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Where to start

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 

Hey all, 

 

First time poster, I have been a reader for a few weeks. I am a new attorney looking to start defining my style, but do not really know where to start.


As of now, I have a navy suit and black suit from JAB and 2 suits (gray and navy pinstripe) being tailored.

 

I am looking for some advice on where to start in building a professional wardrobe without making some of the rookie mistakes you (the reader) may have made.

 

So lets have it, where do I start?

post #2 of 44

With the primers on this forum, books by Alan Flusser, and a whatever it takes to get an eye for fit and color

 

http://www.styleforum.net/a/how-should-i-start-my-business-wardrobe

post #3 of 44
Identify the mistakes you already have made. For example, the black suit. The only way to change the style much with little risk of making significant mistakes (in aesthetics, price, etc.) is hand-holding, such as below.
post #4 of 44
post #5 of 44
The mistakes thread is truly a treasure; learning from other people's mistakes is a great way to prevent yourself from making more. In general, a few guiding principles may help too:

1) Understand your needs and your work environment (e.g. needing a suit everyday vs. needing one for court and client meetings).
2) Do not forget to invest in good shoes. A great outfit with bad shoes looks awful. You're also on your feet way too much to buy lousy shoes. Make sure your shoes match the formality of your outfits (oxfords with suits, etc.).
3) Make sure everything you buy fits well. If it doesn't, it looks like shit.
4) Be honest about your budget. Figure out what you can afford and go from there.
5) Be patient. Rome was not built in a day and your wardrobe should not be either.
6) Stick to basic staples no matter how tempting something may look.
7) Buy the best quality you can afford. It looks better and lasts longer.
8) Never buy anything just because it is on sale. It will sit in the back of your closet and end up being more expensive than something you buy at full retail and wear all the time.
post #6 of 44
Not to be too terse, but that black suit is nearly useless to you.
post #7 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by archibaldleach View Post

The mistakes thread is truly a treasure; learning from other people's mistakes is a great way to prevent yourself from making more. In general, a few guiding principles may help too:

1) Understand your needs and your work environment (e.g. needing a suit everyday vs. needing one for court and client meetings).
2) Do not forget to invest in good shoes. A great outfit with bad shoes looks awful. You're also on your feet way too much to buy lousy shoes. Make sure your shoes match the formality of your outfits (oxfords with suits, etc.).
3) Make sure everything you buy fits well. If it doesn't, it looks like shit.
4) Be honest about your budget. Figure out what you can afford and go from there.
5) Be patient. Rome was not built in a day and your wardrobe should not be either.
6) Stick to basic staples no matter how tempting something may look.
7) Buy the best quality you can afford. It looks better and lasts longer.
8) Never buy anything just because it is on sale. It will sit in the back of your closet and end up being more expensive than something you buy at full retail and wear all the time.

I think number 5 is key. Buy the good stuff and don't be afraid to wear the same suit several time in a week (if need be, get a second pair of pants if you are going MTM or bespoke). People buy a boatload of cheap suits or outfits because they don't want to be seen wearing the same suit back to back. Truth is, people generally don't remember what you wore day before yesterday, but they sure do notice what you're wearing right in front of them. Buy fewer good items and wear them more often.

post #8 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterFu View Post

I think number 5 is key. Buy the good stuff and don't be afraid to wear the same suit several time in a week (if need be, get a second pair of pants if you are going MTM or bespoke). People buy a boatload of cheap suits or outfits because they don't want to be seen wearing the same suit back to back. Truth is, people generally don't remember what you wore day before yesterday, but they sure do notice what you're wearing right in front of them. Buy fewer good items and wear them more often.

Agreed. Also, people are way less likely to notice you're wearing the same suit if it is something basic like a navy or grey solid. Light colors, stripes, etc. are much more likely to be noticed in this regard.
post #9 of 44
9) Try on suits, jackets, and footwear in person before ordering. (Some styling details need not be the same as the intended purchase.)
10) Don't buy duplicates (other than underwear or socks), and avoid-near duplicates (when someone already has had success with an item, then it might be okay to buy another one in a similar color, for example).
11) Know appearance strengths and weaknesses. (If this were about casual clothing, personality strengths and weaknesses also would be important.) That is where people make mistakes that are hard to avoid even if they know others' mistakes (e.g., guy ordering from Suit Supply and not realizing he's muscular by suit-wearer standards) and one of the biggest reasons someone literally should be looked at if he wants to make a virtually mistake-free major wardrobe change.
post #10 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by archibaldleach View Post


Agreed. Also, people are way less likely to notice you're wearing the same suit if it is something basic like a navy or grey solid. Light colors, stripes, etc. are much more likely to be noticed in this regard.

Just to illustrate in an extreme manner (because it's been a long day and I feel punchy), which of these two suits A. looks better and B. would you remember exactly the last time someone wore?

 

Option 1:

 

 

 

 

Option 2:

 

post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mensimageconsultant View Post

9) Try on suits, jackets, and footwear in person before ordering. (Some styling details need not be the same as the intended purchase.)
10) Don't buy duplicates (other than underwear or socks), and avoid-near duplicates (when someone already has had success with an item, then it might be okay to buy another one in a similar color, for example).
11) Know appearance strengths and weaknesses. (If this were about casual clothing, personality strengths and weaknesses also would be important.) That is where people make mistakes that are hard to avoid even if they know others' mistakes (e.g., guy ordering from Suit Supply and not realizing he's muscular by suit-wearer standards) and one of the biggest reasons someone literally should be looked at if he wants to make a virtually mistake-free major wardrobe change.

On 9) Once you know how a particular fit / model / last works for you, you can probably get away with buying things with that same fit / model / last. Not sure if that's what you meant with your parenthetical but think it should be expanded a bit if not.
On 10) Disagree. There is nothing wrong with having a few of the same white / light blue shirts (louder shirts I understand the argument more). Likewise, if a particular suit model fits you and you need multiple suits, there is nothing wrong with buying one in solid grey and one in solid navy (though I agree you should branch out before buying a second version of the exact same navy suit). Same idea with odd trousers. I see no issue having a few of the same trouser if it is a staple piece that looks good on you and fits with the rest of your wardrobe.
post #12 of 44
Yes, agree with "once you know how a particular fit / model / last works for you." The parenthetical comment applies to color, perforations, etc., but balmoral vs. blucher can make a difference in fit.

Pants might be okay to almost duplicate eventually and doing that with dress shirts isn't a huge sin, but the typical guy should avoid anything close to suit duplication. It's a uniformity that could be noticed at work, and suit styles evolve such that the wardrobe likely would be dated faster.
post #13 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mensimageconsultant View Post

Yes, agree with "once you know how a particular fit / model / last works for you." The parenthetical comment applies to color, perforations, etc., but balmoral vs. blucher can make a difference in fit.

Pants might be okay to almost duplicate eventually and doing that with dress shirts isn't a huge sin, but the typical guy should avoid anything close to suit duplication. It's a uniformity that could be noticed at work, and suit styles evolve such that the wardrobe likely would be dated faster.

I see where you're coming from with the first sentence and agree with the balmoral vs. blucher fit comment.

Re: suit duplicaton, are you seriously suggesting that a classically styled and proportioned suit cannot be purchased in a couple of different colors? If you look good in two button suits, there's no sense buying three button suits to avoid "duplication" or buying sack suits instead of well fitted ones. I could see the issue with super skinny or super wide lapels or maybe wearing a DB everyday, but I think in general people should avoid fashion extremes with their suits precisely so they don't look dated. Maybe we're on the same page, but I'm struggling to understand the suit duplication argument (buying different colors of the same suit) when we're talking about conservative colors and classic proportions.
post #14 of 44
Let's suppose that having 2 out of 5 suits be classically styled duplicates in different, basic colors can be not terrible, in some cases (especially if someone wears a very hard-to-find size). Still the idea that avoiding duplication means buying inferior items is a false dichotomy. Differences in fabric, pocket styling, button materials, vents, etc. often will be present between two conservative suits of the same size from different brands and to onlookers will subtly or subconsciously signal that the wearer is not a rigid person who lacks a sense of variety. (By the way, consider that some people are color-blind and might not distinguish, say, medium gray from dark gray.).
post #15 of 44
It can be tough to find a brand / model that fits one well OTR, so picking out a variety of brands can lead to an inferior product. By your logic, someone who owns ten bespoke suits made with the same basic pattern and configuration will be presumed stuffy and to lack a sense of variety even if there are a variety of different colors and patterns and no one suit is the same. This is what I take issue with. People in my experience notice color, pattern and fit. Subtle differences between brands that fit one similarly are just not going to convey a sense of variety IMO that is not conveyed by the difference in colors and patterns.
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