Full disclosure, I love to shop. Whether it’s clothes for myself or my family, gifts or stuff for my house I enjoy shopping. I love coupons and sales, I love browsing in stores and online, I just really enjoy shopping. A lot of people find it a chore, but I am not one of those people. Maybe that’s why I ended up with a career in retail? One thing I know for sure is that most men don’t love to shop, and Dad’s wardrobe is one more area that often becomes Mom’s responsibility. From my years in retail, and my love of shopping, I’m happy to share some tips for shopping for men to make your life a little easier!
If your husband is like mine, the bulk of his wardrobe is clothes for work and work out wear. My husband wears business professional attire for work, and any time we go to dinner he dresses like he’s going to the office. Then if we have another casual event, like a birthday party or trip to the zoo, most of his casual stuff looks like gym clothes. And I’m not talking stylish athleisure, I’m talking 20-year-old cut off t-shirts and gym shorts! Just like women, men’s styles (and sizes) change over time and your hubby just might feel better with a bit of a wardrobe update. Who knows, if he gets a new outfit he’s comfortable in he might even want to splurge on a date night to show off his new threads!
Create a plan and a budget for fashion
There are two main methods for planning on keeping your man’s wardrobe fresh, and each one involves budgeting. I think it’s important to budget for clothes because just like food they are a necessity! No matter what your annual clothing budget is it’s nice to have funds set aside to keep your wardrobe updated.
Living in Florida we don’t have to worry about seasonal updates too much, but one way to plan is to shop just a couple of times a year.
July is hands down the best time to shop for warm weather clothes in Florida. We can wear shorts and lightweight stuff year round, and between 4th of July and Back to School all that stuff starts to get marked down. If you plan your shopping trips around holiday weekends your dollars will go farther. I recommend planning trips around 4th of July, Labor Day, or Columbus Day for the best deals on summer stuff, and right after New Years or President’s Day for winter stuff.
The other option is to keep a running list of things he needs or could use and keep an eye out for sales and coupons, or styles you come across that he would like.
It never fails, if I am out looking for something for myself I won’t be able to find it, but I’ll find 10 things I love for my son or husband. If you budget monthly or annually you can dip into the clothing fund as you come across great pieces.
Take an inventory of his current closet and figure out where there are gaps. Or if he wears something over and over that you are not a fan of, start thinking about a replacement. If you just don’t know where to start, ask your husband who’s celebrity style he identifies with. If he has no clue, Pinterest is a great source of inspiration, as well as in-store mannequins and clothing websites. As you make your list of needs keep in mind his work wear, casual wear for dates or a family outing, athletic wear, shoes and accessories.
Professional Style Session
Nordstrom offers free in-store styling with an associate, in a private dressing room. You fill out a form online ahead of time letting them know about style and size preferences and what occasion you are shopping for. A stylist will select choices for him to try at a scheduled time. There is no pressure to buy, and you can let them know your budget ahead of time. This could be a fun date or something you could set up for him just like a doctors appointment! It’s a great place to start if you really have no clue and a good way to find some quality wardrobe basics.
The closest Nordstrom to Sarasota is at Tampa International Plaza, but one session to get started is worth the trip. I did a session for myself and walked away with a lot more clarity of styles I liked and thought the whole process would be really efficient for a man who hates to shop.
DIY Style Session
The Sarasota area has plenty of convenient shopping if you want to plan your own style session. UTC Mall and Ellenton Outlets have lots of stores to pick from, but most men are not into marathon shopping so I would limit your style session to no more than 2 stores at a time. If you know what your husband likes, you can plan style session with him in any store. My husband and I went to Old Navy together and I did a quick lap around the store and pulled 10-12 different items for him to try on and then he let me know what he liked and what he didn’t.
Just like women, trying on is key and often he’ll like something more than he anticipated once he tries it on. I have learned though that if my husband is on the fence or says something is “ok,” it’s actually a no. We’ll get it home and it will sit in the closet unworn, so it’s best to only buy the definite yes options. Macy’s, Dillards, H&M, Express, Nordstrom Rack and American Eagle are all good spots to try these style sessions.
If he is open to trying on but can’t make it to the store (or just doesn’t have the patience), you could always buy a menu or choices and bring them home for him to try on. That way you aren’t worried about trying to entertain kids in a busy store or small dressing room while he decides! You do have to plan a trip back to return, but starting with extra choices increases the chances you’ll pick some winners.
If you don’t have the time to make a trip to the mall, online shopping is the way to go. You can browse outfit inspiration, use size charts and reviews and search for coupon codes on your phone while you are waiting in line at the grocery store, or in the car line for school pick up. Many brands offer free shipping and returns and once you find styles he loves, going back to those tried and loved brands will make your life easier.
Just like shopping in a store, having a plan and a budget will keep your shopping on track and watching for seasonal specials and sales will make the most of your budget. I even love to browse online before heading to a store to narrow down what I’m looking for. This helps keep my shopping trips more focused. Don’t be afraid to make a list or take a screenshot and ask a store associate for help in finding the same or similar items!
If you are looking for even more help in taking the guesswork out of styling, the subscription box or curated wardrobe box is for you. This has been around for women for quite some time and men’s choices are becoming even more common. With any subscription box, you fill out a style profile answering questions about likes and dislikes, fit and size, as well as budget. Depending on the service you can get a monthly, quarterly or on demand box of hand-selected clothes shipped right to your door. You generally have 5-7 days to try on and decide what you are keeping and then send whatever you don’t like back.
Subscription boxes are the way to go if you are short on time or just plain don’t enjoy shopping. Even as someone who likes to shop, I have ordered boxes to get some new ideas or try things I might normally look past on my own. Generally, the box services have a small styling fee, but as long as you keep at least one item that fee is waived.
Hopefully, some of these tips help and shopping for the man in your life can be a fun experience for both of you!