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List of Bare Necessities

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by unbelragazzo, Oct 4, 2012.

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  1. Trompe le Monde

    Trompe le Monde Senior member

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  2. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    see above comment in response to the suggestion of a wallet. also for a watch: if you don't have a dress watch, just don't wear one. definitely leave your sports watch at home.


    another qualification here is assume that you won't be shopping with this person. You're just telling them what to get. the suggestion of 'an odd jacket' is a lot more fuckuppable than a blue blazer. also, the blue blazer fades into the background completely. no one will notice if you wear it twice in a weekend or every time they see you in a coat and tie situation. this is not true for most odd jackets. if the metal buttons are too much, they are easily traded out for some brown horn buttons.

    on black shoes: black shoes will be slightly wrong with the blazer. but brown shoes are much more wrong in situations like weddings and funerals and perhaps even job interviews. so i'd go to black shoes as the first dress shoe, and the only one if it stops there. also see my earlier reply on shoes. black shoes are also more unfuckuppable than brown shoes. and if we're on a budget, cheap black shoes are better than cheap brown shoes imho.
     
  3. Claghorn

    Claghorn Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    As far as the black shoes go, what about Chelsea boots with a leather sole? They would look better with the blazer/odd jacket/whatever is decided on than the cap toe. They might not look quite as good with the suit, but they'd be passable (especially if the wearer is young).

    Agreed about black over brown though. I like brown shoes more, but black is probably the most essential since it is never outright inappropriate as a shoe color.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
  4. in stitches

    in stitches Senior member Moderator

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    YES! the answer is ALWAYS navy SC.

    for example,

    Contestant - Alex, I will take literature for $800, please.

    Alex - This classic 18th century poet was also know for bathing in fox urine, and referring to his wife, as mommy.

    Contestant - What is, navy SC?

    Alex - Correct. Your board.
     
  5. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    for the same reason as black being better than brown, cap toes are better than chelseas. at risk of waking up with a severed horse head in my bed tomorrow courtesy of doc holliday, chelseas wouldn't be a great choice with a suit for an interview or a wedding. especially for someone who doesn't have a real interest in clothing - they'll look even more out of place. i'd go for the black derbies shown earlier over chelseas.
     
  6. Claghorn

    Claghorn Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Fair enough on the derbies. And with regards to the chelseas, I guess its better to be awkwardly formal than to be awkwardly informal (as those formal occasions are likely more important).

    Any plans for putting together a few possible sets of these basics for different price points? I'm not sure budget will always be an issue in cases where this list could prove useful. Some people will have the money but have previously lacked the desire/need for the bare essentials.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
  7. mcbrown

    mcbrown Senior member

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    I like the idea of this thread. I think a lot of the dissent over things like a navy blazer comes from confusion over what you're trying to accomplish:


    It sounds like what you're really trying to get it is something like "What should I tell my friend to buy if he suddenly decides he wants to 'dress better' and doesn't have much of a budget or sense of color/texture/pattern?" So your goal would not be to get him WAYWN props, but to give him a flexible wardrobe with a minimal number of items but maximal possible combinations, all while minimizing the risk of incoherent or disastrous combinations (i.e. assume he is going to randomly pick trousers, shirt and shoes every day, and will randomly choose to include or exclude a jacket and/or tie, also chosen at random). So he could almost literally put his outfit together blindfolded and be guaranteed to never look terrible. Does that sound about right?
     
  8. JubeiSpiegel

    JubeiSpiegel Senior member

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    So what you are trying to tell us OP, is that you are unwavering on anything in your list? This does not make for a constructive thread... :confused:
     
  9. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    ^I think he's just saying he has reasons for the items he's chosen.

    But I pretty much agree w/ what he's posted. I'd probably make minor substitutions:
    --Dark blue or navy suit = same
    --Blue sport coat = same
    --Black captoes and belt = same,
    --Khaki cotton or grey wool pants = I recommend the grey pants, since they'd go better w/ black captoes than tan.
    --Two white shirts -- I'd recommend one white spread collar and one solid blue oxford or checkered button down.
    --Two ties -- I'd probably go with a solid navy or black black knit and one of another color, either burgundy, dk brown, or light blue in glen check, pin dot, or knit.
    (A light blue knit tie goes great w/ a white shirt, navy sport coat, grey pants, and black shoes imo.)

    This is what any guy would need to be well-dressed for weddings, funerals, dances, or interviews.

    If he has to wear such stuff more often than these events, in the next year I'd get the khakis, a brown belt, brown loafers, a couple more ties, a couple more shirts (solid blue or white, and a blue checkered or striped, probably a university stripe ocbd), and another sport coat or suit, depending on what he would need most. If a suit, then whichever he didn't buy above. If a sport coat, then grey or brown herringbone tweed, brown or green corduroy or cotton twill. A sweater (lambswool v-neck or merino polo), a scarf, and a tan raincoat would be good too, assuming he lives in a place that gets cold.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
  10. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Hmm...it's not impossible, but I doubt it. 1) it's enough of a debate agreeing on which items are necessary without going into discussion about brands, etc. 2) it's better to take the focus away from brands. it's better to think about something as 'my navy blazer' than 'my BB blazer'. I think Gus discussed this some when he did his 10 essentials thing, and the discussion was useful IIRC.



    Yep, that's the idea. This is not a wardrobe for a dandy. It's a wardrobe that will allow you to be presentable at any occasion that doesn't require formal or semi-formal evening or morning dress.


    First - am I that unwavering? I've already indicated that the tie choices are flexible, and that black derbies are a fine enough substitute for black cap toes. I think every time that I've stuck by my original choices I've given reasons and not just insisted that it must be so.

    Second - am I supposed to be wavering? It's my list, if I thought it didn't matter that much which items I put in it or that I didn't put very much thought into which items would be best, that wouldn't make for a very constructive list, would it? The point is not, this is THE list, given to you from on high, you must accept it.

    The point is, I thought it might be useful to think about such a list, since 1) internet fora love lists 2) we did a more extensive one recently in Manton's thread, 3) this list could perhaps provide some value to people visiting this forum with something like this question, and don't want to go through all of Manton's list, 4) interesting discussions can be generated on the general usefulness of navy blazers, etc..

    But really, it was just something I wrote up for my tumblr and thought might be of some interest on SF. If you're not entertained, I apologize.
     
  11. Rich0116

    Rich0116 Senior member

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  12. Claghorn

    Claghorn Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Minus the budget constraint (and the sudden desire to "dress better") that sounds like my dad. This thread would actually be perfect for him (except that he's approaching retirement, works in the ever so fashionable field of astrophysics, and lacks a desire to dress better...though he did just move from LE shirts to BB). I still might copy and paste the original post for my mom to make another attempt at civilizing him.
     
  13. atoms

    atoms Senior member

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    "Bare Necessities" is dependent on one's lifestyle, so of course there is going to be debate. I've had to wear a suit perhaps three times in my life. I work in software at an office with casual dress (can wear shorts and tshirt if I want). I live out in the suburbs, attend perhaps one wedding every five years, etc. I personally have no need for a blazer and it would be a waste of money. But I'm sure my lifestyle is much different thant the OP.
     
  14. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    This is all good. Shirt substitution is perfectly fine. Solid blue more unfuckupabble than the checkered, but most checkered or simple stripes are fine. Just no multi-colored stripe technicolor dreamshirts. No bright greens or whathaveyous. Basically nothing in this very limited wardrobe should stray from blue, tan, grey, and brown. Some yellow or red in the tie if you must, but that is all.

    I also favor the grey pants over the chinos, but some guys think of wool as a huge burden on their souls and feel more comfortable in cotton.

    For the ties, personally I don't like navy tie on navy jacket that much. But there are plenty of knits that would work perfectly well. Just not every guy is a "knit guy". I love them, but they're not for everyone. Pin dot tie to go with the suit instead of the ones I suggested is perfectly fine.

    Back to the jacket - I still think navy blazer is the best recommendation in this situation. But there are plenty of other jackets, including brown tweeds or black and white herringbone tweeds, where if it were your only jacket, you could still be prepared for any event. Especially with a navy suit from which to rob the jacket when it's summer and you don't want to wear tweed.
     
  15. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    But the idea is, you will need to wear a suit at some point - almost all men do - and you might not get much notice. Maybe a job opportunity that comes up quickly, you start dating someone and she wants to take you to a wedding, etc.. There are also situations that you don't think of as blazer situations now, but where it might be really nice, such as the ones I mentioned earlier. How often you use these bare necessities depend on your lifestyle, of course. But with high probability every guy will need something like these items at some point in their lives, or if not "need" then be in a situation where they are a great improvement over what would otherwise be worn.
     
  16. HughJ

    HughJ Senior member

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    Perhaps you could elaborate on what you consider necessary then? I didn't think the OP's list contained anything crazy that a decently well dressed man wouldn't already own. Maybe you dress down a bit at work as you said, but what about when you go out at night? This list is a fair starting point IMHO.
     
  17. in stitches

    in stitches Senior member Moderator

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    emptym - i like your points very much, particularly the gray trouser substitution.
     
  18. atoms

    atoms Senior member

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    I think the list is a good starting point, just adjust a thing or two as needed. I wasn't purposefully debating or disagreeing with it. I was just trying to provide an example of why consensus is not realistic. To be honest, I probably take words like "necessity" too literal.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
  19. SamSpade

    SamSpade Senior member

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    Part of the debate on the navy SC can be simplified if we agree on whether the suit is an essential. If you remove the suit from the list of essentials, then the navy SC wins, because it can be brought up almost to a suit level - e.g. if combined with the black cap toes, the grey pants, white shirt, and the wedding tie (or a solid).
    In fact, most people IRL don't even get the suit-coat distinction and upon seeing the above would simply say - "nice suit".

    Of course, the navy blaer can be dressed way down per SF standards, but for the type of bloke that is the object of this thread most such applications would still fall in the "dressed up" category. Sure, there are blazers (e.g. unstructured cotton) that are inherently casual, but that's already advanced level of differentiation that does not apply in a 'bare essentials' situation.
    So, if you do have the suit, then I can see how it becomes debatable if you really also need a blazer as a more casual dress. But if the suit us not a part of the equation, then beyond any reasonable doubt the navy blaz is an 'essential'.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
  20. Gauss17

    Gauss17 Senior member

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    I think most would agree one suit is essential.
     

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