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Wardrobe help - casual in the summer

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'm starting a new job in Scottsdale, Arizona where the summer temperatures are 110+. This is an engineering profession where fashion is usually Dockers and Polo shirts. Like it or not, that's the way it is for engineers, in the summer, in Arizona. That being said, I don't necessarily want to follow that "trend", but showing up to work in a long sleeve shirt and tie in the Arizona summer would land me a session with a counselor. I'm looking for suggestions on shirts and/or slacks. I want to look fashionable and nicely dressed without looking like I'm out of place. Engineers have a reputation of being geeky dressed nerds, and it is a reputation that is deserved. I would like to look better than that. I should mention that I am 45 and this is a Senior level engineering position where I will be directing others. However, even the upper management folks do not wear ties. It is what it is, I can't change that. Any help is greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 6
Arizona in the heat is no treat, but it is better than a humid east coat summer, IMO. I think it's doable to wear a tie if you loosen it and leave the top button of your shirt undone (as I duck tomatoes). But the tieless look is a fine option. If you are insistent on wearing a sportcoat, something in a very, very lightweight wool would probably work. I sold an unlined, unstructured Belvest suit that weight about 8 oz. and wouldn't have caused overheating. Still, it seems like getting a truly lightweight (it couldn't be a fused piece) sportcoat might be a big expenditure. They are tough to find at discount (though the "Brooks Cool" at Brooks Brothers was a pretty nice fully canvassed summer suit for $700. I used to wear very lightweight wool trousers or lightweight cotton (a mid weight cotton is less kind than a lightweight wool trouser) and a thin broadcloth shirt. A pair of nice split toe shoes works well with this outfit, I think (like the Peals at BB). So, that's what I'd go with -- lightweight wool trousers in mid grey and light grey, and probably some version of tan; light colored broadcloth shirts (go with nice end on end or patterns to add some color and creativity); and a fairly thin soled (no double soled) split toe lace up in a medium brown color. This isn't nerdy in the least.
post #3 of 6
Although they don't have the best reputation here (particularly among the younger set), Tommy Bahama makes some very nice silk trousers. I have several pairs which I wear in the summer and they have held up very well for a number of years. I like the fit and the look. Also, they are priced reasonably (generally well under $200). Linen and tropical wool are also good choices (you can probably get these right now from any number of retailers at various price points). As for shirts, any number of companies sell camp shirts made of cotton, linen, or silk at various price points. Tommy Bahama and Nat Nast are good choices, IMHO, but both are cut very full (both also have some more outlandish designs which are worth avoiding, particularly in a work environment - when I say "outlandish" I don't mean fashion forward - I mean loud and off-putting IMHO). There are undoubtedly other companies who do something similar with a slimmer cut. It should be self-evident, but no ties with short sleeve shirts (I don't care what Sipowicz does - besides, his show is off the air now). As an aside, I just purchased a Lorenzini short sleeve button front linen shirt from our very own Lance Hughes (a/k/a discostu), and I can't wait for warmer weather so I can wear it. It has a rich blue color (not quite navy) with a lighter blue tattersall pattern. Conservative, but I like it. BTW, Lance provides excellent service, and the clothing he sells is top notch. Highly recommended. Best regards, Jeff
post #4 of 6
YMark - Welcome aboard the Styleforum from another Valley of Sun resident. I agree with your instincts, don't wear a tie - especially in the fun summer heat here and in fact, for your position, I probably wouldn't even wear a jacket - lest you want to be mistaken for one of the "suits" from the corporate office. I would stick with linen or lightweight wool slacks, paired with an open spread-collar cotton or linen dress shirt - roll the sleeves for a more casual look or if it's too hot for you. You can do the camp shirt or hawaiian shirt look, but as you're in a senior level position, I might limit that to Fridays. If you really want to wear a jacket, get a lightweight wool or linen unconstructed sportcoat in a tan or light blue (of course I don't actually know your coloring, so this is a generic suggestion.) I'll second the recommendation of Tommy Bahama and would suggest checking out their store at Kierland for ideas. I would also recommend browsing At-Ease at Scottsdale Fashion Square for ideas (you don't have to buy your clothing at these stores, but you'll get a sense of what's available and what you can put together.) As you're already aware, just putting some thought into your look will make you stand out from the other engineers at your workplace. Bradford
post #5 of 6
FWIW, there is a store called The Clotherie located in the Bilmore Shopping Plaza (this is in Phoenix, but it is very close to Scottsdale). They specialize in mid to high end men's casual clothing (or at least they did when I was there on vacation a couple of years ago). I bought a pair of Barry Bricken trousers there. Very good service (they turned around some simple alterations on the trousers in less than a day due to my schedule) and nice apparel. Full price retail, but I imagine they have sales from time to time. There is also a Tommy Bahama located in this shopping plaza. Jeff
post #6 of 6
Quote:
FWIW, there is a store called The Clotherie located in the Bilmore Shopping Plaza (this is in Phoenix, but it is very close to Scottsdale).  They specialize in mid to high end men's casual clothing (or at least they did when I was there on vacation a couple of years ago).  I bought a pair of Barry Bricken trousers there.  Very good service (they turned around some simple alterations on the trousers in less than a day due to my schedule) and nice apparel.  Full price retail, but I imagine they have sales from time to time.  There is also a Tommy Bahama located in this shopping plaza. Jeff
Good point - The Clotherie has a nice selection of clothes as well - the Tommy Bahama at Kierland is bigger than the one at Biltmore Fashion Square, it's two stories with a restaurant, but both are pretty good. There's lots of good shopping in the Valley. Bradford
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