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Advice for My First Work Wardrobe

SYQ

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Hello SF,

I will be graduating this coming June and starting my first full-time job in the Greater Philadelphia area. I will be working in a role with a financial firm that is relatively conservative and will likely be wearing a suit 5 days a week. I am looking for some advice in putting together my first work wardrobe on a reasonable budget.

The basic items I'm planning on purchasing so far are:
2 Suits - <$500; Suit Supply or Spier and Mackay
6 Dress Shirts - <$50; CT
2 Dress Shoes - <$350; Kent Wang or AE
3 Ties - <$25; Tie Bar or Spier and Mackay
Pocket Squares and Cufflinks - Kent Wang?
Leather Bag - SBL or Linjer?

I already own one cheaper navy suit and an overcoat.

Questions:
1. Is sharkskin noticeably less formal than plain navy? Would sharkskin be acceptable in relatively conservative work environment? (http://www.spierandmackay.com/product_information/2844_medium_blue_sharkskin___slim_fit)
2. Is it a bad idea to start with 2 pairs of brown dress shoes?
3. What about 2 blue suits?
4. All blue shirts?
5. Can I fit in wearing French Cuff shirts?

Any advice on anything I can improve or I might have overlooked would be super helpful! Thanks :)
 

mensimageconsultant

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1. Depends on how shiny it is. The pictures give no hints whatsoever. Between that and ordering a suit online (e.g., too tight would look too casual and/or bad), it seems too risky.
2. Yes. Why start without black? What if there's a formal event soon that requires it?
3. Not ideal, but not a crime. This assumes there are some style differences between the two.
4. Bad idea. Any business wardrobe should include white dress shirts. Lack of variety might be interpreted as wearing the same shirt regularly and in turn poor hygiene.
5. Probably sometimes but not 5 days a week.

Also, don't buy a bunch of dress shirts from one brand. Too many things could go wrong. And pocket squares likely would be detrimental to a junior employee's work wardrobe.
 

brokencycle

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1. That is a bad choice if you are going with only two or three suits. If you had 3 or 4 already, I could see adding it.
2. Yes. Start with one black and one brown, but I would add a couple pairs in the near term. Don't forget shoe trees!
3. That is fine, but they should both be solid. You may be better off going one navy and one charcoal. Wear the brown shoes with navy and black with charcoal.
4. Do at least one white shirt.
5. Yes, but you seem to be on a tight budget. Focus on increasing your shoe and suit rotation before worrying about french cuffs and links.

I don't agree with the above about having all shirts from one brand. If you find something that fits well, and you like the quality and price, go for it.

I also don't agree about the pocket square. It is something I would have worried about a few years ago, but I enjoy wearing squares and feel better about my appearance when I do, so I just go with it.
 

Macallan

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1. depends on cloth, seems fine
2. one black, one brown
3. one charcoal or med/dark grey, one navy
4. you would need at least one white shirt , probably maybe even more, consider lilac as well - 2 white, 2 blue, 2 lilac
5. if you want

TO NOTE:
1. You will need at least 5 ties
2. When buying suits, consider spare trousers
 

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