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Big presentation...suit advice

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hey Guys, I'm glad I read the NY Times today. I could use a forum like this. Here's the rundown: I have a presentation in early October. A BIG one. The client is very conservative, and my boss has let me know I need to go the extra mile. I usually only wear suits one or two days a week (when there is client contact)...otherwise we are a pretty casual office. All of my old suits are three-button, two piece; but I am now the proud owner of a navy blue, three-piece Jos. A. Bank suit. I gotta tell you, it makes me feel like a million bucks, like I could take on the world when I have it on (though I still haven't left the house in it yet&#33, I put it on and modeled it for my wife and her friend and they said it did a lot for me-so I am thinking about wearing it for the presentation. I am trying to find the balance between "looking and feeling extra sharp" and not looking too "trying too hard." It doesn't make me look afected (I don't think), but gives me a more mature edge (I am 36). I am planning on wearing it with my light blue, contrasting white collar and French cuff shirt (my best) with a red, blue and (very small) gold striped red tie. It looks about as conservative as conservative gets...and I think it will make the right impression on them-but I'd like to hear what you guys think. Also, is it true that you never wear gold cufflinks before 6 pm? The only pair I have is gold, and it actually picks up the gold from the tie, so I think it works well with the outfit, but don't want to make a faux pas. All eyes are going to be on me for about 90 it is vital I look my best-I'll appreicate any advice, this looks like a good forum. Also, does anyone have advice about keeping your suit, tie etc. looking sharp while being up in front of a group for a long period?
post #2 of 15
1. you can wear gold cufflinks any time you chose. 2. I dont think you will look affected at all in a 3 piece suit. I know I dont feel that way when I wear mine. Yes, you will probably be the only guy in the room wearing one, but thats a good thing, not a bad thing. If you feel comfortable and confident in what you are wearing, it will show. id finish it off with a nice white linen pocketsquare and dark brown shoes (although others would argue such a conservative setting would make black the choice).
post #3 of 15
That sounds to me like you'll be trying a bit hard. While I like French cuff shirts, I do not wear them in conservative company. Many people find them flashy, especially in the northeast. I think there's a difference between looking sharp and looking serious. The contrasting collar, gold cuff links, etc., say Gordon Gekko to me. This may be what you're going for, but were I to meet with "really" conservative clients, I would opt for a two piece sack suit, white shirt and red tie. Think politician over real estate mogul.
post #4 of 15
I think the suit is probably a fine choice,* but I agree with PeterMetro that the shirt might be a bit much for that setting. Since the point has been made by your boss, I'd go for something a bit more subdued. I'd probably advise a non-contrasting collar shirt (although I'm not necessarily opposed to them on principle, just in this setting) and likely barrel rather than french cuffs (of which I'm also a big fan). If you still want to go french cuffs I'd do a simple solid white or blue shirt and discreet links or silk knots. Since this is such a big deal, I say go buy yourself a new shirt and tie for the occasion. Some have highly recommended the Golden Fleece shirts at Brooks Brothers. Check their online clearance section. And in this case, I'd probably wear black lace ups. And I do vote for the linen pocket square. It finishes the look. *One issue with the suit, since you're going to be the center of attention for 90 minutes, consider whether the vest will make you too hot. You want to be able to remain cool, both mentally and physically the whole time. You can always leave the vest at home.
post #5 of 15
I agree with PeterMetro that the contrasting cuffs and collar may be a bit much. The same could be said of a French cuffed shirt, though on its own I think this is not necessarily too much. I would definitely say black shoes; while perhaps not the most elegant look, it is definitely 100% acceptable and will not turn off anybody. One piece of advice: see if you can learn a bit more about the audience, in terms of what their dress "code" is like. For example, I worked as a consultant for one Fortune 50 client in which most of the senior execs wore cuff links regularly, and a number of them also wore contrasting cuffs/collars. Of course, this was a salesforce dominated company, so the flashier dress was a reflection of the execs' personalities. On the other hand, many companies' execs would tend toward more conservative attire. I think you want to look very nice and somewhat elegant, but not to a level that greatly exceeds the attire of the audience.
post #6 of 15
i have to agree with the above advice. I neglected to read the entire post carefully enough - i really dont like those contrasting collar shirts. I think they are way too flashy in most cases. However, if you like them, by all means wear them. I agree that a different shirt might be more appropriate for this presentation though. I am surprised, however, to hear that french cuffs might be seen as flashy. I am from the northeast, and 90% of my shirts are FC. I think its more about the links than the cuffs. Flashy links are flashy, classic enamel links are classic, never flashy.
post #7 of 15
I think I'd agree with PeterMetro here. Sounds like you want to look conservative w/o being dumpy; successful w/o being flashy. A 3-piece suit could work, though I agree you're likely to be the only person wearing one -- no one under age 60 seems to wear them anymore. Otherwise, I'd wear black shoes; a white or light blue shirt; a conservative, yet perhaps colorful tie. French cuffs could work too, but I'd say it depends on who you are and who the client is - for example, I'd wear them to meet with entertainment industry clients, but not to meet with auto industry clients.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot for your input guys...I think I will go with a solid white shirt-and with the French cuffs; I think the three-piece suit calls for it. I didn't think of the pocket square...I think a straight-fold just peeking over the pocket will look sharp and neat, but not too flashy.
post #9 of 15
I like french cuffs, but all my fc shirts are from Jantzen, and Ricky makes very small discreet french cuffs. I wear them with silk knots and you can hardly tell I'm not wearing a barrell cuff.
post #10 of 15
IMO I would stay away from the white shirt/red tie combo. Choose something with a bit more color, and not quite so conservative. While it definitely works, its just like tons of other sales guys out there. Head over to Thomas Pink and get a nice shirt from them if you want easy and really nice. They also have some nice ties... French cuff is fine, but like everyone else said contrasting collars is a bit much. Stick with a single color and wear nice but not overblown cufflinks. I personally have a nice silver set that is nice, but not overblown. Its all a balance of making sure people notice and remember you, but not enough for them to start picking you apart. Scot oh, and a nice polish on your shoes is a good thing.
post #11 of 15
Head over to Thomas Pink and get a nice shirt from them if you want easy and really nice.  They also have some nice ties...
Opinions on Thomas Pink quality/price ratio in 3,2,1...
post #12 of 15
Originally Posted by scot,29 Sep. 2004, 6:38
Head over to Thomas Pink and get a nice shirt from them if you want easy and really nice.  They also have some nice ties...
Opinions on Thomas Pink quality/price ratio in 3,2,1...
(hopefully it'll be relatively quick and painless, as in "he never knew what hit him"...)
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hey guys... Just wanted to update you all; the presentation went great-it would be egotistical to say I LOOKED like a million bucks but I definately FELT like it. I got so many complimenets on the three-piece that day, I am going to order a charcoal gray, pinstripe one from Hickey Freedman here in Manhattan. I had mentioned this in another post, but didn't get the response I needed: I am thinking about getting notched lapels on the vest. The salesman is very much for it, and I think it adds another layer of slick, dapper power...I am not sure. I was even thinking of ordering two vests with the suit; one with, one I could have the lapelled one for weddings, Midnight Mass, etc. What do you think?
post #14 of 15
Glad to hear it went well. As for the vest, why not? If it's custom, you may as well get all the options up front. If you decide you don't like the lapelled vest (you probably will), you can always wear it on riverboat gambling night or something.
post #15 of 15
I love the lapelled vest look. Very sharp. And in the event that you are forced to remove your jacket, it still gives you a very polished if (slightly) more relaxed look. Never been one for the "regular" cut vest. Although I have just inherited a 1960s Gieves 3 piece that has a lapel-less vest, so my opinion may change after the minor alts and a few wearings
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