Shopping is fun: browsing physical or online stores, keeping up on the trends, figuring out what looks good on you, coordinating outfits, and finally walking away with a purchase… it’s a recipe for pure joy. The only ingredient I don’t enjoy is spending money. So how can one do all of this without dropping a dime? Yeah, right… it’s the title of this blog post. You get it (or if you don’t, read this).

The Clientele
No, I don’t do this professionally, but I do it nonetheless. So far I only do personal shopping for boys and my current client list is: Mike (boyfriend), Ross (roommate), and Eric (brother). Next on the list: Gordon Webster (musician: gordonwebster.com). The shopping trip with Gordon was supposed to happen recently while he had a gig in Rochester, but we were both too busy to fit it in. Sad face.

My Methods:
I haven’t been doing this whole shopping for other people thing for very long, but I do have some method to my madness. My top three tips:

1. Find a style that fits them. You know, as opposed to one that fits you. If I went only by what I think looks good on guys in general, all of the boys I dress would look the same. While I include some of this knowledge, I also try to consider the individual and their personality, lifestyle, and body type.

2. This one’s for the guys: Trust me. If I say it looks good on you, it does. Expect to step outside of your free t-shirt comfort zone and into the world of cashmere sweaters and socks that match your pants (unless you’re wearing jeans, in which case they should match your shoes). It will make both of our lives easier if I say, “You look hot in that,” and you respond, “Fuck yeah I do,” instead of trying to argue with me. This rule also applies to life in general.

3. Men’s fashion is different than women’s fashion. Keeping up on the current trends for ladies is awesome; I highly recommend it. However, this does not necessarily help when dressing men. But don’t fret! Men’s fashion is interesting, gorgeous, and I know it’s hard to look at male models, but you can do it. Subscribe to men’s fashion blogs, read articles and browse the web for pictures. I even save extra fashion-savvy photos to my computer. Here are a few I have on my lappy right now:

The Bonus:
I’m surrounded by well-dressed fellows. Also, I get to make other people more fashionable, more confident, and maybe it could even help them find their soul mate. I know many who swoon over a guy in well-fitting jeans and argyle sweater.

The Downfall:
All dudes learn how to dress. Then it sucks?
Have you ever tried personal shopping? What are your experiences and tips?

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11 Responses to The Joys of Being a Personal Shopper

  1. Breanna says:

    I guess I can just say that there are many girls the world over (myself included) who will say stuff like “Fuck yeah you do look hot in that” towards a well-dressed man.

  2. Paul Roth says:

    1) Great article, you rock.
    2) What if the guy is just inherently fat and ugly?
    3) And poor?

    • Jesse Hanus says:

      Paul, thanks for the compliments and questions. First off, I hope you’re not speaking of yourself! This is never how I would describe you.

      To answer your question, I’ve seen many astounding makeovers where the man (or woman) seems hopelessly doomed in the looks department but manage to emerge looking quite dashing. If the guy is unhappy with their body, they must take it on themselves to change that with different lifestyle, eating, and exercise choices. There is only so much that can be done on the outside, but I will say that a man will always look better if he is dressed well. Clothes that fit your body type are important no matter what size you are. As an example, baggy clothes don’t hide what you don’t want people to see, they emphasize it.

      Also, shopping on a budget is my life! Good clothes can be found in thrift stores, discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls, or just by shopping smart (or on the sale racks) in the mall. If you have some money to invest, buy a couple of quality pieces that will last for years, but ones that you can change up with other articles of clothing or accessories.

      • Paul Roth says:

        I’ve certainly learned the avoid-baggy-clothes rule. I was curious as to whether you did hit up those discount options to build your well-dressed men, so I was glad to read that.

        I hope you do some Before and After descriptions of one of your subjects, with accompanying photos, too!

  3. Katy says:

    Ahhhhhh. That explains the new Rossness. Nice work. (To be fair, he did give you credit. I believe it was for a tie?)

  4. Jesse Hanus says:

    Got this response from Francis Delaney:
    “Amanda Gruhl has done some of this as well, and I admit that before Nicole Zuckerman’s suggestions I was a much poorer dresser. But I’m curious why this is necessary? At what point are men failing to learn personal aesthetics and the pride of looking good in quality, well fit clothing? Is this a symptom of prolonged childhood that is mitigated in women by a cultural upbringing more focused on personal aesthetics?”

    Interesting observation. It’s certainly possibly that women are influenced throughout their childhood by culture and also the media. I’ve always been kind of annoyed at how women need to shave this and that, wear uncomfortable shoes and clothing, and hide their face in makeup in order to look like the popular image of beauty. All men have to do is throw on some jeans and a white t-shirt, go a few days without shaving, and rock the bedhead look. Women go crazy for that shit.
    Or it could be that men are too “busy” being the breadwinners to care about what they wear, let alone take the time and effort to dress well. Or that gay men typically dress well, therefore if you dress well you might be gay. Or maybe guys are just lazy.
    My bet is that it’s different reasons for different guys, but probably mainly influenced by society and the media.

    • Nirav says:

      I’ve been wondering about this too. Does it have to do with boys being encouraged to do athletics far more than girls? Or just a general culture of girls-should-dress-themselves and guys-should-just-be-manly?

      I started dressing myself decently in college, and before that I know my reasons for wearing baggy, ugly (yep) clothes: I was (and still am) pretty skinny, and I was ashamed of wearing clothes that fit me.

      I know now that wearing baggy clothes makes you look so much worse, and that well-fitting clothes can make anyone look good, but back in high school I just wasn’t confident enough in my own body.

      Also, for a long time I just didn’t know what was good; what was “dressing well”. Things like how to match your socks or never to button the bottom button of a jacket or vest—I was never told those things and I never even knew they existed. I could probably say when someone looked bad, but I didn’t know why.

      Other guys, what were your reasons?

  5. Michael Q says:

    Part of the problem, at least in this generation, is the societal pressure that prevents men from caring about dressing well. “It’s not manly to care about your personal appearance (and if you do, you must be gay).”

    This sort of knowledge is normally passed down from father to son and among friends, but this cycle has worked against us. In general, men didn’t have any knowledge to pass to their sons, so those young men had few teachers and many poor examples out in the world.

    Many people buy their clothes from malls, because it’s the most affordable option. Malls sell clothing designed for generic body styles, so it’s very difficult to find well-tailored clothing, unless your body is designed like their model.

    Fortunately, it seems the tide is turning. More men are realizing that personal appearance matters and are taking the time to learn about it.

    Ok, back to personal shopping. I think it’s incredibly helpful to bring along a girl when you’re shopping, especially if you’re venturing into new territory. We, as guys, need to develop a better idea of what looks good on us, so that outside opinion is important. Besides, if those pants make your butt look good, she’ll let you know.

    • Francis says:

      Or, better yet, it should be okay even to bring a male friend along whose taste you trust.

      I have this working theory that the term “bromance” is one of the most progressive and positive things to happen to male culture in YEARS. It implies a non-sexual, non-romantic close bond between two male friends that is in no way “teh ghey”. In other words it allows for men to have close male friends and for that to be okay in a societal sense. This is something that has been lacking from our vocabulary and has therefore been lumped in with homophobia and the (I think) reasonable desire not to be mistaken for gay (note, being gay is fine, no issues here whatsoever).

      Anyway, yeah, this is part of that.

      • Michael Q says:

        I should clarify that I didn’t mean that there would be anything wrong with being homosexual.

        I think bringing along any friend, male of female, will always be helpful. But who should you trust?

        Like Jesse alluded to in her post, there are a plethora of solid men’s style blogs and websites on the internet (they fill up my google reader every day!). There are also some excellent books that explain proportion, fit, color and tells you the “rules;” why the classic looks are classic, etc. (Anything by Alan Flusser is gold). These resources are the trustworthy friend you might not already have.

        There are even style focused forums were you can talk to tons of guys who are more than happy to share their knowledge/opinion with you. Try styleforum.net or http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/forum/

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