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How to not look like a busboy, security guard, etc.

binge

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Do you own any articles of clothing which are commonly associated with various types of uniforms? If so, what do you do to avoid that association? Pictures are highly encouraged.

This question was motivated by two WAYWRN posts: mine and voxsatoria's.

Vox joked that he looked like a security guard. True, the blue sportcoat, grey trousers and black shoes & belt is de rigueur for security guards everywhere; but at the same time those elements are central to a man's wardrobe. How do you wear that combo without looking like a security guard?

In vox's case, other than some of the most obvious differences -- such as not having a security company patch on your arm, or walkie talkie at the hip -- the fit of his clothing is far above the typically sloppy appearance of most security guards. Also, the accessories: tie, and ps in particular; no security guard would wear a tie like that nor have a pocket square.

In my case, the deep red sport coat could easily make me for a theater attendant or similar. I almost always wear that jacket with the pants and boots shown in my WAYWRN post. No service uniform would have pinkish corduroy pants. And the blue shirt and tie also move it away from something seen in a servant's uniform.

Again, pictures and/or links to WAYWRN posts are encouraged. The "How to wear a cardigan" thread was great due to all the pictures posted in it giving examples.

PS. Let's leave black suits out of this for now.
 

Morgan

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A good friend of mine had the highest GPA in his class at a top-ten law school. Incredibly accomplished guy, intimidatingly smart, but every time he put on a tuxedo the judges, professors and executives he was trying to mingle with looked right past him while handing him their empty glasses and wadded-up napkins. There was nothing wrong with his dinner jacket; he just had the wrong shade of skin. In short, because we live in a racist society, try not to look too black or Mexican while wearing a suit and you should be ahead of the game.

I realize this thread is not about this, but just wanted to remind you that for some people it's not amusing but humiliating to get the busboy treatment.
 

FidelCashflow

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I've worn the navy blazer/gray pants combo. I try not to wear a white shirt or a plain looking with with it. I'm not much for pocket squares, but I wear a sharp-looking tie clip that always draws compliments... but the nerd in me still insists on carrying the walkie-talkies.
 

Metlin

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Originally Posted by Morgan
A good friend of mine had the highest GPA in his class at a top-ten law school. Incredibly accomplished guy, intimidatingly smart, but every time he put on a tuxedo the judges, professors and executives he was trying to mingle with looked right past him while handing him their empty glasses and wadded-up napkins. There was nothing wrong with his dinner jacket; he just had the wrong shade of skin. In short, because we live in a racist society, try not to look too black or Mexican while wearing a suit and you should be ahead of the game.

I realize this thread is not about this, but just wanted to remind you that for some people it's not amusing but humiliating to get the busboy treatment.


Excellent point.

Based on my ethnicity, I used to often get mistaken for an IT guy on client engagements. I guess the general consensus is that if you're from a certain part of the world, you must be in IT. It doesn't help that I am fairly young, either.

So, I made it a point to not wear khakis or the stereotypical IT guy-ish outfits, ever. It's amazing how much of a difference being clean cut and well dressed makes.

I know that it is not the same as being mistaken for a security guard, but in some professions, it is important for you to stand out and look your part. Else, you will have difficulty getting your message across and risk not being taken seriously, however strong your argument may be.
 

Metlin

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Originally Posted by binge
PS. Let's leave black suits out of this for now.

Damn!

*American Pie Voice*

There was this one time, in my pre-SF days...
 

a tailor

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at the casino, looking around i noticed. the buss boys and girls, the security guards, the dealers, the washroom attendants, everyone was wearing BLACK PANTS.

BLACK PANTS ARE "THE UNIVERSAL UNIFORM".
 

Mr. Potato

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I have been mistaken for a hotel manager for wearing a navy suit, white shirt, solid navy tie, and white TV fold square. Whether people see that as a compliment, that's at their own digression. The outfit should be quite common, but I guess I look the part with my all too warm smile.

But I've since worn more striped/coloured shirts, and fancier pocket squares.
 

bmulford

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What about the mid-level manager/sales executive outfit? Tan pants with 2-3 inches of break, loafers that have never seen a shoe tree, an oversized mens warehouse navy "blazer" (never buttoned), and button down over sized shirt w/o a tie? Often seen carrying some beat up trade-show leatherette computer bag with strap dragging on the floor.

A trip to any major airport, will feature more of these outfits than that of the security or wait personnel. I'd say I prefer movie theater usher/security guard outfits to the sheer awfulness of business travel attire.

If I have to see one more pair of woefully warped loafers paired with an unbuttoned double breasted navy "blazer", I think I'm going to go postal.

/just got back from a cross country trip that seemed each airport was trying to outdo the other with visually insulting sartorial choices.

//Damn this post is bitchy.
 

repressedm

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Originally Posted by Morgan
A good friend of mine had the highest GPA in his class at a top-ten law school. Incredibly accomplished guy, intimidatingly smart, but every time he put on a tuxedo the judges, professors and executives he was trying to mingle with looked right past him while handing him their empty glasses and wadded-up napkins. There was nothing wrong with his dinner jacket; he just had the wrong shade of skin. In short, because we live in a racist society, try not to look too black or Mexican while wearing a suit and you should be ahead of the game. I realize this thread is not about this, but just wanted to remind you that for some people it's not amusing but humiliating to get the busboy treatment.
very sad post. Was this in the current decade? What's your friend doing right now
 

ScruffyLimey

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FWIW.... some thoughts on Vox

I never saw a security guard whose jacket fit so well, & had a ticket pocket (is that the same name in US -the upper pocket on the right?).
I never saw such an immaculately dimpled tie - surely it would be a clip-on.
And the shoes - no steel caps.

Likewise binge - the details & quality of items set you apart (like the boots, BTW).

As always, there will always be a few perceptive people who will notice the details, as well as a few dullards who would not notice if you wore a tracksuit.
 

voxsartoria

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Originally Posted by binge
In vox's case, other than some of the most obvious differences -- such as not having a security company patch on your arm, or walkie talkie at the hip -- the fit of his clothing is far above the typically sloppy appearance of most security guards.

I'm almost tempted to use this as a sig: "voxsartoria: the fit of his clothing is far above the typically sloppy appearance of most security guards."

Originally Posted by Morgan
I realize this thread is not about this, but just wanted to remind you that for some people it's not amusing but humiliating to get the busboy treatment.

Sobering. Yes, that crap still happens.

Originally Posted by a tailor
at the casino, looking around i noticed. the buss boys and girls, the security guards, the dealers, the washroom attendants, everyone was wearing BLACK PANTS.

BLACK PANTS ARE "THE UNIVERSAL UNIFORM".


Universal is right...at least in some places.

Originally Posted by bmulford
What about the mid-level manager/sales executive outfit? Tan pants with 2-3 inches of break, loafers that have never seen a shoe tree, an oversized mens warehouse navy "blazer" (never buttoned), and button down over sized shirt w/o a tie?

Elitist.

Originally Posted by ScruffyLimey
FWIW.... some thoughts on Vox

I never saw a security guard whose jacket fit so well, & had a ticket pocket (is that the same name in US -the upper pocket on the right?).
I never saw such an immaculately dimpled tie - surely it would be a clip-on.
And the shoes - no steel caps.


I keep the walkie-talkie in the ticket pocket.


- B
 

JayJay

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Originally Posted by bmulford
A trip to any major airport, will feature more of these outfits than that of the security or wait personnel. I'd say I prefer movie theater usher/security guard outfits to the sheer awfulness of business travel attire.

If I have to see one more pair of woefully warped loafers paired with an unbuttoned double breasted navy "blazer", I think I'm going to go postal.

/just got back from a cross country trip that seemed each airport was trying to outdo the other with visually insulting sartorial choices.

I spent a couple of hours in an airport yesterday and couldn't help but notice a lot of what you've mentioned. Lots of unflattering looks.
 

KObalto

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I was in FB's the other day, checking out the Brioni, wearing a medium grey nailhead DB Oxxford, blue micro-check Thomas Pink shirt, burgundy and gold Charvet tie and contrasting burgundy and gold Robert Talbot pocket square. Some guy walks up to me and says "Can you tell me where your suspenders are?" I pulled open my jacket and said "Sure, they're right here", flashing my Thurstons. He smiled and just stood there staring at me. After several unfomfortable seconds, I said "I don't work here". He gave me a confused look and slowly repeated "Oh... you don't... work here". Humiliating.
 

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