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Accessories & Upclassing the Odd Jacket

entatine

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So, Styleforum, please help me with ideas on upclassing my odd jacket/dress pants.

Attending conferences (+ VIP events), it's difficult to stand out with what I like to wear. I'm comfortable in the white button-up & odd jacket/dress pants combo. It works well for me. I have quality dress shoes, a solid signature cologne, and a few other, unique stand-out features.

What's the problem you ask? :brick:

Typically at these conferences, there is an ocean filled with these three categories of attendee style:
  1. Jacket, button-up, jeans, cheap dress shoes
  2. Jacket, t-shirt, slip-ons
  3. T-shirt, jeans, running shoes
At the VIPs, it's 75% the jacket/jeans guys. I'd like to stand out just a bit more. However, even with the dress pants, I still feel like I'm blending in but rarely feel comfortable adding accessories.
  • Tie - other than well-dressed bankers in suits, the only time I see ties is on the guys I know who are very sloppy dressers. Some of you pull it off very well, but it's too stuffy and out-of-place for me.
  • Pocket square - I can't get into these. I want to like them, but I don't. Better than a tie, but still feels out-of-place.
  • Flowers - I'd love to wear a small flower, but they seem distracting and try-hard. (Apparently, there's also some new trend in pocket boutonnieres for weddings) :wow:
  • Enamel pins - When smaller, these have sometimes worked. I have one that gives off vibes that I'm a politician (which is fine given who I am). However, I still struggle with them.
Anything else or am I basically at a dead-end?
 

TheIronDandy

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Scarves? Can be hard at indoor events, though. Smaller scarves (more suited for indoors) can look a bit dainty.
Watch. Having a nice mechanical watch can make a subtle distinction from the smartwatches that have become the norm.
Jewelry is not for everyone, but it can be a way to shake up the corporate look a bit. Consider your audience, and err on the side of subtle.
You may also consider carrying something other than a pocket square in your pocket: sunglasses can add a subtle dash of color to a dark jacket, a quality pen might as well (though pens are increasingly becoming anachronistic :( )
 

KOz

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Any pictures of your outfit? Might provide some context.
 

breakaway01

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adding accessories and 'unique stand-out features' (what are those, by the way?) isn't as important IMO has having great fit and styling. Since most people at these events, even if they are VIPs, don't dress all that well (as you said, jackets with jeans & sneakers) you can stand out just from an impeccable fit. There is some risk in looking like a dandy or try-hard at conferences unless this is part of your personal brand. Agree that some more context (what kinds of conferences? are you in fact a politician -- if so at what level?) and photos would be helpful.
 

entatine

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Scarves? Can be hard at indoor events, though. Smaller scarves (more suited for indoors) can look a bit dainty.
Watch. Having a nice mechanical watch can make a subtle distinction from the smartwatches that have become the norm.
Jewelry is not for everyone, but it can be a way to shake up the corporate look a bit. Consider your audience, and err on the side of subtle.
You may also consider carrying something other than a pocket square in your pocket: sunglasses can add a subtle dash of color to a dark jacket, a quality pen might as well (though pens are increasingly becoming anachronistic :( )

Great recommendations.
  • Scarves are different, and I have a very nice one, but I'm in South Florida, so it only gets use one week a year.
  • My watches are classy luxury. So I'm covered there. Wish I could pop for a A. Lange & Söhne, but I guess that's for another thread.
  • I love the idea of sunglasses or a pen. The pen is very practical for me, since I'm into nice ones. I would definitely use it. Sunglasses are functional here too.

Any pictures of your outfit? Might provide some context.

Being new, I'm a little shy still. :)

adding accessories and 'unique stand-out features' (what are those, by the way?) isn't as important IMO has having great fit and styling. Since most people at these events, even if they are VIPs, don't dress all that well (as you said, jackets with jeans & sneakers) you can stand out just from an impeccable fit. There is some risk in looking like a dandy or try-hard at conferences unless this is part of your personal brand. Agree that some more context (what kinds of conferences? are you in fact a politician -- if so at what level?) and photos would be helpful.

Professional conferences in tech, healthcare, regional economy, self-improvement, management, business. That sort of stuff. Active in local politics but have only run, not served. Somewhat involved in various aspects of it.

Stand-out features: extra large beard, well-matched haircut with good product, classic eyeglasses, etc. Hard to miss me in a room.

Maybe I am just overthinking this. I'm comfortable and confident in my style. I'll probably switch it up between pin, pen, sunglasses, but spend more time dialing in my fit and quality. I know it could be worked on.
 

breakaway01

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Stand-out features: extra large beard, well-matched haircut with good product, classic eyeglasses, etc. Hard to miss me in a room.

Maybe I am just overthinking this. I'm comfortable and confident in my style. I'll probably switch it up between pin, pen, sunglasses, but spend more time dialing in my fit and quality. I know it could be worked on.
sounds like you already have a personal sense of style and are comfortable in your own skin. That's great. I agree, would focus on tuning your fit -- the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts.
 

entatine

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If your dress trousers have loops, some belt styles might work.

I'll confess that I have no idea about belt styles with dress pants/jackets. There's black or brown. Lizard skin maybe? lol.

Also, I have no idea how to tell when belts with dress pants are in-style or out of style. I hear conflicting things from friends. Any verdict in 2024?
 

breakaway01

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I always wear a belt with an odd jacket. Trend now is towards skinnier belts (1”)

Some suit trousers have side adjusters.
 

Hₑighthere

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I can't tell you what's fashionable (and my conferencing reference points are largely academic), but a way to add a bit of interest is to get one with a plain buckle but some brogueing or an embossed pattern on the leather. For something a bit more adventurous, maybe a braided belt. Here are a few of mine to give you an idea of what's possible; the middle one is what I'd generally pick for a conference. The fourth is more attention-grabbing; the fifth I usually wear with casual trousers, but I might try a rope braid if I were going for a laid-back feel.

20240222_221639.jpg
 

entatine

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Isn't there a difference between physical presence and style? They're related, I'm sure, but different. I have some physical presence, but I want my style to also be memorable and stand-out.
 

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