I read an article recently about the explosion of men’s style blogs and emergence of the male clothing shopper. Men’s fashion is a booming business. It’s become cool for men to pay attention to how they look. It makes sense, these style blogs allow us to window shop from the comfort of our own home or office.
What I found most interesting about the article was the different approaches men of certain age groups take when it comes to actually shopping for the styles we see in the blogs. Young men in their 20’s do more of their shopping online. Men our age go to the malls to buy our clothes.
For the most part, that rings true for me.
The problem with being middle-aged is, nothing fits right.
Being older and married doesn’t mean you don’t want to dress well anymore. I don’t get the feeling that designers understand that.
It just seems like clothing in retail stores is made for younger, shorter, skinnier men. I’m lumpier than I used to be, but not fat. Finding a good fit off the rack at retail stores is tricky.
Remember when you were a kid and husky was a size choice in pants. I do. I remember it fondly.
Those husky jeans fit me really well as a kid.
When I was a young, athletic teen, I could pick up anything off the rack and it fit great. I didn’t even have to try clothes on. I knew my size and I knew whatever I got would fit right.
I miss those days because I truly hate trying on clothes in the store. I really, really do.
Now that I’m not as young and not as fit, shopping off the rack is more difficult. I usually stick to the same brands and designers because I know how their clothes will fit. Experimentation with new brands at the mall requires a lot of trial and error in the fitting rooms. I just don’t have time for that. I guess that’s why a lot of guys buy clothes that are way too big. It’s quicker and easier to choose a size XL shirt, than to try on a bunch of shirts to find the right fit.
I’m beginning to realize that the internet has created a solution to this problem. I just don’t think men our age have really caught on.
In the past, I’d see something that I like on a blog and then go hunting for it at the mall. But I’m learning that off the rack clothes usually fit for two body times: either the super fit teenager or the pot-bellied older guy. This is why dress shirts either fit too tight or have too much room in the waist. I have the same problem with jeans, either too big or too tight.
But I’ve found the solution for stylish middle-aged men like myself… men who have been traditional mall shoppers, but are willing to dip their toes into the online world of retail.
I was recently in Chicago at The Shops at Northbridge on Michigan Ave, when I walked into the ZipFit Denim store. Now this is a company in its very early stages. The Chicago store is its first and the website is still under construction, but I had to mention this experience because it’s such a good idea. ZipFit Denim makes custom fit jeans for men. That’s right, just for men. It’s a perfect idea.
Their very lovely sales staff using the ZipFit in-store technology help you through the very fast and painless process of determining your fit. They will then suggest the style that is right for you. All the alterations and adjustments are also done in the store. You walk out with a perfectly fitted pair of jeans at a reasonable price.
But as a bonus, all your information is in the ZipFit system. So you can now order jeans online knowing that what you’ll get are great looking jeans, custom fit.
I can’t wait for my next trip to Chicago.
The Shops at Northbridge
520 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
A couple of ex-Wall Street MBA finance types pack it in and start a shirt company.
Exchange Wall Street for Bay Street and I’m a severance package away from that being my story.
The Lebbury story may be why I like them, but their shirts are the reason why I love the company. They simply make great fitting shirts.
You know that awkwardly placed second button. You know it’s placed too high and you can never wear it without a tie because it’s halfway up your neck. But when unbuttoned it looks too casual. Well, Ledbury has placed that second button lower, so their shirts look great with or without a tie.
They’ve also solved my off the rack problem. Ledbury shirts don’t have all that extra material around the waist. It’s a perfect fit for those of us with a little belly, but not the full-blown beer belly.
Another cool thing, Ledbury has a great online tool to help you find the perfect fit for your shirt. They ask a few questions about your size and favourite brands and return with a style/size recommendation. Their classic fit is great for all sizes and the slim fit gives a tailored look.
So far I’ve only tried out Ledbury shirts. They also sell blazers, ties and accessories.
I love a good fit story.