Want Menswear You Can Brag About? Consider This Outfit

“COOL SHIRT.” It’s a straightforward statement that should have a simple reply, like, “Thanks.” But if you ask any guy who’s remotely into clothes, the answer you get is anything but direct. Instead, your absent-minded compliment is met with a sweeping fashion history. “Oh, this shirt? This shirt is spun in New Zealand from wool shorn from a rare breed of white sheep raised by a seventh-generation shepherd who exclusively drinks flat whites.”

The mansplainy answer is textbook. “I don’t agree with it, but men see [fashion] as more utilitarian than as a means of self-expression,” said Chris Curran, store manager of Homme Essentials in Richmond, Va. “For a lot of men, in order to avoid seeming vain or wasteful, they have to [justify] why they own anything. It’s not just ‘I like this color.’ It’s ‘This piece from Bode was handwoven from reclaimed materials.’”