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Returning to California

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I'm in my 30s now. Active duty, reaching for the senior enlisted ranks, and I'll leave it at that.

Being stationed in Italy has given me a sobering view of American style (or lack thereof) overseas, as we stand out in public, and not in a good way.

Knowing how my fellow military men dress out in town, I am trying to dress appropriately for the wonderfully warm weather, but to add a touch of class on my limited salary, and try and "breakout" from my peer group (something of a term we use when annual evaluations come around).

I currently wear any appropriate combination from below:

- 5-pocket BR chinos: 2 pairs, one off-white, one British khaki
- Levi's jeans: 501s in Grit, 505s in Rinse and 559s (that I wish were 514s now that I understand the fit) in Tumbled Rigid and Indie Blue
- Golf shorts: 2 pairs dark chalk, 1 khaki, 1 caviar

- Polo shirt: 1 black, 1 true navy, 1 dark green and 1 in horizon blue
Or a series of solid V-neck shirts that I need to improve on (in quality)

- One pair brown suede chukkas from Bata in chocolate brown
- Skechers Browsers in black
- Birkenstock Milano in hunter black leather

- One pair Ray-Ban Cockpit aviators in gunmetal
- Seiko 2-tone watch that matches my wedding band

Here is a pic of me in chinos (going to hem them), polo and chukka boots:


Everything else I have I'll throw out, along with a few of these, that I wear our in town. What would you recommend, based on my body type, that I add to my wardrobe? I'll be living inland, where it is warmer, but working closer to the Pacific Ocean, where it will be a little cooler.
post #2 of 21
I just moved to SoCal at the beginning of the year from Boston, so maybe not as huge of a contrast as yours, but a contrast still. I lived here before but in Boston I amassed a ton of cold weather items like coats and boots. I'm realizing now that I can pretty much get rid of 1/2 of my clothes. Basically get used to wearing jeans and a t-shirt and sneakers for a vast majority of the time. It's very casual here.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
ysb, that's how I remember it, and I don't mind casual (prefer it), but would like to step it up a bit. Perhaps a nicer sandal or loafer to go with my creased and clean-looking shorts.

Maybe add some quality linen or silk short-sleeve button-ups (NOT Charlie Sheen shirts) and/or OCBDs to wear with the golf shorts or some Cubavera linen trousers. Looking into a dressier watch (leather strap) and some Persol sunglasses.
post #4 of 21
How about some dressier chinos with regular pant styling (not 5-pocket jean style). Something slim and hemmed for a sharper look. Also, a few dress shirts and maybe a cotton blazer. You're gonna wants shorts, tees and sandals for summer, but like anything there's good versions and ugly versions.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Parker, I love 5-pocket chinos, and plan on getting some Levis' 514s, so I probably SHOULD get a dressier chino. I liked how the tapered pants look with boots, so I'll probably try that route, and have looked at J. Crew (not terribly impressed), Express and Ralph Lauren, along with Dockers (don't see the K-1 anymore).

I like solid V-neck shirts (not the douchebag V-necks with the ridiculously large neck), and would be interested in a quality shirt like those, but am also looking for nice casual button-up shirts, too. Suggestions?
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
REALLY liking these, but with golf shorts and no socks???

post #7 of 21
Oy vey.
post #8 of 21
You need to go look at more pictures of your namesake/s. Not that you (or anyone) will ever look as cool as a movie star, but at least you can study the details, fit and composure. That seems like the look you're after: sharp, sporty and "a cut above" your military peers. Dirty bucks say "college kid" or "frumpy dad" to me, at least with golf shorts and a polo.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Parker, thank you for your response. And yes, you're right: that is what I'm going for.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
And I've been looking at something like these:

Linen Pants

Customizable. Dry clean only?
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
And would these benefit from having a cuff at the bottom (despite being flat front)? I ask because the places I'll be going this summer are HUMID.
post #12 of 21

Get some button up collared shirts.

post #13 of 21
Nix the linen pants, those are for old guys trying for the Tommy Bahama look, which is too prevalent out here and kinda sad. I'm similar to you but older, mid forties, live in inland California, athletic frame, fit not fat, modest budget, clean style sense without fashion victim/trend-of-the-month issues, I never do the slouchy thing. Go to H&M for slim colored denim pants, fit is great, trim but not tight, good value, lot of colors. They have a great selection of polos and button up shirts too. Contrasting colored socks, some suede brogue or wingtip shoes, you'll do great. Shop Nordtroms for sales, and they have a decent selection of shoes too. Just got some 1901 brand suede wingtips there, excellent fit, good look, budget friendly. Brooks Brothers for casual button up shirts and ties when they have sales or their outlet store if there's one near you. I find good products at great prices at the outlet stores, Gap, Calvin Klein, Saks. Go trim, good color contrast, best quality you can afford, you'll do fine.

Shorts are highly acceptable here as it's warm a lot of the time. Better quality golf shorts by Nike, UndermArmour, ashworth in clean colors, trim fit, go with short sleeve button up collared shirts and boat shoes. It's a preppy kind of look but clean and acceptable.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply. I was just on the BB website last night, and will see if there is an outlet store near me when I get to CA.

I was looking at some loafers to wear with shorts, jeans and chinos, as I am guilty of having leather flip-flops and Birks, only.

Sperry Loafers
post #15 of 21
You'd have to try that shoe for yourself and see how you lke it, but my own opinion is that dress shoes without socks was a fad, already kind of passe'. Do a search for the thread titled " Rock your socks". For me, slacks or nice colored denim pants, nice shoes, nice socks, nice shirt. Shorts? Boat shoes (Sperry Topsiders originals) no socks, casual shirt like a polo. You'll just have to play with it and get a feel for what works for you. Take your wife with you, get her opinion. Just don't let yourself fall into anything that whispers Fashion Victim to you. The worst things you see out there with grown men (besides the all-out slobs) are the guys who are 45 trying to dress like a 22 year old skateboarder, or the guy who thinks he pull off the look of a 140 pound NY fashion model 20 years his junior. It just won't work. Go classic, go, trim, light and sporty with a little color thrown in (it's California, mid february and I was in the park with the kids yesterday in shirtsleeves, we have no need for tweed coats or wool hats). You already seem to have a good sense of clean ( except for the Birkenstocks, ugh), trust your instincts.
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