I want to let you all in on a secret.
I don't like to shop for clothing!
Given I run Real Men Real Style and have written over a thousand articles on style……this may come as a surprise.
Why don't I like shopping?
- I'm picky
- I have a poor selection of clothing in my small town
- I am too busy to spend time buying pieces piecemeal from various stores across the web
That being said – last week I solved the problem of not having much of a casual wardrobe.
I rebuilt my casual wardrobe in 30 minutes for less than $1,000.
Enter Men's Style Lab.
It's a new business that makes it possible to rebuild your wardrobe at a fair price with minimal time invested.
It works like this:
- You give them your basic info (2 minutes – signup here)
- They speak with you on the phone and ask a series of questions to ensure they understand your style & needs (15-25 minutes)
- They ship you a curated box of clothing and you try on keeping only what you want (10-30 minutes)
Yeah – I love it and seriously can't say enough good things about this service.
I looked at a number of other brands but this one worked because they took the time to get to know me and the clothing they sent me worked (right price, right size, right style).
Click Here To Check Out Men's Style Lab for Yourself!
OK – so what were the first three things I did to rebuild my wardrobe?
#1 Evaluate the Situation
We all live in different areas of the globe. I live in a small town which doesn't offer many options as far as shopping is concerned.
This means I am limited to either buying whatever is available near me or making a purchase online.
Both are good choices but not ideal.
You should aim to gain value from your clothing which isn't easy when you don't have many options. I don't mean purchasing cheap clothing but you do want to buy quality that's going to stand the test of time resulting in eventual cost savings.
As a man, it is important to evaluate your options and decide which choices are going to result in smart clothing purchases.
#2 Identify Exactly What You Need
I'm sure there are areas of your wardrobe you are proud of and others that need a bit of work.
As for me – I knew I needed to improve my casual wardrobe.
Take a look at what areas you need improvement on.
This can range from formal items such as suiting to more casual items which is what Men's Style Lab thrives in.
Once you identify the gap in your wardrobe, you can take the necessary steps to close the hole resulting in a comprehensive set of options.
#3 Make the Purchase
Now we get to the area that most men have a hard time with – finding the time to get out there and make the purchase.
You can spend an entire day trying to find clothing that you both like and fit well. In fact I just spoke with my friend John who spent 7 hours shopping in San Diego trying to piece together a new wardrobe. As you can imagine – this leads to all sorts of frustration and many men give up here.
As an alternative, shopping online is a good option but you have to be cautious of sizing. You also don't have the luxury of trying thing on before you buy and what makes this worse is you have to pay return shipping if the sizing is not right!
A third option that's popped up is the curating shopping experience.
Basically it's where clothing is picked for you based off your size and style needs – then boxed and delivered to your door.
These business have been around for a few years – I've resisted discussing them as I felt most were either overpriced or using shotty clothing with huge markups.
However I have found one that hits the sweet spot.
In my opinion – Men's Style Lab – is the best of the bunch.
Maybe it's their Iowa roots, but this company delivered on value, quality, speed, and matched my wants and needs with a box that was perfect for me.
I go into a LOT more detail in this video review – or you can read my review below.
My Experience with Men's Style Lab
Now that you're armed with some tips to make smarter clothing decisions, let's dive into why I feel Men's Style Lab is worth your time.
I wanted to test out Men's Style Lab's services and recently received a shipment of clothing selected for me.
The Men's Style Lab Process
The first part I wanted to touch base on was the overall process Men's Style Lab has laid out.
It's easy to shy away from a service you are not familiar with but I can assure you this is not the case here.
Signing up is a breeze and the process takes just 3 steps.
1. Sign Up For An Account – No long registration forms to fill out here.
All that you're required to provide is your first name, last name and email address.
Doing so will take you right to the next step. You are asked to provide information such as skin type, the type of environment you work in and sections of your wardrobe that's lacking.
2. Speak with an Image Consultant – Now the fun part. You actually get to talk to a qualified individual focused on your style.
These image consultants dig deep and ask you questions that expand on your answers from the questionnaire.
This is where all the ground work takes place.
3. Try On Your Clothing – You receive a box of selected clothing and accessories based on your choices from the points above.
Each item has a price tag associated with it so you can either decide to keep the item or return it (which includes free shipping).
The Clothing – A Detailed Breakout Of What I Received
So what exactly did I receive in my first box selection? Well let me show you 🙂
Most of the clothing was spot on – both for Style AND Fit.
The shipment itself was well packaged and arrived in a timely fashion (5 days after the interview).
The box holding the contents within was sturdy and durable. I carefully inspected the clothing I received and everything was in pristine condition.
OK, off to a good start.
Now the moment you have been waiting for. What was included in the box and were the selections fit for my style?
Casual Trousers & Jeans
- Enzo Denim – Probably the item I was most pleasantly surprised with. These jeans measured in at 32×32 and the fit was spot on. I found it really intriguing as Enzo is a brand I have never heard of. To be honest, I probably would never have purchased these jeans on my own. This is the unique value Men's Style Lab provides to their customers – you have the ability to explore new styles and brands you never thought worthy of purchase. To think that these brands closely match the style you're looking for makes it all the more impressive.
- Ben Sherman Chinos– These blue classic chinos measure in at 33×32 and fit extremely well. Read that again. These chinos are actually a size bigger on the waist from my normal size. These image consultants sure know what they're doing. Men's Style Lab actually took size into consideration as we all know that brands design clothing differently to fit a specific demographic. The Ben Sherman chino's are definitely built for casual settings which is exactly what I requested upon sign up.
- Penguin P55 Chino – These chinos provide a straight fit which Men's Style Lab nailed. Measurements also read 33×32. Also glad to announce these chinos are versatile enough to pair with a wide selection of shoes.
- Scotch & Soda – The image consultant made another interesting choice with this selection as I received this shirt in size large. I'm not a small guy but large usually fits me too loose. The great news was (surprisingly) it fit me really well. Scotch and Soda are known for making clothing for people with smaller builds. The shirt is in a dark navy blue color and made from 100% cotton. The quality of the cotton is impressive. The fabric is soft and breathable which would be great as a middle layer in the Spring.
- Light Green Canvas T-Shirt – Received this shirt in medium which is my regular fit. I have a large wardrobe and I can honestly say I don't currently have one similar to this. This shows the value of using Men's Style Lab – even if you have a well stocked wardrobe you can still find to plug any gaps in your style.
- Bread & Boxer Undershirt – A dark blue shirt I received in medium as well. A great item to wear in casual environments. I can easily see myself wearing this as a base item when layering my clothing.
Casual Button-Up Casual Shirts
- Ben Sherman House Check Shirts – Two great casual shirts that had a subtle color combination of red and blue with the other in orange and blue. The buttons are high quality and stitching seems to be on par with other shirts in that price range. The shirt is made in India, has a tapered fit that tapers down closer to the waist. My personal image consultant sent me two sizes of this shirt with the hopes of getting a perfect fit (large fit me) with one while returning the other (I returned the medium). A nice touch which ensured I wasn't left with one to keep!
- Polifroni Casual Shirt – Another brand I probably wouldn't have ever considered purchasing if I was on my own. I actually really liked the suble color and pattern – it worked well with the tie and jeans they sent. So well I am wearing the combination as I type this out! Definitely a keep er as they nailed the fit and the price was reasonable.
- Grayers Clothiers – Interesting shirt that goes really well with all the other items I received in the box. A casual shirt with interesting buttons. The fit is great from the sleeve length right up to the tapering of the waist. The shoulder also lines up on me well which is critical in fit. The shoulder is a lofty task for a tailor to correct so I'm glad it fits well right out of the box.
Quilted Casual Jacket
The jacket is relatively simple in construction and contains a collar in an accented color.
The jacket was designed in England and contains two functional front pockets that also provide balance on the exterior.
Interesting design elements were taken with this jacket. For example – the interior of the jacket is bright orange giving it a sharp contrast to the brown toned design of its exterior.
Some may be put off by the striking contrast but I feel it meshes really well, especially with the other selection of clothing received in the box.
Looking at the clothing as a whole shows that Men's Style lab is all about value.
Everything I received matches up with other items, creating a wide range of outfits. Versatility is a big indicator of value in the world of men's style.
Overall, I'm happy with this jacket and one I am going to keep it to strengthen my casual clothing wardrobe.
In total I received 4 pairs in black, navy blue and one with hexagonal patterns. These socks are made from mercerized cotton and feel soft to the touch.
These are one of the few items I will be returning. Unfortunately, I have more socks than I can count and don't have a need for these at the moment. Don't take this as a negative as you wouldn't be disappointed if you decided to keep a few pairs of these as they were reasonably priced and of high quality.
A Casual Knit Tie
I did not have any knit ties in my wardrobe. Wasn't even sure I liked them.
This all changed when Men's Style Lab sent this one over.
As you can see from the image to the right, the tie is navy blue with white and red horizontal stripes.
I like this pattern but initially felt it would be hard to pair. However loved how it worked with the grey check shirt sent and decided to keep it based off that combination and look.
As that I've already worn in twice in the last week – it definitely was a great choice. A bit more expensive than what I was expecting – I kept it anyway as it just worked so well and I have never had a tie like this before.
In conclusion – Men's Style Lab is an awesome service for men that I recommend you check out.
Although I received my box at no cost, I would have paid for this service as it filled a need, was value priced, and they genuinely delivered on their promise.
And if nothing else – I suggest you grab Men's Style Lab's 38 page spring guide. Click on the image below to grab it.
This style guide is full of illustrations and content from dressing for a wedding to caring for your leather shoes.