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Help with beginning a business wardrobe

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JoeyFreshwater

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Hello everyone, long time listener, first time caller.

I will be interning this summer at an investment bank in Manhattan, and I am looking to add to/start my business wardrobe. I'll start with what I have; a passable navy suit, a bunch of "dress" shirts, but probably only 3-4 that are proper dress shirts that would be appropriate for business settings/anything but a frat party, and 8-10 ties. In the shoe department I mostly have shoes given to me by older family members, ranging from Cole Haan's to higher end Bruno Magli's. Also, my uncle as early graduation present took me to his tailor to get 4 shirts made which I am still waiting on, 3 in white w/ and w/o stripes, and a light blue, all with regular cuffs and semi spread collar.

I am planning on getting 2 more suits, 1-2 pairs of shoes, and a few more back up conservative dress shirts and ties. What I could use some help with is exactly what, and more importantly, where I should be looking. I was thinking of going with 2 of the Napoli cut from SuitSupply, one in a darker gray/charcoal, and the other in a light gray. For shoes, I was thinking of getting a pair of black park ave's through this deal http://www.allenedmonds.com/student.html and trying to get some dress shirts on clearance at Ralph Lauren or Brook's Brothers.

For suitsupply, I've heard they don't sell separate jackets from pants, and I am a 47/48L in the chest and about 36-38 in waist, will this be an issue? I go to college in Manhattan, so how much will basic alterations be like pant and sleeve length at their Madison Ave store run me per suit, and do they ever have sales or specials on either the suits or alterations? For Allen Edmonds, is that the best deal I am going to find, or do they periodically go on sale, or are there cheaper options than just going to their retail store? Lastly, any recommendations on scoring some decent quality white/blue/plain workhorse dress shirts and basic business ties? Would like to keep those in the $40-$50 a piece range, but also not have them only last for a year.

Sorry for the boatload of questions and I'm excited to join the community!
 

Murlsquirl

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Welcome to the forum, @JoeyFreshwater . It sounds like you're on the right track. Suit Supply is a great option and already having a navy, two shades of grey is a good choice. Based on the size advisor, you should be alright with your chest/waist drop. They will have to take the trousers in a bit, but no more than 2" and that is about the max you want to go or everything gets thrown off. They actually list their tailoring prices here http://us.suitsupply.com/en_US/content-page-tailoring-instore-tailor.html

You can get AE seconds if that's fine with you. You can find out more about that by asking here http://www.styleforum.net/t/141581/allen-edmonds-appreciation-thread-reviews-pictures-sizing-etc. As for shirts/ties, I would just wait on BB to have a sale or find an Off Saks Fifth Avenue that has decent quality stuff at a discount. Best of luck!
 

LA Guy

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Hello everyone, long time listener, first time caller.

I will be interning this summer at an investment bank in Manhattan, and I am looking to add to/start my business wardrobe. I'll start with what I have; a passable navy suit, a bunch of "dress" shirts, but probably only 3-4 that are proper dress shirts that would be appropriate for business settings/anything but a frat party, and 8-10 ties. In the shoe department I mostly have shoes given to me by older family members, ranging from Cole Haan's to higher end Bruno Magli's. Also, my uncle as early graduation present took me to his tailor to get 4 shirts made which I am still waiting on, 3 in white w/ and w/o stripes, and a light blue, all with regular cuffs and semi spread collar.

I am planning on getting 2 more suits, 1-2 pairs of shoes, and a few more back up conservative dress shirts and ties. What I could use some help with is exactly what, and more importantly, where I should be looking. I was thinking of going with 2 of the Napoli cut from SuitSupply, one in a darker gray/charcoal, and the other in a light gray. For shoes, I was thinking of getting a pair of black park ave's through this deal http://www.allenedmonds.com/student.html and trying to get some dress shirts on clearance at Ralph Lauren or Brook's Brothers.

For suitsupply, I've heard they don't sell separate jackets from pants, and I am a 47/48L in the chest and about 36-38 in waist, will this be an issue? I go to college in Manhattan, so how much will basic alterations be like pant and sleeve length at their Madison Ave store run me per suit, and do they ever have sales or specials on either the suits or alterations? For Allen Edmonds, is that the best deal I am going to find, or do they periodically go on sale, or are there cheaper options than just going to their retail store? Lastly, any recommendations on scoring some decent quality white/blue/plain workhorse dress shirts and basic business ties? Would like to keep those in the $40-$50 a piece range, but also not have them only last for a year.

Sorry for the boatload of questions and I'm excited to join the community!
First of all, welcome.

Second, if you want to have some ideas of what other members think of as their "basics", you might want to browse this thread: http://www.styleforum.net/t/278789/what-are-your-10-menswear-essentials just for fun.

And now, to the answes:

A size 48 comes with a nominal size 42 pant, for the typical drop 6. For a more athletic drop, it can go as low as a size 40. Tailors have told me that you can change a pair of pants 2-3 sizes without distorting the shape of the pants. This means that you are probably going to be at the cusp of things.

Allen Edmonds do occasionally have great deals (they advertise with us), but usually not on the staples, so that is worth considering.

Not so sure about the shirts. Maybe J Crew or Brooks Brothers. (https://www.jcrew.com/mens_category/dressshirts.jsp). A bit more than $50, but JCrew has a deal on right now for 25% off of any order over $125.
 

Claghorn

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Is there a reason you want two gray suits and not a gray and a navy?

---

Sounds like your uncle served you well with the shirts recs
 
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JoeyFreshwater

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Welcome to the forum, @JoeyFreshwater . It sounds like you're on the right track. Suit Supply is a great option and already having a navy, two shades of grey is a good choice. Based on the size advisor, you should be alright with your chest/waist drop. They will have to take the trousers in a bit, but no more than 2" and that is about the max you want to go or everything gets thrown off. They actually list their tailoring prices here http://us.suitsupply.com/en_US/content-page-tailoring-instore-tailor.html

You can get AE seconds if that's fine with you. You can find out more about that by asking here http://www.styleforum.net/t/141581/allen-edmonds-appreciation-thread-reviews-pictures-sizing-etc. As for shirts/ties, I would just wait on BB to have a sale or find an Off Saks Fifth Avenue that has decent quality stuff at a discount. Best of luck!
Thanks for the link that is exactly what I was looking for. When you say seconds, does that mean second hand or something like shoes from the factory that didn't meet their quality standards? I'm not so worried about how much they cost, I just don't want to overpay if they can be easily had at deep discounts, which it sounds like they cannot.

Is there a reason you want two gray suits and not a gray and a navy?

---

Sounds like your uncle served you well with the shirts recs
As I said, I already have a navy suit. I'm sure its nowhere near SuitSupply quality, but it is not atrocious and I figure I'll replace it in a couple years when I am fully in the workforce.

First of all, welcome.

Second, if you want to have some ideas of what other members think of as their "basics", you might want to browse this thread: http://www.styleforum.net/t/278789/what-are-your-10-menswear-essentials just for fun.

And now, to the answes:

A size 48 comes with a nominal size 42 pant, for the typical drop 6. For a more athletic drop, it can go as low as a size 40. Tailors have told me that you can change a pair of pants 2-3 sizes without distorting the shape of the pants. This means that you are probably going to be at the cusp of things.

Allen Edmonds do occasionally have great deals (they advertise with us), but usually not on the staples, so that is worth considering.

Not so sure about the shirts. Maybe J Crew or Brooks Brothers. (https://www.jcrew.com/mens_category/dressshirts.jsp). A bit more than $50, but JCrew has a deal on right now for 25% off of any order over $125.
Thanks for the thread, I'll be working my way through it for a while. I guess I'll run down to the SS retail store this week and try some on to see how big of an issue it is.
 

LA Guy

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Thanks for the link that is exactly what I was looking for. When you say seconds, does that mean second hand or something like shoes from the factory that didn't meet their quality standards? I'm not so worried about how much they cost, I just don't want to overpay if they can be easily had at deep discounts, which it sounds like they cannot.

As I said, I already have a navy suit. I'm sure its nowhere near SuitSupply quality, but it is not atrocious and I figure I'll replace it in a couple years when I am fully in the workforce.

Thanks for the thread, I'll be working my way through it for a while. I guess I'll run down to the SS retail store this week and try some on to see how big of an issue it is.
"Seconds" are shoes that didn't meet their most stringent QC tests. However, if you have a chance to look at them in person, you'll find that the blemishes are often invisible to the layman's eyes, or so minor as to be irrelevant. A scuffed sole, for example. i mean, you will scuff your soles the minute you hit not carpetted floors, but the company wants to sell you an immaculate product.

Good luck.
 

Simone1

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Hi, congratulations on your internship!

The business wardrobe is all about neutral basics; they're versatile, conservative and timeless.
Shades of black, navy, gray and you are good to go!

You already have a navy suit, what about getting a great charcoal solid suit and perhaps another navy suit of birdseye or of another weaving?

In an ideal world, a business wardrobe should include atleast two blazers - but you can get along with just one. A navy blazer of a lighter fabric, makes it able to be worn year around..

It's great that you have supplied yourself with white dress shirts, they match every color of suits, blazer and dress pants you can imagine.. Timelss!
Have you considered one or two in light blue?

You dont mention the style or colours of your shoes, but let's talk about this for a while!
A black pair of lace up leather shoes (oxfords / derbies) could work well with the charcoal suit
A brown pair of lace up leather shoes (oxford / derbies) would be great with both the charcoal and the navy suit.

Make sure to have dress socks, and also try to get a black leather belt to match your shoes, and a brown leather belt to match your shoes. These things doesn't need a big investment..
An extraordinary briefcase comes with a high pricetag, so you might not be ready for that at this moment! But remember you will need something to bring papers etc to and from the office, so try to find something budget friendly - a brown would do good for your current suit ideas :)

When it comes to ties... Keep in mind that the brighter the colors, the less busy the pattern should be.

You seem well on the way, so you just need the final steps and you are good to go... I can't comment on suitsupply, as I am from Italy/Denmark, I have absolutely no experience with SS :)

Kindest Regards..


Edit: If you need any tips on how you can combine your different pieces etc, feel free to shoot me a PM anytime - I work as a suit specialist and fashion stylist, dealing with both customers from formal business environments to hardcore fashionistas!
 
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CMCR

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Congratulations on your internship, once you start you will have much greater things to worry about than what you're wearing (read: sleep) so its good to get it sorted before you start. As someone who went through a similar transition you're already starting from a large base of clothes. From what it sounds like you're getting a bit carried away and already have the makings of a sufficient summer wardrobe. Just thought I'd share some notes with you for my (and my friends/colleagues) trials with dressing for corporate America.

-It is great to have nice shirts that will impress, but keep this for big meetings and 'high visibility' days/moments/trips (if you're road-showing), but on a day-to-day especially as an analyst you're shirts depreciate far faster than you would expect. Long hours, infrequent dry cleaner trips, and lack of an undershirt (unsure if this effects you) will have your white collars looking dingy and your cuffs wearing quickly. While it sounds like you're already on the way to MTM 'steeze', courtesy of your uncle, I would suggest buying some OTR BB shirts (can buy ~$45 on-sale) for everyday wear (you can also get these darted to fit better -assuming you're not obese for ~$10). Additionally, if you're looking for more MTM shirts at a more attractive price point try Proper Cloth (~$95 MTM shirts).

-As for shoes, don't skimp. You can get AE on-sale during their off-season sale (where they sell previous season) or at specific retailors (e.g., the famous CitiShoes on Park has an AE sale every summer -including Park Ave's which never go on-sale). I would suggest starting with a pair of AE Park Ave's they are industry-standard and respectable in almost every context. You can get a 'similar' pair for cheaper from AE, but just bite the bullet and build your shoe wardrobe. With one of my first paychecks I bought a pair of Alden's (which was a stretch at the time) but they have been one of the best investments thus far.

-For suits, Suit Supply is fine, assuming you can resist choking the sales reps for their smug 'directionally correct' fashion advice (one of them once told me that some of their suits were intentionally 'half-canvased' because they wanted to provide 'more structure' for people with slimmer body types). However, if you are creative about it you can find amazing sample sales in SoHo. There are 1-2 storefronts that have high-end sample sales (e.g., Eidos/Isia etc..) which open to the public after the first day. If you can find out about these, this is the best way to buy suits. Unfortunately, they are often at odd-hours for those of us who work a full day/night. However, just tell your MD that you're having lunch with your Mom and cab downtown.

-Finally, for alternations my advice would be similar to the suit. Tailoring in Manhattan is unfortunately very expensive. During my first weeks, I gawked as a Tailor, with a straight face, charged me $25 to dart a shirt. However, I have learned that while you may try and find cheaper options, bad tailoring is bad tailoring. If you find a good tailor (who should also understand your style and be a good guy to shoot the shit with), stick with him. Pay for good tailoring and alternations, it is worth it. Also, if you get to know your tailor well enough and give him enough business they may give you cheaper prices for being a regular.

-As for ties, your 8-10 is more than enough (assume they don't look like they're from the 70's). A few rep ties, a few pattern and one or two solids is more than enough for an internship. If you're looking for validation in pursuing the purchase of an Hermes tie or two, then go for it. If you don't want to pay full price you can get good reliable used ones on second-hand sites like theRealReal for ~$50-70. However, don't be the intern wearing the Hermes tie on the first day -you'll need to earn respect first.
 
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JoeyFreshwater

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Congratulations on your internship, once you start you will have much greater things to worry about than what you're wearing (read: sleep) so its good to get it sorted before you start. As someone who went through a similar transition you're already starting from a large base of clothes. From what it sounds like you're getting a bit carried away and already have the makings of a sufficient summer wardrobe. Just thought I'd share some notes with you for my (and my friends/colleagues) trials with dressing for corporate America.

-It is great to have nice shirts that will impress, but keep this for big meetings and 'high visibility' days/moments/trips (if you're road-showing), but on a day-to-day especially as an analyst you're shirts depreciate far faster than you would expect. Long hours, infrequent dry cleaner trips, and lack of an undershirt (unsure if this effects you) will have your white collars looking dingy and your cuffs wearing quickly. While it sounds like you're already on the way to MTM 'steeze', courtesy of your uncle, I would suggest buying some OTR BB shirts (can buy ~$45 on-sale) for everyday wear (you can also get these darted to fit better -assuming you're not obese for ~$10). Additionally, if you're looking for more MTM shirts at a more attractive price point try Proper Cloth (~$95 MTM shirts).

-As for shoes, don't skimp. You can get AE on-sale during their off-season sale (where they sell previous season) or at specific retailors (e.g., the famous CitiShoes on Park has an AE sale every summer -including Park Ave's which never go on-sale). I would suggest starting with a pair of AE Park Ave's they are industry-standard and respectable in almost every context. You can get a 'similar' pair for cheaper from AE, but just bite the bullet and build your shoe wardrobe. With one of my first paychecks I bought a pair of Alden's (which was a stretch at the time) but they have been one of the best investments thus far.

-For suits, Suit Supply is fine, assuming you can resist choking the sales reps for their smug 'directionally correct' fashion advice (one of them once told me that some of their suits were intentionally 'half-canvased' because they wanted to provide 'more structure' for people with slimmer body types). However, if you are creative about it you can find amazing sample sales in SoHo. There are 1-2 storefronts that have high-end sample sales (e.g., Eidos/Isia etc..) which open to the public after the first day. If you can find out about these, this is the best way to buy suits. Unfortunately, they are often at odd-hours for those of us who work a full day/night. However, just tell your MD that you're having lunch with your Mom and cab downtown.

-Finally, for alternations my advice would be similar to the suit. Tailoring in Manhattan is unfortunately very expensive. During my first weeks, I gawked as a Tailor, with a straight face, charged me $25 to dart a shirt. However, I have learned that while you may try and find cheaper options, bad tailoring is bad tailoring. If you find a good tailor (who should also understand your style and be a good guy to shoot the shit with), stick with him. Pay for good tailoring and alternations, it is worth it. Also, if you get to know your tailor well enough and give him enough business they may give you cheaper prices for being a regular.

-As for ties, your 8-10 is more than enough (assume they don't look like they're from the 70's). A few rep ties, a few pattern and one or two solids is more than enough for an internship. If you're looking for validation in pursuing the purchase of an Hermes tie or two, then go for it. If you don't want to pay full price you can get good reliable used ones on second-hand sites like theRealReal for ~$50-70. However, don't be the intern wearing the Hermes tie on the first day -you'll need to earn respect first.
I'm not looking to get anything crazy expensive like Hermes ties. I see what you're saying about going overboard since I already have a lot clothes, however, a lot of it fits poorly, is a hand me down thats 15+ years old, or has been soaked in bud light after a few too many late nights and generally been cared for by a college male. Fortunately, I won't be terribly budget constrained this summer, and hopefully that stays true in the future, so I wanted to get some staples that fit properly, won't look like my college wardrobe in 3 years, and keep them separate from my current clothes that have seen their better days.
 
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Claghorn

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Just worth noting, Henry Carter, a former vendor on SF and all around good guy, is closing up shop (promotion in his real job). Right now he's selling ties, buy 2 get 1 free (you need to mention the free tie in the note during checkout). Prices are in AUD and come out to 55-60 USD each, which is a fantastic bargain for HC ties.
 
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