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Business Casual Newbie Needs Help!

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by NTisinger, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. NTisinger

    NTisinger Member

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    Hi everyone, my name is Nick and this is my first post here on SF. I stumbled across the forums here while looking around for what to wear for the new job I just landed, and it seems that there is a vast wealth of knowledge held by the members here. So my problem lies in that I have next to nothing to wear for an everyday business casual dress code type of job, as I have worked in the oil fields for the past 5 years. I have now moved into an office setting in the same industry where, like I said, the attire is business casual (no jacket/coat or tie required),

    I have about a $1500 budget to work with, and I need everything; shoes, socks, shirts, undershirts, slacks/pants, and belts. I am lucky in that I have a fairly decent selection of fragrances so no needs there at the moment. I am guessing that I will need at least two pairs of shoes to start (black and brown?), and have liked what Allen Edmonds has to offer. I am a fairly big, 28 year old guy at 6'4 265 lbs, 48' chest, and 36" waist so I know that I should have tailored whatever shirts I do get. I live in Bakersfield, Ca., and the shopping here is limited to a Macy's, Patrick James, Banana Republic, and a few boutique style shops downtown. I am able to travel about an hour or so south and be in Valencia, Ventura, Los Angeles, etc. and obviously would have better luck down there. All that being said, what would you gentlemen recommend? As I am new, and fairly clueless when it comes to this, any and all help is extremely appreciated!

    Nick
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  2. AmericanGent

    AmericanGent Senior member

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    Hi- congrats on the new position and welcome to the forum.

    With $1500 you will have to make a choice- either buy a small number of quality pieces to start and slowly add, or buy more items from less expensive venues. If you buy 2 pairs of AE's you will have spent half of your budget - so maybe consider getting just one pair and look for a more affordable second pair like Johnston & Murphy.

    I believe that a wardrobe made up of classic, well made, easy to mix pieces will produce dozens of great combinations that will help to "stretch" your wardrobe a bit further. Keep that in mind and start off with basic designs and colors that will all work with each other. If you have 5 good pants and 8 good shirts and a few lightweight sweaters you can have 100's of combinations to wear to work. Pants in grey, camel, blue, charcoal and maybe stone can all work with most shirts.

    Look online for the nearest Nordstrom Rack and Neiman Marcus Last Call and if they are not too far away head there to get some staple pieces and have a tailor fit them for you.
    Keep an eye out for a blue blazer for days when you need a little more. You can pick up socks, belts etc. there too.

    Get a couple of packs of A shirts (wife beaters) and v-neck t-shirts. I find Jockey's "Tall Man" t-shirts to fit me the best. (I'm a bigger guy too at 6'1" 230) Other brands will ride up on you all day.

    A thread about online MTM shirts-
    http://www.styleforum.net/t/101870/comparison-of-four-online-mtm-shirt-makers

    Some good deals can be had here:
    http://www.sierratradingpost.com

    Look here for sales too:
    http://www.zappos.com

    I'd stay away from khakis and polos personally, but that's just me.
    Oh- and go easy on the perfume. No one should smell you unless they are hugging you!

    Good luck!
     
  3. lucidream

    lucidream Active Member

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    I would hit Banana Republic with that. Get some gavin chinos, if you like cotton (really fine for business casual), or some of their wool pants (not the ones for suits) if you prefer a bit dressier. Go when it's 40% off, sign up to their mailing list, it happens often. Chinos can be had for $70 minus 40%, and slim dress shirts at $90 minus 40%. I would get Allen Edmonds seconds, for about $200 a piece, or can be had for 2/$300 on sale. Get park avenue in black and brown.

    5 shirts = about $275
    5 pants = about $225
    2 shoes = about $400
    Socks, Undershirts = budget $75 from Macys (Calvin Klein)
    Belts = budget $200, Hugo Boss?

    Total = $1,174

    Difference = $325 if you shop around you might be able to get a decent suit. You could get a Kenneth Cole for that much, or a Hugo Boss for $500 on sale.

    I think that's more than enough to get you through to your first paycheck. Also, I'm sure you could get away with black shoes/black belt to begin with, just make sure you put trees in the shoes each night.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  4. NTisinger

    NTisinger Member

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    Thanks for the replies guys. Looks like I may be making a trip down to LA next weekend. If I were to hit up, say a Nordstrom's or Saks, any brands I should be looking for, or staying away from? Again thanks for the help so far! Looks like I found another addiction!
     
  5. aravenel

    aravenel Senior member

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    New York City
    Do you know your shirt size? If so, you can get much better shirts for the dollar online, from places like Charles Tyrwhitt or TM Lewin.

    If not, go shopping and find your size. Then buy the shirts online. Stick to classics to start--solid white, blue, or a white/blue pattern (checks or stripes). The more bold the pattern, the more casual the shirt.

    I would caution to stay away from MTM in any form until you are a more knowledgeable buyer--it's a much more risky way of going unless you know exactly what you want, all of your measurements, and how things fit you, and it doesn't sound like you have that knowledge yet.

    For cheap trousers, the Lands End Tailored Fit trousers, on sale (which they almost always are) are about $50, and while they arent *nice* are about the nicest I know of for that price. Get several shades of solid grey, then perhaps brown and navy. Stay away from patterns on the trousers.
     
  6. Latour

    Latour Active Member

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    Since it is a casual office there's no point in buying things you'll never wear. Patrick James is a decent west coast store on the higher end. Your body is not unusual, just bigger, so you can buy everything off the peg.Forget all of this tailoring nonsense you read on here.The people always talking about "tailoring" on here are undeveloped teens, ectomorphs,weird bodies etc that nothing fits and 90% who don't even know how clothes should fit or are into kid fads like darted busboy shirts (lol)
    How casual is the office, give me an idea and I'll send you some advice privately.
     
  7. aravenel

    aravenel Senior member

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    What? So you are saying you shouldn't worry whether or not things fit you?

    OK.
     
  8. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    No he's just trolling. Ignore.
     
  9. Latour

    Latour Active Member

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    Learn how to read little man.
     
  10. aravenel

    aravenel Senior member

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    Starting to think you're right. This guy takes the cake in terms of bad advice. So bad it could only be trolling. I just feel bad for anyone who listens to him.

    Looks like another addition to the block list...
     
  11. AmericanGent

    AmericanGent Senior member

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    Since I'm the only respondant that mentioned tailoring I guess that this is aimed toward me. I am assure you that I don't fall into any of those catagories, except maybe the part about things not fitting, but you'll have that when you are over 6 foot and any where over 200 lbs. Sometimes you need to buy a shirt that fits your shoulders but may be too long in the sleeve, etc. The OP's description of his size would indicate that he may fall into the same boat as I.
    I'd disagree that tailoring is nonsense. Off the rack shirts only account for your neck size and sleeve length. If you find a brand that fits, awesome- I have a few OTR shirts that work just fine. But if you buy an OTR garment that needs adjusting, you can spend spend a few extra bucks and have a tailor bring the arm holes up and shorten the sleeve, etc. A pair of decent pants will be unhemmed and require a tailor.
    No one has advised the OP to go out and get bespoke shirts. The advise has been to buy moderatly-priced clothes and, if needed, tailor them to fit.
    Or maybe I should start suggesting Dockers wrinkle free for business casual?
     
  12. Latour

    Latour Active Member

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    Quote:
    In Bakersfield you'll be using Summer weight clothes 8 months a year and perhaps 4 where you'll need a long sleeve shirt and light jacket or sweater so keep that in mind.And by casual do you mean things like Lacoste shirts or Mephisto slip ons etc. ?
    Judging from your pic, a regular or classic shirt will fit you well in your size.You're probably a 13-14 sho eand I'd reccomed slip ons. Stay away from clutsy looking wingtips.AE are decent shoes but make sure they fit perfectly in the shop (shoes don't stretch) and stick to the slipons or at most a 3 hole laceup, all in more casual styles.
    Don't order anything from outside the US.If something doesn't fit (and it usually doesn't) you'll be waiting a month for a replacement.It's cheaper and more convenient in the US anyway.
    Don't waste money on belts, for the time being, get a reversible black/brown one.
    If you use Sierra sign up for their newsletter so you can click through and get 30% off the low prices.
     
  13. Latour

    Latour Active Member

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    My impression is that a Dockers type is what the office is wearing.High armholes not only look stupid they are uncomfortable.And btw, in the US there are Many brands and cuts as well as exact sleeve lenghts in off the peg shirts. No "tailoring" required just find one that fits.
    In the old days you'd have to go to a tailor, get measured, and he'd make your clothes. The US pioneered the multiple size offthe peg clothes and shoes.You don't buy shirts in 1 (or perhaps 2) sleeves lenghts and then wear the cuff tight to fit(that went out a 100 years ago with armbands in RTW) Same with shoes that come in multiple widths, not just 1, or perhaps 2 like in Europe.I won't even buy a RTW Lobb that is in 1 width(no you can't size up or down, that's retarded).Even C&J is mostly 1 width and only some shoes come in other widths.When Churches used to sell a lot of shoes in the US they had to make them in multiple widths for the US market.
    So your sleeve lenght problems in Italy don't apply in the US.
     
  14. lucidream

    lucidream Active Member

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    I was going to suggest he get non iron clothes in general. If he's not used to clothing care, going to ironing, pressing, and steaming is gonna be another big step up. I'm pretty sure you're being facetious, but I'm the guy who suggested banana republic chinos. I find the black ones to be sufficiently dressy, and a deal for $40 on special. Most days I wear BR wool pants though (they only sell pre-hemmed, but they are indeed wool, not poly). When I first started work I bought 4 Kenneth Cole suits (Canadian stock is made in Canada and much better than what is available in the US and made in China) and the blazers usually were hung at the office, and the pants tend to wear. This has led me to purchase wool/cotton pants separately, and wear a suit when I actually intend to wear the blazer as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  15. NTisinger

    NTisinger Member

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    In regards to what has been said above, I am looking to get as high quality product as possible given my budget. That is why I am asking for the opinions of the members here. I want nice clothes that are going to last, and stand up to being worn day in and day out. I will continually be building upon the base of what I will acquire over the next few weeks till I start my new job. Like I said, I am 28, so I am looking for clothing that is a little more fashion forward in regards to fit, patterns, etc, but not at the expense of quality or durability. I did get fitted for shoes at Partick James this afternoon and have emailed the Allen Edmonds shoe bank for shoes available in my size, and will be waiting for their response. I will also be heading down south this weekend to try and get to a Nordstroms, Nieman Marcus, Brooks Brothers outlet, and anything else I can get to in one day. It seems like the Nordstroms branded shirts are a decent deal, any opinions? I do appreciate all the help given so far, and any other that can be given before I head down there would be fantastic!
     
  16. NTisinger

    NTisinger Member

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    Oh and the company I will be working for is Chevron, in their corporate office here in Bakersfield. Hopefully that can give an idea of what level of formality I'm looking for.
     
  17. AmericanGent

    AmericanGent Senior member

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    I thought that was the case; I hope my suggestions were somewhat helpful.

    I have a couple of MTM John Nordstrom shirts. I am not sure if the shirts on the shelf are made from the same material, but my J. Nordstrom shirts have been doing great for the last 4 years now. The stitches, seams and buttons are all doing fine. I'd say a Nordtrom shirt would be a good place to start for some wardrobe staples.
    By the way- It is sometimes clear that some of the more active members spend an ass-ton of money on clothes. I won't lie- I do envy them, but I am not a rich man. I'm in the military so my budget can only sustain a few big-ticket items a year. I have just slowly built up my wardrobe, waited for sales, bought quality items that won't go out of style, etc. If you keep an eye out you can find what you are looking for without crushing your budget! Good luck!
     
  18. msulinski

    msulinski Senior member

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    I disagree about getting the Allen Edmonds Park Avenue. These are shoes that are more appropriate for suits. Since your office is business casual, you would be better served with casual shoes. I would start with a pair of burgundy and brown. If you are looking at Allen Edmonds, consider the Patriot in merlot. Add a medium brown blucher, possibly the Delray, and you are off to a good start. Alternatively, if you don't like loafers (Patriot), the McNeil is nice.
     
  19. AmericanGent

    AmericanGent Senior member

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    I just noticed that Latour got banned. That was quick.
     
  20. aravenel

    aravenel Senior member

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    Damn, that was quick...
     

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