This week, I take a stab at cleaning out the ol’ Style Girlfriend reader mailbag. Send your questions to meganstylegirlfriend.com.
Q: How should a guy like myself with preppy style find good-looking clothes in a small town? We have an American Eagle, Express and Macy’s, but that doesn’t leave much room for diversifying a wardrobe.
I think it’s great that you’re looking to broaden your wardrobe’s horizons, and thankfully it’s easier to do so these days than it used to be, thanks to more and more brands offering their wares online.
You’re already on the right path, seeking out style advice and inspiration. Start paying attention to the brands that catch your eye in editorials. You’ll notice a mix of well-known brands and up-and-comers that you may not have heard of before, and which might not be available in your hometown. When you notice yourself drawn to the same brand over and over – start there!
A few preppy brands I like that might not be readily available to you in your town: L.L. Bean Signature, Land’s End Canvas, Gant and Ralph Lauren Rugby. You should be able to up your style game with a mix of online finds and digging through the racks at the stores in your town.
Q: I am planning my wedding for next spring and want to avoid the traditional tux route. It will be a fairly casual wedding, so I was thinking chinos, chukkas, shirt, tie and blazer. Thoughts? How can I keep this from getting too expensive for my groomsmen? One of our goals for the wedding is to make it as easy and affordable as possible for our friends and family to be a part of the day.
Congratulations on your impending nuptials!
I think it’s great that you’re keeping your groomsmen’s budgets in mind with your wedding planning. If you want to go more casual, it sounds like you’ve got a great outfit planned. Depending on your own wedding budget, perhaps you could gift the groomsmen the chukka boots? It would be a very practical groomsmen gift (they’d most certainly wear those shoes again!) and you’d be sure that their shoes would match, and be nice and clean, on your wedding day.
If you feel comfortable asking them to spend a bit more money, however, you could do custom suits from one of the new roving tailor services, like Indochino, 9 Tailors or Evolution of Style. These suits are actually really inexpensive considering what you’re getting a suit made to perfectly fit your body. What’s more, I really believe that all guys need a nice suit in their closet. Even guys who say they “never” wear suits (what about for weddings they attend as guests? Do they wear overalls?). My brother is getting married this summer, and he’s splitting the cost of suits with his groomsmen. Just something to keep in mind if you and your bride-to-be decide you want a more dressed-up look for your side of the wedding party.
Q: I have had earrings (two hoops in one ear and one in the other) as well as a beard since pretty much ninth grade. That was six years ago. I’ve started considering taking out the earrings and going for a clean shave; what’s your opinion?
Personally, I’m not a fan of guys wearing earrings. It’s just not my thing. Facial hair, on the other hand, is more case-by-case. I like it on some guys, not on others.
Why don’t you try one or the other – either go for the clean shave, or take out the earrings for a week or two? If that doesn’t feel too jarring, do the other. I think you’ll be surprised at what a difference you notice in women’s reactions – making small changes really attracts our eye! It’s the same reason why, when a guy starts dressing up more, ladies’ heads turn right away. We’re so conditioned to seeing you the same way every day that making even the slightest change really stops us in our tracks!
And hey, if you hate how you look, you can always put the earrings back in and grow the beard back. No harm, no foul.
Q: What exactly is the difference between desert and chukka boots?
With desert vs. chukka boots, it’s a case of: all apples are fruit, but not all fruits are apples. Likewise, all desert boots are chukkas, not all chukkas are desert boots.
Chukka boots can be made in any material, from shell cordovan to canvas; it’s their form that makes them chukkas. That is, a 2- or 3-eyehole ankle-high boot.
Desert boots are a specific subset of chukka boots. They ALWAYS have crepe rubber soles. Most often they’re light suede, but not always.