the rich guy.
For the job. For the girl.
His whole appearance oozes class and power.
He gets listened to. He gets respect.
He gets treated as a better person just because he wears better clothes.
It’s unfair. But it’s life. How can you compete?
Luckily, there are ways. Shopping smart can be just as effective as spending big. Today I’ll share my 5 top secrets to packing a style punch above your financial weight.
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Now, are you ready to learn the secrets of looking like a rich man? If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might be able to guess the first one:
#1. Get Clothes To Fit Right
Rich men wear bespoke – or at the very least, made-to-measure. What sets them apart most visibly, even at a distance, is how well their clothes fit. Mid-range, off-the-rack clothing can and will look high-end if you nail the fit.
Many department stores and big-box men’s retailers have in-store sewing services. Don’t rely on them. For the level of quality, personal service, and attention to detail that a rich man expects, you need to build a relationship with a local tailor. Take everything you wear to him. If that means you can afford fewer clothes, that’s fine – a small wardrobe of clothes that fit will make you look richer than all the ill-fitting clothes in the world.
- Drape is how the fabric hangs off the body.
- A high-quality fabric will tend to be more supple, providing structure to the body WITHOUT hanging stiffly.
- Cheap fabrics tend to hang very stiffly, causing a lot of unsightly creasing and wrinkling as you move in the garment.
- Understanding this distinction will allow you to shop for fabrics that will hang well and flatter the body without having to break the bank.
- Sheen refers to how much light is reflected off the fibers in the fabric.
- High-end fabrics tend to have a low sheen (think high-end wool suits), although there are exceptions (think silk).
- Cheap fabrics like polyester are always high-sheen. This is why if you don’t know how to iron a suit jacket properly, you can make it look cheap (bad ironing damages the fibers and makes them reflect more light.)
- Shop for fabrics with a lower sheen and care for your garments properly. Almost any garment can get shiny if you iron it at too high a temperature or press the iron against the same spot for too long.
#3. Avoid Obvious Branding
Brand names can carry a certain prestige. However, you want to avoid becoming a walking billboard. Having large logos and brand names on your clothes, especially on jackets, cheapens the overall look.
Avoid branding anywhere on a suit or sports jacket (good quality jackets will have all of the branding inside and hidden. Favor casual attire with modest branding (think about the difference between a Lacoste alligator on a polo and a huge The North Face logo on a T-shirt…which one are you more likely to wear to dinner?)
YKK? Nobody will notice those three little letters stamped on your zipper pull. They will notice if your fly is stuck halfway open.
The company YKK controls the entire process of zipper construction and supplies nearly half of the world’s zippers. They are reliable and ubiquitous, just like Honda. RIRI zippers, on the other hand, dominate the luxury market and have a famously smooth pull and firm hold.
Look for zippers from these two brands as an easy way to check garment quality. If a company is willing to add a few dollars to the price tag to get reliable zippers, you can bet they care about the quality of the fabric and the construction of the garment as well.
Another bit of hardware to look out for is the buttons. Look for things like mother-of-pearl buttons instead of plastic on your dress shirts, and horn buttons instead of plastic on your jackets. It’s a small difference but shows considerable attention to detail and a willingness to spend a bit more for a better look and feel.
Finally, keep an eye out for dress shirts with French cuffs – they don’t usually cost more than barrel cuffs (once you have the cufflinks) but the presence of understated cufflinks will set you apart from the majority of men in dress shirts. It’s a quick fix to looking pricey.
#5. Number Of Stitches Per Inch
Hand-stitched seams will tend to have a much higher number of stitches per inch than factory-sewn pieces. Higher stitches per inch increase the strength of the seam, which means that your shirt or suit will tend to last much longer.
It will also have a huge effect on how GOOD the seam looks. More stitches per inch = straighter, tighter seams. Even if you’re buying off the rack, shop with an eye to the highest stitches per inch you can afford.
When you a buy a suit, sports jacket or vest, the pockets and lapel buttonhole are probably stitched closed. This is especially true if the jacket has ticket pockets. Nothing screams rookie or cheapskate louder than when a guy tries to reach into the stitched-up pocket of his new suit.
Don’t assume the tailor cut the pick stitching – double-check when you get home and have a stitch ripper in the drawer to facilitate removal. Be careful – you don’t want to accidentally slice open the pocket lining.