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Returning to California

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by mcqueen007, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. mcqueen007

    mcqueen007 Well-Known Member

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    Jul 11, 2011
    I'm in my 30s now. Active duty, reaching for the senior enlisted ranks, and I'll leave it at that.

    Being stationed in Italy has given me a sobering view of American style (or lack thereof) overseas, as we stand out in public, and not in a good way.

    Knowing how my fellow military men dress out in town, I am trying to dress appropriately for the wonderfully warm weather, but to add a touch of class on my limited salary, and try and "breakout" from my peer group (something of a term we use when annual evaluations come around).

    I currently wear any appropriate combination from below:

    PANTS
    - 5-pocket BR chinos: 2 pairs, one off-white, one British khaki http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=55434&vid=1&pid=858814&scid=858814002
    - Levi's jeans: 501s in Grit, 505s in Rinse and 559s (that I wish were 514s now that I understand the fit) in Tumbled Rigid and Indie Blue
    - Golf shorts: 2 pairs dark chalk, 1 khaki, 1 caviar http://www.kohls.com/kohlsStore/men...3/Grand+Slam+Performance+Technical+Shorts.jsp

    SHIRTS
    - Polo shirt: 1 black, 1 true navy, 1 dark green and 1 in horizon blue http://www.landsend.com/pp/mens-tai...cks-_-polo-shirts-_-short-sleeve&origin=index
    Or a series of solid V-neck shirts that I need to improve on (in quality)

    SHOES
    - One pair brown suede chukkas from Bata in chocolate brown http://www.bata.it/prodotto/149462
    - Skechers Browsers in black http://www.zappos.com/skechers-browser-black
    - Birkenstock Milano in hunter black leather http://www.zappos.com/birkenstock-milano-hunter-black-leather

    ACCESSORIES
    - One pair Ray-Ban Cockpit aviators in gunmetal http://www.ray-ban.com/usa/sunglasses/rb3362/004
    - Seiko 2-tone watch that matches my wedding band http://www.kohls.com/kohlsStore/jew...eiko+Solar+Stainless+Steel+Two+Tone+Watch.jsp

    Here is a pic of me in chinos (going to hem them), polo and chukka boots:

    [​IMG]

    Everything else I have I'll throw out, along with a few of these, that I wear our in town. What would you recommend, based on my body type, that I add to my wardrobe? I'll be living inland, where it is warmer, but working closer to the Pacific Ocean, where it will be a little cooler.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
  2. ysb

    ysb Senior member

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    I just moved to SoCal at the beginning of the year from Boston, so maybe not as huge of a contrast as yours, but a contrast still. I lived here before but in Boston I amassed a ton of cold weather items like coats and boots. I'm realizing now that I can pretty much get rid of 1/2 of my clothes. Basically get used to wearing jeans and a t-shirt and sneakers for a vast majority of the time. It's very casual here.
     
  3. mcqueen007

    mcqueen007 Well-Known Member

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    Jul 11, 2011
    ysb, that's how I remember it, and I don't mind casual (prefer it), but would like to step it up a bit. Perhaps a nicer sandal or loafer to go with my creased and clean-looking shorts.

    Maybe add some quality linen or silk short-sleeve button-ups (NOT Charlie Sheen shirts) and/or OCBDs to wear with the golf shorts or some Cubavera linen trousers. Looking into a dressier watch (leather strap) and some Persol sunglasses.
     
  4. Parker

    Parker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Location:
    Yerba Buena
    How about some dressier chinos with regular pant styling (not 5-pocket jean style). Something slim and hemmed for a sharper look. Also, a few dress shirts and maybe a cotton blazer. You're gonna wants shorts, tees and sandals for summer, but like anything there's good versions and ugly versions.
     
  5. mcqueen007

    mcqueen007 Well-Known Member

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    Parker, I love 5-pocket chinos, and plan on getting some Levis' 514s, so I probably SHOULD get a dressier chino. I liked how the tapered pants look with boots, so I'll probably try that route, and have looked at J. Crew (not terribly impressed), Express and Ralph Lauren, along with Dockers (don't see the K-1 anymore).

    I like solid V-neck shirts (not the douchebag V-necks with the ridiculously large neck), and would be interested in a quality shirt like those, but am also looking for nice casual button-up shirts, too. Suggestions?
     
  6. mcqueen007

    mcqueen007 Well-Known Member

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    REALLY liking these, but with golf shorts and no socks???

    [​IMG]
     
  7. meso

    meso Senior member

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    Location:
    Long Beach, CA
  8. Parker

    Parker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    You need to go look at more pictures of your namesake/s. Not that you (or anyone) will ever look as cool as a movie star, but at least you can study the details, fit and composure. That seems like the look you're after: sharp, sporty and "a cut above" your military peers. Dirty bucks say "college kid" or "frumpy dad" to me, at least with golf shorts and a polo.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. mcqueen007

    mcqueen007 Well-Known Member

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    Parker, thank you for your response. And yes, you're right: that is what I'm going for.
     
  10. mcqueen007

    mcqueen007 Well-Known Member

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    And I've been looking at something like these:

    Linen Pants

    Customizable. Dry clean only?
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
  11. mcqueen007

    mcqueen007 Well-Known Member

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    And would these benefit from having a cuff at the bottom (despite being flat front)? I ask because the places I'll be going this summer are HUMID.
     
  12. ballmouse

    ballmouse Senior member

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    Get some button up collared shirts.
     
  13. 9 Iron

    9 Iron Member

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    Apr 9, 2011
    Nix the linen pants, those are for old guys trying for the Tommy Bahama look, which is too prevalent out here and kinda sad. I'm similar to you but older, mid forties, live in inland California, athletic frame, fit not fat, modest budget, clean style sense without fashion victim/trend-of-the-month issues, I never do the slouchy thing. Go to H&M for slim colored denim pants, fit is great, trim but not tight, good value, lot of colors. They have a great selection of polos and button up shirts too. Contrasting colored socks, some suede brogue or wingtip shoes, you'll do great. Shop Nordtroms for sales, and they have a decent selection of shoes too. Just got some 1901 brand suede wingtips there, excellent fit, good look, budget friendly. Brooks Brothers for casual button up shirts and ties when they have sales or their outlet store if there's one near you. I find good products at great prices at the outlet stores, Gap, Calvin Klein, Saks. Go trim, good color contrast, best quality you can afford, you'll do fine.

    Shorts are highly acceptable here as it's warm a lot of the time. Better quality golf shorts by Nike, UndermArmour, ashworth in clean colors, trim fit, go with short sleeve button up collared shirts and boat shoes. It's a preppy kind of look but clean and acceptable.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  14. mcqueen007

    mcqueen007 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your reply. I was just on the BB website last night, and will see if there is an outlet store near me when I get to CA.

    I was looking at some loafers to wear with shorts, jeans and chinos, as I am guilty of having leather flip-flops and Birks, only.

    Sperry Loafers
     
  15. 9 Iron

    9 Iron Member

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    You'd have to try that shoe for yourself and see how you lke it, but my own opinion is that dress shoes without socks was a fad, already kind of passe'. Do a search for the thread titled " Rock your socks". For me, slacks or nice colored denim pants, nice shoes, nice socks, nice shirt. Shorts? Boat shoes (Sperry Topsiders originals) no socks, casual shirt like a polo. You'll just have to play with it and get a feel for what works for you. Take your wife with you, get her opinion. Just don't let yourself fall into anything that whispers Fashion Victim to you. The worst things you see out there with grown men (besides the all-out slobs) are the guys who are 45 trying to dress like a 22 year old skateboarder, or the guy who thinks he pull off the look of a 140 pound NY fashion model 20 years his junior. It just won't work. Go classic, go, trim, light and sporty with a little color thrown in (it's California, mid february and I was in the park with the kids yesterday in shirtsleeves, we have no need for tweed coats or wool hats). You already seem to have a good sense of clean ( except for the Birkenstocks, ugh), trust your instincts.
     
  16. pebblegrain

    pebblegrain Senior member

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    Location:
    USA
    Why is this so complicated?

    California is basically like this:

    Northern Cali: wear whatever the fuck you want year round. You can wear suits, sweaters, shorts, flip flops, dress shoes, boots, peacoats, down jackets. It has fucking perfect weather so you can wear a t shirt and jeans with some sort of douchey jacket every single fucking day of the year and you will be neither too cold nor too warm, or get as elaborate as you want. If you wear a scarf it will be for decoration, I never owned a scarf in Cali until age 28 because you don't need it. If it is too warm to wear something during the day, wait until after 8 pm, it will be 30 degrees cooler that night.

    Southern Cali or Inland: exactly the same except 10 degrees warmer and it rains even less. This will reduce your need for sweaters, heavy suits, and heavy outerwear. Otherwise, the same: wear whatever the fuck you want.

    It's the east coast where dressing is overly complicated. In Feb you are wearing your full arsenal of 4 lb knits, wool slacks, overcoats and three scarves and by April those clothes will be useless. Fuck the east coast/midwest/south
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  17. pinchi22

    pinchi22 Senior member

    Messages:
    448
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    Oct 5, 2004
    Location:
    Spain, California
    I can relate (as another Californian living in S. Europe for last several years).

    Why not pick up a nice, lightweight Italian merino wool sweater or two? If you´re going to be on the coast (esp. in N. Calif.), you´ll need it when the fog rolls in. It will look a lot better than the fleece the others will be wearing.

    How about a pair of Randolph Engineering classic aviator sunglasses? Good enough for Don Draper, and maybe you can pick them up at the PX at a discount. If you want to standout from your U.S. colleagues, then perhaps you can get a pair of Persols on sale while you are still in Italy. While you´re there, maybe you can find a pair of somewhat trim fit chinos at Boggi (on sale?).

    And don´t forget to embrace your American roots! I´ve seen lots of Italians in Levis (albeit not pre-washed Grandpa variety), RL polo shirts (especially if you´ll be near an inland outlet), Gant button downs or rugby shirts (no longer American-owned, I know), classic camp mocs or boat shoes (instead of flip flops). These are classics that will look good nearly anywhere and fit with your age (neither teenie hipster nor grandpa). IMO, the Italians really know how to incorporate U.S. clothing in their sartorial mix.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
  18. mcqueen007

    mcqueen007 Well-Known Member

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    Funny you mention the shades. Already looked into the Randolph's, and the wife hates them, and prefers my Ray-Ban aviators to them. I'll be in Southern California, so that makes a difference, and the wool sweaters just won't be necessary, and I love the idea of getting a nice cardigan... I just won't ever wear it.

    Persols for sure, but I haven't really seen any here in northern Italy. I do see plenty of RL polo and Lacoste polo shirts. The slim chinos I see out in town are often the right fit (though there are plenty that are too skinny), but clearly cheaply made. I'm told the people in southern Italy dress nicer than up here, where it is a little more of a blue-collar dress.
     
  19. pinchi22

    pinchi22 Senior member

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    Location:
    Spain, California
    

    Great. I´m sure you´ll use the Ray-Bans in S. California!

    Here, further south in Europe (Spain), Ray-Ban aviators were all the rage last year. This year, it´s been Ray-Ban again, but this time the wayfarers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  20. mcqueen007

    mcqueen007 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, man. I just love my stone-color chinos. They go well with a dark polo, ala Daniel Craig, and my dark brown desert boots.

    The linen trouser (and I will only get one pair) is for port visits to Thailand, the Philippines, or wherever tropical place the Navy takes me. The big thing I really need to get is a quality casual shoe. I've looked into the Sebago boat shoe, and some nice Venetian loafers, but I'm notoriously cheap.
     

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