• I'm happy to introduce the Styleforum Happy Hour, our brand new podcast featuring lively discussion about menswear and the fashion industry. In the inaugural edition, a discussion of what's going on in retail today. Please check it out on the Journal. All episodes will be also be available soon on your favorite podcast platform.

  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Starting from scratch (again)

Costanza

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2010
Messages
257
Reaction score
4
I'm starting a new consulting business in Toronto that is aimed mostly at corporate interior designers. For the most part my work can be done without personal meetings so I don't yet need an extensive business wardrobe, but I will need to make the odd meeting while executing a marketing plan that culminates in the middle term by my spending two days in a booth at a trade show for interior designers next fall.

I want to make the right impression: business-like but not too conservative. I'm 52 (but look about 45), 6'-4" with a small to medium frame, 190 lbs., and fairly fit. I work out frequently and run ever more slowly with my size 13 feet.

Since discovering this site last week I've been reading the threads on SF and have been very impressed by the literacy, fashion and otherwise, of many of the members. I also feel quite overwhelmed by the exposure to the myriad of intricacies of fabric, construction, fit and design. (Not to mention acronyms.)

A single grey 'business suit,' which I was considering as a starting point, would now seem to be a paralyzingly complex set of choices. I could really use some advice on how to get started. Should I get something MTM in order to get the guidance I need? My friends and family will be of little use, and I find many of the sales people at the better mens' shops in town make my skin crawl.
 

Chargersfan

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2009
Messages
278
Reaction score
1
Don't really need a suit...a solid navy or grey sport coat/blazer (2 button or 3/2 roll). Neutral cotton or wool pants, a knit tie for the booth, and maybe a silk tie for 'meetings'. It never hurts to throw a tasteful pocket square in there too. I think most on here will tell you to avoid Moore's etc, and if you're going to spend your money on anything....

1. SHOES
2. A leather briefcase (nothing makes you look more low rent than carrying a backpack to a meeting).
3. Oh yeah....SHOES
 

The Louche

Distinguished Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Messages
1,217
Reaction score
5
Originally Posted by Chargersfan
Don't really need a suit...a solid navy or grey sport coat/blazer (2 button or 3/2 roll). Neutral cotton or wool pants, a knit tie for the booth, and maybe a silk tie for 'meetings'. It never hurts to throw a tasteful pocket square in there too. I think most on here will tell you to avoid Moore's etc, and if you're going to spend your money on anything....

1. SHOES
2. A leather briefcase (nothing makes you look more low rent than carrying a backpack to a meeting).
3. Oh yeah....SHOES


Agreed. Get a navy blazer or sportscoat, and two pair of trouers to go with it. 2-3 blue/white shirts, and 1-2 discreet ties. White pocket square and a really nice pair of dressy loafers with a belt to match. Done.
 

Frihed89

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2010
Messages
111
Reaction score
0
I don't have much to offer since I'm not sure what the accepted atire is in your profession, but I would offer one bit of advice: no loafers, and no pointed or square toed shoes, either. I don't know your budget, but a simple pair of traditional brown "lace-ups" without any frills will go with about anything. I might favor a greyish tweed sport coat, but that may not be your style. Of course, you can never go wrong in any occasion with a 2 button navy blue suit with a single vent.

Good luck.
 

F. Corbera

Distinguished Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2010
Messages
4,908
Reaction score
1,164
Based on your self-description, do not press a navy blazer into the role you have in mind.

Get a mid-gray solid, pick and pick, or fine herringbone worsted suit.

Deformalize this like so: Get two pairs of dark brown oxfords, one in calf, the other in reverse calf (suede.) Get blue shirts or white with blue stripes or checks. Wear it with informal ties, like a solid or spotted knit tie in black or dark blue. If you can manage a pocket square, get something simple and stuff it into your pocket rather than folding it.

Make sure that the suit fits really well.

Nothing more complicated than that for your needs. If you can supplement with a navy solid or dark brown or blue Donegal jacket, you have more than what you would need given your post.

Informality in tailored dress is a lot about attitude. No one can teach you that.
 

Sazerac

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2010
Messages
607
Reaction score
12
Wow, you're exactly my size, right down to the shoes.

First of all, best wishes on the new business. It takes a brave man to be an entrepreneur.

One important question is, how do your clients dress?

Other things to consider are what kind of image you want to convey and whether you want to be seen as artsy/creative or straight-up business man.

Finally, how much do you want to spend on these "wardrobe seeds?"

EDIT: the post above this is spot-on. He's an excellent authority and offers sensible advice.
 

Nicola

Distinguished Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2009
Messages
2,952
Reaction score
44
Originally Posted by Costanza
I'm starting a new consulting business in Toronto that is aimed mostly at corporate interior designers.

Just two thoughts.

How artsy are these people? If they are you'll need to walk the fine line of not looking like a suit and yet still looking business like.

Toronto? Avoid the navy blazer or you'll end up looking like a failed used car salesman.
 

The Thin Man

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2009
Messages
558
Reaction score
74
Originally Posted by F. Corbera
Get a mid-gray solid, pick and pick, or fine herringbone worsted suit. ... Informality in tailored dress is a lot about attitude. No one can teach you that.
+1 I would add that you can draw on numerous threads in Style Forum for advice on brands within your budget. Have an alterations tailor measure you, then try on ready-to-wear suits. Made to Measure is only recommended if you're a tough fit. If you need it, make sure the MTM salesman/tailor knows what he's doing.
 

Costanza

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2010
Messages
257
Reaction score
4
Thanks to all.

The business is actually a 'rebranding' of an existing and more typical architectural practice, so this is not that risky a move. Still, you can mess it up.

The corporate interior designers are generally trying to dress attractively but conservatively. Designers don't make a lot of money, and they are 90% women. The decision makers will be older, and sometimes male, but the women I work with tend to be young. They need my professional credentials to execute certain technical and life-safety aspects of some of the projects they have, so they are not coming to me for my creativivty. (Hence the rebranding.)

A secondary market will be commercial property managers. They are 50-50 men and women, and tend to dress in very conventional business attire generally.

I haven't set a dollar amount on what I'm willing to spend. A couple of incarnations ago I once had a nice wardrobe, and know that when something is right you find the money. When the clothes are right you feel and project confidence and that is worth something.

I actually have a couple of trousers, a recent tweed sport coat and an ancient but well-fitting blue 'blazer' in the closet, but I feel they are a bit causal for this new role. The image I'd like to convey is of a trusted, experienced professional who will give you one less thing to worry about. The associations people inevitably have with my being an architect are unavoidable and should probably not be entirely ignored. If I looked like a financier it would be a mistake.

Another issue we have locally is what to wear against the weather, which can get pretty rough. Salt is murder on shoes, and the ears will need to be covered at least part of the year. I'm thinking toe rubbers and a long wool overcoat. I hope I can continue to get away with my fur hat.
 

The Thin Man

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2009
Messages
558
Reaction score
74


Costanza, it's definitely edgy.
 

Costanza

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2010
Messages
257
Reaction score
4
Originally Posted by The Thin Man


Costanza, it's definitely edgy.


I might have to change my pic now.
 

Costanza

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2010
Messages
257
Reaction score
4
Originally Posted by F. Corbera
Get a mid-gray solid, pick and pick, or fine herringbone worsted suit.

That's was my general idea, with some brown cap toes, but am a more unsure about the significance of the details for my stature and purpose: Cut, shoulders, lapels, pockets, vents, etc.
 

F. Corbera

Distinguished Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2010
Messages
4,908
Reaction score
1,164
Originally Posted by Costanza
That's was my general idea, with some brown cap toes, but am a more unsure about the significance of the details for my stature and purpose: Cut, shoulders, lapels, pockets, vents, etc.

You're torturing yourself unnecessarily.

Your uncertainty makes you a poor candidate for a bespoke or MTM suit, so strike that. You're getting a RTW suit, so just start with a brand that you can afford that you think looks good.

I'm not sure what's in Toronto...Harry Rosen?..go in and try on a few suits. Look for a single-breasted, notch lapel, two-button suit with plain flapped hip outpockets. Look for lapels that seem wider than narrower. Don't think anymore about the suit details other than that, and spend what effort you have left trying to educate yourself on how you want your suit to fit so that you don't let a style-less alterations tailor make you look too Canadian.

A simple mid-gray suit is easy to dress up or down with the relevant accessories.
 

George

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2008
Messages
2,832
Reaction score
11
Originally Posted by F. Corbera
You're torturing yourself unnecessarily. Your uncertainty makes you a poor candidate for a bespoke or MTM suit, so strike that. You're getting a RTW suit, so just start with a brand that you can afford that you think looks good. I'm not sure what's in Toronto...Harry Rosen?..go in and try on a few suits. Look for a single-breasted, notch lapel, two-button suit with plain flapped hip outpockets. Look for lapels that seem wider than narrower. Don't think anymore about the suit details other than that, and spend what effort you have left trying to educate yourself on how you want your suit to fit so that you don't let a style-less alterations tailor make you look too Canadian. A simple mid-gray suit is easy to dress up or down with the relevant accessories.
Stop being so normal It's unsettling.
 

F. Corbera

Distinguished Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2010
Messages
4,908
Reaction score
1,164
Originally Posted by George
Stop being so normal

It's unsettling.


Don't worry. There always is an undercurrent of menace.
 

Featured Sponsor

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

  • 1 - 4

    Votes: 15 3.5%
  • 5 - 10

    Votes: 74 17.2%
  • 11 - 20

    Votes: 142 33.1%
  • 21 - 30

    Votes: 71 16.6%
  • 31 - 40

    Votes: 35 8.2%
  • 41 - 50

    Votes: 24 5.6%
  • 51 - 60

    Votes: 14 3.3%
  • 61 - 70

    Votes: 9 2.1%
  • 71 - 80

    Votes: 13 3.0%
  • 81 - 90

    Votes: 2 0.5%
  • 91 - 100

    Votes: 3 0.7%
  • 100+

    Votes: 27 6.3%

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
427,487
Messages
9,199,684
Members
193,209
Latest member
rychi

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Top