Keeping up your fashion game does not have to involve you spending gas money or looking up bus timetables to get to the mall. You needn't even look up your favorite fashion retailers online or scroll through endless Groupon deals.
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Amazon, with its lightning fast shipping times, extremely competitive prices and verified sellers from all over the world, backed with strong buyer protection guarantees is a very convenient way for shorter guys like us to stay ahead of the fashion curve with quality unique trendsetting clothing. All you need is a tape measure, creativity and a little bit of time... And of course an internet connection.
In this piece, I am going to share with you five tips on how to use Amazon to look fashionable no matter what your budget is.
1. Know How To Search
While it may seem that being specific is the right way to go when it comes to ensuring that you get what you want, starting off broad in my opinion is a much better approach. Searching this way will expose you to items you would have never come across otherwise - sometimes of better quality, competitively priced or maybe even a different item altogether.
Take this example. This spring, I was looking for a beige colored mid-length trench coat. To search, I started off with "Trench Coat". While the dozens of pages of search results that came up did contain what I wanted, some non-relevant items appeared. To narrow down the search I used "-" to remove unwanted items. For one, some women's items appeared. To remove those I added "-women". Some jackets appeared in fabrics I didn't care for like leather. Minus that also. You can keep narrowing down until you get exactly what you want. If you're looking for a specific style of wingtip shoe for example, this search method will come in handy. You can of course use "+" to add attributes. In my case, I added "+Double Breasted" to further tailor my trench coat search.
2. Know Your Measurements
With all of the Made To Measure companies popping up online and good old-fashion tailors abound, if you're over the age of 21, you should have your own measurements down to a science. At the very least, a tape measure should be a part of your "Real Man" toolkit so you can keep up with weight-loss and muscle gain as necessary. Most listings for clothes and accessories on Amazon include a measurement info and or size charts to help you determine which size sold by the seller would fit you best.
Things get interesting when you order items from sellers overseas. "Asian Size" can be found frequently on listings from sellers in East Asia (i.e. China, Japan and Korea). These clothes are typically two sizes smaller than American sizes (i.e. their "L" is really our "S"). Paying attention to this is crucial to avoid returning items which could take weeks with shipping. Scrutinize chest, sleeve and length measurements to make sure that your clothes don't only fit, but play well with the contours of your body - something extremely important for us short men.
Indochino, a Made To Measure retailer which has become one of my go-to brands for quality but competitively priced suits has an online measurement portal which could act as a great guide for collecting your measurements from head to toe.
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3. Scope Quality
They say nine times out of ten, you get what you pay for. I say it's closer to six. Case in point. A couple of months ago, I bought shoes from a major brand for close to $100. This isn't considered extremely expensive for a pair of shoes, but they were massed produced. After a very heavy downpour, the sole started separating from the heel. Upon taking it to a shoemaker, I was informed that a portion of the sole is cardboard, so the shoe was not salvageable. Unacceptable of course. By contrast, I have a cheap $30 pair of shoes from Call It Spring which has lasted for more than three years.
When scrolling through listings, pay close attention to the materials used to make the item as well as the wash and care instructions. Synthetic materials in large percentages (outside of elastic bands) are generally a sign of inferior quality in most cases. Some dress shirts for example have a stretch fabric that degrades when washed and dried and thus will never flatten out when ironed or steamed. You can find quality clothes for cheap and garbage for a pretty penny. It all comes down to the construction and materials.
4. Scope Reviews
With all of the money that goes into marketing, all of the time that goes to taking pictures from the perfect angles and with the best amount of lighting, the bottom line is how customers feel a product. This comes from real life usage. You can't get any more honest than the opinions of people who actually bought and used a product and sometimes users can be really critical. So be it. There are a lot of things that sellers conveniently leave out of their product descriptions that buyers have no problem letting the world know.
Always read reviews. Don't be afraid to read further. Look for manufacturer responses, buyer replies and whether or not readers value their opinions. Often, you'll come across pertinent advice which may motivate you to take the plunge or avoid a product at all costs.
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5. Get It Fast
I'm one of those guys who wants it yesterday. In other words, when I order something, I want it as quick as possible. Thankfully, Amazon has a bunch of delivery options, all dependent upon where you live. As I live in New York City, one of the busiest cities in the world, there is almost always a one or two day delivery option. Forget about just getting it fast for the sake of having it right away. If you have a problem with the way an item fits or if an item looks nothing like what you saw in its listing, especially when time is of the essence, you will have a better window to work with if you need to get a refund or do an exchange. Of course, if you're patient, many items are shipped free of charge, you'll just have to wait. Sometimes, that wait time may be in the order of weeks.
Well, there you have it. With all of the search filtering options, insanely fast delivery times, ability to refund and exchange in most cases, seemingly endless inventory, shockingly wide selection and access sellers from all over the world with just a few clicks, if you know what you're looking for, you could in theory only keep up your fashion game using Amazon. Everything is always good in balance however. A nice mix of going to the big box retailers and topping off your style with unique and hard to find items from online is my method of choice. Here you have five tips to keep you ahead of the curve. Use them and you can look great fast without spending a fortune.
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