Chic Corner: Guy’s Guide to Fashion

Andrew Botolino, Staff Writer

I wouldn’t say I have a passion for clothes, but I do find myself invested in appearance. How you dress is often a reflection of who you are, who you want to be, and can tell a lot about a person. And that’s important.

A few years back, I decided I wanted to go against the grain a little, to stand out, subtly. Here and there, I started making changes—small things, like purchasing fitting clothes, and ditching “beater” sneakers—but changes nonetheless. It began to snowball into a real interest of mine, and today, I can call fashion a hobby.

One of the things guys have to deal with is the stigma that they’re not supposed to be so high-maintenance, or care about their clothing or grooming—at least not as much as girls. While I certainly wouldn’t call myself high-maintenance, one of the ways I became interested in fashion was through my desire to look a bit sharper than the other guys around me. As a teenage boy, that’s not too hard—investing in clothes that fit, changing my haircut, or shying away from wearing a sweatshirt with a sports team on it every day became my own little competition, to see if I could one-up what I wore yesterday.

Then I began to look for the essentials to develop a foundation—navy jeans, white t-shirts, a sweatshirt here and a sweater there, and a nice coat. From there, I delved into more complementary pieces—I swapped white Nike socks for dress socks, and a North Face for a peacoat. Nothing I did was too drastic, but little steps to look better.

Matching and putting together different arrays of outfits soon became fun, and my eye for style sharpened, continuing to sharpen to this day.

If I were to give other guys advice, I would say this: take it slow. An eye for fashion is like any other skill—it takes time to develop. Look around you. There’s inspiration at every corner. I’ll be in Boston and see someone with an outfit or piece I really like, and I’ll remember it. Start small. Going from wearing wrinkled khakis to ripped jeans in a day is not a great idea (and in my opinion, neither looks good)—instead, swap baggy jeans for more fitted ones, and go from there. And be weary of influencers. From youtubers to actors, there’s a lot of people giving out style advice, explicitly or implicitly. Some are trying to make money off brand deals and sponsors. Some are spending money that would render you and me broke in a heartbeat. Rather, look at, for instance, a David Beckham outfit, find a piece you like, and see if they have it at Old Navy, or the Gap, or H&M, or wherever David Beckham didn’t get it from. And develop your own style. I like most of Kanye West’s music—I even think it’s cool that he’s tried his hand in fashion. But you will never catch me in a $120 baggy, ripped t-shirt. That’s a bit absurd.

There’s a lot out there, and whether you want to stand out or feel good, you can do it—and although it may take a lot of time, it doesn’t have to take a lot of money.