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Crafting a style for particular work environments?

Rugger

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Upon entering a new work environment, I found myself, and more particularly my wardrobe, not representing the type of employee I had become. The old career field was suits, ties....sprezz was shoes and pocket squares.

My new field is less glamorous, more knowledge/teaching driven. It doesn't feel right being dressed like a banker when working as an industry subject matter experts who's entire job is to know everything and be able to teach said everything to consumers of information. I feel like I should be more dressed like a college professor who takes care and consideration for his appearance.

Does anyone have any insight or similar experiences? I'm having trouble even coming up with ideas....tweet coats with elbow patches keep popping into my head and that's NOT what I'm going for here :lol:

Thoughts?
 
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landshark

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I have dealt with a similar issue lately. My last two positions I wore a suit and tie all the time. One was a very independent position where I could do whatever I wanted, and could dress however I wanted. The other was a more formal business position and suits were required/encouraged.

Now I am in a very casual office, and I had to totally switch up what I wore everyday. I was wearing jeans more often, and colored or patterned shirts, which I almost never wore before except casually. I also couldn't wear jackets or suits as much. Now that its a little cooler (here in Texas) I can get away with dressing up more.

Right now pattern and texture really helps. Something more interesting like a plaid odd jacket or a tweed suit looks nice and dressed up but is different enough to not look like a banker or be too formal looking. Basically casual, but nice suits and items are the way to go for me.

For more informal meetings or clients I would take off the jacket and still look presentable in a tucked in shirt (usually an open collar white OCBD which has the unique soft texture) and whatever trousers I have on. I dont normally wear ties, but I stick to knit ties when I do, as they are in the same realm of being uncommon in the wild, especially with their texture and the square end shape.

For shoes, I try to keep them nice. The same premise of dressy but casual works here too, e.g. monkstraps or brown suede ankle boots. Here, you can still get away with more formal shoes though. For example, today I wore burgundy AE McAllisters.

Overall, I think it has helped my versatility. Thankfully, I am going to open my own office soon and I'll be back to suits and dressing how I please again. It will be nice to be able to adapt to my environment and not be too over or underdressed.

Another thing to note is that if your office is casual/sloppy/whatever and you start dressing better slowly, you will notice an improvement office wide. If you set the standard higher, more people will want to meet it and not stick out. This has happened at the last 3 offices I have worked at and there can be a dramatic or noticeable change over time.
 
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Rugger

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Good insight, thanks for sharing. We're not quite jeans-status yet, mostly slacks and shirts. I'd like to dress down beyond slacks and OCBD but still appropriate. I think you're on with patterns, odd jackets, ties etc. More tweed/twill I guess.

Anyone else?
 

VinnyMac

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You can still wear suits. You can probably stand to be more expressive and creative now. Maybe you can enhance the silhouette a bit and break out the color combinations that you dared not wear in your previous job. Sometimes, when I want to wear a suit without looking like one, I'll wear a patterned shirt in more bold colors. Monkstraps are always a nice touch.
 

mensimageconsultant

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Pattern, texture, color, silhoutte - the few replies got it. On the texture front, some other options that might work are pebble grain, linen, lambswool, and (for jackets) camel hair. Don't forget sweaters and corduroys (or moleskin pants), if they are climate-appropriate.
 

Rugger

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I can wear jackets/sweaters from about November-March...but beyond that we're talkin 100+ degrees.
 
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mensimageconsultant

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Then probably don't bother with any heavyweight fabrics, unless traveling to cold climates. There isn't much background information to build upon here.
 

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