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Business Wardrobe

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by modernminimalist, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. modernminimalist

    modernminimalist Member

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    Jul 13, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011

  2. SuitMyself

    SuitMyself Senior member

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    Mar 23, 2008
    WTF is this? Your post looks like a fuggin' rÃ[​IMG]sumÃ[​IMG].

  3. Night Owl

    Night Owl Senior member

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    Dec 7, 2008
    Young Professional Seeking Advice on Building His First Business Wardrobe

    I've read Style Forum for years now, but this is my first post:

    Background Information:
    I'm a recent college graduate who will be starting work at a management consulting firm in mid-August in the DC area. The job involves travel Monday-Thursday where I will be working from the client's site and it's very important that I'm well put together and dressed professionally especially due to the fact that I'll almost always be the youngest person in the room. I'm currently in the Northern Virginia area and in the process of moving into a row house in DC proper in a few weeks (Logan Circle/U-Street/Dupont area) and figured most of my shopping would be concentrated in DC/Tyson's areas with the Leesburg Premium Outlets also available.

    I'm 6'1 and weigh 180 pounds. I have very wide shoulders, a 16 ¼ neck, large arms, and a 30 inch waist, and am a bit of a health freak and keep my body fat levels around 6-7% and am fairly muscular. My upside down triangle build has made it rather difficult to find slim proper fitting business clothing. The suit shirts I find that do come close to fitting me are always too tight in the neck, and those that fit in the neck and chest always seem to billow out and form a huge tent in the back and around the waist. I've tried slim fit lacoste, bb slim fit (but not extra slim yet), calvin klein trim fit, br slim fit, polo custom fit, and a few others but haven't had much luck with any (nor with anything I've been able to find on the slim fit shirt post).

    I'm an extremely picky person when it comes to clothes particularly when it comes to fit. In general my non-business attire is a very simple preppy style (which is partly the result of going to a preppy east coast ivy-level college) mostly composed of items from J.crew, Ralph Lauren, bb, sunspel, ll bean, h&m, uniqlo, & lacoste.

    Current Wardrobe
    My business wardrobe right now is more or less non-existent. It consists of:

    • 1 charcoal suit from Mens Warehouse that doesn't fit me very well, but is acceptable
    • 1 bb navy blue blazer that has been slightly tailored and fits me nicely (42R)
    • 5 ties: red striped polo tie, light pink tie, nice handcrafted blue italian tie, black tie, cheap men's warehouse blue tie
    • 3 Lacoste Dress Shirts, that are a decent fit (still tent in the back) but the neck can be rather tight when buttoned, that I got at the outlet on sale
    • 2 basic BR dress shirts that I got at the outlet on sale but which aren't the best fit and wrinkle very easily
    • A few other random dress shirts that don't fit very well and aren't very formal (such as gap)
    • A few pairs of slacks from Nordstrom rack
    • A pair of cheap black dress shoes
    • A pair of LL bean Handsewn Leather Moccasins
    • Random assortment of cheap gold toe cotton dress socks

    Rough Draft Shopping List

    Right now I am thinking of getting the following (structured around a post by JohnnyCrockett @ http://www.styleforum.net/archive/in...24996-p-4.html which is heavily cloated):

    2-3 white pinpoint shirts, mix of button downs and point/Ainsley collars
    2-3 solid light blue shirts (NO French blue) in a mix of pinpoint, end-on-end, and broadcloth, same mix of collars as white shirts
    2-3 other shirts- a light pink/conservatively striped shirt

    One pair of AE Park Avenues
    Another Pair of .... (Suggestions?)

    "10-20 pairs of OVER THE CALF socks, solid, finely ribbed. NO patterns on the socks. NO loudly-colored socks 20% of your socks should be cotton and 80% should be wool. NO brown or tan socks. Only navy and dark grey."

    "Maybe the most flexible piece of the wardrobe in terms of where to buy -- nobody ever really looks at your pants so long as they're solid, dark, and not too ill-fitting. So you could easily do a cheap JAB sale for pants. Pleated is more common, plain front is fine too. Just make sure whatever pants you wear are CUFFED (1.5 or 1.75"). Make sure they're not too long (minimal break). Make sure they are worsted or tropical wool (maybe one pair of flannel is fine). If they're not part of a suit they should probably be grey (more pairs on the darker side, fewer on the medium-to-lighter side). NO black pants. Try to avoid navy pants -- you can't wear navy pants with a blue blazer.

    You don't need that many pairs of pants (many get by an entire week in no more than 1 pair)...the reason to have a few pairs is because they wear out fast. The pockets fray, the seats get shiny, you slip in the winter and tear the knee. So have a few pairs. But while I would say 10 shirts minimum is necessary, I would say 5 pairs of pants is almost more than enough, especially if you mix suits in (in addition to your 5 pairs of pants). Another reason to have several pairs is for seasonality -- tropicals in the summer, flannels in the cooler seasons, worsteds most of the year."

    A number of tight fitting cheap white crew neck undershirts (Hanes/Gap/Old Navy/American Apparel/Uniqlo) that can be easily replaced and thrown away

    "If you only have 2-3 suits, they should all be be solid, non-shiny worsteds, charcoal or navy. Charcoal is worn more than navy, probably. Only go to stripes once you're past 3 suits, and then stripes should be as discreet and invisible as possible. No one should ever remember you for your striped suit.

    Suits should be 2-button, notch lapels with belt loops.

    The two pairs of pants advice is spot-on. Definitely get two pairs per jacket if you can (usually tough, but see if possible)."

    "As a general rule, if J.Press sells it (in their year-round, non-seasonal collection), you can wear it (with the exception of their embroidered motif "critter" ties). http://jpressonline.com/neckwear.php
    BB is also safe.

    Stripes and "neat" patterns are the name of your game. Brightly-colored animal ties (e.g., Hermes, Ferragamo, and Vineyard Vines) should be avoided. VV you can start wearing maybe in your second year (but it is SO overdone). Hermes is de rigueur for the higher-ups, and is taboo for analysts to wear at some banks. Hermes is also a bit taboo in consulting. Don't wear Ferragamo. Patterns are less interesting and ties are uglier than Hermes. It's like drinking Pepsi instead of Coke. Don't be one of those people. "

    WHAT NOT TO WEAR EVER in your first two years

    - Suspenders (affected and considered an only-for-MD item)
    - Bit loafers (affected, douchey, a more senior banker item, and generally in poor taste, IMO)
    - French cuffs (sad but true...you can start wearing them post-MBA, though)
    - Contrast collar shirts (see suspenders)
    - Loudly-striped suits (in poor taste -- people will actually make fun of you)
    - Brown shoes with a suit (everyone will notice, and not in a good way, no matter what people say on SF)

    Items you can wear in your 2nd year if you perform well (people don't like poor performers, especially those who look like they focus on clothes rather than work)
    - Spread- or cutaway-collar shirts
    - "More interesting" shirts (e.g., Thomas Pink or the better British brands)
    - Brogued shoes (still need to be black though)
    - Loafers (but probably not in great taste to wear them with business formal in any case)

    "The main point is that you want your clothes to be completely forgettable while at the same time always being in good taste.
    You never want someone to say behind your back (or to your face) "we can't take him to the meeting because he is dressed like a poor college kid". So that means dress a little bit above your budget if BB is above your budget -- it's what everyone wears, from analysts to MBAs to MDs to CEOs. It is the common language of the white collar working man. Completely safe. Your peers will wear cheaper stuff, louder stuff, more fashionable stuff...and it will never serve them well. "



    1.\tMy major problem is finding quality dress shirts that actually fit me properly. Right now it seems like my options are:

    a.\tBuy a decent off the rack shirt from a place like Brooks Brothers/RL/CK that is slim fit and have them taken in and darts added if needed
    b.\tFind a place in the DC area that does MTM shirts (BB, Nordstrom, Local Tailor)
    c.\tFind a place in the DC area that does custom made bespoke shirts​

    Right now I'm leaning towards the bespoke shirts because I've had such a trouble with fit and would love to have a set of nice fitting shirts that I could really be proud wearing. Does anyone have any suggestions for custom shirtmakers in DC? I've read through a number of posts about DC tailors (Field seems to be the master for the area, but is very expensive; after that there isn't much consensus and limited recommendations for inexpensive simple alterations tailors in the area).

    However, as far as shirtmakers in DC go there is limited information. I was thinking about looking at: http://www.davelleclothiers.com/ in Reston (about 15 minutes away) and www.highcliffeclothiers.com in Middlburg (about 45 minutes away) although if anyone knows of some quality DC shirtmakers that would be wonderful.

    2.\tAny suggestions for where to find discounts on AE Park Avenues? I'd figure I'd either venture out to the local Nordstrom's or to the AE store in DC to make sure I find a proper fit and then hopefully find them cheaper elsewhere? Any suggestions for another pair of shoes?

    3.\tTies/Socks/Pants and Undershirts I should be able to find. Figure I'd go check out the Jpress shop in DC to look at some ties. I'm sure I can do a forum search to figure out a place for quality yet inexpensive socks and some slacks. Any suggestions on how tailored dress pants can be while still being professional?

    4.\tSuits. My father recently decided that he wanted a bespoke suit and as a graduation gift was generous enough to offer to have one made for me as well. When I have some more information on this I plan on making another post asking for recommendations. Outside of that I'm probably in the need for two more suits most likely a charcoal and a navy.

    I'm currently considering:
    a.\tRL Black Anthony Wool Gabardine Suit. I've really liked the pictures I've seen of this suit and what I've heard about it on SF. Any suggestions on how to get it on sale?
    b.\tBB 1818 line particularly the Fitzgerald (hopefully on sale for $600 + BB credit card for 15% off and I have a $200 BB gift card). Any tips for when the next BB is? Memorial day?
    c.\tThick as Thieves Conservative Cut. Although a bit worried as I feel like my frame is larger than most of the pictures I've seen of the TAT suits.​

    5.\tAny stores in particular I should check out in the DC area? Any more DC tailor recommendations? Any ideas how I can get the best bang for my buck?

    I'm willing to invest in quality clothes that will last me a while, that I really feel good and confident about wearing, and that really fit me properly. In general I'm very frugal and a very slow shopper. I don't buy things I don't like, and I wait around for deals. However, when I find something I like that is a good bang for the buck I don't mind splurging and investing in quality. I'm also lucky enough to come out of college without any loans and a comfortable amount of cash in the bank from previous jobs and because I like to save. I wouldn't mind spending 2.5k-5k on starting to build a nice quality basic business wardrobe. I'd much rather have fewer shirts and suits that I wear more often, but which are a joy to wear, than a lot of options, but none that I really like.

    Thanks ahead of time for reading this long post and the great recommendations that are sure to follow!


  4. Cjizzle

    Cjizzle New Member

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    Jul 13, 2010
    Wow, I've been lurking SF for about 3 months and finally had to register to tell you how big of a faggot you are.

  5. modernminimalist

    modernminimalist Member

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    Jul 13, 2010
    Suitmyself: Sorry it got a little long so I tried to format it and break it up so it was easy to skim and I put the questions at the bottom. I put it together as partly a guide for myself and wanted to get some feedback from SF in the process, but mainly just wanted some feedback on the five questions at the end.

  6. modernminimalist

    modernminimalist Member

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    Jul 13, 2010
    Night Owl: Hah I guess I should have expected a response like that. My post turned into a bit of a long winded rambling over-share and the late night (north america at least) crowd on right now is probably a little different than the daytime lurkers. However cut me some slack it's my first post! However if anyone managed to skim some of the above any advice or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  7. Steeze

    Steeze Senior member

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    Jun 21, 2010
    I took it seriously until I got to the part about socks and you randomly started writing in all caps. Then I started laughing hysterically. OVER THE CALF. NO PATTERNS.

  8. WBaker

    WBaker Senior member

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    Jan 5, 2010
    Wow, some really obnoxious responses. I think your list is well formed, and style forum approved, if over thought.
    I do however find some of the "rules" odd. Most importantly the brown shoes rule, I would say most people on this forum have more brown shoes than black shoes. Theres nothing wrong with brown shoes and suits. As for the coming of clothing age rules, it all comes down to personal preference. For example don't avoid wearing french cuffs because of some nebulous age restriction found on the internet.
    best of luck in preparing your professional wardrobe.

  9. scurvyfreedman

    scurvyfreedman Senior member

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    May 5, 2010
    Rockville, MD
    I'm about 15 years ahead of you but work in DC, live in MD, so I know the area pretty well.

    Check out the Filene's Basement Metro Center. It usually has a lot of Zegna and Hickey Freeman suits in a lot of different sizes. (the one in Farragut and in Rockville don't have any good stock). Just make sure you know your fit for your shoulders and neck. There are a lot of good alterations tailors around. Field does some, but is pricey and there is some waiting. Sun Tailor in Tyson's gets good reviews, but I've never used them. I use London Tailor in Bethesda, his work is great but language can be a problem.

    For socks/undershirts etc. I usually go to Nordstrom Rack or Filene's.

    For ties I go to ebay to buy Drakes of London and am planning to use Sam Hober. But, that's my personal preference in ties. Buy ties slowly, your tastes will change over time.

    I buy my shirts from MyTailor.com. Two different tailors travel to DC almost monthly to measure by appointment. Prices are very good compared to local tailors (think 2/3-1/2 price) and results from most on the forum who use them are very good. Make sure your first shirt is just a test size and that they hold the rest of your order until you do a size confirmation if you go this or any other custom shirt route.

    I'd go with one black and one burgundy for shoes to start out. The burgundy goes much better with navy suits than black. Personally, if I never wore black shoes again I'd be okay. I much prefer chocolate brown with grey and burgundy with navy. Brown shoes of different shades go with almost every other suit I own.

    Acquire slowly, not all at once b/c you will make mistakes and if you spend all of your wardrobe money up front you won't be able to make up for the mistakes.

    Good luck.

  10. kraftar

    kraftar Senior member

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    Jun 4, 2010

    Acquire slowly, not all at once b/c you will make mistakes and if you spend all of your wardrobe money up front you won't be able to make up for the mistakes.


  11. Larson McCord

    Larson McCord Senior member

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    Apr 17, 2010
    that is one ironic user name with that War and Peace style post. If you read this board enough your questions will be answered. There are literally dozens of 'I'm a new professional what should I buy?' threads on here.

  12. hst

    hst Senior member

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    Apr 27, 2010
    For the 2nd pair of shoes, I would go for a brown semi-brogues. It will work well for semi-formal settings or a dress-down Friday.

    The B/S forum here is a good start particularly for shoes, suits and ties.

  13. ohm

    ohm Senior member

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    May 19, 2008
    I liked your first post and think it's pretty helpful for others in the same position. Here are my answers to your questions:

    1. Go to CEGO (and be nice to Carl or he will have his bouncer toss you out, literally, on your ass). Give him a call to make sure he's around then take the train up on Friday night and go on Saturday morning. Regardless of day, go in the morning. Carl is better in the morning (Carl is good in the afternoon too, but better in the morning).

    2. I think Ebay has some folks who sells firsts at a discount but definitely go to a store to try them on first and make sure they fit as the last is a bit long and narrow. A dark brown half brogue or punched captoe. This will go with anything your black shoes go with.

    3. Try Sam Hober. Get a navy and maroon grenadine at the minimum. Fantastic ties that you will always be able to wear. Dress pants can be moderately tailored. You're young so you can get away with something fairly tailored but you want to look professional so you can't tailor too much. Check out PG's pictures. I think that's the most tailored I would go if I were you.

    4. I don't think TAT will make a suit in your size. My advice is also to start out with either navy or charcoal and once you have a baseline then you can expand from blue into grey or vice versa. Buy whichever suit fits better.

    5. No advice for DC.

  14. streetminimal

    streetminimal Senior member

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    Mar 16, 2008
    Melb, Australia
    dude, your post makes me want to say fuck you.

  15. xCoffee

    xCoffee Well-Known Member

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    Jun 6, 2010
    Personally, I find myself in a similar situation. One would think a guide for this would have popped up already detailing options for say 4 options of highly conservative vs. more casual combined with young/entry vs. older.

    What I'll add is that generally the consensus TaT is geared towards fairly slim individuals. Also, some of the park avenue seconds are almost flawless. Otherwise, you can grab them on ebay for ~$250 total.

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