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yet another "Help me build a business casual wardrobe" thread

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

Many threads on bus. cas. I know but my sense is that it's fair protocol to start a thread for such a detailed request. Apologies if I'm doing this wrong.

So I am leaving grad school in Chicago for first professional job in Dallas and the office is of course business casual. I'd like to look sharp but no need to be flashy.


I am 5'10", ~185 lbs, and wear a 41 jacket, dress shirt is 15.5-34, pants are 32 inch waist, 30 inch inseam (for no-break length, though I usually wear a 31 or 32). For my height, I am pretty broad-shouldered and have relatively thick upper legs. As a reference point, in Brooks Bro shirt I can pull off a extra-slim fit if I size up the collar a size. The slim fit in my actual size fits my shoulders nicely, although is a bit blousy around the waist and in the back. For pants, J Crew's classic fit is about as slim as I can go---i.e. slim-fit pants are very tight on my butt and thighs.


Regarding budget, I'd love to find pants under $100, though might spring for Howard Younts or some such (around $150--just don't tell my wife :). For shirts at this point I'd like to make do with TM Lewin, Charles Tyrwhitt, and Brooks Brothers etc. (i.e. any thing that is around $60 a shirt) if possible.


For pants, I'd like to make the jump to wool. People in the office do wear cotton slacks, but I think I'd like something a bit sharper if it's not too much trouble. My hesitation about wool pants is the dry-cleaning only. From searching the forums on this topic, it seems many people dry clean their pants quite infrequently, though I have not seen many people say how many wears they get--usually they just say "once a season" without specifying how many pairs are in rotation. Currently when I wear khakis in the summer they need a wash after a few wears, so it's hard for me to imagine going too long without dry cleaning. Anyhow, I guess I'll have to just get a pair and see how they weather a few August days in Dallas.


For wool pants, is grey the recommended color? Light? Dark? Other colors?


For shirts, I am unsure of whether to get spread collar or button down collar. I will not be wearing ties. I would like to work odd jackets in eventually, but for now let's suppose I am going without a jacket (is this a huge mistake? my sense is that is not common in the office. Also Dallas is v hot in the summer....) Does the tie-less spread collar work WITHOUT a jacket?


For shirts, patterned or solid color?


Finally, shoes: I am guessing I need some more brown. I currently have AE Park Avenues in black, AE Leeds in black, and old Florsheim longwings in light brown (calf) and cordovan (shell). Note those are a lot of double-soled shoes; I'm thinking I should prob get a somewhat sleeker shoe in dark brown. For this let's keep it to AE quality (i.e. price) and below. I am not at all above getting used shoes on ebay (indeed the four shoes I mentioned were all Ebay acquisitions).



I'll appreciate any suggestions for styles, patterns, colors, brands I should try. Many thanks for reading.

post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 

If it matters, my shoe size is an 11.5 D.

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