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Slender but not short, possibly still growing +misc Qs

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I got through high school with nothing dressier than polos, but will need a suit and everything that goes with it in college. Possible occasions for suit wear include formal dances, honor society induction, and interviewing for engineering internships, but this is a nerdy school in upstate NY where apparently some think khakis are semi-formal, which makes it difficult to get a straight answer about how often I'll need to dress up.

I'm about 70-71" tall, depending on whose measurements you trust, with about a 35" chest and 29" waist. The suggestions for slender men I've seen here seem to either be for shorter people (boys' departments) or too expensive (FIH). Price is fairly important because I might still grow a bit and I may take advantage of the university's fitness center, but adjustments to an OTR suit and dress shirts may be an option if I can find a tailor.

I know this forum tends toward rather high-end clothing, but I hope someone can point me in the right direction. Any suggestions on what to buy (style or brands) or where to shop would be appreciated. I live near Reading, PA; is there anything I should look for at VF Outlet Center?

Thanks to anyone who read this far. I know wordy newbie questions can be annoying.
I also have three more specific questions:
1) What are your feelings regarding black jeans and casually wearing black trousers?
2) Cheap polo and tee shirts and underwear seem to tear fairly easily. Where lies the price/durability sweet spot?
3) Anyone make good bamboo shirts less expensive than MJK's?
 
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I've been looking around some more. Macy's, Boscov's, Bon-Ton, and big box stores don't seem to have 36R. JC Penney does, but AFAICT not in 100% wool navy or charcoal. Men's Warehouse does have some, but I'm a bit lost. The available brands seem to be Versini, Joseph & Feiss, Pronto Uomo, and Jones New York...Maybe Lauren and Calvin Klein. I found a thread saying to stay away from Jones, but considering the price bracket, I'm not sure the others are any better, and Jones and Calvin Klein are the only ones with flat front pants. There aren't any local H&Ms, but I might be able to make a day trip...Should I? Am I missing any other options?

For a suit, I assume I should be looking for 100% wool navy or charcoal (pinstripe?) with a single-breast two- or three-button (does it matter?) jacket and flat front pants. What about venting? Is there anything else important, or with my limited options is fit really all that matters? What about shirts? All I really know is that my mother thinks I don't look good in white and that French cuffs aren't the right choice. I'm even more clueless about ties, belts, and shoes, and my dad apparently thinks khakis and a blazer form a suit, so I'd really appreciate any and all help.
 

soaped

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Here is my attempt at useless rambling. Your size is pretty hard to find. And adding quality and inexpensive to the equation makes it even harder. You may have to just forget a bit of quality and branding (along with what SF says is bad) and just buy stuff that fits. Worry about fit first. Make sure your shoulders fit well into the suit you are buying (38R might mean 38-40 chest, but the shoulder measurements could translate to ill fitting). It would be nice to have side vents on a blazer or coat, but if what you see fits well and is center vent with a good price, so be it. Just stay away from ventless stuff (unless it is your preference). Jones and CK are fine on discount, but they are generally pretty full cut (this reads as will definately need alterations to slim the legs and waist). For suits: Give Target a look. Some have Merona (100% wool) branded suits that are decent quality for about 99-149$. They have a good silhouette and are sold as separates, but the smallest size I see is 38R and 30W. Pants are flat front and generally slim. Search merona on www.target.com and click on Suiting for a wide selection, or go to a better target retail location to try some suits on. For cheap dress shirts: Nordstrom tailored fit smartcare dress shirts. These aren't anywhere near the best or super slim fit, but they feel good and are a good buy at 38.90$ (anniversary sale is until 08/04/08). For first shirts all you really need are white and blue. Reference link: http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/2862212?...=searchresults. Again, if you don't know your size go to a retail location. For shoes (I feel that this is the one thing you should never skimp on): It just so happens that Amazon has the Allen Edmonds Soho for ~$174 right now. Now, if you are the person who would be asking who on Earth would buy 174$ shoes (they are half off right now by the way), may the SF lords help you. They are on a sleek last and are pretty nice. http://www.amazon.com/Allen-Edmonds-...7486680&sr=1-1. I realize some people here prefer the Allen Edmonds Park Avenues (less sleek, more conservative), but of course, I disagree and prefer the Soho. Get black first. For belts, ties...: Give Marshalls, Ross, TJ Maxx, Filene's or Daffy's a look. Learning what is good or bad is going to be tough work. For socks: Jcrew clearance sale (www.jcrew.com), Brooks Brothers clearance (www.brooksbrothers.com). For Underwear: For now, go to Banana Republic outlets if they are near you and stock up if they have the 5 for 20$ deals. For Polos: Lands End banded pima polos TRIM fit (www.landsend.com) size SMALL (Unfortunately I think that is their smallest size; they measure about 39-40" in the chest, in other words they fit about 1 size larger than the tag). --- Oh, and check out the Sales forums, sometimes you can pickup some very nice stuff at excellent prices. And damn, for some reason I thought you said you had 38 chest.
 

vitaminc

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35" chest and 29" waist would be a nightmare in finding clothing that fits...

1) black jeans? there should be only 2 colors for jeans, blue and white. check streetwear forum for more info on jeans. oh, and black trousers are okay as long as you dont pair it with a white shirt; you wouldn't want to appear as a waiter.

2) be more gentle on them and launder according to labels. i typically get at least 5 years of wear for the cheap clothings.

3) nfi.

never knew target carries suits. gotta check them out sometimes for cheap alternatives!
 
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Thanks, guys!


Originally Posted by soaped
Now, if you are the person who would be asking who on Earth would buy 174$ shoes (they are half off right now by the way), may the SF lords help you.
These look like they'd be a great deal if not for the timing (final growth spurt). I may use them as a reference for style when looking at cheap (quality as well as price, I guess) shoes for now.


Originally Posted by vitaminc
2) be more gentle on them and launder according to labels. i typically get at least 5 years of wear for the cheap clothings.
In my experience, you really need to examine each polo at Target for damage before purchase, and some recently purchased underwear already had small holes in it on first wear. I tossed in that question because I'm really getting frustrated with them and don't have many other options locally, though I could travel some for a shopping spree if I knew where in particular to look.


Price generally seems to go in the following order. Would you say quality does, too?
Target < Lands' End and L.L. Bean < Banana Republic and J. Crew
 

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