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Meet the father attire

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by HKnight, Jul 14, 2004.

  1. HKnight

    HKnight Member

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    I'm a 20 year old college student. I've been with my girlfriend for two weeks now and she informs me her father will probably be in town this weekend and would like to meet me (a little scary to be meeting a parent so soon). I'd like to make the best impression as possible with my clothing. How should I dress for this occasion? It will likely be over dinner, but possibly over lunch. Here are my ideas. Please let me know what you all think. If dinner: Shirt: Solid white or slate blue dress shirt Tie: I have it narrowed down between 5 (I lean more toward #s 1-3). I'm trying to wear some more friendly ties--trying to avoid the red power ties and such. Jacket/Slacks: Obviously, this depends on where we go to eat, but assuming it's a not-too-fancy-but-still-nice place (say, Carrabbas), do I need a jacket, or should I be okay in just the shirt & tie? If a jacket is necessary, should it be a suit? I have gray, navy, and tan suits. Shoes: Doc Martens or full-fledged leather sole dress shoe? If lunch: Shirt: Slate blue, French Blue, or Royal Blue dress shirt, collar unbuttoned. Tie: I suspect no tie should be necessary for lunch. Jacket/Slacks: No jacket. Khaki pants or black wool/linen dress slacks? Shoes: Doc Martens The ties: [​IMG] Thank you all in advance for the suggestions.
     
  2. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Senior member

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    For your age, there is no reason that you should feel the need to wear a jacket and tie to meet your girlfriend's father, IMO. I suspect that you would be radically overdressed as compared to your girlfriend. But, if you are intent on going the jacket route, here are my opinions:

    (1) Any of those ties would be fine, but I personally think #4 would best go with a blue shirt, blazer, and slacks.

    (2) If you want to go the jacket route, I think that a tie is not necessary. Going tieless but with a blazer might be a good compromise, though I know it goes against common wisdom here for many. Personally, I like the tieless look for certain occassions, so long as the dress shirt has a nice collar.

    (3) If you go with either a tie or a jacket, you should not wear Doc Martens. Docs go best with jeans, and are good with khakis provided you aren't going for a dressy look. It seams like you are going for a bit more of a tailored look, so go with the leather soled dress shoes. If you don't have any dress shoes, I'd suggest going and buying a decent pair if you can afford it (even Banana Republic or J. Crew is a good bet for under $150 if you are in a time pinch). Trust me, at your age a good pair of dress shoes will come in handy and last for 5 years or more (because you'll wear them very infrequently; I still wear a pair of dress shoes that I bought 6 years ago in college).

    (4) Personally, my advice would be to look LIKE A NICE YOUNG MAN AND COMFORTABLE IN YOUR OWN SKIN. Don't radically alter your attire just for this occassion. If you are a jeans and t-shirt guy, why not just step it up to some khakis a button down shirt and some dress shoes? RELAX. The parents probably just hope their daughter is dating a kind person who will treat their daughter right. Meeting the parents is a big deal, but really they are looking out for their daughter when meeting you (as opposed to simply judging you). So, if you come off like someone that could provide for their daughter if things go further, then it's all good. As a 20 year old, you don't have to wear a coat and tie to do that.

    (5) My best advice -- ask your girlfriend what you should wear (but don't take her as gospel). My guess is that she wouldn't want you not being yourself and would counsel you accordingly.

    Good luck.
     
  3. kalra2411

    kalra2411 Senior member

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    I too agree, I would not expect for you to be dressed in a suit.

    Perhaps a shirt and dress trousers with or without a jacket, but no tie would be fine, unless of course that is the expectation of the restaurant.

    However, these days very few restaurants expect such dress, even very good ones.

    I would not go for something so buisness like for dinner though with the ties, you need something dark if you are wearing a suit in the evening.
     
  4. clarinetplayer

    clarinetplayer Senior member

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    Go with tie "number four" with the blue shirt. Good luck.
     
  5. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Unless you are dating a very unusual girl with very formal parents (i.e. if her dad is on this forum,) the jacket and tie thing will probably raise some eyebrows. Just go with clean. Honestly, they'll probably be expecting jeans and a button up over a t-shirt. You're 20. Just make sure that it doesn't say "I fucked Chloe Sevigny" on it, okay?
     
  6. acole

    acole Senior member

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    [​IMG] Well, I wouldn't go 'round worrying too much about appearances, sport. Oh, diarrhea. --Ken
     
  7. Tom

    Tom Senior member

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    You do not want to "out-dress" her dad. Â And I doubt you'd want to show up to Black Angus in a blazer and tie. Â Will your girlfriend's dad be in a blazer and tie? Â I like the idea of you going in a nice shirt and khaki's for lunch, or blazer with slacks and no tie for dinner. Â If you choose to dispense with the tie, be sure to avoid wearing a crewneck t-shirt. Â I have made that mistake before. Â It looks silly when you can see someone's t-shirt peeking out at their collar. Â Have fun. -Tom
     
  8. mano

    mano Senior member

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    HKnight, You forgot the most important piece of clothing, the belt. In fact you'll need two if you want to make a positive impression on her father. One chastity belt for her, one for you. During the meal, lock them both, hand dad the key and let him know you'll ask for it back after the wedding. With any luck he'll simply nod and allow you live for the time being. BTW, have a great time and simply relax and be yourself. [​IMG]
     
  9. regularjoe

    regularjoe Senior member

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    Shower, shave, and maybe get a haircut or trim the hair. I don't think you have to worry about formal clothes.

    At 20, I don't think her dad is expecting to meet a future husband (not that I want to jinx you guys one way or the other).
     
  10. ernest

    ernest Senior member

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    you can wear a tie if :

    - your girlfriend is from a royal family
    - you want to look ridiculious
     
  11. HKnight

    HKnight Member

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    Thanks for the replies, everyone. To be honest, I hadn't even thought about outdressing her dad. Glad I posted here.

    So for dinner, I guess I'm modifying it to be more in line with lunch attire: probably a French blue dress shirt, collar unbuttoned, putty/khaki slacks, black leather belt, and now I'm thinking I'll go with my J&M Black Oxford shoes, unless it's going to rain, in which case I'll go with the Doc Martens.

    I do suppose the blazer, even without a tie, would be a little too dressy--and I think the tie without the blazer would look a bit unfinished.

    For those who suggested jeans, I'm not really much of a jeans guy, plus they're real hot in the summer. I prefer a nice pair of slacks. And I wouldn't really be altering my appearance much for dinner, anyway, as I do have a good collection of dress clothes and enjoy wearing them whenever the situation even marginally calls for them.
     
  12. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Senior member

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    Ernest, must are the two requirements separated by an "and" or an "or." [​IMG] I'm glad to see that my advice was leaning toward the more formal side (or at least wasn't so discouraging of jacket/tie as others have been). But, I've gotta say, I wholeheartedly agree with, say, Kalra's advice on this one. I would have stated the same but I did not want to move you too far from your original position. There is nothing wrong with having considered a jacket/tie -- it shows, perhaps, that you are (1) beyond your years, and (2) really wanted to make a good impression for your girlfriend. Both of these things are (normally) commendable. However, having done the meet the parents thing a couple of times in my late teens and early 20s, I can say without reservation that some pants of some kind (could be "chinos" or slacks, it doesn't matter), some decent well-cleaned shoes, and an ironed collared shirt that is tucked in (with a belt matching the color of the shoes) is the way to go. You will look clean cut, won't be out dressing her father, will be comfortable, and won't come off as trying to "act like a bigshot." Now, if you end up with this girl for a while, chances are you'll meet her parents again at some formal event (a wedding, etc.). It is there where you can show her parents that you know how to pick out a great tie. Good luck again.
     
  13. HitMan009

    HitMan009 Senior member

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    I agree with the dressing a notch up from what you normally would wear. A pair of chinos with a button-down oxford is a nice clean look for a person your age. Hopefully you got a pair of brown shoes and a brown belt to go with it. I think you can pull off with jeans and a collared top, such an a polo or something with a collar. Whatever u can tuck in, tuck in. A sweater would be nice also. Just as long as you avoid clothes with big logos, you should be good to go. I do have a disagreement with Tom though. I don't see anything wrong with a crewneck showing from the unbuttoned top button of a shirt. I think it adds an extra layer of interest and it stop a man from showing too much skin. Showing too much skin is for girls to do. Plus, if you have chest pair, you wouldn't want it showing.

    My two cents and good luck with the folks.
    -HitMan009
     
  14. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Senior member

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    I agree hitman. I almost always wear a crewneck t-shirt when wearing a shirt with chinos. The only time I will wear a v-neck t-shirt underneath (I always wear a tshirt underneath to avoid unnecessary sweat stains) is when I'm wearing slacks with a plain collar (non-button down).
     
  15. kalra2411

    kalra2411 Senior member

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    Again let me give you some advice, beige trousers (chinos) and a blue shirt is fine for the daytime, and lunch, but I feel that you may look a little silly wearing such at dinner time, you need to look at darker colours, perhaps charcoal trousers with a white dress shirt, or a black dress shirt. Or navy blue dress trouseres with a pink shirt or other subtle pastle colour. As I also said with the suit that you were going to wear, the colours are too light for the evening
     
  16. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Senior member

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    Kalra is right on the mark once again.
     
  17. HKnight

    HKnight Member

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    Okay...

    I'm thinking a white dress shirt plus black slacks is a little plain, so how about black slacks with the french blue shirt? Or is the french blue out of the question altogether for dinner?

    I don't have any pastel-colored shirts. Might have to pick some up.

    Thanks for the continued followup.
     
  18. kalra2411

    kalra2411 Senior member

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    That would be fine, but in my opinion blue looks bad with black (but that's just my opinion, unlike the fact that you should not really wear light colours in winter or the evening)

    Perhaps a black and white striped shirt with black trousers, or pinstripe trousers with a white shirt.

    I agree that white dress shirt plus black trousers is wrong, and you may end up looking even worse, as you may look like the maitre'd.

    Perhaps you could post pictures of your blue shirts?
     
  19. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Senior member

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    What is "french" blue? IMO, blue with black is fine BUT it should be a VERY light colored pale blue. You could always just go pick up a dress shirt. And you don't need to spend much money. I know Banana Republic -- which I assume is near you and in your price range -- has some of its "Premium" shirts on sale right now for $35. They are pretty darn good for a young but tailored look -- decent fabrics, mother of pearl buttons, some pretty cool patterns. The fit is slightly slimmer than most "mall store" dress shirts, which is also good. Check 'em out. They should have a stripe or check pattern that will pair nicely with black pants.
     
  20. kalra2411

    kalra2411 Senior member

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    By the way, what is the temperature like where you are?

    The reason I ask is because, you could go for a sweater, perhaps Cashmere or Cashmere and Silk, that way you would neither look under or over dressed. Perhaps even a cotton one. I would stick to a crewneck without a shirt.
     

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