Personal Stylist - A Brief Guide to Shopping
By: Husam (Sam) Salman
June 3rd, 2016
It takes a savvy business mind to building a great wardrobe – it takes an understanding of self-identity, reviewing your current wardrobe and planning on your purchase needs. Once you have those understood, you’re ready to shop effectively and efficiently.
We are not only about making great garments; we are about making great shoppers. Sometimes that requires help from an industry expert like a stylist, personal shopper or wardrobe specialist.
A bartender, for example, should be more than a drink expert or mixologist. They should also be that someone you can rely on for flavor pairing or drink suggestion advise. Designing a garment is not different, a tailor is more than a fitting and sewing expert; he should be masterfully skilled in all things lifestyle and menswear. He should consider your wardrobe, the colors that work best for your complexion and most of all – fit.
When considering wardrobe upgrades, consider the investment in quality menswear. This is about more than selecting a stylish garment – remember the big picture and be you’re your selections consider developing long-term wardrobe based on texture versatility and color theory.
Thank goodness everyone is made differently – I personally believe this is what fuels innovation. Due to regional climate variations, skin tones, body types and sizes and preexisting wardrobes – navigating the do’s and don’ts to consider when building your wardrobe.
1. Skin Tone Vs. Fabric Color
Here we are addressing the first hurtle of garment selection. Although staples like white, black, medium grey and navy are neutral tones that work well on all men because they are “safe”, we must take our tertiary selections with more though.
“I understand how scarlet can differ from crimson because I know that the smell of an orange is not the smell of a grapefruit… In smell and taste there are variations not broad enough to be fundamental; so I call them shades… The force of association drives me to say that white is exalted and pure, green is exuberant, red is suggests love, or shame, or strength. Without the color or its equivalent life to me would be dark, barren, a vast blackness.”
~ Helen Keller (1880-1968), blind and deaf from infancy.
Think about your skin tone using the color wheel provided above. Are you more red or blue, purple or orange? Once we notate our skin tone we can do many things to accessories our wardrobe effectively. One thing we can start with is tone on tone. This is when we incorporate colors that are similar to our skin tone. Another way is to select opposites as they have a great contrast value and presents itself radiantly on the body. The final option, I will present, are the tertiary colors. Again referencing the wheel graph above, note the radiating lines that stem from each color, the triangle angles are our complementary ‘tertiary’ colors.
In the age of unbound expression, what once was taboo yesterday according to ‘etiquette of fashion’ has since been abandoned. White shoes…yes, today we wear them both before and after Labor Day – sometimes with our white belts and/or jackets. Remember – it’s always summer somewhere and you never know where you may end up tomorrow. Have pale skin and want to wear those acid wash jeans and washed-out colors…go nuts! That’s kind of hot today! Do you have dark skin and want to wear those saturated colors or hyper prints – I don’t think a soul in the world will tell you otherwise – because that is fashion!
Finally, when in doubt – wear black. It’s slimming at times. When worn sparingly it can really punch up a look with a lot of impact by creating a focal point or void in the outfit.
2. Tone & Weight
After establishing what season our skin tone is and what colors work best for us, we can now shop more freely. Ask yourself what season this garment will satisfy – most like your shopping options should match your need. Shirting fabrics are typically thicker in winter and lighter in summer usually noted as “Winter Weight” or “Summer Weight”. It’s also like linen in summer and wool in winter – these are things a good designer naturally incorporates unless innovation or ‘fashion’ otherwise dictate.
The next thing to consider is tone. Once we agree on our ‘season’ of our skin-tone and the colors that work best for us. We can now select a lighter or deeper tone for those colors. Don’t be afraid to try that dark grass-green button front shirt for the office if you were just rockin’ that spring-grass tank all summer! Chocolate denim in the winter – Khaki chinos in the spring? Do it! Take a look at the graph above as an example of tone. An aborigine button front dress shirt and you’re thinking about that lavender trimmed cardigan – sounds like you just found a gem!
Texture - Here is an opportunity to find those unique gems of our future wardrobe. Fabrications today are innovative and tech savvy – it is easy to continuously develop new ‘looks’ as the industry is constantly upgrading itself with these innovative textiles.
Sometimes it is as fun to pullover a sweater than it is to put on a warm down-jacket. Texture and options in garment type allow for versatility in our daily selection.
The most fun when assembling an outfit is to mix and match textures. There are different categories of texture to note when making your selection: Piled fabrics – velvet, corduroy and terry; woven – notably flat to lightly textured like denim, poplin or duck; knit fabrics – range between super soft to highly textured as seen on some sweaters.
Something for everyone,
Husam (Sam) Salman