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New job - help with business casual wardrobe

fungz0r

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So I will be starting a job in May and the dress code states that it will be business casual. I have no experience withing dressing business casual in a work place since all my previous jobs have been in a lab wearing whatever I wanted with a lab coat.

I was wondering if anybody could offer some insight into what and where I should be looking in terms of building a small wardrobe for such a job. I also don't want to spend too much money, so I'm going to say limit the budget to something around $500?

Thanks!
 

Antonio Centeno

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http://artofmanliness.com/2010/04/16...ly-wardrobe-1/

Understand the less you want to spend, the more time you have to spend looking for deals. But it can be done - I talk to men weekly who pull together wardrobes for less than $500.

Understand what to look for, then go through the thrift shops and sale bins - you'll be amazed what you find!
 

JTA

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Invest in well fitted shirts, trousers, jeans, sportscoat/jacket/blazer. They will make you look smart without too overpowering.
No need to go for luxury brands if the budget is limited (go to ebay or B&S, many good deals).
 

Master-Classter

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look into guys like TM Lewin and Tyrwhitt and Hawes & Curtis, etc from london who do nice shirts with a slim fit option, when they do sales they're like $50 a piece. pick up some basic colors and patterns. get 1 navy blazer and 1 brown or grey related sportscoat. ($100-250 each, very variable pricing. try brooks brothers) a few slim khakies in brown/cream, etc. (even check banana republic, the GAP, etc... with sales you can get these for $30-50 each) 3-5 wool dress pants in black, navy, dark grey, light grey ($100 each - check forum affiliates like howard yount, kent wang, etc) 2 pairs of shoes, 1 black 1 brown. ($150-200 each. check the allen edmond shoe bank for seconds. go to a store to fit them on first to find which last and size fit you) start there. also PM some of the wayw posters from Vancouver so they can recommend some local stores. also see if there's anything here - Google Map
 

fungz0r

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So the basics for business casual would be a slim fit shirt, khakis/dress pants, and a pair of dress shoes right?

I've never really bought a nice fitted shirt, what kind of measurements should I be looking for on myself before I go try them on. There is a local Brooks Brothers, but other than that I'm not too sure of other places to look
 

DoTheGrownup

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Originally Posted by fungz0r
So the basics for business casual would be a slim fit shirt, khakis/dress pants, and a pair of dress shoes right?

I've never really bought a nice fitted shirt, what kind of measurements should I be looking for on myself before I go try them on. There is a local Brooks Brothers, but other than that I'm not too sure of other places to look


Sounds good to me. Just don't wear a tie with no jacket, and add a sport coat for fun some times. You could probably get everything you need at Brooks. Few pairs of chinos or gabardine dress pants, slim or extra-slim fit shirts, a blue blazer, some penny loafers...
 

Ortega76

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The great news about your upcoming job is that you are starting in a season of the year that has nice weather, so outerwear isn't a big issue for awhile. Chinos are going to be your staple for pants and buttondowns are going to be your shirt. Buy yourself enough clothing for at least a week, maybe two. Keep building and maintaining your wardrobe as you work.

The upcoming Easter sales are a good opportunity to build your wardrobe. For basics, I'd say try the following.

- 2 shoes. 1 cordovan, 1 black. All leather lace-ups.
- 2 belts. 1 cordovan, 1 black. Matches your shoes.
- 4 to 5 pairs of chinos. Khaki, Grey, Brown are all good choices.
- 1 pair grey flannel trousers. Great all purpose pant.
- 5+ shirts. I agree with Tyrwhitt as a good choice. Also had good luck with Paul Frederick. At least one great white shirt.
- 2+ Neckties. Especially if your workplace requires them. Even if they don't, a couple in your closet are necessary for special events or meetings with clients.
- As the weather cools, sweaters and casual sportcoats will be your friend.
 

Metlin

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Originally Posted by Will C.
I disagree.
Why would you want to quote spam messages and help propagate the links further?
 

fungz0r

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I'm also 20 years old, so I'm not too sure what sorts of style I should avoid since they might be for more mature people.

For shirts, should I get 1 shirt MTM and then just take those measurements and order a few more shirts from moderntailor? what sort of styles/patterns?

For footwear, should I avoid penny loafers?
 

Expressions Realia

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Originally Posted by Antonio Centeno
http://artofmanliness.com/2010/04/16...ly-wardrobe-1/

Understand the less you want to spend, the more time you have to spend looking for deals. But it can be done - I talk to men weekly who pull together wardrobes for less than $500.

Understand what to look for, then go through the thrift shops and sale bins - you'll be amazed what you find!




+1, The article is great too.
 

Bartlebooth

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If you're in a resonably sized city"”like Vancouver"”then search the thrift stores. I needed a quick upgrade to business casual in December and, aside from buying two trench-coats on sale and some new shoes on clearance, everything has come from thrifting. With two months of diligent thrifting, you can build a very solid basic wardrobe.

The first hurdle: thrifting requires learning how to recognize quality. Read this forum. A lot. But remember that people on here are particular and snooty, and though it's usually with reason, it's also within their budget. Fit is king, though. 99% of the people you meet will know when your jacket fits, but not when it's a poly-cotton blend made in China. A good thrifting score lets you approach quality for a much more doable price. Not counting shoes, I've completely flipped my wardrobe for much less than $500. With patience, you can find good shoes, though.

The second hurdle will be gauging how your coworkers dress, and how far over and under that bar you can go. For example, I occasionally wear a tie under a sweater or vest, but never without some sort of sweater or vest to casualize the outfit. The only other people who wear a tie at my work are middle-aged women. One of them wears it under a three-piece, and the other wears it 80's-style, with sleeves rolled and pushed and jacket-collar popped.


As for basics:
1 pair round-toe, dark brown lace-up dress shoes
1 dark brown belt
2 pair khakis (one lighter, 'stone' color and one darker tan color)
1 pair light grey trousers
2 solid white oxford cloth button downs (OCBDs)
1 light blue OCBD
1 dark blue OCBD
1 navy blazer

Good additions:
1 pair navy trousers
1 gray sport coat
(These are because navy pants don't go with a navy blazer, and you'll want a jacket to wear with your navy pants.)

Color-wise, you can pair any of those shirts with any of those pants. A navy blazer will go with everything but the navy pants. A medium- to dark-grey blazer will go with the navy pants. Get a belt that matches the buttons on the blazer (i.e. gold/brass or silver).

Ideally, you should have at least two pairs of shoes, so you can let each pair rest a day after wearing them. Try a lighter brown or a walnut for your second.

Ties depend on the work place. A solid navy knit would work with all of the above.

I'd be wary of going MTM until you know more about what you like. Go into Brooks Brothers and get them to measure you. You need to know neck size and sleeve length.


The ultimate plus to thrifting is that you get to try out a bunch of different fits and colors to decide what you like, without have the regret of paying full price for something that ends up not fitting your style. (Plus, once you learn to recognize quality, you can fund your wardrobe by reselling clothes you find for cheap.)
 

blahman

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Originally Posted by fungz0r
I'm also 20 years old, so I'm not too sure what sorts of style I should avoid since they might be for more mature people.

For shirts, should I get 1 shirt MTM and then just take those measurements and order a few more shirts from moderntailor? what sort of styles/patterns?

For footwear, should I avoid penny loafers?


Newbie to style (like me) and don't want to look dated, then stay with solids and simple patterns like stripes. Keep things clean and slim. The whole less is more thing.

So avoid pretty much half the stuff you see in WAYWRN and those heavily brogued gunboat longwings so many people seem to love. They are either too oldschool or too advanced.
 

fungz0r

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Would a pair of AE park avenue shoes be a good start, or are there better/cheaper alternatives? I'm mainly browsing B&S and ebay to look for shoes. How does the sizing work for AE and aldens?

As for OCBDs, why all only OCBD and not other types as well?
 

mensimageconsultant

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There's only so much a person can expect from amateur helpers....

Try on unfamiliar shoes in person. Otherwise, you're asking for trouble. Allen Edmonds Park Avenue might be the best option within the budget, if you live in the USA. There are AE stores, Jos. A. Bank carries them....

A dress shirt for business casual need not have a button-down collar. In fact, that type of collar technically shouldn't be worn with suit-and-tie, making it less versatile. Oxford cloth itself does look a bit more casual, so a collection with some OBCDs makese sense.
 

Franky12

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I would say spend a day on ebay and you will surely get all you need at a great deal that you can't even imagine.

Or take a look here I am sure you will find exactly what you are looking for.
 

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