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Where to start

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by dunivan, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. dunivan

    dunivan Member

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    Hey all,

    First time poster, I have been a reader for a few weeks. I am a new attorney looking to start defining my style, but do not really know where to start.

    As of now, I have a navy suit and black suit from JAB and 2 suits (gray and navy pinstripe) being tailored.

    I am looking for some advice on where to start in building a professional wardrobe without making some of the rookie mistakes you (the reader) may have made.

    So lets have it, where do I start?
     
  2. YRR92

    YRR92 Well-Known Member

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  3. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Well-Known Member

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    Identify the mistakes you already have made. For example, the black suit. The only way to change the style much with little risk of making significant mistakes (in aesthetics, price, etc.) is hand-holding, such as below.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  4. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Well-Known Member

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    The mistakes thread is truly a treasure; learning from other people's mistakes is a great way to prevent yourself from making more. In general, a few guiding principles may help too:

    1) Understand your needs and your work environment (e.g. needing a suit everyday vs. needing one for court and client meetings).
    2) Do not forget to invest in good shoes. A great outfit with bad shoes looks awful. You're also on your feet way too much to buy lousy shoes. Make sure your shoes match the formality of your outfits (oxfords with suits, etc.).
    3) Make sure everything you buy fits well. If it doesn't, it looks like shit.
    4) Be honest about your budget. Figure out what you can afford and go from there.
    5) Be patient. Rome was not built in a day and your wardrobe should not be either.
    6) Stick to basic staples no matter how tempting something may look.
    7) Buy the best quality you can afford. It looks better and lasts longer.
    8) Never buy anything just because it is on sale. It will sit in the back of your closet and end up being more expensive than something you buy at full retail and wear all the time.
     
  5. TM79

    TM79 Well-Known Member

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    Not to be too terse, but that black suit is nearly useless to you.
     
  6. MisterFu

    MisterFu Well-Known Member

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    I think number 5 is key. Buy the good stuff and don't be afraid to wear the same suit several time in a week (if need be, get a second pair of pants if you are going MTM or bespoke). People buy a boatload of cheap suits or outfits because they don't want to be seen wearing the same suit back to back. Truth is, people generally don't remember what you wore day before yesterday, but they sure do notice what you're wearing right in front of them. Buy fewer good items and wear them more often.
     
  7. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. Also, people are way less likely to notice you're wearing the same suit if it is something basic like a navy or grey solid. Light colors, stripes, etc. are much more likely to be noticed in this regard.
     
  8. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Well-Known Member

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    9) Try on suits, jackets, and footwear in person before ordering. (Some styling details need not be the same as the intended purchase.)
    10) Don't buy duplicates (other than underwear or socks), and avoid-near duplicates (when someone already has had success with an item, then it might be okay to buy another one in a similar color, for example).
    11) Know appearance strengths and weaknesses. (If this were about casual clothing, personality strengths and weaknesses also would be important.) That is where people make mistakes that are hard to avoid even if they know others' mistakes (e.g., guy ordering from Suit Supply and not realizing he's muscular by suit-wearer standards) and one of the biggest reasons someone literally should be looked at if he wants to make a virtually mistake-free major wardrobe change.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  9. MisterFu

    MisterFu Well-Known Member

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    Just to illustrate in an extreme manner (because it's been a long day and I feel punchy), which of these two suits A. looks better and B. would you remember exactly the last time someone wore?

    Option 1:


    [​IMG]


    Option 2:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Well-Known Member

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    On 9) Once you know how a particular fit / model / last works for you, you can probably get away with buying things with that same fit / model / last. Not sure if that's what you meant with your parenthetical but think it should be expanded a bit if not.
    On 10) Disagree. There is nothing wrong with having a few of the same white / light blue shirts (louder shirts I understand the argument more). Likewise, if a particular suit model fits you and you need multiple suits, there is nothing wrong with buying one in solid grey and one in solid navy (though I agree you should branch out before buying a second version of the exact same navy suit). Same idea with odd trousers. I see no issue having a few of the same trouser if it is a staple piece that looks good on you and fits with the rest of your wardrobe.
     
  11. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Well-Known Member

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    Yes, agree with "once you know how a particular fit / model / last works for you." The parenthetical comment applies to color, perforations, etc., but balmoral vs. blucher can make a difference in fit.

    Pants might be okay to almost duplicate eventually and doing that with dress shirts isn't a huge sin, but the typical guy should avoid anything close to suit duplication. It's a uniformity that could be noticed at work, and suit styles evolve such that the wardrobe likely would be dated faster.
     
  12. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Well-Known Member

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    I see where you're coming from with the first sentence and agree with the balmoral vs. blucher fit comment.

    Re: suit duplicaton, are you seriously suggesting that a classically styled and proportioned suit cannot be purchased in a couple of different colors? If you look good in two button suits, there's no sense buying three button suits to avoid "duplication" or buying sack suits instead of well fitted ones. I could see the issue with super skinny or super wide lapels or maybe wearing a DB everyday, but I think in general people should avoid fashion extremes with their suits precisely so they don't look dated. Maybe we're on the same page, but I'm struggling to understand the suit duplication argument (buying different colors of the same suit) when we're talking about conservative colors and classic proportions.
     
  13. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Well-Known Member

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    Let's suppose that having 2 out of 5 suits be classically styled duplicates in different, basic colors can be not terrible, in some cases (especially if someone wears a very hard-to-find size). Still the idea that avoiding duplication means buying inferior items is a false dichotomy. Differences in fabric, pocket styling, button materials, vents, etc. often will be present between two conservative suits of the same size from different brands and to onlookers will subtly or subconsciously signal that the wearer is not a rigid person who lacks a sense of variety. (By the way, consider that some people are color-blind and might not distinguish, say, medium gray from dark gray.).
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  14. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Well-Known Member

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    It can be tough to find a brand / model that fits one well OTR, so picking out a variety of brands can lead to an inferior product. By your logic, someone who owns ten bespoke suits made with the same basic pattern and configuration will be presumed stuffy and to lack a sense of variety even if there are a variety of different colors and patterns and no one suit is the same. This is what I take issue with. People in my experience notice color, pattern and fit. Subtle differences between brands that fit one similarly are just not going to convey a sense of variety IMO that is not conveyed by the difference in colors and patterns.
     
  15. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps so, but if it's a conservative workplace, the colors and patterns probably will be restricted, and then other suit details (or ties, shoes, hairstyle, etc.) will be visual determinants of whether someone is, ahem, a "stuffed suit." We're far enough from the original purpose of the thread now.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
  16. dunivan

    dunivan Member

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    Wow, some great insight here - thanks for the input.

    I happen to love the black suit, and it is surprisingly common to see a black suit in court, that said, I will not buy another one. I think charcoal is more useful.

    As for budget - I am a new attorney so Jos. A. Bank (GASP!) is comfortable on the wallet, although I know I will be replacing them in 2-3 years.

    I am redefining with staples to start (white, light blue shirt oxford shirts, conservative ties [hard to ditch my Garcia ties though :(], etc)

    As for shoes, I do see the value there first, so I will try to improve that area first.

    Keep it coming and thanks again!
     
  17. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Well-Known Member

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    Depending on how many suits you need, it may be worth your while to try to score one slightly higher quality suit that will stay in your wardrobe for awhile after you replace the JAB stuff and that you can wear for special occasions (solid grey or navy would be a good choice for such a suit). Just a thought and no worries if that just isn't sensible with your budget now. If JAB is what you can afford right now, just make sure you buy the right size and it fits you in the shoulders (I shopped at JAB briefly pre-SF for my first job after undergrad because it was affordable and I definitely had people try to sell me a jacket that was too big) and get them tailored.

    For shirts, I recommend Charles Tyrwhitt over anything from JAB. You can check out the Charles Tyrwhitt thread for thoughts on fits and sizing, but these shirts are much better than what JAB sells IMO. If you buy on the UK website, they are having their 4 for 100GBP semi-perpetual "sale," which translates to 4 for $160 or so plus shipping ($40 per shirt).
     
  18. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Well-Known Member

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    CT is better than JAB, but there's no CT in Florida and 4 items of anything from an unfamiliar brand is too much. T.M. Lewin also has ongoing sales and is better than Jos. A. Bank.

    Making sure of the fit should involve sharing pictures somewhere or feedback from a good tailor in person
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013
  19. TM79

    TM79 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think 4 items is too much if the store allows for returns and you happen to know what size you are.

    I mean, a 15.5/34 (as an example) isn't going to vary widely from one maker to the other and there are certainly enough CT posts on this forum if the OTR fit is a question.
     

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