The Art of “Slow Fashion”

February 23rd, 2016

Fast fashion is killing our planet, making it difficult for talented craftsman to succeed, and confusing consumers into remaining on a cyclical hamster wheel of consumption. For more on the devastating new industry of “disposable clothing”, check out the True Cost of Cheap Clothing.

As a grown man, there is no reason you should be “re-inventing” your wardrobe every season, or replacing items every year. The true beauty of menswear is that it moves very slowly. It’s not based on market trends, pop culture, or impulse purchases. It’s based on history, tradition and quality craftsmanship. This means that with the right planning and advice, a man can invest in a long-term wardrobe that will last the test of time and ultimately make it easier for him to develop his own lasting style. 

At Articles of Style, we believe in the concept of “Slow Fashion”. It’s the opposite of fast fashion, in every way. Below are the pillars of slow fashion that we try to integrate into all of our products, and try to share with all of our readers who are looking to invest in proper menswear. 

Investment Garments

Think of garments as investments, the same way you would think about buying a car, or a house. It’s not about having a lot of these things, it’s about having the right ones. Will you wear it often? Will you wear it next year? Five years from now?… My favorite wardrobe pieces are ones that I purchased many years ago; they’ve molded to my body over time, they have a broken-in charm, and we share many memories

Timeless Fabrics

The fabric is the main ingredient and the most important raw material in the manufacturing of any garment. Is the fabric durable enough to last the test of time? Will it grow old/boring after a few months/years? Is it flattering on you? Does it give off the right message? Does it work with the rest of your wardrobe?… Making the right decisions here is key to building a smart, versatile wardrobe – that’s why we help all of our clients build the perfect collection for them.

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Long-Term Design

The key is to focus on classic design and garments that have lasted the test of time. Avoid trend items like short jackets, razor thin lapels, skinny jeans, loud color-blocking, etc. Anything too “flashy” is guaranteed to collect dust or be thrown on top of the landfill.

Proper Fit

A garment has to fit right, feel good, and look even better. If you are not satisfied with the fit, you will evetually replace it. Consider an ill-fitting purchase a guaranteed waste of money in the long-run. You will end-up sinking even more money trying to fix the fit with a tailor, only to realize that it’s still not giving you that feeling

Conscious Manufacturing

Do you know where it was made? Or how it was made? Or who made it, and under what conditions? Being conscious about manufacturing and demanding transparency from clothing brands is the only way to ensure you’re getting real value for your dollar, while also ensuring that you are supporting sustainable and socially conscious business practices. The rag trade is infamously shady and bloody, and only we, the consumers, can change that. 

Does it Make You Feel Good?

The last thing I’m going to say is this; clothing should make you feel good. The internal psychology l aspect of clothing is the most important, and the most life-changing. Clothing is necessary (legally we must cover our bodies) but it can also be a tool that we can use to provide ourselves with an added level of confidence and influence… I’m writing another piece on the “psychology of dressing” that addresses this in more detail…but for now, I’d like to point out that we are in the business of making our clients feel like their best selves… That is the mission of a great tailor. 

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That’s all for now. Remember, fast fashion is for the birds. That’s not meant to be sexist, I mean it’s literally for the birds, as in birds will be nesting in your “disposal” clothing on the top of some landfill at the end of its unprecedentedly short lifespan.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

  • arel

    My father was a Savile Row tailor ( Anderson and Sheppard) he recalled in the 1960s & 70s customers would bring in trousers and jackets from the Edwardian era made by A&S to be altered for their grandsons, fast fashion in reverse! Much of my clothing and shoes are ancient, buying very high quality is the secret, preferably second hand!

  • Justin

    When is the article on Psychology of Dressing going to be ready?

  • NY, NY

    Speaking of “fabric[s] durable enough to last the test of time” – is there anything, from a longevity standpoint, about the 100% worsted VBC fabric that you use that separates it from the 100% worsted VBC fabrics used by countless other companies? Or that supports it will indeed “last the test of time?”

    I’ve had a number of suits with VBC fabrics in similar weights to say, your essential navy suit, many of which have worn through after only a year of use. I work in the city so I’m not exacting roughing it in my suits by any means.

    I agree and follow the investment garment approach to shopping, however, if the fabric wont hold up five years from now (and I’m not claiming the fabrics you use won’t hold up) then an “investment garment” is more of a sales pitch than a reality.

  • Miguel

    Great post Dan, guys, I’ve been MIA but I’m back.
    This is what draw me to AOS, this kind of thinking has made me invest in pieces instead of going with trends that come and go, I’ve learned to do this and now my wardrobe is so rich in clothing and materials.

  • Unseen Flirtations


  • DJ

    Investment pieces and proper fit are the two main points here. Great work!

    DJ | Menswear & Personal Development

  • NickH

    Dan you did it again. This post is great, but I see you just snuck in the sand linen suit. Thanks man, my girlfriend almost killed me over the first suit…how can I possibly explain this one to her….

  • Ala

    Great article!!
    What would you say are the key resources/websites/books for someone to have the right information when starting to build their wardrobe, especially in cities that lack good tailors?
    For instance, I’ve come across good info on what determines a good fit, but I have yet to have a clear eye on what determines quality fabric, especially if most purchases will be made from clothing retailers.

  • AdamE

    I’m assuming the follow-up piece you’re working on is about the psychological aspect of clothing… while ultimately there is physiology involved (on the chemical level feeling good comes down to dopamine and serotonin…), when you start talking about the mechanisms around clothing making you feel good, you’re into the realm of psychology… (now if you’re down to the level of impregnating fabrics with pheromones to cause physiological responses in humans, that’s next level chemistry/physiology when it comes to clothing…).

    That was just a point of clarification, because I am 100% in agreement about how clothing should make you feel good. With my best suits (and even a couple of blazers), as soon as I put them on, I feel like I’ve just put on armor and am ready to slay dragons. That’s perfect when you’re going into a job interview, important presentation or important occasion… There are other things that I might put on, that don’t give me the same confidence (there’s a time and place for wearing things that give you more of a sense of vulnerability, when the occasion calls for it…)…

    There’s also the middle ground (raw denim, i’m looking at you…)… where some items you put on, and you’re fine, but feel a little awkward with at first, since you need to break them in… But as they age and take on your shape, they make you feel better and better…

    • Dan Trepanier

      Haha! You got me – I meant psychology of dressing! Updated the spelling there… Agreed. That “feeling” can be leveraged in any situation and eventually should become a daily advantage… That’s building a great wardrobe. Cheers AdamE.

  • Vali

    I’ve read both this article and the one on fast fashion with great interest.
    But what is your advice for someone who works in an environment where classic tailored clothing would mean I’m overdressed in 99% of the time? For example I work in organizing music festivals, so as you can imagine even a tailored jacket and jeans would be too much.
    As with fast fashion I’ve had mixed experiences. For example I have shirts and jeans from brands like dsquared, dolce&gabbana and burberry but also items from cheaper brands like zara and massimo dutti that lasted me the better part of 4 years and still look very good and not dated. I’ve also bought other items like sneakers and t-shirts that I found out very quickly they were poorly made.

    • Dan Trepanier

      It’s not just about tailored clothing – it’s about being able to determine quality and invest in garments that you know are made properly and that you will get a lot of use out of, long-term. Simply planning a wardrobe and doing some research into quality is a huge step in the right direction, cutting down on impulse buys of cheap BS. Cheers mate!