Anybody have any advice or tips? Anybody want to slap me around and say “WHY??”.
I’m mainly worried about dressing down. I don’t want to look like I’m trying to be Mr. GQ everyday. I want to look like a nicely-dressed man, not a costumed fool or runway model.
If anyone wants to know the motivation, I’ll tell you:
I’m sick of looking like a slob. My look until recently was somewhere between “homeless” and “blue collar”. My idea of “dressing up” was anything other than a t-shirt.
Most of my clothes don’t look good on me. Either they don’t fit right, or they hang wrong, or they accentuate my midsection. I’m not a super huge guy but I am overweight. A suit accentuates my good features and obscures the bad ones.
I don’t like picking out clothes in the morning. I don’t like shopping for clothes. I don’t like trying on clothes. I’m hoping to pick a daily “uniform” and stick with it. Steve Jobs decided the same thing and bought a closet full of jeans and black turtlenecks. I thought about doing something similar and remembered “hey, they already invented this concept, like, centuries ago, it’s called a ‘suit’”.
It’s come to my attention through internet research and personal experience with Goodwill suit separates that they’re actually damn comfortable if they fit right and aren’t polyester. Also, they’re less fragile than you think.
I’ve got a cheap (but 100% wool) olive suit at the tailor’s now getting altered. I’m thinking about ordering a cheap blue suit from Combatant Gentleman, too, so I can change things up every now and then. Now that I know my size, I can order them off the internet for cheaper.
This isn’t some corporate dog collar I’m forced to wear. If it wasn’t optional it wouldn’t be as fun. I might be one of the first generation of engineers who were never forced to wear a suit or tie at work. I like the idea of wearing a suit for personal reasons instead of fitting in with the corporate drones. I like the idea of being mildly active in a suit, like taking walks or exploring nature (though for heavy duty outdoors work I’m thinking about just getting a pair of overalls). Also, I like the idea of being better dressed than other guys, but again, not so much that I look foolish – just effortlessly stylish.
Also, this is basically IMHO material, but I figured fashion = CS. If I’m wrong, I’m sure somebody will be around to move it soon.
I think it is a neat idea. Half of being sharp is looking sharp! Think about a blazer/sports coat for the days you want to dress down. If “good clothes” are uncomfortable, then they just don’t fit. Expect some razzing from co-workers. I used to get “ooh, job interview?” Or, more creatively, “court date?”
Don’t forget shoes that are appropriate. And learn to polish them. Avoid the super high gloss spit shine, unless you’re in the marines.
I like suits and wish they were worn more often by both men and women. I also get the idea of wanting to look sharp but isn’t there a good, still sharp middle ground between slob and suit?
If you’re overweight, you will not enjoy wearing a suit when it’s hot. Suits are also more involved than regular clothes cleaning-wise
A much easier and approachable look would be: Dress shirt (white/pale blue), dress pants (navy/charcoal), socks that match the pants, leather shoes (black/burgundy) and a belt that matches the shoes.
If you don’t like the idea of having to match belt and shoes, just get black ones. You can do the same for pants and socks by picking either navy or charcoal for both. That way, you’ll be able to dress up in the morning without even looking at the clothes and they’ll match.
You can spruce it up by getting different ties; Ebay is a surprisingly good place to buy ties if you’re willing to spend an hour or two searching for them. Some of the ties I get the most compliments on cost me 2$ and I’ve never had to pay more than about 20$.
In the wrong context, a suit is going to not be clothing but rather costume.
Better you should look at what your coworkers are wearing, and slightly improve. That doesn’t mean buying the high-end version of their polo shirts, just keeping yours in good shape, and replaced with new ones when they start to fray and pill. Or, instead of a polo, wear a cotton button-down shirt: that won’t deviate from the norm, but it will look a lot sharper when your shirt is the one starched and ironed. Same with your trousers: who keeps a crease in theirs? If you do, you’ll stand out.
Most people still wear leather shoes in the workplace, but you can be the one whose shoes gleam. Check out online how to bring out a high-gloss. Once you’ve set in a foundation of polish, a quick going-over with a battery-operated buffer will be enough.
Obviously, all this will take an investment in time. But so would hitting the gym, which is the only option for the guy who just wants to pull on stuff from his dresser.
I have a gym in my house. So I’m working on that front, too.
Also, I have a couple Goodwill-bought sportcoats and blazers that are in good shape I was planning to mix and match with the suit pants for variety, in addition to the matching jackets.
Also, I have shined Blundstones I wear all the time. Those will be my suit shoes until I find a pair of brogues or something. I’m not much of a jeans guy but I have some Dickies I could wear to dress down.
I was in the Army so I know how to iron creases and shine shoes. I’m not sure how often I’ll realistically do that, but I shine my shoes several times a month so I could see doing that for my shirts and trousers too. Or I might decide to do it more often, if they don’t look good otherwise.
The other half retired recently from the Marine Corps, and has jumped into the civilian sector. We went out six months before he retired (right around the time he started job hunting) to Joseph A Banks (I know, I know). They were having one of their mega sales, buy three suits, get three free. We spent multiple hours with the salesman, who was AMAZING.
Other half walked in saying “I want X number of suits, all in shades of grey, traditional cut, pleat-front pants.” Basically what he’d been wearing for the last 20+ years. Salesman looked over at me casually shaking my head ‘no,’ and took it from there. He got OH into blue, black, and grey suits, plain and patterned, a mix of pleat and flat front, NO traditional cuts, and had the whole lot tailored. Then he took us around the store and matched shirts with ties with pocket squares, and matched those back to the suits.
It was not cheap, but it was so worth it. The suits will only need to be dry cleaned every six months, the shirts go to the dry cleaners after each wearing for $2/each. I know you said you hate shopping/trying on clothes, but it might be worth your time to get properly fitted and see what cut looks best on you.
This is the store we went to: http://www.josbank.com/ . You can sign up for their email notifications for sales, if there’s one nearby- they seem to have the 3/3 deal a couple times a year. They recently joined ranks with Men’s Warehouse, so you can try there too.
I wore a suit every day for years before my company culture changed to business casual. I like suits, I’m comfortable in suits and I look pretty good in suits. That said:
A cheap suit does not make you look sharp. It makes you look like a guy in a cheap suit.
Clothes wrinkle. Suits are clothes. You’ll need to have them pressed frequently, and drycleaned several times a year.
It’s doubtful you will wear your jacket at all times. That means you will often be seen wearing dress pants, a tie, and a dress shirt. You can get pretty much the same effect by skipping the suit entirely and simply getting non-khakis, a dress shirt and a tie.
During the transition from business to business casual, some people thought I was actually trying to show them up when I wore a suit. I’m not saying this would happen to you, but I agree with Slithy Tove about dressing just slightly above your corporate culture.
Remeber that a suit is only part of the ensemble. Shirts, ties, belts, shoes and even socks have to blend into a complete package.
One of the biggest stories about them recently was how Men’s Warehouse bought them and decided to end the big sales. One of the articles is linked in the thread on this forum about the founder of Men’s Warehouse.
They have a buy one suit, get two free sale going on now. Or did, when I went there a week or two ago. Also, I got an overcoat for $80 marked down from $450 from Jos. A. Banks online. The only reason I went there was to see if I could save on shipping but the same coat in the brick and mortar store was $400.
To try and avoid the jarring change at work, I’m planning to gradually implement this over the course of a few weeks at least. I’ve already been wearing nicer long sleeve shirts, and the occasional thrift store jacket over the last few weeks. And I’ve been a hat guy for a while. Add in tailored suit pants and eventually the matching jacket, shouldn’t scare people too much.
Considering my boomer coworkers were forced to wear ties for decades, I think the tie might be the most difficult aspect of this to pull off. They’d think I was crazy to wear one voluntarily. I could just go without. Maybe keep one in the office in case a customer or big wig executive visits.