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New job wardrobe advice

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi all, I've been a lurker for some time and I was hoping I could get some advice. Next month I'm going to start working at Nordstrom in men's sportswear. Primarily I am looking to get significant retail/commissioned sales experience at a well known company on my resume. Not to say I don't like/enjoy clothes, but they haven't really been a life-long obsession! I do have a few nice suits, but not very many; I recently graduated from college and my suit collection is very much in its infancy.

I don't want to harass my supervisor with endless questions about what sort of clothing is suitable. In any other department I'd be required to wear a suit; but sportswear has a less strict dress code (business casual or so). Ironically, this makes sorting through my current clothing and deciding what to purchase much more difficult.

Basically, any work outfit has to be at least three pieces: trousers/shirt/tie, trousers/shirt/vest, jeans/shirt/sweater and so on. Denim is allowed, no shorts, no tennis shoes.

I would like to spend a moderate amount of money on new clothes to begin, and get a variety of things and see what works best from the perspective of selling and personal comfort. I was thinking that maybe the outlet stores of well known labels would be a good place to start (eg Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren). The employee discount is nice but the casual clothes at Nordstrom are still a bit too pricey for me to start. Shoes are the only item I'd really like to spend a lot on, since I'll be spending most of the time on my feet.

Avoiding frequent dry cleaning would be very nice, but does anyone think it would be better to wear a suit (or blazers/sports coats) even though it is not required?

Otherwise, I'm just looking for some general advice and suggestions on what I should purchase. I'm 5"6, ~140, typically wear 15.5 32/33 shirts, 36s/38s coat.
post #2 of 7
Maybe it is a bias to when I worked retail in a department store many years ago but I would probably wear trousers/dress shirt/tie/blazer or even a suit/shirt/tie. I like having a jacket or even a vest because I've seen enough ties get ruined from random racks or needled (I worked furnishings and those needles from dress shirts were a pain) and a jacket at least provided some cover.

I would maybe dress up a little more at the beginning and get a feel of the clientele. Later on if you seem to stand out a bit, then you can always lose the tie or jacket and dress down the ensuing days.

As to where to buy stuff, outlets are great, the Rack should be decent too (shouldn't you get a discount there?), or even online.

Congratulations on your new job and good luck!
post #3 of 7
New job, you can't go wrong with a suit/shirt/tie. It's much easier to dress down halfway through the day if you feel you're overdressed. You can just lose the jacket and you're immediately more casual. I would start by checking out some of the clearance racks and finding some nice deals. One place you can always find decent stuff on clearance is Brooks Brothers online. We are the same size and I have a bunch of clothes to get rid of....PM and I'll get into more detail.
post #4 of 7
Originally Posted by photon1701 View Post
Avoiding frequent dry cleaning would be very nice, but does anyone think it would be better to wear a suit (or blazers/sports coats) even though it is not required?

You should avoid frequent dry cleaning regardless... quickest way to ruin your suits. Steaming, brushing and airing are your friends. Dry cleaning once a year is sufficient if you do these things.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
thanks for the help

dsmivtr, no Rack stores in my area I'm afraid. There will be a off5th in a few months, but that's a bit too late!

JohnsNotHere, can you recommend the right kind of brush or brushes for wool and cotton?
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
I know it is kind of odd to necro my own post, but I think it will be cathartic. Now that I no longer work for Nordstrom I am able to more fully contribute to this forum.

Part of my success was due to the wealth of information I acquired from lurking on this forum. Thanks!

It is very amusing for me to read my original post. I’m a grade A snob now. Thinking about shopping at a CK outlet is laughable. I’m only a 38 in something like a drop 8 Z-zegna. I’m only satisfied with how MTM Zegna shirts fit, at $375+ a pop.

I started with two ugly fused suits that never fit from Macy’s and a terrible pair of shoes. I left with the following:

10 pairs of shoes, all italian
E-Zegna sportcoat
Zzegna Tuxedo
Boss cotton suit
A Saks brand suit with Zegna fabric (made by Abboud)
Two Versace sportcoats
A Paul Smith sportcoat
MTM Coppley suit
MTM Abboud suit
MTM Armani suit (with 2 pairs of pants, long story)
MTM Hickey Freeman suit
Two Canali suits
An Isaia suit
20 Ties all Zegna, Brioni etc
post #7 of 7
Well, let's please have some fit-pics so we can judge whether styleforum can really work as the antidote to sartorial woes.
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