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Advice on dressing up?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I am having a peculiar problem; I would like to dress up but my work environment makes it hard to do it well.

A bit of background first. I work as a product designer in a large company, leading a team there. Given this is mostly IT, the dress code doesn't really exist to begin with. Bosses high up can be barefoot or in Bermuda shorts, for one. T-shirts are common. And Dilbert, when it comes to engineers. Sweaters and hoodies when it comes to my peers. The office have a few that dress in suits and seem to pay attention to what they wear, but end up looking like charicatures that are out of their rightful place.

Another aspect is my role and how the clothes should reflect that - stand out some, but not become a joke. Express creativity. I've done my share of street wear and splashes of color, but now when I close my 40's I feel a bit more... continental perhaps. I like my brogue oxfords/derbys, trench coats and black architect turtlenecks, but that is a little one sided. White shirts I've tried feel ok, but might need a bit more of splash of something.

Ideas would be welcomed!
post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueTide View Post

I am having a peculiar problem; I would like to dress up but my work environment makes it hard to do it well.

A bit of background first. I work as a product designer in a large company, leading a team there. Given this is mostly IT, the dress code doesn't really exist to begin with. Bosses high up can be barefoot or in Bermuda shorts, for one. T-shirts are common. And Dilbert, when it comes to engineers. Sweaters and hoodies when it comes to my peers. The office have a few that dress in suits and seem to pay attention to what they wear, but end up looking like charicatures that are out of their rightful place.

Another aspect is my role and how the clothes should reflect that - stand out some, but not become a joke. Express creativity. I've done my share of street wear and splashes of color, but now when I close my 40's I feel a bit more... continental perhaps. I like my brogue oxfords/derbys, trench coats and black architect turtlenecks, but that is a little one sided. White shirts I've tried feel ok, but might need a bit more of splash of something.

Ideas would be welcomed!

 

Sounds like you need a few pairs of chinos and a good selection of button downs.  You can check out Epaulet NY for both of those as they make great stuff and the styling shots will give you a good idea of how to pair.  For shoes, I would go with a nice round toe suede chukka.  Something like Alden's unlined chukka, but if that is too much, nothing wrong with a pair of Clark's Desert Boots.  You'll look nice without standing out.

post #3 of 5
Sport jacket with gingham shirt is almost a fashion cliche, but in this case it might be a smart solution some days of the week. Purple-on-white stripe is another potential tool. Epaulet happens to be one of the retailers that sells moleskin trousers, which can be an interesting alternative to chinos in cool weather.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Murlsquirl View Post
 

 

Sounds like you need a few pairs of chinos and a good selection of button downs.  You can check out Epaulet NY for both of those as they make great stuff and the styling shots will give you a good idea of how to pair.  For shoes, I would go with a nice round toe suede chukka.  Something like Alden's unlined chukka, but if that is too much, nothing wrong with a pair of Clark's Desert Boots.  You'll look nice without standing out.


Thanks! I'll look into these suggestions. It is a fine line I need to walk not to become too mundane or look too out of place.

post #5 of 5
Some day the masters of the modern corporate world may come to realize that those stodgy old dress codes of yore were actually liberating as no one had to agonize over questions like yours. The problem is related to the reasoning behind why all schools in Africa (and some Western prep schools) still require uniforms, which provide a simple way to equalize everyone so they can get about their studies and not worry about who has better clothes or richer parents. But when bosses wear t-shirts and hoodies, what is the junior staffer who still appreciates tailored clothes supposed to do? In my younger, allegedly more important days, I used to tell cub reporters at my newspaper that if they dressed like a slob everyone would know they weren't having lunch with someone important. Ties magically appeared. Today that advice would be ridiculous, but there is a happy medium. Wear the most expensive "office casual" you can find: tailored slacks, worsted blazers, dobby shirts (no French cuffs), silk socks, full grain calf derbies or monks or chukkas. On dress-down Fridays skip the white linen pocket square. This look will scream "casual" to knuckle-dragging superiors but will whisper "classy" to those who know.
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