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Men's fashion

My top 2 New Year's fashion goals

I've recently arrived at a realization: it's time for me to have a style reset. Not one of those half-baked unplug-and-plug-back-in kinds of resets. I'm talking about an unfolding a paperclip and pressing the button on the back of the wireless router kind of reset. Full overhaul.

I look at my closet, and it's just a mess. I've got some cool and well-fitting staple pieces, sure, a couple men's sport coats and shoes I feel good about. But I have an overwhelming number of ironic sweatshirts and vintage holey tees that were cooler when I lived in a more hipster-centric city. This, combined with my hobbyist-level attempt at becoming a streetwear expert, have left my closet downright confusing. Is anyone supposed to believe that the same person wears all this stuff? I need a more cohesive look, and I need to do some serious shedding. I've distilled this need into the following two goals.

1. Back to basics

I think what I really need is a collection of well-made basics. Shirts I can mix and match with anything. A variety of jeans and chinos that fit well – slim to match my natural frame, but not strangling skinny – and some good men's sweaters. Shoes that feel comfortable but aren't too casual, so I can wear them to a variety of events. It's all a balance.

For shirts, I'm planning on investing in some great Oxfords and a few dress shirts, for more formal occasions. Oxford has always been one of my favorite materials, and Lands' End Oxfords are made to last. They're comfortable, and they only get softer and more comfortable with every wash and wear.

I'm also using this time to mark my return to the polo shirt. Men's polos are just so classic, and I've spent way too long bucking their timeless look. Come spring (which here in Wisconsin is sometime in mid-June) I'll be ready to rock a polo at a friend's backyard BBQ, or enjoy a beverage on the shore of one of our freshly-thawed lakes.

2. Quality over quantity

I would estimate that I could do without about half of what's in my closet right now. The excess clothing only leads to confusion. I'm spoiled by choice, so nothing looks good. Getting dressed in the morning might as well be accompanied by a man in the corner playing a soulful rendition of "Yakety Sax." It's that bad.

My plan is to send that would-be Boots Randolph on to his next gig by simplifying my options. Let's narrow down to just ten button-up shirts, all made well and fairly fitted. I'm really interested in getting a few Lands' End flannel shirts, as well. They're made from long-staple combed cotton, and they're brushed on both sides for softness. That's the kind of detail I'm looking for, and the kind of quality that leads to a long-lasting shirt, something I won't have to replace next season.

That's why from now on I'm looking for timeless, stylish pieces that are easy to coordinate with other items in my closet. In our single-use society, I think we could all benefit from looking to invest in quality pieces. I'm looking forward to finding those pieces, and wearing them for years to come.

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