The downsides of dressing nice

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    I’m starting to dress nice and am enjoying looking better, but there are some downsides. First, I might want to look good for an event but might not want to look good before or after. For example, I often use public transit to travel to events and don’t want to be seen as a target for a mugging. (This fear might be overblown, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.) Also, there’s a stereotype that fashionable guys are “un-masculine” and wouldn’t be able to fight back – making them a mugger’s first choice. Any tips for quickly adjusting my outfit to look more poor, less nice, and less attention-grabbing? How can I quickly go from looking good and standing out to looking boring and blending in?


    Another thing is that when I’m wearing cheap clothes, I’m not afraid to damage them or get them dirty – which is liberating. However, when I’m wearing expensive clothes, I want to keep the clothes in perfect condition and am afraid to get them scratched or dirty. For example, when I’m wearing nice clothes, I don’t like standing next to a barbecue grill (since the smoke might get into the clothes), playing with pets (especially those with claws), sitting on public transit seats (since they’re often dirty), and ordering “messy” foods (like barbecue ribs). How do I overcome the desire to keep my expensive clothes in perfect condition? How do I not feel bad when my clothes get scratched or dirtied? How do I get back some of the freedom that I had when wearing cheap clothes? What precautions (if any) do you take to protect your nice clothes?


    Nice clothes also seem to require more care and maintenance. What are some common care and maintenance tips that can be ignored? For example, I’ve heard that I should apply shoe polish, waterproofing spray, and leather conditioner to dress shoes, that I should use shoe horns and shoe trees, that I should buy some shoe brushes for applying polish and conditioner, and that I shouldn’t wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row (so I should buy at least 2 identical pairs). Is all of this really necessary?


    Some advice seems contradictory. Why is it important to apply leather conditioner to shoes but not to belts? Besides shoes, should other leather items (like jackets and belts) not be worn 2 days in a row? Are there non-leather items that shouldn’t be worn 2 days in a row? Also, some people warn that plastic hangers gradually off-gas, releasing chemicals that discolor fabrics, while others warn that wooden hangers can scratch and stain clothing. Are these concerns overblown? Which is better – wood or plastic? What types of hangers would you recommend?



    * I think you overestimate how much clothing will ‘mark’ you as an easy target.

    * Clothes are meant to be worn, and this means they’ll get dirty. Clothes are also hardy and can withstand reasonable amounts of stress and use. Just clean them when they begin to smell or get dirty. But I also get the sense that you’re wearing clothes that are not context or occasion appropriate. If you don’t want the clothes you’re wearing to a BBQ to actually be at the BBQ, you should probably be wearing something else.

    * With regard to leather, canvas and denim: they only need minimal care. They’ll age and develop characteristics unique to your own wear and use habits, and that’s perfectly normal. In fact, enthusiasts take pride in how garments or accessories transform over time; check out r/goodyearwelt and r/rawdenim for exmaples on care and wear.

    * I use wooden hangers because I want to.



    Muggings? Where do you I’ve where this is an issue on public transit? I live in Chicago and have never felt unsafe riding the CTA daily at all times of the day and night. People in NYC dress up all the time and take transit without issue. Just take an Uber if it’s that big of a concern.

    As for the rest of your worries, just relax and stop worrying so much. You clothes get dirty? Then get them cleaned. Shoes get scuffed? Then polish them. Stop placing your items on a pedestal like they’re a priceless piece of fine art in a museum. Spending your entire evening stressing over keeping everything you’re wearing in pristine condition sounds stressful and isn’t a stylish way to live.

    If dressing nicely is making you neurotic and stiff, then maybe you aren’t wearing the right clothing for you and your lifestyle.



    “One day some people came to the master and asked ‘How can you be happy in a world of such impermanence? The master held up a glass and said ’Someone gave me this glass, and I really like this glass. It holds my water admirably and it glistens in the sunlight. I touch it and it rings! One day the wind may blow it off the shelf, or my elbow may knock it from the table. And I say, ‘Of course.’ When I understand that the glass is already broken, every moment with it is precious.”




    Clothing can be laundered. And leather looks better with age, so it’s not about keeping them prestine, it’s about wearing them in and wearing them out. Aristocrats used to let their butlers and servants wear their new clothing for a while to get the newness out. Wear the clothes, don’t let them wear you.



    The amount of anxiety in this post gives me anxiety.



    It’s sort of unclear what kind of nicer clothes you’re referring to here. If you’re asking about clothes that are more formal than what you’re used to I wouldn’t worry about the public reaction. You probably just look like you’re coming from work. But, you mention looking more feminine, so maybe you’re talking about street harassment for violating the rules of heteronormativity? In that case, thank you for helping to normalize a less rigid view of masculinity, and stay safe. You could also be worried because you’re wearing a lot of visible branding, and perhaps be getting mugged for the hyped clothes themselves. In that case, sure, cover them up or change if you need to.

    My larger read from your post though is that you’re just not comfortable in these clothes, they cost too much, so they’re wearing you. It sounds like your new outfits are making your life worse, not better. The only way out of that it through, your shoes will get scuffed, you will polish them, life will go on. You’ll probably ruin your expensive clothes at about the rate you ruined your less expensive clothes, you have to be able to live with that. I’m finding more and more that I’m not willing to live with it, so I’m happy to spend money on things that really are more durable and wear resistant, but to have a lot of my day to day things in the price range of not caring too much if they get destroyed as I live my life. Having special things for special occasions is fun, but actually enjoying your life is more fun.



    >stereotype that guys who are fashionable are “unmasculine”

    People determine how masculine someone is by looking at them, not clothes. They could be wearing a tutu or a muscle shirt; people will want to fuck with them the exact same amount regardless of what they’re wearing. If you’re worried about someone thinking you’re not masculine go to the gym or pick up a martial art.

    You can exude masculinity regardless of what you’re wearing.



    I remember my first “nice” suit. It was a $950 Hugo Boss suit I bought in college.

    You have to understand, I had *never* owned a full suit before that – it was one of those things I had wanted since I was young, but we couldn’t afford. Just buying a $200-$300 wool/poly use to be too much, and I simply went with dress-pants and shirt.

    Anyway, I was *terrified* of wearing that suit. Every sharp corner, rough edge, etc. I was terrified of getting scratches and holes. Same with stains.

    After a couple of years, I eventually manged to get a hole on the trousers. It was small, but I knew it was there – and it pissed me off so, so much. I had bought into idea that “a good suit will last you forever”, without thinking about the natural wear and tear you get by owning one garment.

    After that, I started thrifting and flipping clothes. This led to me going through a ton of very high priced items. I’m talking about $8k Kiton suits, and such – and kind of got normalized to expensive clothes everywhere. And I started treating them the same way as my cheap stuff.

    These days, I don’t really care that much. Would it suck to get a hole or ugly stain on some nice garment? Absolutely. Is it the end of the world, or something that I should stress about? Nope, just clothes.

    Also, something I’ve noticed after wearing “nice clothes”:

    Strangers will in general treat you better – but some few will even treat you worse. I’ve lost count how many times some random dude on the street walked into me, or just remarked stuff like *”Fuckin’ suit”* etc.



    Are you perhaps conflating dressing up with dressing well?Because you can dress well without having to dress up, and still look nice.



    have you tried not being such a pussy? A dog or cat wont ruin your clothes while youre wearing them. Standing near a bbq wont ruin your clothes unless you BURN IT. If youre afraid of being mugged while in public (wtf do you work in the bladerunner universe or something?) take some martial arts classes. Worried about sitting on trains/buses? I wear a suit and take public transport every day. If I see a dirty seat guess what, I dont sit there. Stop being such a ninny and fucking dont worry about it.



    There’s a lot of questions here, so I’ll just chime in on the last one. All leather goods need conditioning and resting periods at some point, but to varying degrees. Because shoes are on your feet they are exposed more directly to harsh elements like water, dirt, concrete, and your sweat. Wearing them without rest can cause the leather to become damaged and the shoe to lose shape, and interior components like the insole can break down over time, hence the importance of shoe trees, resting periods, and conditioning. Belts and jackets are usually less exposed to things like this due to their positioning high and on the outside of your clothes, so they require less maintenance. As far as hangers go, I use wood ones and have found that as long as I’m not ripping them off the hanger or jamming my clothes onto them, theyre fine. Just get some with a little thickness in the shoulder to support your garments and you’ll be fine.



    If I see someone wearing a bunch of pristine new shit, it gives me an inauthentic vibe. You’ll look more stylish if your clothes are actually worn. Faded, distressed, ripped, those marks make those clothes yours. New shoes? They look terrible IMO. Wear them around the city, break them in. You can always clean them.

    Chances are, you’re going to lose interest in a piece of clothing faster than you’re actually going to wear it out. Don’t be afraid to put your clothing through some stress. When you actually wear something out you can buy another item to replace it.

    It’s also really important to buy clothes within your budget. If you’re spending a weeks + pay on some Common Projects, you might not enjoy wearing them as much as you should.

    You’re just not going to look that stylish if you seem uptight about your clothes getting messed up. The most stylish people I know dress for the occasion properly, and have an effortless aura.



    The whole discussion of public perception is a great example of the spotlight effect. People don’t really notice you anywhere near as much as you think. Your idea of attention grabbing is severely diluted by the fact that people are far more concerned about themselves.




    I’m going to address some of your thoughts in a list; some of these are just my opinion and not necessarily fact.

    1. I would be more inclined to think that fashionable people are more physically fit. Generally, they care about their appearance more than others which includes physique. Not always true, but I’ve found it is sometimes. Carry pepper spray if you’re concerned; I’m not.
    2. A friend of mine lit up a cig while I was in his car, and I didn’t worry about the smell in my clothes. Sure, it may happen, but you can wash nice clothes. You may want to minimize washes, but don’t let fear of damaging clothes limit your life. Regardless of how nicely you take care of your clothes, they will wear out eventually. It’s a natural process. You can think about situations in advance and decide whether to wear nice clothes. You can also still look fashionable while still wearing lesser-quality clothing. In reality, most people don’t give a shit whether you’re wearing RRL or Zara.
    3. I highly recommend all things you stated in regards to leather shoes WHERE NECESSARY. I only waterproof suede leather shoes, or boots if I know they’ll get wet. Otherwise, it’s usually overkill. Leather conditioner should be used for nearly all leather items; I would probably only avoid suede. It will keep the leather supple, clean, and extend longevity. Shoe trees are highly recommended for all leather shoes. I don’t use shoe horns, but I know some people swear by them. I just take care not to damage the heel (ex. using your other foot) when removing the shoes. Don’t go buying 2 pairs of the same shoe. You can wear a shoe 2 days in a row, but it isn’t recommended. Moisture will build up in the shoe and increase the rate of deterioration. There are a number of posts on this sub, and others, that show how quickly leather shoes get damaged through constant use. I personally own 5 pairs of leather shoes, so I really don’t ever use the same pair 2 days in a row.
    4. I apply leather conditioner to belts. HOWEVER, shoes are treated very differently compared to bags, jackets, gloves, and belts. When you are walking, they are constantly being flexed to an extreme position. They are under MUCH more stress than a jacket. Belts probably get the second most amount of stress. I usually condition them every other month, which is wayyy overkill. You could do 6-8 months and probably be fine. Again, not using conditioner won’t instantly destroy the belt. It’ll likely just dry out and fail prematurely.
    5. I’ve never heard anyone warn about plastic hangers. I move a lot for work, so I use stainless steel hangers I bought on [Amazon]( They never break, they hold their form, but you do have to be careful with them stretching clothes depending on the garment. Wood hangers CAN damage clothing, but any semi-decent hanger won’t have sharp edges that will damage the clothing. If you cheap out on wood hangers, you’ll probably find they’r less finished than their more expensive counterparts. But in this case, you gotta realllllly cheap out to get some bad quality hangers. Same with wooden shoe trees; cheaper shoe trees will have a weaker construction, more rough surface finish, cheaper wood/materials, and less polished appearance.

    Feel free to respond with any questions or concerns.

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