Recently a female acquaintance of mine was rather distraught: she had agreed, almost unthinkingly, to go dress shopping with some friends, realizing only later the tightrope she’d have to walk when they asked for her “honest” input. But at least ladies have the option of bringing critics along. Men shop for clothes alone, using a brutally efficient system. If you’re interested in cutting down the time it takes to buy a new outfit, read on.
Sneakers: do they have your size? Do they come in a light-colored suede that will be ruined as soon as you set foot outside the store and into the filthy streets of the city? Okay, buy them.
Socks: is that a big bag of them? Don’t check what color, just buy them.
Jeans: skip over the “skinny” and “fashionably ripped” sections. Point vaguely at the rest of the jeans in the section and ask a salesperson for your size. When they don’t have that size, buy a pair that’s one size bigger. Don’t bother trying them on in the dressing room—that will only slow you down.
Shirt: anything with buttons (preferably too many) will work, but check and see if the sales rack has something atrociously out of season.
Belt: find the biggest novelty buckle they have.
Shorts: the wider and pinker the better.
Necktie: is it a pattern that your wife/your girfriend/society at large would never let you wear in public? Does it definitely not match the shirt you got? Sold.
Sunglasses: are you kidding? Just shoplift a random pair on the way out.
Hat: probably the thing you should spend the most time with. Try various fedoras on and tip them ceremoniously to other customers. The one that gets you the most pitying look is the winner.
Underwear: you already have enough of that.