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high school: starting to try to be better-dressed

wmmk

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Hi everyone,

I'm fresh off a summer internship at a political campaign and about to head back to school (I'll be a high school sophomore). For most of my life, I've been wearing Levi's jeans and rather randomly selected t-shirts. At work this summer, I tended to wear a Brooks Brothers polo or dress shirt, usually with the sleeves rolled up a bit, along with some nice khakis, a beaten-up woven leather belt, and my old loafers. I'd even occasionally wear on a sweater on cooler days. At home, I'd usually just keep on my shirt and throw on some khaki shorts. I rather liked that look.

Anyhow, I figured that as long as I'm in the habit of dressing well, I might as well continue to do so. I'm not at Choate or Exeter or anything, but I go to a good public school on Chicago's north shore. We don't oft have blazers or ties, but we do have some Kennedys (yes, the Kennedys), great rowing and crew teams, and quite a lot of pink and green vineyard vines polos floating around the hallways.

I appear to be rambling about how I got into the trad look and how acceptable preppiness is at my school. I'll cut to the chase: I'd like to dress well, but also not come across as a toolish, stiff, or overly conservative.

So, I'm currently working with two pairs of Levi's jeans (dark pair of 507's and light pair of 527's), a pair of Levi's khaki/tan colored pants (539's), a good bunch of vintage-y t-shirts from thrift stores, a Brooks Bros. black short sleeve polo, a BB brown s/s polo, 3 white BB oxfords (one is a slim fit, which I really like), a Jos. A Bank navy-blue-and-white-striped button down, a Jos. A Bank light blue button-down, a few pairs of khaki shorts, a pair of plain navy blue athletic shorts, a few nice plain white t-shirts, and 3 v-necks sweaters (1 black, 1 navy, 1 grey/light-blue argyle). I usually wear retro-looking New Balance sneakers.

I guess I wondered if wearing relatively casual (i.e. not white) button-downs tucked into nice jeans every now and then would be too formal for high school. Also, is it bad to wear a thrift store t-shirt one day and a BB polo the next? Finally, I was thinking I should get some long sleeve shirts other than button-downs. Am I correct in thinking that rugby shirts (I really some of the BB rugbys) are a bit more youthful/casual than l/s polos?

Finally, if there's anything else I should consider in the sartorial realm?

Thanks a bunch!
-wmmk
 

Joffrey

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Jeans and t-shirts are about right for highschool. I remember a kid that wore sport coats and slacks to class when I was in highschool and he seriously looked 40. Dress young and mess around while your young cause once you get in the real world, we REALLY start regulating the no flip flop rule.

The key is to try to get your formal dress right at your age. If you can be that 16 year old kid well kitted out in a suit for a class presentation or dance, then you are doing what you need to do right.
 

Orange

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Don't spend too much while you're in high school. Most of those clothes won't fit by the time you reach college. I'm not sure about the rest of you but I didn't have an allowance back then that could afford even H&M suits regularly.
 

cs1

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High school is so tough for kids your age. When I was in, graduated in 1976, it was jeans and T's all the way. Now, huge cargo pocket shorts that hand down to your knees seem to be the style for guys. I'm so glad my son goes to a parochial school. They wear khakis, long sleeve OCBD's and a tie daily. On special occassions a Navy Blazer is mandatory. It's a timeless look.

If you want to see really well dressed high school kids head to Clev OH in September. Their freshman class, approx 340 guys, walk to St John's cathedral in their navy blazers. It's amazing to see them all. They stretch almost a half mile.
 

Terria

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The wardrobe you described having sounds like exactly what you need. If you want to throw a few button-downs, go for it. But I wouldn't be too serious about it. Like Jodum5 said, enjoy being able to throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt while you can, because all too soon you have to worry about job interviews and apparel.

You're at a fantastic age. Enjoy being yourself, have fun with your friends, and don't sweat the threads too much.
 

stickonatree

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basically go for anything WITHOUT logos! hang out in this forum a bit more or check out SW&D for some street tips. good luck!
 

wmmk

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Hmm, thanks to all for the advice. When you say to avoid "advertising logos", I presume you mean obnoxious company logos? I have a lot of t-shirts from thrift stores advertising things like the Chicago Mexican Soccer League, the Yale philosophy department, and a 1970s congressional campaign. Also, a couple of my polos have subtle Brooks Brother logos (a lot are even the same color as the shirt itself). Is there anything wrong with that?
 

wmmk

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Haha, I wasn't planning on wearing any loafers to school...
 

JordanH.

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if i were you, i would only dress up slightly. i'd wear a lot of button down shirts and polos with khakis and loafers (not penny loafers, no disrespect to any one of you but it seems like an older man should be wearing them). i also love dark levis with brown loafers and polo shirts. lights levis, maybe. i have some on right now, but only because my dark ones were dirty. i also love the button down/ vest look, i actually think that's a youthful look.
 

haganah

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Have fun. Get some vagina. What people don't tell you is that vagina doesn't get better with age. Just dress like the guys in school that get vag and you'll be fine. Worry about your wardrobe later on in life when you need to get older vag.
 

scientific

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i think you can go with any of the options in your question and achieve the same significant level of douche-i-tude, which seems to be common in your locale, so you should be good.
 

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