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A fish out of water? Classic menswear in "industrial" market

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I work as a Territory Sales Manager overseeing 32 of this nation's great states, working directly with salesmen, sales manager and owners of agricultural tractor dealership groups. If you are not familiar with this industry, don't judge. While the roots are "country", many are now mega-groups consisting of 10+ store locations and hundreds of millions of dollars in sales, being run more like a corporate entity.

 

I've never been a great dresser, but aspire to be. Typical daily wear (as encouraged by my employer) are a nice pair of dark jeans, and a company polo. Often a ball cap with our logo.

 

Now, some days this is completely necessary, such as when I'm setting up and running a tradeshow outside in the elements. However, most days I am either in an office setting or traveling (car or plane) to visit with dealerships.

 

I love how I look in a suit. But, it begs the question, would I be overdressed? What are my classic options? Suit sans tie? Ready, set, go:

post #2 of 4
I know guys in your field and yes, you would be overdressed. A suit, even sans tie, would get the wrong kind of attention. Your "classic" option is a good pair of chinos, Oxford cloth button down, and a pair of boots. Alden makes some great boot options...chukka, Indy, grain short wings, etc.
post #3 of 4

I know guys in your field, and I also know guys who would be your clients/customers, and yes, you would look overdressed and it probably wouldn't be taken positively.  That said, there is nothing to say that you cant look nice without looking too dressed up.  Nicer jeans (there are myriad options), a nice pair of boots - you could go for something fom Viberg for a nicer take on a classic workboot look, or a pair of Aldens, or a pair of Trickers or Alfred Sargents, and be fine, a well fitting white or blue shirt under a good sweater - these won't turn off your customers.  You could also get a good bag from a company like JP Marcellino or Frank Clegg.  

 

And hey, I would love to one a small chain of tractor dealerships.  Those things are money in the bank.

post #4 of 4
I think you could pull off a sports coat, unstructured, on top of an oxford cloth button down, nice jeans (would recommend you stick with jeans or khakis, in tan, olive and maybe navy) and chukka boots (Alden makes really nice ones, as Murlsquirl mentioned)

If you must wear company attire, well, that's part of the deal with working for a company...

I also work in an industry (media) where dressing better than my peers or sources is just not going to cut it. So at work, I settle for good quality, comfortable shoes that aren't flashy, and well-made and properly fitted basics.

The good news is that with the rise of slim-fitting off the rack clothes in the last 10 years, you have many affordable options.

You might want to start by experimenting with fit. I don't know if you have access to a Brooks Brothers store, but they have 4 shirt fits, from extra-slim to traditional (i.e., baggy), and at least 3 pants fits. Brooks isn't what it used to be, but they are still a step up from mall brands, and they have comparatively good customer service and return policies.
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