Looking Sharp Shouldn’t Be This Hard



Free men's shirt packagaing image, public domain CC0 photo.

Hudson Marmon, Reporter

Let’s talk about men’s clothing stores, or rather the lack of men’s clothing stores. It’s not something that people think about, but when men need to dress up for a dance, interview or any other occasion, we don’t have many options. When people consider what stores are available they come up with, well, Men’s Wearhouse. Which is great, don’t get me wrong, but it becomes not so great when you realize you’re not looking to spend $50 on a bow tie.

From my experience with shopping for occasions like a school dance, I’ve come to realize that as men we don’t have many local options for formal clothing. Especially when you’re trying to stand out and not be boring, i.e. all black with a tie that matches your date. So, what do I do to stand out? It’s pretty simple actually, I spend a few hours hopping from store to store until I ultimately come up empty handed and settle for something off Amazon. Because while yes, department stores do have a men’s section, they’re selection is typically limited to a few bland dress shirts. 

But fear not! My purpose here isn’t solely to complain, Amazon can be useful, department stores can occasionally have the right shirt and there are more local stores for men. Rather than saying we’re hopeless, my goal is to help you, the reader, in your pur-suit (see what I did there) of becoming a well dressed individual.

For starters, K&G Fashion Superstore located in front of Oak Park Mall, is awesome. My brother told me about it after he discovered the store, and it did not disappoint. They’ve got unique options for shoes, shirts, ties and more, all at very reasonable prices. The people who work there are extremely helpful, and personally helped me get an accurate measurement to find the best fit of shirt for me. Additionally, it’s easy to tell they’re employees are experienced in what they’re selling as they can help you with any questions you may have.

From my experience with stores like Dillard’s, Macy’s or Kohl’s, it’s going to be hit or miss. Department stores are a good place to go for solid colors if you’re looking to play it safe, but I will say their formal wear is typically on the expensive side. To clarify, by expensive I mean $40-$100+ for a shirt and $30-$50+ for a tie. Overall I have to say department stores are fine, but no more than that, and should definitely be your second choice. 

If you have to resort to Amazon that’s okay. The main things to worry about however are size and color. Size can be fairly difficult to gauge when online shopping, so if you can I would recommend being professionally measured. You can usually get a measurement done for free at a men’s clothing store. Knowing your numbers allows you to order online and be confident knowing the clothes you’re buying will fit. Which brings me to colors. This mainly matters when your date has already decided on an outfit, so no date, no worries. For everyone else however, I wish you the best of luck. It can be hard to tell if something matches when the only thing you have to go off of is a picture, so it’s always going to be a bit of a gamble. 

Dressing sharp is important, so you need to know where to shop. No matter who you are, it feels good to show up to a dance, an interview or whatever you attend knowing you’re looking dapper as heck.