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List of Bare Necessities - Page 7

post #91 of 153
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

Not everyone eats at nice restaurants. I know this sounds ridiculous, but it's absolutely true. Very few people go to the type of restaurants where one might need a sport coat. Seriously.

Ever in their entire life? Or doesn't even want to be prepared to be invited to one?
post #92 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

Ever in their entire life? Or doesn't even want to be prepared to be invited to one?

Yes. There are people who never go to those types of restaurants. Or live in towns where, frankly, those kinds of restaurants don't even exist.

Even if you could imagine that they'd travel at some point (which few people do) to a city where those things exist, and somehow magically got invited to a place where they clearly don't belong (socio-economic class wise), you can hardly expect them to purchase a navy sport coat just for those one or two occasions.

Funerals and weddings, on the other hand, happen quite often. Enough where you ought to own one suit.
post #93 of 153
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ianiceman View Post

Good thread Umbrella. Somewhat similar to the 'what are your top ten staples' thread from some time ago.
My only personal nitpick would be that I hate button down shirts and as a non American don't quite get the fascination/obsession, although I see that you're suggesting their utility in occupying a space between formal and not too casual.

The reason button-down is a necessity is so that you have a shirt you an wear tieless. Non-button downs without ties usually look bad because the collar collapses and hides under your jacket. It looks sloppy. The button down is much better for this situation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Victor Elfo View Post

In my opinion: navy blazer/sc, cream gabardine trousers, black oxfords, charcoal gray suit, white dress shirt, light blue "casual" shirt, navy knit tie, black belt, black satin tie and rep striped tie.

Not bad at all. A good alternative wardrobe all around. The addition of the black satin tie makes one prepared for evening as well. I like it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcbrown View Post

Forget jackets - what about socks?

Navy socks are included in the OP
post #94 of 153
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

Yes. There are people who never go to those types of restaurants. Or live in towns where, frankly, those kinds of restaurants don't even exist.
Even if you could imagine that they'd travel at some point (which few people do) to a city where those things exist, and somehow magically got invited to a place where they clearly don't belong (socio-economic class wise), you can hardly expect them to purchase a navy sport coat just for those one or two occasions.
Funerals and weddings, on the other hand, happen quite often. Enough where you ought to own one suit.

I'll allow that some of these people exist, and that don't ever face any of the other situations I've described in this thread...but we're talking about maybe 20% of American men? Who never have a situation where a blazer would vastly improve their outward appearance? I think that's a small enough percentage that the navy blazer can still be considered a necessity. Although it's certainly behind the suit, if we're ranking them.
post #95 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

I'll allow that some of these people exist, and that don't ever face any of the other situations I've described in this thread...but we're talking about maybe 20% of American men? Who never have a situation where a blazer would vastly improve their outward appearance? I think that's a small enough percentage that the navy blazer can still be considered a necessity. Although it's certainly behind the suit, if we're ranking them.

No, I would say it's much, much, much higher. The number of men who attend the kind of parties, eat at the type of restaurants, date the type of girlfriends, attend the kind of shows, or work at the type of offices where they wouldn't look dramatically out of place with a sport coat (let's leave aside "require") is very small. I don't mean to be a populist or something here, but it's just the reality of American living, and American diversity.

I don't know what types of people you know, but the percentage of people I know who live those kinds of lifestyles are a very small percentage of my acquaintances.
post #96 of 153
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

No, I would say it's much, much, much higher. The number of men who attend the kind of parties, eat at the type of restaurants, date the type of girlfriends, attend the kind of shows, work at the type of offices where they wouldn't look dramatically out of place with a sport coat (let's leave aside "require") is very small. I don't mean to be a populist or something here, but it's just the reality of American living, and American diversity.
I don't know what types of people you know, but the percentage of people I know who live those kinds of lifestyles are a very small percentage of my acquaintances.

Again, I'm not talking about people for whom this is a REGULAR occurrence. It may be only once every three or four years that they really need this garment (although they might find other happy occasions in the interim where it's welcome but not needed). But my circle is not super rich or classy, and I'd wager pretty much every guy I know has faced some situation in the last 5 years where a blazer was exactly right - needed a jacket, but suit too much. I grew up in a college town, not near any major metropolis, and this was true for most of the men that are/were friends of the family as well.
post #97 of 153
I suppose I can see once every five years. I just don't think one should buy a navy sport coat or blazer if you're honestly only going to wear it that infrequently. I mean, that's what, two times before your body might dramatically change? And just so you can look better at a restaurant? Even though it's not required?

People may or may not attend weddings and funerals that infrequently, but the problem is that you literally don't have a single thing to wear if you don't own a suit. Unless you just want to be an assh*le at someone's wedding with jeans.

Really, I think we're just way too diverse of a country to imagine that men need the same kind of clothes. There's a whole nother side to this board that's getting along fine without navy sport coats. Most of them are young (I think), but they can pick up a sport coat when they need it. That might be in ten, twenty, or thirty years, but it's probably not now.
post #98 of 153
Thread Starter 
Maybe at this point there's not much further value in me just insisting these occasions happen for 2/3 of men or more at least once every few years. It's possible that I'm wrong and out of touch and others are better informed than I am. Let's hear some other opinions - especially if you don't live in an east coast metropolis, or at least have some experience living in a non-east coast metropolis. Do you think you or your friends have occasion once every five years or more where a jacket would be very nice to wear (i.e., you would feel slightly out of place in just shirt sleeves or just a sweater) but a suit and tie would be too much?
post #99 of 153
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

Really, I think we're just way too diverse of a country to imagine that men need the same kind of clothes. There's a whole nother side to this board that's getting along fine without navy sport coats. Most of them are young (I think), but they can pick up a sport coat when they need it. That might be in ten, twenty, or thirty years, but it's probably not now.

Yes, I celebrate diversity! I'm not trying to dictate what everyone buys for their entire wardrobe. I purposefully kept the list as short as possible, so that this is a very small part of your overall wardrobe, that allows you to be prepared for a very wide range of situations that have some dress code. There are other ways to accomplish this goal, that others have proposed (my earlier claim of necessity was probably over-reaching). But I think this a pretty good recipe, that is really not very onerous.
post #100 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
No, IMHO. Not appropriate for business casual networking.
For an opera probably ok. For theater on the weekends (i.e., when you couldn't be coming from work), it's a bit overkill in most theaters. Blazer is way better.
Definitely still restaurants in the middle, at least in major cities. Maybe even more in mid-sized towns, as many of the "nice" restaurants still wouldn't be good places for suit and tie (remember, the suit and tie ALWAYS go together. No suit without a tie.)
4) a classy holiday or dinner party
again, above outfit.
No, too informal (at least for some parties).
Not totally out of line, but at most graduations, you would be definitively in the minority for observers
.

This must be regional variation, because I too am a postgraduate researcher (immunology) in a western country. Although you're a bit older than me so that might be why.

IME, people do have a few opportunities a year to dress up. It's just been my experience that this is largely an all or nothing event - i.e. suit and tie, not blazer tie odd pants.

OTOH, people do like something nice to wear when going out for dinner or just going out in general. I don't think there are many people who don't like to go to nice restaurants once in a while (after all, most of us do want to impress someone from time to time), but in most of these occasions simply a collared shirt is passable. Usually, this won't look good, which is why I like to suggest some type of casual, unstructured jacket. a full on blazer just seems too formal in these scenarios.

Again, i'll cite Will here (and he's certainly not a person who's lifestyle I share):
Quote:
It is odd how the blazer exists in a no-man's land of formality between the lounge suit and the odd jacket, but there it is. Too casual for the suited office and too formal much of the rest of the time...
...So that then is the blazer. It should probably not be the first odd jacket in a wardrobe. Tweed for example is useful more often and a suit will do on the remaining occasions when the blazer would be an option...
post #101 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd617 View Post

Incorrect. And even if most were not technically navy blazers (patch pockets, plain navy fabric), what's the point of making this comment? ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd617 View Post

A navy blazer is a special American "trad" type of navy sportcoat. They have patch pockets and sometimes gold buttons...
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd617 View Post


To me, a navy blazer just means patch pockets. Non worsted fabric. The gold buttons are not essential. Buttons can be changed; fabric and pockets cannot...
It's hard to define what exactly is a blazer. But the fabric type and pocket configuration have little if anything to do with it. Metal buttons are the most significant factor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

D, I think the problem with this thread is that it assumes some kind of commonality in lifestyle between every man in America. Between the 22 year old graduate and the 65 year old retiree. Between the urban city dweller and the country boy. Between the rich and the poor. Between the East Asian immigrant and the WASP. So on and so forth...
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

Not everyone eats at nice restaurants. I know this sounds ridiculous, but it's absolutely true. Very few people go to the type of restaurants where one might need a sport coat. Seriously.

This is all very true and good. I thought of posting a similar disclaimer, but then I remembered where I was.
For the guy who's interested in "Men's Clothing," in our little community's sense of tailored, Western dress, there are certain basics, imo at least.
post #102 of 153
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post

This must be regional variation, because I too am a postgraduate researcher (immunology) in a western country. Although you're a bit older than me so that might be why.
IME, people do have a few opportunities a year to dress up. It's just been my experience that this is largely an all or nothing event - i.e. suit and tie, not blazer tie odd pants.
OTOH, people do like something nice to wear when going out for dinner or just going out in general. I don't think there are many people who don't like to go to nice restaurants once in a while (after all, most of us do want to impress someone from time to time), but in most of these occasions simply a collared shirt is passable. Usually, this won't look good, which is why I like to suggest some type of casual, unstructured jacket. a full on blazer just seems too formal in these scenarios.
Again, i'll cite Will here (and he's certainly not a person who's lifestyle I share):

To be clear, when I said not appropriate for bus cas networking events, I meant in most fields outside of academia. Even in econ (generally considered more formal sartorially than other fields), most wouldn't wear a blazer when attending, but not presenting at, a conference, for instance.

For the dinners, yes, the collared shirt is passable, but the blazer is enough of an improvement that I'm calling it a necessity. It's not required, but it's so much better that you really have to be considered poorly dressed if you are just in shirt sleeves.

To Will's quote, I think he's referring to the blazers in darker shades with metal buttons. They're more formal. Although I wouldn't call them "too" formal for the situations I'm describing. And in these situations anyway, slightly too formal (and blazer with no tie and a button down is only slightly more formal than the same thing but with a non-"blazer" odd jacket instead) is no faux pas. I think we're agreeing more than we realize. I'd consider a jacket like this fully in compliance with my list (ignore high price tag and fancy brand, this is just to show you what I mean):

http://www.mrporter.com/product/176188
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post

It's hard to define what exactly is a blazer. But the fabric type and pocket configuration have little if anything to do with it. Metal buttons are the most significant factor.

Just so we don't get caught up on the definition of "blazer" - what I mean is some jacket in navy that doesn't look like a suit jacket. It has rougher texture and/or non-navy buttons and/or patch pockets.
post #103 of 153

Honestly, I am not sure if discussing the habits of the medium class (socio-economic wise) is the point of the thread, but it demonstrates the problem with the objective of this thread: a list of bare necessities when there is no standard bare necessities.

We could develop some options within the expected formal range of a medium class citizen. What do you think?

 

I could, for example, live with this for my bare necessities: navy safari jacket, medium gray trousers, light blue "casual" shirt, navy polo, brown suede loafers. And I would be the dressed up guy.

post #104 of 153
Actually, I would sooner propose a nice pair of khaki chinos before I'd recommend a navy sport coat. Because you can't always wear jeans. There are very few men in America who couldn't be well served by having a go-to pair of nice chinos and some kind of light blue button-up shirt. It's very casual, but also very useful. And importantly: this would be true for men of almost any background.
post #105 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

Just so we don't get caught up on the definition of "blazer" - what I mean is some jacket in navy that doesn't look like a suit jacket. It has rougher texture and/or non-navy buttons and/or patch pockets.
Yes. I took you to be using "blazer" loosely in the general sense of odd jacket/sport coat.

Metal buttons have a stigma to them now, so many people who would have gotten a blazer w/ metal buttons 10-20 yrs ago opt instead for a horn, bone, plastic, etc. But to distinguish this jacket from a suit coat, they add less formal details, such as rougher fabric or patch pockets. Such details don't make the jacket a blazer, but they do make it more identifiable as an odd jacket/sport coat.
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