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List of Bare Necessities - Page 2

post #16 of 153
Thread Starter 
A note on the purpose of this list: Think of it as, a friend comes to you who is just graduating college and says, I don't have anything more formal than a polo shirt in my wardrobe, but I don't want to look like an asshole on adult occasions. But I don't want to break the bank, and I don't have any intrinsic interest in clothing. Tell me what to get.

On the navy blazer: I stand by including it as a necessity. Wearing a navy suit jacket isn't completely horrible, but I think the navy blazer represents a major improvement. To me a suit jacket worn as a blazer sticks out as exactly what it is. I know that outside of SF people don't realize that consciously, but I think they notice it as something not quite right. As an added advantage, you don't then need to worry about differential wear between your suit jacket and trousers, and you don't need to worry about ruining a whole suit if you ruin the suit jacket.

I think there are plenty of occasions where a blazer is appropriate but no jacket would be too informal and a suit too formal. Some holiday parties. Many "business casual" events. Going to dinner with your girlfriend's parents for the first time. A matinee at the opera or theater (Yes I know people wear shorts to these things but c'mon, have some class). Et cetera.

On the reppe tie: I don't think it's the only good choice, but it's a good choice for a tie to go with your blazer, for an American. I should have made that clear. A neat was suggested, but some (including Manton) find this too formal for a blazer. I wear neats with odd jackets all the time and don't really mind it, but a neat is a bit more formal than a stripe. For people on the level that this list is pitched to, it doesn't matter that much, but why eff with it? A knit is a decent answer too, but it's a little bit "fashiony" in that you don't see one every day. A reppe stripe is, from an American point of view, very much playing it safe and a classic choice to go with a navy blazer. It looks a bit collegiate maybe, but it's never in poor taste, provided you have any sense at all in the colors you pick. As far as the suggestion of a wedding tie, 1) that's already my suggestion to go with the navy suit 2) wedding tie is too formal for a blazer IMHO.

On shoes: black cap toes aren't ideal for a blazer. But it's not terrible. I'd rather wear black cap toes with a blazer than a suit jacket wear a blazer should be. Remember, we're talking bare necessities. If we could convince this person that they could wear a nice pair of brown derbies or loafers for much of their non-coat-and-tie situations as well, and that the investment in a second pair of shoes is therefore worth it, then I'm very much in favor. But shoes are expensive, and supposing that sale couldn't be made, they would not look like a doofus if they only had black shoes. At least they won't be duck-billed rubber soled loafers.
post #17 of 153

Credit card holder/wallet is missing. I can't live without mine!

post #18 of 153
Thread Starter 
Yea but everybody already has one and expecting someone to buy a "dress wallet" for use on sime occasions is too much...
post #19 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

Yea but everybody already has one and expecting someone to buy a "dress wallet" for use on some occasions is too much...

 

I see what you're saying. Will think and repost.

post #20 of 153

Generally, the list makes a good go of things. The fact that I don't most of the things on it is neither here or there because it isn't for me.

 

However, I too disagree on the Navy blazer as a basic. I think blue blazers are actually hard to get right and many people end up looking unhappily semi-formal or like a security guard in them. I'd actually go Hendrix's route for the beginner and suggest a good quality odd jacket (probably with a bit less structure to it than was traditional, and perhaps soft-shouldered) that they actually like to wear in a colour, texture etc. that is both versatile enough to be dressed up or down with a variety of pants etc. and which suits them. For some people this may end up being a blue blazer but only for some. Insisting on the blue blazer as the jacket of first resort is, I think, wrong. 

 

I also disagree about the black shoes. Although I am British and black shoes are traditionally the only thing to wear with a navy or grey suit, as a 'universal' basic, I would actually suggest a basic semi-formal brown shoe (and I am not going to be too prescriptive about whether it's a brogue or an Oxford or whatever), or even a similar boot, because they are so much more versatile and can more easily be dressed up or down. We already had a discussion thread about this not so long ago and this seemed to be the most widely shared conclusion.

post #21 of 153
underpants
post #22 of 153
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trompe le Monde View Post

underpants

see above comment in response to the suggestion of a wallet. also for a watch: if you don't have a dress watch, just don't wear one. definitely leave your sports watch at home.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post

Generally, the list makes a good go of things. The fact that I don't most of the things on it is neither here or there because it isn't for me.

However, I too disagree on the Navy blazer as a basic. I think blue blazers are actually hard to get right and many people end up looking unhappily semi-formal or like a security guard in them. I'd actually go Hendrix's route for the beginner and suggest a good quality odd jacket (probably with a bit less structure to it than was traditional, and perhaps soft-shouldered) that they actually like to wear in a colour, texture etc. that is both versatile enough to be dressed up or down with a variety of pants etc. and which suits them. For some people this may end up being a blue blazer but only for some. Insisting on the blue blazer as the jacket of first resort is, I think, wrong. 

I also disagree about the black shoes. Although I am British and black shoes are traditionally the only thing to wear with a navy or grey suit, as a 'universal' basic, I would actually suggest a basic semi-formal brown shoe (and I am not going to be too prescriptive about whether it's a brogue or an Oxford or whatever), or even a similar boot, because they are so much more versatile and can more easily be dressed up or down. We already had a discussion thread about this not so long ago and this seemed to be the most widely shared conclusion.

another qualification here is assume that you won't be shopping with this person. You're just telling them what to get. the suggestion of 'an odd jacket' is a lot more fuckuppable than a blue blazer. also, the blue blazer fades into the background completely. no one will notice if you wear it twice in a weekend or every time they see you in a coat and tie situation. this is not true for most odd jackets. if the metal buttons are too much, they are easily traded out for some brown horn buttons.

on black shoes: black shoes will be slightly wrong with the blazer. but brown shoes are much more wrong in situations like weddings and funerals and perhaps even job interviews. so i'd go to black shoes as the first dress shoe, and the only one if it stops there. also see my earlier reply on shoes. black shoes are also more unfuckuppable than brown shoes. and if we're on a budget, cheap black shoes are better than cheap brown shoes imho.
post #23 of 153
As far as the black shoes go, what about Chelsea boots with a leather sole? They would look better with the blazer/odd jacket/whatever is decided on than the cap toe. They might not look quite as good with the suit, but they'd be passable (especially if the wearer is young).

Agreed about black over brown though. I like brown shoes more, but black is probably the most essential since it is never outright inappropriate as a shoe color.
post #24 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

the suggestion of 'an odd jacket' is a lot more fuckuppable than a blue blazer

YES! the answer is ALWAYS navy SC.

for example,

Contestant - Alex, I will take literature for $800, please.

Alex - This classic 18th century poet was also know for bathing in fox urine, and referring to his wife, as mommy.

Contestant - What is, navy SC?

Alex - Correct. Your board.
post #25 of 153
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claghorn View Post

As far as the black shoes go, what about Chelsea boots with a leather sole? They would look better with the blazer/odd jacket/whatever is decided on than the cap toe. They might not look quite as good with the suit, but they'd be passable (especially if the wearer is young).
Agreed about black over brown though. I like brown shoes more, but black is probably the most essential since it is never outright inappropriate as a shoe color.

for the same reason as black being better than brown, cap toes are better than chelseas. at risk of waking up with a severed horse head in my bed tomorrow courtesy of doc holliday, chelseas wouldn't be a great choice with a suit for an interview or a wedding. especially for someone who doesn't have a real interest in clothing - they'll look even more out of place. i'd go for the black derbies shown earlier over chelseas.
post #26 of 153

Fair enough on the derbies. And with regards to the chelseas, I guess its better to be awkwardly formal than to be awkwardly informal (as those formal occasions are likely more important).

 

Any plans for putting together a few possible sets of these basics for different price points? I'm not sure budget will always be an issue in cases where this list could prove useful. Some people will have the money but have previously lacked the desire/need for the bare essentials.


Edited by Claghorn - 10/5/12 at 7:32am
post #27 of 153
I like the idea of this thread. I think a lot of the dissent over things like a navy blazer comes from confusion over what you're trying to accomplish:
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

another qualification here is assume that you won't be shopping with this person. You're just telling them what to get.

It sounds like what you're really trying to get it is something like "What should I tell my friend to buy if he suddenly decides he wants to 'dress better' and doesn't have much of a budget or sense of color/texture/pattern?" So your goal would not be to get him WAYWN props, but to give him a flexible wardrobe with a minimal number of items but maximal possible combinations, all while minimizing the risk of incoherent or disastrous combinations (i.e. assume he is going to randomly pick trousers, shirt and shoes every day, and will randomly choose to include or exclude a jacket and/or tie, also chosen at random). So he could almost literally put his outfit together blindfolded and be guaranteed to never look terrible. Does that sound about right?
post #28 of 153
So what you are trying to tell us OP, is that you are unwavering on anything in your list? This does not make for a constructive thread... confused.gif
post #29 of 153
^I think he's just saying he has reasons for the items he's chosen.

But I pretty much agree w/ what he's posted. I'd probably make minor substitutions:
--Dark blue or navy suit = same
--Blue sport coat = same
--Black captoes and belt = same,
--Khaki cotton or grey wool pants = I recommend the grey pants, since they'd go better w/ black captoes than tan.
--Two white shirts -- I'd recommend one white spread collar and one solid blue oxford or checkered button down.
--Two ties -- I'd probably go with a solid navy or black black knit and one of another color, either burgundy, dk brown, or light blue in glen check, pin dot, or knit.
(A light blue knit tie goes great w/ a white shirt, navy sport coat, grey pants, and black shoes imo.)

This is what any guy would need to be well-dressed for weddings, funerals, dances, or interviews.

If he has to wear such stuff more often than these events, in the next year I'd get the khakis, a brown belt, brown loafers, a couple more ties, a couple more shirts (solid blue or white, and a blue checkered or striped, probably a university stripe ocbd), and another sport coat or suit, depending on what he would need most. If a suit, then whichever he didn't buy above. If a sport coat, then grey or brown herringbone tweed, brown or green corduroy or cotton twill. A sweater (lambswool v-neck or merino polo), a scarf, and a tan raincoat would be good too, assuming he lives in a place that gets cold.
post #30 of 153
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claghorn View Post

Any plans for putting together a few possible sets of these basics for different price points? I'm not sure budget will always be an issue in cases where this list could prove useful. Some people will have the money but have previously lacked the desire/need for the bare essentials.

Hmm...it's not impossible, but I doubt it. 1) it's enough of a debate agreeing on which items are necessary without going into discussion about brands, etc. 2) it's better to take the focus away from brands. it's better to think about something as 'my navy blazer' than 'my BB blazer'. I think Gus discussed this some when he did his 10 essentials thing, and the discussion was useful IIRC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcbrown View Post

I like the idea of this thread. I think a lot of the dissent over things like a navy blazer comes from confusion over what you're trying to accomplish:
It sounds like what you're really trying to get it is something like "What should I tell my friend to buy if he suddenly decides he wants to 'dress better' and doesn't have much of a budget or sense of color/texture/pattern?" So your goal would not be to get him WAYWN props, but to give him a flexible wardrobe with a minimal number of items but maximal possible combinations, all while minimizing the risk of incoherent or disastrous combinations (i.e. assume he is going to randomly pick trousers, shirt and shoes every day, and will randomly choose to include or exclude a jacket and/or tie, also chosen at random). So he could almost literally put his outfit together blindfolded and be guaranteed to never look terrible. Does that sound about right?

Yep, that's the idea. This is not a wardrobe for a dandy. It's a wardrobe that will allow you to be presentable at any occasion that doesn't require formal or semi-formal evening or morning dress.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JubeiSpiegel View Post

So what you are trying to tell us OP, is that you are unwavering on anything in your list? This does not make for a constructive thread... confused.gif

First - am I that unwavering? I've already indicated that the tie choices are flexible, and that black derbies are a fine enough substitute for black cap toes. I think every time that I've stuck by my original choices I've given reasons and not just insisted that it must be so.

Second - am I supposed to be wavering? It's my list, if I thought it didn't matter that much which items I put in it or that I didn't put very much thought into which items would be best, that wouldn't make for a very constructive list, would it? The point is not, this is THE list, given to you from on high, you must accept it.

The point is, I thought it might be useful to think about such a list, since 1) internet fora love lists 2) we did a more extensive one recently in Manton's thread, 3) this list could perhaps provide some value to people visiting this forum with something like this question, and don't want to go through all of Manton's list, 4) interesting discussions can be generated on the general usefulness of navy blazers, etc..

But really, it was just something I wrote up for my tumblr and thought might be of some interest on SF. If you're not entertained, I apologize.
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