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Need help with detective wardrobe

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone. First post here. Can't believe all the information available. I do need some help that i couldn't find with the search function. As the title implies, I was just promoted to an investigator/detective with my police agency. I've been wearing a cop uniform for almost 10 years and now have to get a little dressier. I currently own one black suit which is worn maybe once a year. The dress code for my new position is somewhere between casual and dress casual. Some guys wear a suit occassionally but not much. Others seem to grab a wrinkles polo and baggy khakis and call it a day. I'm totally lost on what i need, how many of each item, colors, etc.

When in the office I can wear just a shirt and tie but when in public we are required to wear a cover garmnet over our firearm. So, I'm looking at getting a few blazers/sportcoats. I probably want at least one suit for court appearances, etc.

I was hoping I could get some advice on building a basic wardrobe around these requirements. what would be a good number of blazers/sportcoats, slacks, shirts, and ties to get and in what colors.

On the subject of ties. Are there any places to get decent looking clip on ties? Maybe I'm just paranoid but I don't want a suspect grabbing a tie and choking me out. All the clip on ties I've ever seen are either for kids or look like crap.

And what is the belt loop size on most dress pants? I'm going to need to carry a gun, cuffs, magazines, and other crap on my belt, which can get quite heavy. Can I use a 1 1/2 inch belt or would that be too wide or look funny?

Sorry for asking all these questions but I'm a total noob when it comes to dress clothes. Thanks for all the help!!
post #2 of 19
I would suggest buying a few pairs of sportcoats and trousers. A blue, a grey and a patterned brown sportcoat. Plus a few pairs of blue, gray and khaki trousers. Just don't pair the blue with blue or grey with grey and you'll be fine. Wear your service pistol, random belt crap and vest when you go buy them since they will alter the fit. If you buy wool/polyester and not cotton trousers then you won't need to get them cleaned or ironed as often. Just hang them when you get home and get them cleaned when they get dirty. A brushing will extend the time between cleanings. Hanging them will make the wrinkles fall out. Cotton will be cheaper but I find that I have to clean and press cotton trousers more often.

  • Make sure you buy dress shoes that you can run in. Running in true dress shoes can hurt. Rubber soles are better here.
  • Sport coats and suit coats should be double vented and not single vented. It's easier to grab stuff off of your belt
  • Sport coats made out of a patterened cloth will conceal your belt gear better. It is harder to see them print with the pattern to break it up.
  • Wear a pocket square. I can't tell you how funny it is when someone gets all confused, looks cross eyed at your pocket square, and blurts out "you carry a gun?" At the least you'll probably have to chase less people
  • Belt loops are usually 1.25". Double bullhide belts from http://www.thebeltman.net will be your friend. I don't carry all of the crap you'll have to but they'll hold my two pounds of steel all day long in comfort.
  • Some guys sew lead fishing sinkers into the bottom front corners of their sport jackets so they are easier to sweep and draw. I think that is just to be tacticool but to each their own.
post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtf View Post
I would suggest buying a few pairs of sportcoats and trousers. A blue, a grey and a patterned brown sportcoat. Plus a few pairs of blue, gray and khaki trousers. Just don't pair the blue with blue or grey with grey and you'll be fine. Wear your service pistol, random belt crap and vest when you go buy them since they will alter the fit. If you buy wool/polyester and not cotton trousers then you won't need to get them cleaned or ironed as often. Just hang them when you get home and get them cleaned when they get dirty. A brushing will extend the time between cleanings. Hanging them will make the wrinkles fall out. Cotton will be cheaper but I find that I have to clean and press cotton trousers more often.

  • Make sure you buy dress shoes that you can run in. Running in true dress shoes can hurt. Rubber soles are better here.
  • Sport coats and suit coats should be double vented and not single vented. It's easier to grab stuff off of your belt
  • Sport coats made out of a patterened cloth will conceal your belt gear better. It is harder to see them print with the pattern to break it up.
  • Wear a pocket square. I can't tell you how funny it is when someone gets all confused, looks cross eyed at your pocket square, and blurts out "you carry a gun?" At the least you'll probably have to chase less people
  • Belt loops are usually 1.25". Double bullhide belts from http://www.thebeltman.net will be your friend. I don't carry all of the crap you'll have to but they'll hold my two pounds of steel all day long in comfort.
  • Some guys sew lead fishing sinkers into the bottom front corners of their sport jackets so they are easier to sweep and draw. I think that is just to be tacticool but to each their own.

some good advice^

as to ties, you can actually get a good tie, tie it on, cut it at the back of your neck, and then get a tailor to attach velco on both sides. a nice clip on.


I'd suggest trying to get a few dark solid suits in dark blue and gray, each with at least 2 pair of pants. they will last a long time, and you can mix and match
post #4 of 19
I thought this was a joke poast when I read the title, but congrats on the promotion.

My honest advice, go to a thrift store and find a few suits. This is the kind of work that will trash a suit, and I dont imagine many of the characters you are dealing with will wonder if its fully canvassed or has working button holes.

If you need some ties, vvvv - I'll hook you up. Special job promotion discount
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by idfnl View Post
I thought this was a joke poast when I read the title, but congrats on the promotion.

+1. Deerstalker hat.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Wow, guys, thanks for all the advice. I've went to some consignment shops but its been impossible to find stuff that fits me. I've got a big chest/shoulders (44) and a pretty small waist (32). I'm planning on heading to a kohls or jcpenny and getting some jackets and pants and have them tailored a bit. I would really like some nice stuff but don't want to trash $120 pants and shirts on a regular basis. Do I really need all wool clothing or will a wool blend work and look acceptable as long as it fits properly?

And can I pull off wearing a suit jacket as blazer/sportcoat or is that definately a no-go?
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by dep126 View Post
Wow, guys, thanks for all the advice. I've went to some consignment shops but its been impossible to find stuff that fits me. I've got a big chest/shoulders (44) and a pretty small waist (32). I'm planning on heading to a kohls or jcpenny and getting some jackets and pants and have them tailored a bit. I would really like some nice stuff but don't want to trash $120 pants and shirts on a regular basis. Do I really need all wool clothing or will a wool blend work and look acceptable as long as it fits properly?

And can I pull off wearing a suit jacket as blazer/sportcoat or is that definately a no-go?

Cotton works fine and you can wash it yourself. I'm just lazy at heart and like the low maintenance of wool more than the cheapness of cotton.

The only downside of wearing a suit jacket as a sportcoat is that it may wear out or need cleaning differently than the suit trousers. If you take them both to be cleaned at the same time you'll be fine. I have a few sportcoats that are just orphaned suit coats where the pants wore out and the jacket still had life in it.
post #8 of 19
Given the conditions you're going to work in, I think the convenience and comfort of cotton is going to start trumping wool pretty quickly. Not that wool isn't comfortable, or cool in the summer, because it is. But having wrestled a few guys to the ground, I know that you get snot and spit and sometimes blood ground into the cloth. The ability to throw your jacket in the washer is pretty neat.

Lands End and LL Bean both have a lot of good cotton jackets all the time, and both have good Overstocks/Closeout deals regularly. Get some in navy and other colors, hit them with an iron and they'll look very presentable short of those situations where you really need a suit, which in this day and age, frankly is almost never.
post #9 of 19
This question reminded me of this article.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/04/ny...pagewanted=all
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by dep126 View Post
Wow, guys, thanks for all the advice. I've went to some consignment shops but its been impossible to find stuff that fits me. I've got a big chest/shoulders (44) and a pretty small waist (32). I'm planning on heading to a kohls or jcpenny and getting some jackets and pants and have them tailored a bit. I would really like some nice stuff but don't want to trash $120 pants and shirts on a regular basis. Do I really need all wool clothing or will a wool blend work and look acceptable as long as it fits properly?

And can I pull off wearing a suit jacket as blazer/sportcoat or is that definately a no-go?


You can tailor a thrift store find as easily as a cheap suit from kohls. You'll get a better suit cheaper from a thrift. Or you can lay off the weights

Sure, you can wear the jacket as a blazer, I do it all the time. For example, blue jacket w/ gray pants or the opposite, khakis may work depending on what is acceptable. Mix and match is the easiest way to appear like you have twice the wardrobe.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frodo View Post
Given the conditions you're going to work in, I think the convenience and comfort of cotton is going to start trumping wool pretty quickly. Not that wool isn't comfortable, or cool in the summer, because it is. But having wrestled a few guys to the ground, I know that you get snot and spit and sometimes blood ground into the cloth. The ability to throw your jacket in the washer is pretty neat.

Lands End and LL Bean both have a lot of good cotton jackets all the time, and both have good Overstocks/Closeout deals regularly. Get some in navy and other colors, hit them with an iron and they'll look very presentable short of those situations where you really need a suit, which in this day and age, frankly is almost never.

Ya, but cotton doesnt look to professional... and wouldnt you want to dry clean snot, spit, blood, jizz, meth lab chemicals, bong water, and hooker lipstick anyway?
post #12 of 19
If you want to wear a suit jacket as an odd jacket just make sure the suit's not patterned but plain.
post #13 of 19
Buy decent stuff. As a detective, you will probably know when you will have to do tactical work. On those days you can wear more rugged outfits.

For good advice, go on 911 jobs forum and in their federal forum, do a search on clothing. A lot of good advice from agents on what kind of clothing they wear.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by dep126 View Post

On the subject of ties. Are there any places to get decent looking clip on ties? Maybe I'm just paranoid but I don't want a suspect grabbing a tie and choking me out. All the clip on ties I've ever seen are either for kids or look like crap.

WEar a bowtie! It comes undone when they try to pull it.
post #15 of 19
Watch a few seasons of the wire.
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