For some men, including my own husband, buying clothes is not fun. He would rather be at the hardware store, where he can spend hours looking for tools, than inside a clothing store, where he will only spend minutes. For many men, shopping means you go, you ask for what you NEED and you go home.

Luckily, other men see fashion as a way of expressing themselves. They are willing to take their time to shop and choose. This type of man — my favorite as a fashion business owner — might run the risk of looking too feminine for the hardware store guys. But there’s a new generation of men who are changing things; they are influenced by “YouTubers” and movie stars.

My own experience is that men definitely know what they want when they come into my store. They don’t go window-shopping; they have an idea, they look for it and they buy. They don’t ask friends how they look, and they don’t ask the wife if they like it. They don’t consult with their kids and they don’t ask what you think. If they like it a lot, they buy two at the same time, so they don’t have to shop again for awhile.

Wives LOVE buying clothes for their men. I think it relieves a bit of their guilt from buying three times as much for themselves when shopping. But some men take this as an invasion of their privacy. On the other hand, all this self-assurance can vanish when men have to buy for their wives. They become wishy-washy and insecure, or even ruin the surprise by sending you a picture so they don’t buy the wrong thing. It’s surely a safer bet than having the lady at home declare, “You don’t know me well enough if you bought me this!” And that’s without mentioning the size issue.

Just as women’s fashions vary from country to country, or even from city to city, so do men’s. Latinos are way more adventurous at the time of choosing their wardrobe. European men are into simple and soft. Gringos tend to be more traditional, except in locales with hot weather.

V-neck or crew neck, sunga, shorts or surf shorts — tell me your choice and I can tell where you come from. For Costa Rica beachwear I recommend clothes that are easy to wash, casual and comfortable. Keep it simple: plain white T-shirt or a “Pura Vida” one, cotton chinos, a nice shirt (plain, mini–print or big flowers), some lightweight long pants, leather flip-flops and a nice Panama hat. You are all SET!

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