Advice for undergraduate

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by gibs, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. gibs

    gibs Member

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    Hello Styleforum,

    I am a second year pre-law student at a northern university. My freshman year I chose to join a fraternity, and as part of the pledge process, we were required to wear dress clothes (button ups and slacks) to class every day. I quickly grew accustomed to the change from t-shirts and cargo shorts, and enjoyed the excuse to dress like the type of professional I want to become.

    After pledging, I had a hard time bringing myself to wear dress clothes to class since I was no longer required to, and felt self-consciously overdressed around my classmates. I recently have discovered that oxford shirts can present a more casual appearance, while still looking sharp in a JFK kind of way. Although my school is not particularly a "preppy" one, do you think it is reasonable to wear different colored oxfords to class regularly without seeming like a dandy?

    My other question is about footwear. I usually wear Sperry Topsiders (a staple for most fraternity members) all day, every day, and are now starting to show--and smell--their age. I recently came into possession of a pair of very inexpensive brown wingtips, and am wondering if they would be over-the-top formal for daily use on a college campus where it is normal to see pajamas and flip flops.

    Thanks for your thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2013


  2. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    There are two things you need to consider re: the OCBD (oxford cloth button down):

    1) What does the average person wear on your campus?

    2) Are you going to be self-conscious dressing a certain amount nicer than that norm?

    I'm guessing you see a lot of denim and t-shirts with the occasional polo. You also said that you felt self-conscious being overdressed among your classmates. If you wear OCBD shirts on a regular basis when your classmates are in t-shirts, people will notice. They may or may not think you're a dandy, but they'll definitely notice you're dressed nicer than they are. If you have the confidence to embrace the look and make it your own, great. If you're concerned about standing out, it may not be a great idea. My advice would be to enjoy dressing nicely and take some pride in raising the bar in your surroundings, but you need to be confident enough to pull it off.

    With respect to shoes, I would not wear brown wingtips without a jacket and tie. Brown loafers are a different matter. Also, try to get at least two pairs of shoes so you can rotate; it will make your shoes last longer and be worth it in the long run.
     


  3. GBR

    GBR Senior member

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    Just go back to t-shirts and shorts/flip flops. Far more practical and appropriate.
     


  4. Working Stiff

    Working Stiff Senior member

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    slim, untucked oxfords with sleeves rolled up and jeans is an ok look.
    You should probably worry less about looking like a "dandy" then about looking like a pretentious asshole, which is what most people look like when they overdress,
     


  5. Zaymer

    Zaymer Member

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    I've been monitoring this thread as I too am an undergraduate interested in this topic with no knowledge to input.
    The idea is to dress oneself decently/well, not like crap.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2013


  6. Working Stiff

    Working Stiff Senior member

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    Go through some of the more recent pages of the Streetwear WAYWT thread. You will see lots of young guys wearing button down shirts in casual environments.
     


  7. tonylamer

    tonylamer Senior member

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    Casual button-front or button-down shirt over a graphic t-shirt (you can get some amazing '80s shirts on eBay for nothing), jeans, and a really nice pair of nice boots--like C&J Conistons. That's perfect for undergrad. wear. I've done it wearing a blazer, but nice boots and a quality button-front shirt and you're okay. A 20-year-old undergrad. just can't, in my opinion, pull off the Sartorio sportcoat look. If you want to buy expensive or expensive-looking clothes and make a statement, do it in $1,000 boots and a Cucinelli leather jacket. But no sportcoats.
     


  8. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    Not for daily use, but I do think a blazer can be a very useful piece for the rare times in college one has to dress up but where a suit would be a bit much. I do think spending more of one's money on something like shoes is not a bad idea, though.
     


  9. VinnyMac

    VinnyMac Senior member

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    I hate to say it, but if you're 19 and trying to "look sharp in a JFK kind of way," then you need to get out more. You're not going to get any action dressed that way kid...at least not from girls.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2013


  10. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    I suspect young JFK and plenty of other well dressed young men have done just fine for themselves. If you're insecure, it does not matter what you're wearing since most women smell right through that. Wearing jeans and a t-shirt is not going to make him more successful at attracting women. If you are confident in who you are and what you're doing, you don't have this issue. The real question is whether OP has the ability to pull off the elegant young man look. And wanting to be elegant is not a sign of needing to get out more.
     


  11. tonylamer

    tonylamer Senior member

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    This won't turn into the thread on picking up college chicks, but the 20-year-old dressed in a $2,000 sportcoat'll be able to get just as many girls as the guy dressed in the PRL shirt. The difference is that the $2K jacket guy will intimidate the hell out of people and have to actually approach them; the PRL guy might be able to sit back and wait. Men like a well-dressed man; so do women.

    Instead of going for the young JFK look, go for the young Paul Newman look. Still very classy and conservative, but more suited to a campus.

    These are also the kind of boots that I was talking about. Crockett & Jones Islays.

    [​IMG]
     


  12. GBR

    GBR Senior member

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    This is University not the Supreme Court.
     


  13. Balfour

    Balfour Senior member

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    We're only talking about a decent shirt and khakis, for Heaven's sake.

    Plenty of the students at the (admittedly rather traditional) University I visit from time to time dress nicely enough. Good for them.

    Clearly, though, the OP needs to form his own view about whether he wants to fit in or dress to a particular standard based on his local conditions (per post 2).
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013


  14. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    +1. Seriously people, this isn't the "Should I Wear a Suit to Class Each Day?" thread.
     


  15. lemmywinks

    lemmywinks Senior member

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    This is not so much fashion advice as it is giving out life advice to gibs.

    If your clothes look good and you look good in them, the first thing people think aren't "why is this guy so dressed up" but rather "man this guy looks good"

    If your idea of dressing up looks like this

    [​IMG]

    People are definitely going to ask why you're all dressed up, and assume you were at work or something.

    But if you look good, people will just come up to you and tell you look good, and how good you look occupies people's thoughts way more than why you look dressed up.

    As for shoes... If you're already used to wearing boat shoes every day of the year, look at a pair of Rancourt Ranger Mocs. I believe they are a perfect shoe for your purposes.

    OCBD are actually very easy to incorporate into regular wear, provided you have the appropriate cut of a shirt. I usually wear mine with non-indigo jeans, shorts, and certain chinos. The thing with chinos and jeans are that some cuts will ultimately look more office dress than others. The cut of pants can really determine whether you have a streetwear look, a casual look, or a business look. Try looking at slimmer pants to kind of 'tone down' the perceived formality of the OCBD. The OCBD is actually one of the most versatile pieces of clothing in my opinion.

    The brown wingtips is a tough one. I still have never had the balls to wear dress shoes in casual occasions, have never tried the dress shoes and jeans look. The Rancourt Ranger Mocs I suggested pair fairly easily with jeans. It's really just a comfort level thing. Although lately at work I've been longing for a pair of brown wingtips that I can wear most days to the office.
     


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