I come to you seeking help. I am a second year law student. I’ve been lucky enough to land a summer associate position at one of the New York firms. I’m very excited, as you might imagine, but this has also presented me with a few problems.
I had a few years out in the workforce between undergrad and law, but none of the jobs I had ever required me to wear anything less casual than a polo shirt and khakis. Now I find myself needing several suits and more “business casual” attire, and I know nothing–and really, I do mean nothing–about men’s fashion of that sort. I’m also on a budget–while I’ll be making decent money this summer, right now I’m making none at all. I suspect my credit card(s) will be taking the brunt of this effort, but I’d like to be as gentle to them as I can.
I want to look damn good–a lot rides on this coming summer, and I want my appearance to be as professional as my work product.
So, I come to you all, seeking advice. I’ve got several questions in my head, though they may just be starters.
First: What do I need, at a minimum, to make this work, in terms of pieces of clothing? The firm has a “business casual” dress code unless meeting with clients or going to court. Right now I have two suits, one charcoal grey and the other a lighter gray pinstripe. (The charcoal, unfortunately, has a small repair on the back of one leg where it had a bit of moth damage; the fabric is basically pinched there, and it looks sort of like a permanent wrinkle. In the long run, I know I need a new charcoal grey suit. ) I also have two sportcoats/blazers, one in a tan tweed fabric, the other black. I have a number of (three or four?) white dress shirts and a couple french blue, one with pinstripes, the other plain. Finally, I have a number of dress pants: A couple of greys, a navy blue, a khaki, and a black pair that’s really too small in the waist for me any more. Oh, I’ve got shoes: a pair of really comfortable black slip-ons and a pair of really uncomfortable plain jane black dress oxfords. (I am hoping that they break in–I bought them for my second interview, so they’re brand new.)
How can I do it cheaply? I’ve been shopping at K&G Fahion Warehouse, but I find myself a little bit shy of much of their stuff–I don’t recognize the brand names, and I don’t know if that’s because I"m just an innocent when it comes to this, or if they’re basically house brands of acceptable quality, or if they’re basically house brands of unacceptable quality. As such, I’ve tried hard to stick to names I recognize, even if that means paying a bit more. Other options around here: We’ve got several TJ Maxxes (TJs Maxx?), a Men’s Wearhouse (where I bought that charcoal suit, two of my favorite ties, and my nicest dress shirt), and a Value City. I’ve always liked MW; they have excellent service and, IIRC, free alterations. But they are the most expensive option. I’m willing to entertain the thought of going through online sources as well, though of course I’ll have to be able to figure out what’s quality and what’s not.
There are other questions (how do I figure out what matches?) but those two are the biggies, the ones that I need to settle pretty much before I can even get started.
Thanks in advance to all of you.