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Style

How Online Shopping Could Suck Less

Hint: Make it more like...well, us

I have a friend whose mission in life it is to “make things suck less.” He’s done a lot of good starting and supporting companies that follow this explicit manifesto, improving everything from air travel to charitable giving in the process.

It got me thinking about how, in our own way, we’re trying to do the same with men’s style here at SG.

Shopping, especially online, can be a frustrating experience for guys. That’s why I work to make stocking your closet a little easier, by tipping you off to who’s making the coolest sneakers (still obsessed with Allbirds), or detailing just how high a shirt collar should peek out of a jacket lapel (1/2” in the back).

In all my time spent thinking and talking about style, I’ve found three things that guys want out of their online shopping experience, things that could—using my friend’s terminology—suck less.

Shopping online, guys want – but don’t always find:

1. Inspiration

If women are said to have trouble with spatial awareness, then I’d say guys struggle with outfit awareness. That is, you want to know ideas on how to wear the clothes you’re buying. Plenty of you are still shopping the mannequin, no shame!

On Style Girlfriend, we run features like our 5 Days, 5 Ways series to share inspiration around how to wear specific items multiple ways. Wouldn’t that be great to see when you’re shopping online, before you buy?

2. Funneled choices

Look, I think it’s great that J. Crew offers this cotton crewneck sweater in no less than five colorways for spring. I do. Sure, you might look great in the heather poppy, but what about the heather camel? Or the heather aluminum? Or the heather nightfall??

When it comes to clothes, it seems the more options a guy has, the less sure he’ll feel about the one he picks. Call it fashion indecision. Not every color and cut looks good on every guy. It’s not enough to know the model’s height and weight, like many sites are now sharing (though that’s a step in the right direction!).

We try to give as much information as possible about as many types of clothes and styles as possible so you know what’s right for you. Think of it as personal style, made…y’know, personal.

3. A vote of confidence

After stiff-arming it to the virtual checkout lane, a guy ultimately wants to know that the contents of his cart—and eventually, his closet—are going to make him look and feel like a million bucks. That others will experience involuntary eyebrow wiggling when he enters the room.

That he’ll, y’know, look hot.

There are apps for this, most notably the new Amazon Echo Look which has been spending a sh*t ton of money on influencer marketing with various fashion bloggers (not us, though, lol).

I can’t help but wonder how useful things like the Echo Look really are, though. The paid testimonials all feel very goofy and forced, and the idea that a robot can tell you how you look better than actual people obligatory—shout out to our free, on-demand texting service staffed by human women and not robots—seems ambitious at best.

But I get the desire for the seal of approval. We all want that thumbs up (even a virtual thumb) before hitting the “buy” button. I just don’t know how helpful that virtual thumb is when it’s connected to a robot hand.

Did I miss anything? Am I getting close? I want to hear from you!

As we work on making this site as helpful as possible, the more we know about what you want from it, the better. So let us know in the comments what would make finding clothes online suck a little less for you.

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