One of the fun experiences since starting my blog in April has been friends reaching out for assistance with wardrobe issues. Today, I'm introducing you to Jude. Jude (a twin as you may have inferred from the photo below) is my husband's best friend since middle school and one of my favorite people in the world. When he asked me for some help with some outfits for a wedding he was attending out East I was thrilled.
📷: Sarah Bozaan
Here are a couple of before shots of Jude to give you a feel for his normal style. He tends toward the more casual and boxy fits. It isn't uncommon to feel overwhelmed when shopping for clothes. Every brand cuts their sizes differently, trends are constantly changing, its expensive to truly invest in quality pieces, sales people are putting on the pressure, etc., etc., etc. It is also easy to get into a rut with our clothes and go for what is easiest or most comfortable at the expense of other aspects of our appearance (e.g., fit, style, etc).
From Jude on what led him to seek my help: "I came to the realization that I was unprepared for a formal occasion based on my current clothing selection, lack of knowledge of where to go or start in terms of finding something appropriate for the occasion, limited time to make something happen, and lack of overall confidence in making a decision for an outfit. Initially, my idea of fashion/style was limited and restricted by idiotic notions of being a poser if ever in formal attire. As well, my sense of style was outdated and close to nonexistent based on getting into a comfortable routine with work and hobbies. Essentially, I had developed a (bad) habit of dressing informally based on not having to interact with humans at work. For work, I have eight polos from LL Bean that I rotate in combination with khaki or dark blue pants. That is it!"
We met up at Banana Republic and I had already scouted out some possibilities that I knew I wanted him to try on. Jude does not enjoy the shopping experience so I wanted to be quick and efficient to make it as painless as possible. I showed Jude some images that I was using for inspiration and to explain what looks I was thinking of so he had a frame of reference to work from. I was focused on getting Jude into more slim-fit and tailored pieces for a more polished look than he was used to.
I had him start with a nice classic blue suit that I knew would work for a wide range of occasions. I had to push him a little to try on a pair of white pants (I did the same with my husband a couple of years ago). Jude ended up being quite surprised with how much he liked them (again, my husband had the same response). Sometimes just a small push outside of our comfort zones can be just what we need.
One of the key elements we addressed was the fit of the clothes. This is an area Jude admitted to not giving much thought or attention. While most items we picked out fit pretty well given the slim cuts, there were some slight changes that would make a big impact. So, the next stop was the tailor (something Jude had never done before) where we had his pants hemmed so that the break at his shoe was just right and the cuffs of the sleeves raised to better fit the length of his arms and the suit jacket sleeves.
From Jude on how he felt at his event and on our experience in general: "Comfortable, confident, unencumbered and relaxed. For the first time in my life, the suit fit perfectly and the element of doubt was gone. I realized that going outside my restricted comfort zone was totally ok and produced a look that was comfortable and instilled confidence. I will definitely embrace the idea of dressing appropriately for occasions and the seasons. As well, I will definitely consult TMONW for help and suggestions for these occasions. This was such a positive experience and education. It helped a lot that the people advising me were good friends and we could make light of the moment."
In the end we had a few great looks for Jude to take with him. The pieces we decided on can be mixed and matched to allow him quite a bit of diversity for his investment. They are also classic and will work across a range of occasions for him in the coming years. I'm hoping to hear from him this winter for another venture, perhaps focusing on some more casual fall/winter wear! 😉
Check out some of Jude's items and similar ones below. A big thanks to Jude for agreeing to let me go public with his experience!