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Adapting formal wardrobe to smart casual

josepidal

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I have a funny forum-induced problem. I started work at a law firm last January, but since I live in a tropical country, the attire is dress shirt and tie sans jacket. Thus, I've invested in a respectable formal wardrobe: brown cap toes, Virtual Clothes Horse dot com ties, french cuff shirts, and wool slacks.

I just got a package, however, from Harvard Law School's graduate program and it looks like I'll have to move heaven and earth to take it. Now, if this comes together, I have to ditch the ties and start dressing like a well-dressed college student again.

How do you adapt these new formal articles to smart casual wear? I know it's a funny question, but I remain a big fan of sysdoc's cap toes and jeans thread. I was wondering, for example, how you pull off a french cuff shirt with jeans.

Sigh. I love these ties.
I'll have to convince my future classmates I'm a tie addict who needs to wear a sport coat and tie to class at least once a week.
 

whoopee

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You can wear the dark oak Mackays with dark raw or rinsed jeans, or of course, grey flannels. Roll up the french cuffs or wear them with silk knots or more casual links under a sport coat. Ties you can wear on the town.
 

acidboy

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companero,
just add a sports coat to the mix.
 

Tomasso

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Get yourself a couple of sport jackets. Wear your FC shirts with silk knots and silk knit ties, jeans and your best shoes. Don't assimilate.
 

hughjoen

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I've seen Frech cuffs and just a dress slacks and no tie in London, and they pull it off pretty well. It help that the guy was clean cut, tall and slim. But I'd hardly see anyone in the States do that. Definitly wear a blazer with French cuff.
 

tiger02

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Originally Posted by josepidal
How do you adapt these new formal articles to smart casual wear? I know it's a funny question, but I remain a big fan of sysdoc's cap toes and jeans thread. I was wondering, for example, how you pull off a french cuff shirt with jeans.
How? With the right attitude. Don't make a big deal out of it and no one else will either. I say this as a stalwart living in a black hole of style.

Tom
 

josepidal

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Thanks for the affirmation. Yes, I do think I can pull it off even though I'm not the tall slim type by a mile. I'm a grad student and a tad older.

For the french cuffs, basically, just wear them with more casual links, but never without links unless you are rolling up the sleeves? I have five simple knot links from the J.Crew shirts I got from the sale that work wonderfully, even here in the office.

As for the sport coats, that is something I've been thinking about. Should I hunt for them in the US when I get there, or have a couple tailored here in Manila? My problem, however, is that I can't find good fabric here, though [email protected] has pointed me to a retailer I can use for simple wool suiting fabric.
 

Cantabrigian

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buy yourself some warm coats and sweaters.

I've never been the the Philippines but Boston winters - which can extend well into calendar Spring - are awful and I think the change may be a bit jarring for you.

Congrats on HLS.
 

LA Guy

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My office is a stones throw away from the HLS, and among the students, it's usually either business casual or, more commonly, jeans and a sweater/fleece/sweatshirt or tee/polo/untucked dress shirt. Badly cut suits for internship interviews (usually paired with French blue shirts) are de rigueur here. Ask Johnnynorman, who is a recent grad. I've seen some more "designer" fashionably dressed students, usually Europeans, and a few "hipster" types, but that's it.
 

philosophe

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Congrats on the HLS. Even better, perhaps you can persuade LA Guy to be your personal wardrobe advisor.
 

chorse123

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If you have a good, inexpensive tailor in Manila definitely get some material and have a few sportcoats made. A windowpane or herringbone tweed and a blazer, maybe a cordurory. You should be able to get bespoke in Manila, even after material costs, for less than good RTW in the US. And congratulations.
 

thinman

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Congratulations! Flusser's "Dressing the Man" has a chapter devoted to business casual that includes some good suggestions for building a wardrobe around sportscoats, dressing down a suit, and including unstructured jackets and sweaters.
 

Dapper Dandy

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As a recent HLS grad, I can tell you that you'll stand out if you dress too well. But, assuming you're going to get your LLM, you will be amongst others who are also already lawyers, so it's not like you'll be hanging out with college students. I do think you'll want to wear jeans more, and that FC shirts can be worn with jeans. Be prepared for some really, really cold winters. If you live near HLS, Rizzos is the best tailor (located in Harvard Square), and I hear good things about Drinkwaters, too, which is up in Porter Square.
 

josepidal

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Originally Posted by LA Guy
My office is a stones throw away from the HLS
Woohoo!!! I'll be sure to PM you before leaving. (All this time I thought you lived in LA.)

People tell me Manila suiting tailors are well below the standards of HK, which is why I have material for a blazer and a suit but have not had them made yet. Think I should go to Hong Kong and have sport coats made there, or is that simply too expensive for what I'd need?

Assuming I have one blazer, how many sport coats should a guy begin with for a place like HLS? I figure at least three? What material is good for that environment (and where do I get it?)? Think an "inferior" Manila tailor will do for a sport coat?
 

Jovan

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Originally Posted by Tomasso
Get yourself a couple of sport jackets. Wear your FC shirts with silk knots and silk knit ties, jeans and your best shoes. Don't assimilate.
Great minds think alike. I sort of dress like this too.
 

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