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Please Help me Dress Smart

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Already posted a few messages on here but this is the crux of the matter. Please help me smarten myself up. I'd like to start dressing much better and swap my jeans and t-shirt look for suits and the like. Mind you, until I'm in the swim of things I don't want to spend a great deal so won't be able to do designer or bespoke just yet. Any advice anyone can give for making the switch will be much appreciated. To me it seems a big step for someone to look one way one day and completely different the next so if anyone can help I would really appreciate it. It's something I want to do but need a bit of a shove.
post #2 of 18
My sincere advice would be to read SF, look at the what are you wearing now thread, and search. You have asked a very general question, and the answer is SF. Pick through it and then ask specifics please.

Regards.
PS. Look for staple clothing of a wardrobe, then build on it.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Funny thing is I don't think it's so much the working out what to wear. I'm willing to give anything a go. It's more having the courage to look a bit different to how people usually expect you to look that I am struggling with. Especially when they are all used to seeing me casual. Any advice from anyone who has been this would be really useful.
post #4 of 18
unless you're looking for comments from your friends, you do need to make the transformation slowly
I started adding a jacket to casual pants (jeans/chinos/etc) when going to mid-level restaurants where few people wear jacket
I also started expanding the colors I would choose from when dressing for work (suits)
over the last year though, while slowly, I was able to start dressing "smarter"
post your size (and PM me in addition), as there are a number of minimally used, well cared for items posted here that can be obtained for little money and make a dramatic difference
post #5 of 18
Sorry, I didnt quite get your question initially. I would slowly change, one article of clothing at a time. Instead of jeans, switch over to Khakis/cotton pants, then change the polo to a shirt...then add a jacket if you so desire. Then switch over the cotton pants to wool...and so on and so forth.
There is a transition, make it slow and prepare for compliments.

Regards.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by drducky View Post
unless you're looking for comments from your friends, you do need to make the transformation slowly
I started adding a jacket to casual pants (jeans/chinos/etc) when going to mid-level restaurants where few people wear jacket
I also started expanding the colors I would choose from when dressing for work (suits)
over the last year though, while slowly, I was able to start dressing "smarter"
post your size (and PM me in addition), as there are a number of minimally used, well cared for items posted here that can be obtained for little money and make a dramatic difference

Hi
I'm 5 ft 9 inches
about 12 and a half stone
40" chest
36" waist
torso longer than legs
brown hair/blue eyes
mid 30s but look younger (honest not lying!!)

any style advice would be appreciated

I have come to a stage where I really want to look really good.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Shameless bump.

Come on, I need a bit of help and lots more encouragement with this!
post #8 of 18
Stay on this sub forum and don't go anywhere else on this site.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kappasigma View Post
Shameless bump. Come on, I need a bit of help and lots more encouragement with this!
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coho View Post
Stay on this sub forum and don't go anywhere else on this site.

No I wasn't planning to. Just looking for a bit of advice that's all! Want to make a change and finding it a bit of a tall order.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by kappasigma View Post
No I wasn't planning to. Just looking for a bit of advice that's all! Want to make a change and finding it a bit of a tall order.

I'm sorry that you're not getting the feedback that you are seeking. I would recommend reading the following, just as a starter:

http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/T...icWardrobe.htm

It sounds like you really don't have a wardrobe right now - you just have a collection of clothes that you have acquired up to this point. The post that I provided will give you the basics of what you need if you want to build and "invest" in a quality wardrobe.

You are well advised to take your time on everything.

Read, read, read... you have already been given that advice. Take it. There are many good books to read. There's a reading list available on this fourm. I personally like "The Suit", Nicholas Antongiavanni, and two Alan Flusser books, "Clothes and the Man" and "Dressing the Man." The latter book is more current. The author of the first book frequetly posts on this forum as "manton". I would suggest going to the advanced search function and pull up all of his posts and read each one. It will take some time, but when you're finished you will have given yourself an education.

Then go through this forum and read the other threads, especially the "Hall of Fame" (HOF) threads and the "What Are You Wearing Right Now" thread.

After you do all of that, think about how you want to project your personal image/style. That might be hard to do so you can pick some celebrities whose style you like and study what they do.

After you get a sense of your destination, you can begin your journey. As Stephen Covey says, "Always begin with the end in mind." When you begin look for pieces that are consistent with what you are trying to achieve. You can do this frugally. The Selling and Buying forum here offers some extraordinary opportunities to acquire quality clothing at a fraction of its original cost.

There is no simple answer to your question and I think this accounts for the reticence in the responses. There are some well turned out celebrities out there, but they all seem to have their own look. Compare Spike Lee versus George Clooney. Each one looks good to me but they are different. They also have defined what they want to project and have stayed true to their sense of style.

I wish you well on your journey. The best advise has already been given to you, stick with us and enjoy the ride. You will "gradually" progress on your journey and if you choose to stay with us, we will be at your side. Ultimately you will get to where you want to be. You must be patient though.
post #11 of 18
There are some questions that you have to put to yourself:
1. What is the budget that you dispose of ?
2. Your current job requires a suit?
3. How do you feel in a jacket and tie, plus leather soled shoes?

Aside the case in which you suddenly dispose of a great quantity of money (lottery, inheritance, etc), a wardrobe change will cost you, so a certain amount of planning is necessary! Even with e-bay, sales, etc, you will need some budget to do that, and if you are a normal person, it will take some time.
First - buy the basics! If you need suits for the job go for 2 suits, each with 2 pairs of trousers - one gray, one navy (you will have a good rotation on trousers, which, from my experience are the part which gets more wear and tear). Buy the best quality you can afford, all year round. Do not invest in "brands", but try to find 1. the best fabric and 2. the best construction you can afford. Stay away from "great deals", there are always pitfalls.
If you do not need suits for your work, things are simpler (in a way) - you can get out with 2 sport coats and 4 pairs of trousers as foundation for your wardrobe, and that can include jeans (I know that some of our american colleagues wont be happy with that, but classic jeans can be smartened with a quality blazer and shirt). 2 flannels - mid-gray and charcoal, one chino, one jeans as "starter pack" for trousers, one very good quality navy blazer, one gray more coarse fabric (herringbone, tweedy, etc).
Shirts - again we go with the 2 case scenario - suit and sports. A minimal shirt wardrobe is half a dozen 6. If you go for the suit way you could do 3 whites, 3 blues (light to medium), french cuffs. If you go for blazers BD cotton oxfords are the best choice 3 blues, 1 pink, 1 white, 1 gingham (at least that will be my 1 week travel choice), barrel cuffs. Also buy the best you can afford, but the must is 100% cotton, no poly cotton mixes.
Shoes - 3 pairs 2 brown, 1 black, leather soled, goodyear welted. Styles, up to you, but the safest way is 1 black captoe oxford, 1 brown brogue, 1 derby. 2 belts, one black, one brown. The same - best quality that you can afford, and then take care of them (when you pay over 200 USD on a pair of shoes, you tend to be more careful with them). Wooden shoe trees are a must, good quality cream and wax also. Apply a conditioner after wearing them, put them on wooden shoe trees, let them rest, wax them before each wearing, 3-5 wears apply cream and re wax.
Ties - also 6 3 reds, 3 blue (they are the most versatile) 1 polka dot form each other, 1 repp from each other, 2 at your choice.
If you go on the french (double) cuff a dressy, but cheap, accessory are silk knots and barrels instead of cufflinks (if you read all the recommendations made until now, you are already spending a solid budget). Coordinate them with your ties.
If you wear eye glasses, one of your foremost concern is to be sure that you have a pair of extremely good looking eye glasses. I would say that must be your first priority.
Add to that some dressy socks (ladies love them) to complement your shoes, at least one cologne that fits you (good one, not supermarket brand), a good watch (vintage is a solution).
The comes the overcoat, gloves, head wear, scarfs, umbrellas, brief-case, luggage, shades.
A last piece of advice - the most important thing in a suit is FIT, not brand. So, try, take a lady friend with you when shopping (they have a good eye on details), find a good alterations tailor.
post #12 of 18
I would make the transition slowly as suggested - I think jeans and a shirt (with no tie) is a good smart but casual look that perhaps you could start with? If you have to wear a suit to work and are looking to smarten that up then why not start small and get a quality tie - drakes do a fantastic handmade tie, 50oz silk - they are around the £70 so perhaps treat yourself to one for a birthday
post #13 of 18
Tough question because it's fairly broad. But here's my shot at some advice:

- Buy a few pair of khaki pants

- If you need a suit, try Jos. A. Banks. If budget allows, try Nordstrom. They have good people that will help you, in my opinion. Banks does to, for the most part. I recenlty bought a suit at Banks and my only problem is that I'm not sure it really fits me perfectly. A good tailor could solve that problem. But, my wife thinks it looks great on me, and frankly, that's all that matters to me.

- Banks or Nortstrom will have nice dress pants. I bought a few pair of silk pants at Nordstrom Rack that I wear frequently.

- A good navy blazer will go a long ways. They are verstile.

- Try outlet stores for the staples like button down shirts. Polo is generally good. Nordstroms will have some and I've had luck at their outlet store.

- Get some decent shoes and decent dress socks. Cole Hahns are good to start with. I'd suggest a pair of loafers... they can go with jeans as well. I'm not as fluent on the types of shoes, but there are a lot of examples of great lace up shoes as well which are important. As for socks, buy decent ones at the outlet stores. Patterns are great... be as bold as you want to be. Stripes seem to be in by looking at this web site, but buy what you want. Just remember that you generally want to match your socks to your pants, but have the pattern match something else. Or, just be bold and wear a completely different color. Personally, I believe shoes and socks are important to your look. Oh, and make sure the shoes are comfortable.

- Brands are important for quality, but when starting out, I wouldn't worry so much about them. Some will find horror in this statement, but I bought a few $99 suits from Syms when I graduated college 20 years ago. I still have one that barely fits, but is still roughly in style. If I had it let out, it would fit me. But, at this stage in my life, I've just bought a couple of new suits. I rarely need a suit so I just have two that fit well on me. I do have several sport coats. Personally (and some will yell at me), I could never swallow spending more than $1000 for a suit.

All my humble opinion.
post #14 of 18
Are you a college student?

My advice:

Spend a lot of time reading SF, look at the WAYWT thread to get inspired and learn what looks you like.

I would first invest in the basics: A couple of pairs of nice pants, depending on your price range get some incotex or bill's khaki's if you have the money to spend. You say you are a jeans and t-shirt guy, which is fine, but invest in a nice pair of jeans. There is plenty to read in SW&D on that subject.

Buy at least a couple pairs of nice shoes. A good cheap start would be a pair of clark's desert boots, a pair of lace up Allen Edmond's or comparable if you can afford it-- maybe something a little more fashion forward like Paul Smith if you can afford it. I would also buy some basic fashion sneakers like a pair of chuck taylors or Rod Lavers.

Invest in a couple versatile sweaters. A nice grey or navy blue cashmere sweater will serve you well. Also get one or two merino wool sweaters in crew or v-neck.

I would personally invest in a couple odd sport coats if you have the money. Something tweed or navy blue to start with. As some have said-- a suit is a good investment. If you don't have any cash, ebay it or go to JAB and get something navy blue and versatile.

Obviously invest in things like a good dress belt that will serve you well. Again-- if you have the money I would buy two watches: one dress, one sport. Even with a low budget you could buy yourself a Seiko Submariner style watch on a nato band for about $150 and get yourself some kind of simple dress watch for another 100-300.

I would stop wearing white socks except to excercise in or occassionally when wearing sneaks. Get a bunch of navy blue dress socks to start with.

Small accents like pocket squares, ties, belts, socks, will come with time and are well worth it.

I would invest in dress shirts. Jantzen makes a good product if you are willing to wait. My personal opinion is that in the mean time you buy a couple Charles Thr. or Brooks shirts in basic colors like white and blue. Add on some pinks, purples, patterns as you find your personal style.
post #15 of 18
You are all using too many words. If he were able to read he wouldn't be asking the question in the first place.
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