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Clothes to wear to work- Dos and Don'ts!

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by leonuk, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. leonuk

    leonuk Active Member

    Messages:
    38
    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Location:
    Oxford, England
    Hi All,

    Hope you had an amazing Christmas.

    I think it would be useful to stick up a list of tips on what to wear and what not to wear for those new to a business job (such as graduates going into accountancy).

    Would anyone be able to suggest some tips (or even pictures) to kick me off?

    It will be interesting to hear what you come up with- I need to kop some new clothes ASAP. If this works out I would like to stick it on my online blog along with a massive SF link and contributors list (but only if thats allowed). It might let me compete with my workmate that rocks Purple Label in his M3 all day long...

    Ho ho ho,

    Leon
     
  2. bowtielover

    bowtielover Senior member

    Messages:
    2,376
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    Well I can tell you some of my pet peeves working in an office I am constantly getting on my employees for poor faashion choices, the worst is when I am interviewing for new positions. You wouldn't believe some of the things people try to get away with. These are pretty basic things but anyways, no clip on ties, shirt neatly tucked in, never tuck without a belt, ties and short sleeves shirts don't mix, make sure everything you have on fits(it's better to be a bit tight then to be too big). Those are the basics I deal with on a average day.
     
  3. leonuk

    leonuk Active Member

    Messages:
    38
    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Location:
    Oxford, England
    Thank you, great stuff [​IMG] It is amazing how much of an impression a couple of poor choices can make
     
  4. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

    Messages:
    12,590
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Princeton, NJ
    Leon, unlikely that you're going to run into anyone rocking purple label in an entry level or intern position, but irregardless i have a few suggestions.

    Find out what is status quo at the place you are going to be working.

    If they're business formal:

    Buy white shirts, barrel or french cuffs, spread collar.

    Mild patterned totally boring ties.

    A variety of suits in charcoal gray, mid gray and navy.

    2 pair of Black Cap toe or brogued shoes.

    Business casual:

    Button down collar shirts in solid or tattersal patterns.

    wool pants in tones of gray.

    Brown loafers

    A sportcoat to dress up for meetings.
     
  5. luftvier

    luftvier Senior member

    Messages:
    3,919
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Filthydelphia
    Leon, unlikely that you're going to run into anyone rocking purple label in an entry level or intern position, but irregardless i have a few suggestions.
    [​IMG] Irrespective/Regardless of Skinny's using a made up word, his advice is solid! [​IMG]
     
  6. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

    Messages:
    12,590
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Princeton, NJ
    [​IMG] Irrespective/Regardless of Skinny's using a made up word, his advice is solid! [​IMG]
    [​IMG] this is the first time i've picked up something useful on SF, thanks lufty!
     
  7. luftvier

    luftvier Senior member

    Messages:
    3,919
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Filthydelphia
    [​IMG] this is the first time i've picked up something useful on SF, thanks lufty!

    What are you talking about? I pick up useful advice from bowtielover all the time. [​IMG]
     
  8. esq

    esq Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    91
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Leon, unlikely that you're going to run into anyone rocking purple label in an entry level or intern position, but irregardless i have a few suggestions.

    Find out what is status quo at the place you are going to be working.

    If they're business formal:

    Buy white shirts, barrel or french cuffs, spread collar.

    Mild patterned totally boring ties.

    A variety of suits in charcoal gray, mid gray and navy.

    2 pair of Black Cap toe or brogued shoes.

    Business casual:

    Button down collar shirts in solid or tattersal patterns.

    wool pants in tones of gray.

    Brown loafers

    A sportcoat to dress up for meetings.


    True all dat.
     
  9. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

    Messages:
    12,590
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Princeton, NJ
    What are you talking about? I pick up useful advice from bowtielover all the time. [​IMG]

    He drops jewels of knowledge.

    True all dat.

    Thank you, kind sir.
     
  10. mr monty

    mr monty Senior member

    Messages:
    6,795
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    Location:
    Naptown (Indianapolis)
    You what to remembered for the quality of your work and not how good or not so good you dressed. Sf approved clothing won't keep away the pink slips[​IMG]
     
  11. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

    Messages:
    12,590
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Princeton, NJ
    You what to remembered for the quality of your work and not how good or not so good you dressed. Sf approved clothing won't keep away the pink slips[​IMG]
    They're not mutually exclusive, you can be both well dressed and do quality work. In which case, you're going to have a lot of co-workers whom you scar the fuck out of.
     
  12. luftvier

    luftvier Senior member

    Messages:
    3,919
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Filthydelphia
    They're not mutually exclusive, you can be both well dressed and do quality work. In which case, you're going to have a lot of co-workers whom you scar the fuck out of.

    I generally scar my coworkers with a blade hidden into a hidden pocket in the sleeve my bespoke jackets. [​IMG]
     
  13. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

    Messages:
    12,590
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Princeton, NJ
    I generally scar my coworkers with a blade hidden into a hidden pocket in the sleeve my bespoke jackets. [​IMG]
    Very good, i use a gun.
     
  14. Doxe

    Doxe Senior member

    Messages:
    507
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    The OP asked specifically about a new job in accounting. Well, I have some experience there having previously worked at PwC for three years (as a tax lawyer, not an accountant) before jumping back to BigLaw.

    Some of this may sound outrageous (as in, basic common sense) but unless you've been there, you can't even begin to imagine the horror of what some accountants wear. I worked with a senior manager in the M&A group that wore fleece zip vests every single day! And not nice fleece (if there is such a thing) but horrible moss coloured pieces of garbage.

    When I was at PwC I wore suits every day and caught a lot of flak for it. I wore the suits because that was what I had from when I worked at a law firm. Let me say that at accounting firms things are much more casual. That being said, you can still look good. Just remember: fit is everything.

    My advice is as follows:

    1) Buy a blue suit. No pinstripes. Not fashionable (i.e., no skinny lapels or Thom Browne short jacket). This will be your go to suit for all important client meetings, etc. You will probably wear this suit 10 times a year, if that. Buy something in a classic fit that is not too baggy or billowy (accountants love comfortable clothes).

    2) Buy a pair or black, lace-up, cap-toe oxfords or bluchers. Buy shoe trees. These will be the shoes you wear with your suit. You will probably not wear these every day.

    3) Khakis. These will likely be your everyday workwear pants along with office pants. Do not buy pleated pants. I repeat, do not buy pleated pants. Flat front, slim, but not skin-tight. Buy several pairs in different shades. Recommended brands are Howard Yount or Brooks Brothers.

    4) Office pants. Again, flat front. Do not buy pin-striped office pants. Glen-plaid are ok, but solid colours are preferred. Grey, charcoal, navy blue, and dark brown are the preferred colours. Flannel is your friend. Charcoal flannels are the best thing you can wear. You won't stand out, but you'll look better than anyone else.

    5) Shirts. This is the easiest thing to screw up and ruin. If you will buy shirts that are too baggy on you, you will look fat and slovenly. You do not have a suit jacket to hide the excess fabric. I recommend using Mytailor, moderntailor, justwhiteshirts.com or any other e-retailer with low prices for MTM shirts that are tailored to fit you. If you want an example of how shirts should fit do a search for Phat Guido and look at his shirts. Buying OTR you will pay too much for shirts. Go internet MTM. Start with one shirt at a time. This is advice I wish I had when I was 21. As for colours, go with white OCBD, blue (but not too many!), tattersall, and gingham checks for spring and summer. Button cuffs, not french cuffs.

    6) Ties. Buy 3 ties. One dark navy, one sky blue, and one "other" colour. You will likely never wear them other than with your suit.

    7) Everyday shoes. Buy a pair of black or dark, dark brown leather-soled dress shoes. It doesn't matter whether they are bluchers, brogues, oxfords, or wingtips. Just do not buy rubber-soled, square-toe slip-ons. Polish your shoes. If you do this you will probably look better than the managing partner.

    8) Jeans. Most accounting firms are "casual" on Fridays. I saw people wear things that I would wear if I was washing the car. The memories haunt me still. My advice, work from home on Fridays.

    9) You don't need pocket squares for your suit. If your wear one, you will be the only one wearing one. White cotton is best. Expect abuse. Don't compain. You asked for it.

    10) Do not wear anything other than a white undershirt under your dress shirts. An undershirt is not the same as a t-shirt. Undershirts are meant to be worn as undershirts. I saw people wear brown or red printed t-shirts under OBCD dress shirts. Please do not do this.

    Many people will have different advice based on their own experience. The foregoing suggestions were based on my three years at PwC and are worth exactly what you paid for them: nothing. That being said, you will notice a number of people dressing exactly as I described. Try not be be like them.

    Good luck.
     
  15. Sanguis Mortuum

    Sanguis Mortuum Senior member

    Messages:
    5,059
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Cambridge, England
    never tuck without a belt

    Wait, what?
     
  16. Sydguy

    Sydguy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    75
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney
    One piece of advice is to hold out until you actually start, before you get anything too expensive or adventurous. Grab some standard classic items for sure but wait until you are there and can see what people wear.
    On that note, if people are dressing like bags of crap ignore them and feel free to dress over and above them. The Accountant/Lawyer thing holds true where I work. It is "biglaw" but I work in the number crunching division, and the legal types generally dress much smarter.
    There is a more casual trend these days, I bought a lot of items prior to starting, I went from the Army to corporate so I had nothing. For example you may wear a tie twice a week for a few hours, so only grab a few that will easily go with any shirt and even keep tham at work!
    Make sure your shirts fit, get them pressed and ensure they look good with the top button undone/no tie on.

    Enjoy!
     
  17. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

    Messages:
    12,590
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Princeton, NJ
    The OP asked specifically about a new job in accounting. Well, I have some experience there having previously worked at PwC for three years (as a tax lawyer, not an accountant) before jumping back to BigLaw. Some of this may sound outrageous (as in, basic common sense) but unless you've been there, you can't even begin to imagine the horror of what some accountants wear. I worked with a senior manager in the M&A group that wore fleece zip vests every single day! And not nice fleece (if there is such a thing) but horrible moss coloured pieces of garbage. When I was at PwC I wore suits every day and caught a lot of flak for it. I wore the suits because that was what I had from when I worked at a law firm. Let me say that at accounting firms things are much more casual. That being said, you can still look good. Just remember: fit is everything. My advice is as follows: 1) Buy a blue suit. No pinstripes. Not fashionable (i.e., no skinny lapels or Thom Browne short jacket). This will be your go to suit for all important client meetings, etc. You will probably wear this suit 10 times a year, if that. Buy something in a classic fit that is not too baggy or billowy (accountants love comfortable clothes). 2) Buy a pair or black, lace-up, cap-toe oxfords or bluchers. Buy shoe trees. These will be the shoes you wear with your suit. You will probably not wear these every day. 3) Khakis. These will likely be your everyday workwear pants along with office pants. Do not buy pleated pants. I repeat, do not buy pleated pants. Flat front, slim, but not skin-tight. Buy several pairs in different shades. Recommended brands are Howard Yount or Brooks Brothers. 4) Office pants. Again, flat front. Do not buy pin-striped office pants. Glen-plaid are ok, but solid colours are preferred. Grey, charcoal, navy blue, and dark brown are the preferred colours. Flannel is your friend. Charcoal flannels are the best thing you can wear. You won't stand out, but you'll look better than anyone else. 5) Shirts. This is the easiest thing to screw up and ruin. If you will buy shirts that are too baggy on you, you will look fat and slovenly. You do not have a suit jacket to hide the excess fabric. I recommend using Mytailor, moderntailor, justwhiteshirts.com or any other e-retailer with low prices for MTM shirts that are tailored to fit you. If you want an example of how shirts should fit do a search for Phat Guido and look at his shirts. Buying OTR you will pay too much for shirts. Go internet MTM. Start with one shirt at a time. This is advice I wish I had when I was 21. As for colours, go with white OCBD, blue (but not too many!), tattersall, and gingham checks for spring and summer. Button cuffs, not french cuffs. 6) Ties. Buy 3 ties. One dark navy, one sky blue, and one "other" colour. You will likely never wear them other than with your suit. 7) Everyday shoes. Buy a pair of black or dark, dark brown leather-soled dress shoes. It doesn't matter whether they are bluchers, brogues, oxfords, or wingtips. Just do not buy rubber-soled, square-toe slip-ons. Polish your shoes. If you do this you will probably look better than the managing partner. 8) Jeans. Most accounting firms are "casual" on Fridays. I saw people wear things that I would wear if I was washing the car. The memories haunt me still. My advice, work from home on Fridays. 9) You don't need pocket squares for your suit. If your wear one, you will be the only one wearing one. White cotton is best. Expect abuse. Don't compain. You asked for it. 10) Do not wear anything other than a white undershirt under your dress shirts. An undershirt is not the same as a t-shirt. Undershirts are meant to be worn as undershirts. I saw people wear brown or red printed t-shirts under OBCD dress shirts. Please do not do this. Many people will have different advice based on their own experience. The foregoing suggestions were based on my three years at PwC and are worth exactly what you paid for them: nothing. That being said, you will notice a number of people dressing exactly as I described. Try not be be like them. Good luck.
    Excellent advice, but the OP is in Europe, I believe they may be more formal, but i'm sure for certain. I work at a large financial firm, and its a very IT influenced crowd so the attire is similar to what you describe. Even though thats the case I still chose to dress well and dont take much flack for it. Couple things: Muted colors and patterns, except in the summer. No pocket squares, i reserve these for extremely formal functions one step shy of formal wear.
     
  18. marcos

    marcos New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    I have been working at the international tax department at the London office of a Big 4 firm and my experience was that people dressed quite formal (ie no business casual) but in a shabby kind of way. Little interest in clothing in general, ill fitting suits up to partner level. I don't expect better dressing at the audit side.
     
  19. Doxe

    Doxe Senior member

    Messages:
    507
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    I have been working at the international tax department at the London office of a Big 4 firm and my experience was that people dressed quite formal (ie no business casual) but in a shabby kind of way. Little interest in clothing in general, ill fitting suits up to partner level. I don't expect better dressing at the audit side.

    I agree that fashion sense in Europe is completely different from North America. There were a couple of ex-pats from London at my office and they dressed magnificently. They were the exception to the rule however.

    I agree with wating to see how everyone else dresses. I know law firms that are quite casual (litigators mostly) and others that are very formal (BigLaw corporate).

    In my first year at a law firm I was walking in the hallway without my jacket and the name partner stops me and asks, "Did that suit come with a jacket?". It was his way of saying don't leave your office without your jacket. Appearances were important to him.

    Oh, one other point. If you're at a professional firm, there is a fine line between dressing well, and flaunting wealth. The biggest example of this is watches. I wince every time I see a young associate with a new gold rolex. Not that I hate watches, quite the contrary. But from a client's perspective, when they see you with an expensive watch they are apt to think you are being paid too much. Which means they are going to think you are charging them too much. Buy the watch, but don't wear it to client meetings. I just use my Blackberry for the time these days.

    Last point. If you're at a Big 4 firm you're likely to be using a Herman Miller Aeron Chair. The mesh seat destroys wool pants.
     
  20. supercarl

    supercarl Senior member

    Messages:
    127
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    I agree that fashion sense in Europe is completely different from North America.
    Correct, ignore most of the posts here.

    In accountancy in the UK, you'd largely be expected to wear suit, shirt and tie. Just follow basic rules (long sleeved only, conservative suit, co-ordinating tie, leather soled decent shoes) and you'll be fine.

    Don't expect any form of dress-down - it doesn't happen!!

    Also, buy a nice pen and watch, essential for client meetings
     

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