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Building Wardrobe 1-item at a time. Properly Prioritizing?

Ahheck01

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Upon discovering a stark difference between my appearances as a few very successful people whom I admire and respect, I found this forum in search for a better understanding of mens' style. After much "lurking" on these forums, a few question threads about shoes, watches and pants, I've realized that there is a world of quality items out there that can be found at insanely low cost on ebay or the B&S forums here, thus allowing someone like myself without an exorbitant budget to build a wardrobe of quality items, and have enough money to get things tailored to fit properly. So now I'm finding a ton of things that I want to buy and upgrade - shoes (used AE's) watches (seiko 5 or spirit), pants (quality wool trousers), casual and dress shirts, glasses & sunglasses, etc. Unfortunately, I can't upgrade everything at once, so I will be acquiring all of the "staples" and important items gradually over the next 3-12 months. Probably will be $400-$500 at a time, once a month. So, if I'm to purchase one item at a time, what should my top priority list be? Here are my quick stats: - Small Business Owner (high end car detailing business, and internet marketing business) - very sharp business casual (no tie) 1-3 days a week for meetings - casual jeans & button-up or jeans and polo, perhaps khaki's and polo 5-6 days a week - 24 year old male, 6' 5" tall, 180lb, 33-34" waist, thin, but broad sholders - semi-athletic - Some so-so pics here: http://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=194678 - Need to look like I definitely know how to dress to maintain credibility with 50 year old business owners, while staying relatable with 20-somethings, whom I often work with as well. Here's what I currently own: - Olive colored polyester pleated trousers that I swim in (can't wait to throw these out) - Kenneth Cole Reaction brown square-toe glossy finish bluchers (ditto) & matching belt - Decent looking but still cheap walnut loafers (not a noteworthy brand) & matching belt - Square toe Target-specials black loafers - 5-6 Various patterned button up shirts (all of which are either too short, or I swim in them - need to have nearly all of them taken in, and some I just have to roll up the sleeves since they're too short. Also most of them are not "nice" shirts - gap or khols OTR) - No-name square-face silver watch with brown leather strap - No-name pewter colored watch with metal band - 3-4 various crap ties - 1 brown dress shirt, standard turn down collar (too short in sleeve and body length, otherwise fits great) - 1 white dress shrit, button down collar (so-so quality material, too short in sleeve and body length, otherwise fits great) - Various underwear & undershirts (let's assume this one is good for now) - 1 pair of well-fitting (NOT tight-pants, but fits properly) boot-cut Mavi jeans - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Just so it doesn't appear I'm asking y'all to do all the work, I'll give this a try myself based on what I've read here, and my own common sense. You can either completely redo this if it's horrible, or suggest tweaks based on your wisdom and experience. Edit: Skip below the greyed out text for updated list. 1st: Alter existing shirts to fit Why: While I begin to accumulate quality things, best to have existing things at least fit properly so as not to drag down the new additions considerably. A way to start looking like I know what I'm doing in a hurry. Not terribly expensive. 2nd: Wool Charcoal Trousers Why: Currently have one pair of dress pants, and even those are kind of embarrassing now. Understanding that wool is a preferable material, and Charcoal one of the more flexible colors 3rd: Black Cap-Toe Oxfords & Quality Belt Why: Commonly identified as one of the first must-haves of any wardrobe - will go with the Charcoal trousers and be a key player in many of the nice combo's I'll be able to put together down the road. Eyeballing the AE Park Ave's in 12D, which I've seen go for $60 very lightly used on ebay. 4th: Seiko Watch Why: Cheap but classy automatic watches, commonly recommend here on the forums for the "watches under $$$" threads, inexpensive way to class up overall look in both semi-casual and dress situations. 5th: Khaki Colored Cotton Trousers Why: To be worn with either polo shirts or casual button-ups for lunch appointments weekend dates, or with nice dress shirts for the business-casual look 6th: Chocolate/Burgundy/Dark Brown Shoes & Matching Belt Why: To go with anything but black, essentially. Replaces the awful Kenneth Cole's, preferably with an Allen Edmonds shoe. Possibly something simple and versatile like the Brown Burnished Calf AE Fifth Avenue, but also open minded. Currently eyeballing low priced used AE's, such as these two auctions: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=380259920661 http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=260654576000 7th: Two or Three Dress Shirts Why: The most important thing is fit, as I've probably never worn a shirt that fits me properly, due to being very tall, very skinny, but with very wide shoulders. Probably two white and a light blue, all of which plain collar button-cuff to start with. I don't really have any other staple dress shirts, so this has to be an early addition here. 8th: Three or Four Polo Shirts Why: Long sleeves in this weather (often 85+) seems questionable. Polo shirts should work with jeans or khaki colored pants for sharp looking casual encounters, such as a lunch meeting, round of golf, or late-night cup of coffee with a friend. 9th: Second Pair of Jeans Why: Perhaps this should come sooner, as I wear them almost every day. I couldn't be happier with these Mavi jeans, although they are getting lighter quickly (and I do wash them inside-out). Probably the first properly-fitting jean I've owned. Since these are a mid-blue, probably look for a darker blue to dress things up a bit. 10th: Brown Loafers & Matching belt Why: To go with Jeans, Khaki's, semi-casual attire, but at a higher quality than what I have now to round out the quality-shoe basic collection. 11th: Medium-Grey Wool Trousers Why: Versatile Trousers to continue to round out the business-casual wardrobe. 12th: Walnut Colored Wingtip and matching belt Why: Because I love the AE Bel Air in Walnut. I would literally look for excuses to wear this shoe. 13th: Multiple quality casual button up colored shirts to go with jeans or khaki's Why: Again, probably should be sooner, since this is my most common mode. I'm going to stop there, because the further I go, the more likely I'm off if my thought-process isn't sound. Here are other things I'd probably want/need to get after the above: - Various Chino's - Topcoat/Peacoat for classy warmth in winter - Associated scarves and gloves for proper winter warmth - Navy Blazer - Monk-Strap Shoes - Black Loafers - Dress/Chelsea Boots - Various other Trousers - Several more dress shirts - Various other Watches (Perhaps a Tissot a year or so out, definitely want a flexible variety. Not sure if I'm into a big shoe collection or a big watch collection more. Probably both. This is why I run businesses, because that's going to cost a fortune.) - Navy & Charcoal Suits - Tasteful sweaters (that don't make me look old, but keep me warm and looking classy) - Sneakers (Don't have any, always wanted to see what some Chuck Taylors would look like on me) - Lighter colored jeans (for more casual clothes, with the above sneakers perhaps) - Khaki Shorts (hot Iowa summers, picnics and ballgames) I'm sure there's more. I'm so far behind. Thank you deeply for any further guidance you can offer! -Evan Edit: Okay, updated approach. Given budget and timing, I reformatted, and took advice into consideration. Thoughts? Month 1: August - $510 1) Have 2 of my nicest shirts altered ($30) 2) Mid-Grey Wool Trousers (~$60 on B&S/Clearance) 3) Charcoal Wool Trousers (~$60 on B&S/Clearance) 4) Lightly Used Black AE oxford ($60) + Belt ($25) 5) Cedar Split-Toe Shoe Tree ($25) 6) 2 x Dress Shirts (2 x $50 = $100) 7) 2 x Polo Shirts (2 x $25 = $50) 8) Khaki Shorts ($30) 7) Necessary Alterations on the above ($70) Month 2: September - $560 1) Khaki Colored Trousers ($50) + Alterations ($15) 2) Lightly Used Brown AE shoes ($70) + Belt ($25) 3) AE Shoe Care Kit ($95, but open to quality alternatives) 4) Lightly Used Brown Loafers ($50) 5) Second Pair Jeans ($80) 6) 3 x Casual Button-Up Shirts (3 x $40 = $120) + Alterations ($45) Month 3: October - $665 1) Navy Blazer (~$200) 2) Tailoring of Blazer (~$40) 3) Khaki Colored (dif shade) Trousers ($60) + Alt ($15) 4) 2 x Chinos ($50 x 2 = $100) 5) 3 x Dress Shirts (3 x $50 = $150) 6) Alterations on the above ($70) Month 4: November - (Budget ~$650) 1) Winter Overcoat/Peacoat - $??? 1.5) Alterations to coat - $?? 2) Quality Leather Gloves - $?? 3) 2 x Quality Scarves - $?? Month 5: December - (Budget ~$700) 1) 1st Suit, tailored 2) 2 x Sweaters 3) Appropriate Boots 4) 3 x Ties
 

Nicola

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First thing I'd get is a good basic blazer/jacket. Something you can wear with jeans to grey dress pants.

It'll immediately change you. It'll cover your shirts -) It'll last.
 

pupjoint

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Originally Posted by Nicola
First thing I'd get is a good basic blazer/jacket. Something you can wear with jeans to grey dress pants.

It'll immediately change you. It'll cover your shirts -) It'll last.


interesting. any suggestions?

this is something missing from my wardrobe...
 

ShelterIslandMike

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Congrats. I wish I had done something like this years ago.

Few items in a wardrobe are more important or versatile than a navy blazer. I'd move that from the bottom of your list to number one on your list.

On the wing tips, watch out for the Bel Air. It's a nice looking shoe (and AE has a special on the walnut right now), but it's made on the 0 last. That doesn't work well on a lot of feet. The MacNeil, the McCallister or even the Lombard might fit better and there's no issue of a squarish toe.

On the dress shirts, I hope your referring to point collars and not spread collars. They work better, IMO, on this side of the Atlantic.

Finally, you should put a couple of ties on your list. Conservative, muted ties work best, IMO. Solids or very subtle patterns emphasizing the color of the tie and not the pattern. Take a look at any photo of Cary Grant and you'll know what I mean.
 

hst

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My take is it wouldn't be worth the money to alter your existing shirts since they aren't very good shirts to begin with.

There is still a sale at BB and PRL. You probably can get reasonably good quality dress shirts and OCBDs for $40-50 each.

Your first month budget of $400-500 should get you 2-3 shirts, and 2 pairs of wool trousers.

You can go to Step 3 in the next month. Or if you just get 1 pair of trousers this month, you can get a pair of used AE Park Ave immediately.
 

Nicola

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Originally Posted by pupjoint
interesting. any suggestions?

this is something missing from my wardrobe...


I'm not a fan of the navy blazer look. At your age even less.

There are plenty of fairly safe fabrics that you can look at. Get something not too bold. Make sure it fits well.

I've got a few blue windowpane jackets. They are safe enough to go anyplace.
 

VictorJB

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I tried reading all of this but it was too much to take in and too much advice for you. So just check out my blog I have a post about starting up a wardrobe .. and DO not get all your existing shirts tailored which is my first piece of advice.
 

gladhands

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The first thing I would do if I were you, is get your true measurements. If your height and weight are true, and your build is "semi-athletic", I doubt you need 34W trousers. It's likely that due to your height, you've always had to buy ill-fitting pants. I'm 6'5", and once-upon-a-time also weighed 180, and I can assure you, that I was a beanpole. There's a very good chance that you need a 35 or 36 in inseam. You probably also need 15, 36/37 shirts. This means you're going to have to do the bulk of your OTR shopping on the interwebs.

If you're buying on a budget, LL Bean's Town and Field pants are on sale for $50 right now. They're solid grey wool trousers and you can get them in 32 or 33 with hemmed inseams up to 36.

For propper dress shirts, BB's Ultra slim is going to be your friend. Rugby's OCBDs are also very slim, and have long sleeves. Once you know more about your dimensions and fit preferences, you'll probably want to move into online MTM.

Don't have bad shirts altered.
 

cptjeff

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First things I would go for in your shoes would be well fitting khakis and nicer shoes. Even with crappy dress shirts and okay fitting polos, those two items will elevate you above the vast majority of BC wearers. The sportcoat is also a great idea- A blue blazer in a nice trim cut is good, though might come off as a 'just playing it safe' choice. Depending on where you live, a tweed jacket could be a great investment. The roughness of the fabric makes it rather casual, and good heavy tweeds are breathable, nearly waterproof and nice and warm. And you can use a sportcoat to dress up nice jeans (a new dark pair is a good idea, straight leg and dark is best. As they lighten up, keep them for more casual wear), or to dress up those khakis.

Well fitting khakis, a nice sportcoat, and nicer shoes can really improve a wardrobe. It's the basics that matter.

Also, for a buisness casual enviroment, might want to consider some penny loafers or something along that line. Simple and classic shoes that work in a wide variety of situations. From jeans, to business casual, Cary Grant even wore them with a tuxedo (experts only). And I find them to be the shoes I reach for more often then any others.
 

Night Owl

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in the first month you could buy 1 trouser, 2 shirts, 1 shoes with $500, not enough for a month of work wardrobe.
why not use a credit card and get a few months worth ($500 x 4) of clothes upfront, as for the list

1 no point in altering existing shirts to fit, they are crap. very tall skinny = get some bespoke shirts from cego, be sure to ask carl for the sf discount.
2 wool charcoal trousers yes, also get mid grey. see edmorel panta trousers for sale on the forum
3 black cap toe oxfords yes, used on ebay no. buy new shoes
4 a watch is the last thing you need to buy
5 khaki cotton trousers ok, trick is picking a smooth, dressy fabric
6 get a dark brown pair, burgundy comes later
7 shirts, see 1. should be priority
8 polo shirts ok whatever, try not to look like a target or bestbuy employee if you can
9 denim ok
10 brown loafers yep, dont buy used
11 mid grey wool trouser, get sooner than later
12 13 etc should get a sport coat at some point here
 

phxlawstudent

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For some reason, guys notice your shoes. So wear nice ones. Move this to #1.

Not sure about the blazer. I rarely use mine.

I would just buy new shirts. I gave up on RTW fitting me, but maybe they fit you. Explore before you plop down the cash on MTM. It is more expensive.

Your #3 is not what I would do. Definitely don't buy used shoes. Black is not as versatile as burgundy. You should own three pairs of shoes to properly rotate them. Since your mostly bus-cas, I would buy 2x burgundy and 1x brown, or black, brown, & burgundy.

Wool trousers are superior in every way, except DIY cleaning. :| So I agree with your #2.

Agreed with above, #4 is the last thing you need. No one notices.
 

TheFoo

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Navy blue jacket, grey suit, black captoes, brown brogues.
 

musicguy

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Originally Posted by Night Owl
in the first month you could buy 1 trouser, 2 shirts, 1 shoes with $500, not enough for a month of work wardrobe.
why not use a credit card and get a few months worth ($500 x 4) of clothes upfront, as for the list

1 no point in altering existing shirts to fit, they are crap. very tall skinny = get some bespoke shirts from cego, be sure to ask carl for the sf discount.
2 wool charcoal trousers yes, also get mid grey. see edmorel panta trousers for sale on the forum
3 black cap toe oxfords yes, used on ebay no. buy new shoes
4 a watch is the last thing you need to buy
5 khaki cotton trousers ok, trick is picking a smooth, dressy fabric
6 get a dark brown pair, burgundy comes later
7 shirts, see 1. should be priority
8 polo shirts ok whatever, try not to look like a target or bestbuy employee if you can
9 denim ok
10 brown loafers yep, dont buy used
11 mid grey wool trouser, get sooner than later
12 13 etc should get a sport coat at some point here


I disagree with some of this. Don't go into credit card debt over clothes. The items you're recommending are also very expensive. Panta trousers are like $250 each, and much too nice if he doesn't have a great wardrobe. Altering a shirt will cost $10-15 bucks. It's worth it if you don't have much money to start with.

My advice:
It'll take time to develop your own style. Start slowly. It may end up that you change your mind about wearing some items. Get a few nice pieces at first and go from there. I'd start with trousers (slate, navy and charcoal), then shoes, then shirts. Even if you don't wear sport coats, I'd still get the navy blazer. I wear mine all the time, even though I don't work in a field that requires it.

But the most important thing, is to alter the clothing correctly. I'm a big fan of Incotex trousers for us slim guys, especially for the prices sold here. I also really like Mabitex trousers, but I can only recommend buying Mabitex that has lining like this: http://imgur.com/HgNoE.jpg
 

tim_horton

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Originally Posted by musicguy
My advice:
It'll take time to develop your own style. Start slowly. It may end up that you change your mind about wearing some items. Get a few nice pieces at first and go from there.


This should be automatically forwarded to everyone who creates a new account on SF - and I'm speaking as a guy who's not far away from where the OP is (except for his height.
)

The problem when someone (like me) gets his first piece of clothing/pair of shoes that fits well and looks good is that all of a sudden it's hard to go back to your old clothes the other six days of the week. But I think going slow was the best advice I got from here.
 

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