Many a young man on his way to a job interview has wondered why his clothing matters so much (especially if the price tag on that new suit is still straining his wallet.) But we are often reminded that first impressions make all the difference…and your clothing will make an impression before you have a chance to demonstrate your firm handshake and consummate interview skills. Your clothing shows your care, your personality, your respect for yourself and your surroundings.
There are innumerable guides for a young man looking to dress for success: business casual, suit and tie, any kind of interview under the sun. But like all things, fashion begins with a solid foundation, the most basic part of any outfit: the undergarments. Your selection in underwear shows your care for your wardrobe, right down to the skin. It ensures the right fit for your clothing, and most importantly, ensures your own comfort. It’s hard to be confident when you’re distracted by your own sagging waistband.
Here’s what to look for when building your foundation:
The Right Fit, For You and Your Wardrobe
There are a number of factors to be considered before making a purchase, such as the fit, the cut and style, and your outfit and activities. Fit is important – the foundation of the foundation. A well-fitted waistband is the first step to comfort. Fit and sizing also affect where longer styles like boxers and trunks will fall on your legs, an important consideration in making sure your underwear fit correctly under your pants. Pay attention to the sizing charts if you’re buying on line, and take the time to make sure you know your own measurements.
There is no truly universal underwear. Some styles are more versatile than others, but no one style or brand is appropriate for every situation. Briefs work well under slim or fitted pants, but may be more restrictive, while looser styles like boxers and trunks can be prone to bunching, especially if you’re active while wearing them. You will also have to select a style based on personal preference – how much support vs. breathing room you prefer – but always keep in mind how your clothing will fit over the undergarments you choose for that outfit.
Gentlemen, let’s be honest. If you’re buying good quality clothes for your first office jobs and interviews, it’s happened. You’ve grown up. You’re an adult, and it’s time to leave behind some of the comforts of childhood. Chief among them (at least in an article about underwear): that 12-for-$10 bargain pack of briefs you grabbed off the rack in the drug store. You’re an adult: it’s time to invest a little.
Young adults may shy away from spending much money on something so basic, but good quality has its advantages. In addition to better fit and better comfort, good quality materials will last and save you money in the long run. No elastic is immortal, but a good high-quality investment from a nice brand like VK Nagrani’s Men’s designer underwear will last much longer. Men’s style blog Fashionbeans recommends buying sparingly and spacing out your purchases, to avoid an underwear collection that gives up the ghost simultaneously.
The subject of fabric and materials is still open to quite a bit of debate. Men’s style expert Marcus Jaye is an advocate of natural fabrics like cotton, which he believes are the best for keeping you cool, dry and comfortable. Men’s Health magazine, however, is quick to recommend polyester and nylon blends, especially for active wear. There are advantages and disadvantages to each: while polyester and other synthetics may not have cotton’s natural breathability and softness, they often have a tighter, slimmer fit that smooths and flatters the figure, and offers more support.
One final point to keep in mind: paying for a brand doesn’t necessarily mean paying for quality. In many cases, you’re shelling out that extra 20 or 30 dollars just for the stamp on the waistband. Of course, some brand name products have quality that is worth the price. Pay attention to the basics: the fit, the cut, the quality of the construction, to tell if you have a brand name worth the sticker price.
A Few Final Words
A young man might balk at the idea of spending so much money and effort on something few people are ever likely to see, but your choice in underwear does make a difference in your overall appearance (and no, not just in the bedroom.) The right undergarments, in the right size and style for both you and your outfit will ensure both your own comfort and polished professionalism to your overall appearance. You wouldn’t buy house foundations in a pack of 10: don’t do your wardrobe foundation the same discourtesy.