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Need some honest advice! Should I dress my age?

post #1 of 74
Thread Starter 
Hey, I am a puzzled 20 yr old looking for some honest advice. I'm a physics major and I started working for the physics department beginning of fall semester as a TA to teach labs. I wanted to stand out a little so the students I teach wouldn't confuse me as another student so I decided to dress a little older. It began with a v-neck sweater and a dress shirt underneath and it slowly (under SF-er's influence) evolved into blazers (or sport coat), dress pants, ties; the whole lot. It's not hard to say that I really started to like dressing a little nicer, however, I never really liked standing out and I hate the attention it gets, so it was a slow and steady process for me to get used to the different looks I get. Recently, my gf (who also attends the college) tells me that there are a couple people that are making fun of me behind my back. She's defending me but she admits she does get a little embarrassed, which I totally understand. Now I'm really uncomfortable dressing the way I like, and she suggested just dressing a little more casual. Should I start dressing a little more my age or should I just ignore the people that are making fun of me? Thanks in advance!

-Bruce

P.S. - I probably forgot to mention this but a lot of the things I wear are thrift finds or inherited from my grandpa or dad - of course they were all tailored (my mom is a tailor) so everything I wear is pretty reasonably priced. Instead of buying iPhones or video games, I spend my money on clothes. - I mention this because my gf says a lot of them think I'm some sort of richbitch flaunting my money. I'm actually quite poor lol. Again thanks in advance, I could really use the help.
post #2 of 74
I can see a few things worth pointing out: You are 20 years old, and wearing V-neck sweaters / dress shirts or a sports coat / tie / dress pants. This is not a normal student wardrobe. There could be a few reasons in particular why your getting made fun of for your dress. 1. The stuff is old mans clothes (likely as you said its from your dad / grandpa) 2. If they view this as a rich look, chances are you are not in an ivy league setting, so they arn't making fun of the fact that these are poor peoples handme downs as they have 10,000 dollar closets from brooks brothers / ralph lauren 3. If you are teaching first year students in a state school, they are wearing gap/abercrombie/hollister/american eagle. You are their peer age group wise. You are not fitting in. I am not saying there is anything wrong with this, and I can appreciate you not being part of the flock, but it could be the cause for people to make fun of you. To them dress clothes are 1mx shirts from express. I dont know what to tell you honestly. I'd suck it up, its college, which is increasingly becoming like high school. Are you mad that these kids wont accept you or hang out with you?...Are you willing to increase your clothing wardrobe budget? Perhaps it could get you some newer/updated clothes that are dressier but more acceptable amongst your peers. I have a feeling you arn't going to like the same clothes they do, and wouldnt exactly be "style forum approved so to say"...
post #3 of 74
A tie might be a bit much to class, but I'm not sure you'd catch too much hell for a jacket if the look appeared authentic to you. I think people could give better advice if there were some pictures involved here. The situation would be totally different if you looked like Daniel Craig rather than Ben Stein. Not sure what's being worked with here.
post #4 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by its299792458mps View Post
I mention this because my gf says a lot of them think I'm some sort of richbitch flaunting my money.

This girl will be a problem. End this relationship, immediately.
post #5 of 74
I will bite. 'Tis likely that I will be in the minority with my answer, but I have to side with your girlfriend on this one. I am only 22 years myself, and although I love wearing a suit, tie, etc., I feel that one of the most important aspects of dressing well is to match one's dress to the situation / circumstances that one is in. For example, look at this famous photo of good ole' President Nixon: People on the forum always speak of how you should dress only for yourself. However, I feel that a true gentleman dresses himself for the occasion. I feel that a BBQ with friends / family calls for shorts or chinos, not a three-piece suit. If the way that you dress makes the people around you feel uncomfortable, then it may be wise to tone it down. Now this is not to say that you cannot dress well within the parameters of a given event. You can do business casual well, or you can do it terribly. You can do casual well, or you can do it terribly, etc. Personally, when I attended undergrad I normally wore some sort of button-down, chinos, and the odd sportcoat. I dressed in a similar 'uniform' as that of my peers, but I focused more on fit and quality. A great way to indulge yourself is to pair a simpler outfit with 'fancier' shoes. This way you can still dress up without sticking out like a sore thumb. Now, when the situation comes that you have an opportunity to wear a suit--kill it. But I would advise toning it down until then.
post #6 of 74
Best dressed man in a casual sports bar award goes to.....
post #7 of 74
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tacobender View Post
I can see a few things worth pointing out: You are 20 years old, and wearing V-neck sweaters / dress shirts or a sports coat / tie / dress pants. This is not a normal student wardrobe. There could be a few reasons in particular why your getting made fun of for your dress. 1. The stuff is old mans clothes (likely as you said its from your dad / grandpa) 2. If they view this as a rich look, chances are you are not in an ivy league setting, so they arn't making fun of the fact that these are poor peoples handme downs as they have 10,000 dollar closets from brooks brothers / ralph lauren 3. If you are teaching first year students in a state school, they are wearing gap/abercrombie/hollister/american eagle. You are their peer age group wise. You are not fitting in. I am not saying there is anything wrong with this, and I can appreciate you not being part of the flock, but it could be the cause for people to make fun of you. To them dress clothes are 1mx shirts from express. I dont know what to tell you honestly. I'd suck it up, its college, which is increasingly becoming like high school. Are you mad that these kids wont accept you or hang out with you?...Are you willing to increase your clothing wardrobe budget? Perhaps it could get you some newer/updated clothes that are dressier but more acceptable amongst your peers. I have a feeling you arn't going to like the same clothes they do, and wouldnt exactly be "style forum approved so to say"...
I'm not mad that they won't accept me or hang out with me, I just wanted other people's perspective and maybe what you would do in my situation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newcomer View Post
I will bite. 'Tis likely that I will be in the minority with my answer, but I have to side with your girlfriend on this one. I am only 22 years myself, and although I love wearing a suit, tie, etc., I feel that one of the most important aspects of dressing well is to match one's dress to the situation / circumstances that one is in. For example, look at this famous photo of good ole' President Nixon: People on the forum always speak of how you should dress only for yourself. However, I feel that a true gentleman dresses himself for the occasion. I feel that a BBQ with friends / family calls for shorts or chinos, not a three-piece suit. If the way that you dress makes the people around you feel uncomfortable, then it may be wise to tone it down. Now this is not to say that you cannot dress well within the parameters of a given event. You can do business casual well, or you can do it terribly. You can do casual well, or you can do it terribly, etc. Personally, when I attended undergrad I normally wore some sort of button-down, chinos, and the odd sportcoat. I dressed in a similar 'uniform' as that of my peers, but I focused more on fit and quality. A great way to indulge yourself is to pair a simpler outfit with 'fancier' shoes. This way you can still dress up without sticking out like a sore thumb. Now, when the situation comes that you have an opportunity to wear a suit--kill it. But I would advise toning it down until then.
What you're saying makes a lot of sense and I think that is what I will do. I think I've been obsessed with the time period when people dressed up to go to school/universities, and I felt that it was a really good approach to learning. But don't get me wrong, when I'm hanging out with friends, going to the mall, or a more casual event, I lose the tie and slap on some jeans.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvrhye View Post
A tie might be a bit much to class, but I'm not sure you'd catch too much hell for a jacket if the look appeared authentic to you. I think people could give better advice if there were some pictures involved here. The situation would be totally different if you looked like Daniel Craig rather than Ben Stein. Not sure what's being worked with here.
Does this help?
post #8 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by its299792458mps View Post
I'm not mad that they won't accept me or hang out with me, I just wanted other people's perspective and maybe what you would do in my situation.



What you're saying makes a lot of sense and I think that is what I will do. I think I've been obsessed with the time period when people dressed up to go to school/universities, and I felt that it was a really good approach to learning. But don't get me wrong, when I'm hanging out with friends, going to the mall, or a more casual event, I lose the tie and slap on some jeans.





Does this help?

No jacket vest and trousers with a skinny tie? That's actually a very young look. I was expecting tweed and sack suits or something. Swap the trousers for nice denim and you'll step it down another notch toward casual without losing the core of what you seem to be going for.
post #9 of 74
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvrhye View Post
No jacket vest and trousers with a skinny tie? That's actually a very young look. I was expecting tweed and sack suits or something. Swap the trousers for nice denim and you'll step it down another notch toward casual without losing the core of what you seem to be going for.

Unfortunately I go to school in Newark, New Jersey where fashion/style is leaning more towards Ed Hardy
post #10 of 74
You've posted a couple of pictures in WAYWN and to me it looks like you are mashing together true "old man's clothes" (that is, pieces that were intended for men's business wear, as opposed to designer pieces that offer a youthful take on business wear) with younger elements (e.g., the plaid shirt below, colorful Express-style shirts, etc.). To be completely honest, I feel that the net effect is that you look as though you are playing a bit of dress up.

I think that maybe what you should do is max out at one "old man" element per outfit. For example, in the picture below, wear the vest but not the tie and go with dark denim rather than the matching dress pants. I don't always like what he's wearing (and I'm not sure I could personally pull it off), but the guy who plays the teacher in Glee might be a good model for you to follow, because that character seems to be going for a style similar to what you are going for but manages to know when to stop.
post #11 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by its299792458mps View Post
Unfortunately I go to school in Newark, New Jersey where fashion/style is leaning more towards Ed Hardy

If your in Newark your first investment in clothing accessories should be a glock nine.

all joking aside - The picture you have provided does show a person looking to play dress up a bit. The best advice was do dark denim rather than the dress pants, perhaps lose the tie.
post #12 of 74
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HalfCanvas View Post
You've posted a couple of pictures in WAYWN and to me it looks like you are mashing together true "old man's clothes" (that is, pieces that were intended for men's business wear, as opposed to designer pieces that offer a youthful take on business wear) with younger elements (e.g., the plaid shirt below, colorful Express-style shirts, etc.). To be completely honest, I feel that the net effect is that you look as though you are playing a bit of dress up.

I think that maybe what you should do is max out at one "old man" element per outfit. For example, in the picture below, wear the vest but not the tie and go with dark denim rather than the matching dress pants. I don't always like what he's wearing (and I'm not sure I could personally pull it off), but the guy who plays the teacher in Glee might be a good model for you to follow, because that character seems to be going for a style similar to what you are going for but manages to know when to stop.

I have to admit the ones I submitted in WAYWN are a little less conservative than what I usually wear actually. But I do admit I have 2 or 3 Express dress shirts. Thanks for the honesty.

I have never seen Glee, but I'll look into it and that sounds like a nice way to go before I transition into full conservative thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tacobender View Post
If your in Newark your first investment in clothing accessories should be a glock nine.

all joking aside - The picture you have provided does show a person looking to play dress up a bit. The best advice was do dark denim rather than the dress pants, perhaps lose the tie.

Noted. I will tone it down, although dress pants are more comfortable - you have to admit.
post #13 of 74
Regarding your statement that "dress pants are more comfortable." I don't think that necessarily has to be the case. For example, I have some RRL straight leg jeans which have a nice slim line but a longer rise; I don't find them uncomfortable in the least. And even dark denim can take a pretty good beating, and so they are "more comfortable" than dress pants in the sense that you'll never have to worry about whether someone is spilling some beer on you, etc.

Here's a pic of what I'm talking about, by the way: http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,2036...769074,00.html It seems to me that this would walk a happy medium between what you are wearing right now and what a well dressed, stylish college student might wear.
post #14 of 74
You're overdressed for a university campus. Wear some jeans and stop wearing vests imo.
post #15 of 74
I'd say anything that fits well is more comfortable. I have comfortable jeans and comfortable dress pants. I have had uncomfortable of each also. The easiest answer I can possibly give you is go to rugby.com and see the looks comprised there? Does that look interest you as something that gives you that appeal of dressing up for an event such as going to college? Are there any ideas you can take from there? Rugby seems to be a mix up of all american preppy designs. Lower price point than Brooks Brothers, different look than abercrombie - I'd say better quality than Jcrew (but I could be wrong) My honest take is that most college kids are pretty spoiled, and they arn't going to give up on wearing sweats/track pants/north face no matter how sloppy it appears. There was a time when you didnt dare get on a plane not dressed for the occasion. It used to be an act of civilty that only the wealthy could do. Now people show up to the gate in flip flops and sweats. People in Newark won't start wearing designer clothing before you get your PHD.
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