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Choosing your style: the crossroad

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

Choosing your style is a conscious decision, even though you are unconsciously influenced by tons and tons of factors.

So, here I am today, at some kind of crossroads in my sartorial life. I am 20 and studying law in Québec City. Even though this is totally off topic, I would have to say that law students at Université Laval just don't know how to dress. Mostly cheap jeans with equally cheap t-shirts or, if they want to flash, a Lacoste polo. And if they have to wear a suit, it will be an ill-fitting, too long black suit which no cuff showing, and they will perhaps wear white Nikes with it just to look cool. It is quite ugly.

Now, getting back on topic, I am pretty divided. On one hand, I really like streetwear, such as the things posted on this subforums and am generally regarded as a guy who'll go to any party. I could describe that as just sporting better jeans, better t-shirts and such than the other students, without flashing too much. On the other hand, I also like to dress in a classier fashion than the average student; I will oftentimes wear a wool v-neck or crewneck with a shirt underneath, which isn't a popular style at all with guys of my age. I would sometime like to push even further, perhaps by wearing khakis, a french cuffed shirt and a classy v-neck, but it could potentially backlash on my social life in some ways.

What I hate about dressing up is that the way you dress will inevitably have an impact on how people perceive you. I don't dress to be perceived in such a way, I dress how I do because I like the aesthetic of it. However, when I am wearing v-necks, shirt and jeans (nothing fancy at all mind you!), I am perceived as some kind of brainiacs and people only come to me in search of explanations for some law-related stuff. While I am doing fairly well in school, though I am don't have a jaw-dropping GPA, I don't like making this kind of impression as people perceive me as a snob. In fact, a lot of person who now talk to me said they didn't to previously, as they thought that I was a snob. When I wear some streetwear, I rather obviously don't come across such problems.

Now, this is pretty ridiculous, I know, but the problem is even deeper. I could live with people's perception if I knew what I wanted at all. I am at some point in my life where I don't know if I should cool off on the partying a bit and concentrate more on studying and learning about a lot of things. Basically, I don't know if its the time to get serious yet. I know that you guys can't help me on this one though, it is very personal, but it is ultimately what will affect my dressing the most.

So, I would like to know how you guys made the transition from where you were standing to the sartorialists that you now strive to be. I think the thing that can help someone the most deciding what's the best for him is the experiences of others, so I'd like if you'd share yours. And perhaps that a thread describing your choice will help you rediscover your inner sartorialist, as we are at a time of the year where it becomes a bit less important in our lives!

Keep on styling guys, meanwhile I'll continue my inner search.
post #2 of 20
When I was in law school (just graduated a few months ago), I would wear different styles on different days. Some days I would show up in a hoodie and cargo pants, other days I would show up in jeans and a polo, other days jeans and a dress shirt, other days slacks and a dress shirt, and sometimes I would even wear a suit to school. When people would ask me why I'm dressed in a particular way I would tell them that it's because "that's how I roll." I don't think you have to pick one style and pin yourself to it - especially when different styles reflect different levels of casualness. Just be yourself, dress how you want to dress and the rest will work itself out. As people come to know you better they will determine whether you are a snob or not regardless of how you dress.
post #3 of 20
I agree with OE. I don't think this is an either/or situation.
Regardless of how you dress, people will form an opinion.
I would think in time, this perception of "mr snob know it all" might actually be welcomed..consider its alternative.
Don't try and define your aesthetic to one thing or another that is supposedly "you"

From my experience, my aesthetic changed as I got older and my life / career situations changed.
post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by designprofessor
I agree with OE. I don't think this is an either/or situation.
Regardless of how you dress, people will form an opinion.
I would think in time, this perception of "mr snob know it all" might actually be welcomed..consider its alternative.
Don't try and define your aesthetic to one thing or another that is supposedly "you"

From my experience, my aesthetic changed as I got older and my life / career situations changed.

+1
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
I agree that diversity is the key, especially as my own personality isn't black or white. It is, however, a bit hard to keep a cohesive and complete wardrobe while going back and forth between two styles when you have the financial means of a student. What I can spend on clothing isn't even close to what I'd want to spend. This is made even more obvious by the fact that my interest for clothes is very recent: I haven't had time/money to build a solid wardrobe just yet.
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Histrion
I agree that diversity is the key, especially as my own personality isn't black or white. It is, however, a bit hard to keep a cohesive and complete wardrobe while going back and forth between two styles when you have the financial means of a student. What I can spend on clothing isn't even close to what I'd want to spend. This is made even more obvious by the fact that my interest for clothes is very recent: I haven't had time/money to build a solid wardrobe just yet.

You won't graduate before a few years and even then you might choose to switch subjects or pursue a masters degree or even something else entirely. Just focus on what you want/need to wear now and you'll be fine, no need to plan ahead.
post #7 of 20
I agree with dprof. There is no need to restrict yourself to one style and your sense of fashion will evolve. I suggest you start buying quality shoes and focus on the most versatile styles, styles that you can wear with streetwear or in dressier situations. Then collect staples like a navy blazer, killer jeans, etc. (all purchased as you can afford them).

My style underwent a transition when I got my current job and needed dressier clothing. It is currently undergoing another transition, as I realized that my "business casual" clothing hasn't changed in years and most is now inappropriate for me.
post #8 of 20
Some people think I'm outright gay and some girls won't date me because of that. Such girls are not worth my time, plain and simple. I suggest you apply this philosophy to people who think you're aloof because of a fucking sweater. As was said above, if people actually get to know you then they'll know it's not the case.
post #9 of 20
Just don't pay any mind to what other people are wearing, and don't worry about what other people think of your clothes, except to make sure they're appropriate for your environment. If you're too self-conscious about your clothes, it'll probably show and it can alienate people. And you can't talk about how crappy other people dress and then wonder why other people think you're a clothes snob. Be a snob, or don't.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quirk
Just don't pay any mind to what other people are wearing, and don't worry about what other people think of your clothes, except to make sure they're appropriate for your environment. If you're too self-conscious about your clothes, it'll probably show and it can alienate people. And you can't talk about how crappy other people dress and then wonder why other people think you're a clothes snob. Be a snob, or don't.

When I talked about the 'snob' thing, I wasn't referring to 'clothes snob' as my style isn't flashy or tacky at all: the fact that I spend a considerable amount on it for a student isn't obvious. And I never say anything about other people's clothing anyway, unless someone else brings the topic, which isn't often at all. I am far from being the most stylish guy myself so I won't put down much people, its just that I do put at least a few thoughts in what I wear, which is more than a lot of guy can say.
post #11 of 20
My transition to sartorial nirvana was gradual. I did the armani thing for a long time (2-3 years), which while casual, helps you stand out from the crowd in a subtle way. It's a very relaxed look and that makes the transition easy, especially if you aren't someone that's used to wearing very dressy clothes all the time, or are concerned about what others will think.

When I first made the transition, I lacked the confidence that I have today and i wouldn't have felt comfortable walking around in tailored clothing all the time. Armani continues to use some really cool fabrics for their pants that you really don't see from anyone else. I regularly wore sweaters with my armani pants and thought it was a pretty good look. People in general didn't act any way in particular towards me during that time, but the positive attention I got from girls did increase.

Last year I started wearing sports jackets (borrelli & bespoke) and MTM wool pants most of the time. It was a conscious decision based on an aesthetic that I prefer. I just love the perfectly tailored look. It all started after I commissioned my first bespoke jacket. I quickly realized that it was my favorite thing to wear and I fell in love with the sharp, tailored look. Soon after, I began a fairly massive (and $$$$$) transition of my wardrobe. I now operate around a concept of "perfect outfits" in which everything is centered around the sports jacket. I then make sure that I have two pairs of pants and two shirts to go with each jacket. It's all done bespoke & MTM so that i can get the exact combination of textures and colors (and obviously fit) that I'm looking for. I've become extremely picky about imperfections and at this point I think I would go in to a major depression if forced to dress another way ;p

As far as how I'm perceived, I can tell you that I wear these clothes to class (I'm a science geek) and that they don't really attract any negative attention. I have more female friends than male ones, but that's partly of my own doing since I just don't bother trying to make friends with other guys very often.

I'm sure there are some guys that think I'm a snob (or a pretty little rich boy), but I really don't care because i'm only interested in the girls. I also wouldn't be surprised to find out that some of the guys make comments behind my back, but again, I really don't care. Most that I've come in contact with haven't really cared because I don't act like a pretentious jerk. It's worth noting that since I've transitioned towards this look I've seen an enormous (it really was significant) increase in the attention I get from girls, which is most definitely a very big plus, but not the reason I chose to dress as I do.

I'm of the opinion that you should dress in a manner that allows you to feel comfortable and be happy with yourself. I'm not happy in jeans and a t-shit. I just don't like the look (and denim is so uncomfortable compared to wool). The frivolous, "I don't care" look doesn't really jive with my personality either, as I'm a fairly serious guy most of the time.

FWIW I would beware the dress shirt and sweater look. It really has to be done right to not look a little bit nerdy and boring. I always did it with flat-front & creaseless armani pants to keep the look casual yet relatively elegant.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your input Jody. I agree about the danger of looking nerdy with the sweater and dress shirt, and I think I sometimes don't pull it off like I would. Henche people asking me about advices for the next exams. I'll admit like the 'geek chic' look, and sometimes it just doesn't quite work.

Flat-front trousers could be a nice idea. Last time around at Holt Renfrew I didn't see much that catched my fancy and that were affordable. 365$ for Canali khakis is a big nay for me. I wish I could afford it but its just not the case.

Could you tell me who are your MTM pants makers? You told me about Arthur for your shirts. Is he also the one making the pants? If you could tell me the price-range it'd be appreciated too. Not that I think that I can afford it as of right now, but it could become an option later... or if I decide to get a job during the school year, though it is somewhat unlikely.
post #13 of 20
Hey, that's funny... I had the same problem as you. I recently graduated from medical school at Université de Montréal. It's the same in Montreal... even in the later years of medical school, where we actually go see patients and spend most of our time in hospitals, most MD students were still wearing sneakers, casuals pants (jeans sometimes too) and t-shirts...

Some people might not believe me, but I'm dead serious.

Anyhow, I agree with the second poster. I try to vary my style from day to day... and I don't care what other people think, I'll ever wear a suit to work when I feel like it. Obviously, now and then I get the "wow, you're dressed up today!"... I just smile back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Histrion
Thanks for your input Jody. I agree about the danger of looking nerdy with the sweater and dress shirt, and I think I sometimes don't pull it off like I would. Henche people asking me about advices for the next exams. I'll admit like the 'geek chic' look, and sometimes it just doesn't quite work.

Flat-front trousers could be a nice idea. Last time around at Holt Renfrew I didn't see much that catched my fancy and that were affordable. 365$ for Canali khakis is a big nay for me. I wish I could afford it but its just not the case.

Could you tell me who are your MTM pants makers? You told me about Arthur for your shirts. Is he also the one making the pants? If you could tell me the price-range it'd be appreciated too. Not that I think that I can afford it as of right now, but it could become an option later... or if I decide to get a job during the school year, though it is somewhat unlikely.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Last year I started wearing sports jackets (borrelli & bespoke) and MTM wool pants most of the time. It was a conscious decision based on an aesthetic that I prefer.

I like this look as well. Women notice the finer details and I think it gives one confidence to wear quality.
post #15 of 20
It's definitely rough when you aspire to something better but your budget doesn't match. The only thing I can suggest would be to shop religiously at sales times. The 50+% off sales are probably running now.

My advice is to concentrate on school and get it out of the way. If I didn't have to work through school I wouldn't be doing it. It's got it's benefits, but I wouldn't be working if it was for the sole purpose of paying for clothes. I would rather focus more time on school.

My pants are MTM, not bespoke (bespoke is like $700/pair ), and I buy them at Harry Rosen. They're actually made by Samuelsohn. All in all, I've been very happy with them. I ordered 8 pairs that were based off a pair of Incotex that I had. The measurements were comprehensive enough that I was able to correct the problem of a diagonal crease from my butt to my knee that occured because I didn't fill-out the seat of the pants. That crease was the major driver in pushing me towards MTM for my pants because it happened on every single pair of RTW pants. I'm so happy that it's gone
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