Whether you think of yourself as a stylish dresser or not, it's helpful to have a system for clothes
shopping that doesn't waste any time or money.

The "style pyramid" is a simple triage that keeps you from buying needless wardrobe items.
Here's how it works: check everything you buy against each level of the pyramid. If it meets the
criterion in question, go up a level and keep checking. If it doesn't meet your standards for that level
of the pyramid, put it back and don't worry about the rest.

The style pyramid works in three simple, ascending levels: fit, fabric, and fashion.
Start at the bottom (fit) and work your way up. Something that makes it all the way to the top, meeting your standards at every level, is worth considering. Something that fails on any level isn't going to be a good purchase, no matter how tempting the brand or the price.


The base of the style pyramid is fit.

That's is not a metaphor -- that's how clothing works. A good fit is the basis of everything else.
A few simple adjustments can make even a pretty battered thrift store cast-off look sharp, when worn
with the right accents. And a thousand dollar suit can easily look like something cheap and off-therack
if the fit's done wrong.

So before you worry about anything else, ask yourself if every piece of clothing you buy is a good fit.
Telling a Good Fit from a Bad One

Most clothing will not be a perfect fit right off the rack. As the old saying in the fashion industry goes,

"ready-to-wear isn't."

Mass-produced clothing, whatever the size on the label says, tends to be produced as loose as
possible, so that the maximum number of men can at least fit inside the garment.

"Fit inside" isn't the same thing as "look good in," however, and you don't want to confuse the two.
Just because something slips on without pinching doesn't mean it's a good fit.

Later on in this book we'll go through all the common garments in menswear on an individual basis.
Specifics of fit will get covered in detail there. But overall, when you're trying clothes on in the store,
a good fit is one that: doesn't pinch, pull, or strain anywhere has no wrinkled lines from stretching to fit doesn't sag or billow, especially at junctions like the crotch and armpits reaches all the way down your limbs, doesn't reach beyond your wrists/ankles, doesn't leave large gaps between the cloth and your body

You can tell this stuff with a quick, unscientific examination. We're not talking brain surgery here. Just look in the mirror and see if it's drooping or sagging anywhere.

A fit that's too tight is even easier to identify, since you'll feel it against your body. It's not likely that
you're ever going to have to run or jump in most of your clothing, but if it feels like you physically
couldn't, the fit's too tight.

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