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Styling a "business identity designer" ?

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Hey styleform.

I work as a designer and branding specialist: designing brand identities for organisations and businesses these days.
I'm also doing allot of consulting relative to implementing the benefits.

I'm getting bigger and bigger clients (I'm still poor because all my money is bound in company investments, and will be so for the next 2 years) ... so I want to reconsider my style, see if I can come up with some inexpensive improvements.

My current professional style is mostly: Chinos (mostly green but also grey or black). + a Dress shirt (often white with blue stripes, sometimes I stop there and just fold up the sleves if the weather is warm... other times, I add a sweeter or a sports jacket). I mostly pare it with Clarks bushacre II in brown suede, og a brown suede belt or similar desert boots (right now I have some blue Lloyds also)... On my arm I cary a Rolex Explorer II.

My clarks are getting worn out .. so I want to reconsider some new foot wear ...

I live in a rather unformal western europeen country: but want to make a good (but not try hard) impression.
Clients bid to me, I don't sell myself ... it's more that I want to give a good consistent experience of who I am when I show up.

I'm a rather chubby guy these days, just to be honest (I often work 16 hours a day in front of an imac, run at meetings and so on), I do lift some heavy barbells, but will not be slimming down right now ... 108kg on 178 cm.... also I run a buzzcut and a beard (brown hair, brown eyes ... I'm caucasian).

Is there any one with competence in this area in here, that can give me some evaluations or advice on style?

I guess what I should aim at is Business Creative type of person.
A person that project Authority and Expertise.
Hardcore business evaluation skills but also creative design skills (these firms hire me, because they know business, but they don't know design).

I'm very well educated in design, but clothes is not really my domain.

Is there any low hanging fruits here?

Thnx
 

johng70

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The concepts you're talking about - chinos, button down shirt and occasional sweater/sport coat are fine for the type of work you're doing - a suit sounds overboard.

The key to looking professional is fit. Especially when you're not lean. You don't want shirts or pants that are too baggy -and don't want the pants to be too long and all bunched up.

The hairstyle sounds suspicious, but we would have to see. Hairstyle can be a tough thing because they differ by country.

What would help get you better advice is some photos - full body - of you in your work clothes.
 
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Thank you so much, that's awesome feedback.

Yes, I have actually had most of my cheap clothes tailored to fit, so it's not baggy.

I don't mind sharing photos of myself in principle, but not sure if it's a risk if clients identify me with this thread?

When I worked the agencies (and I had high positions in many of them), I actually often wore Converse ... I then made the dressing up from that to Clarks years ago... Looking back it was horrible ... but what happened was actually that the other employes around me starting wearing them as well because I was doing it haha ... However these days I run my own business, so I think I should look sharper than back then.

It has become a harder evaluation for between not looking like a try hard vs. looking unprofessional.

Thnx
xD
 

mensimageconsultant

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A pair of sleek dark brown leather dress shoes in blucher style (and probably leather soles) would help with that goal. As would wearing a sport jacket more often. To convey "Creative" plus "Authority and Expertise," the best style of dress shirt might be small blue checks on a white background.
 
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A pair of sleek dark brown leather dress shoes in blucher style (and probably leather soles) would help with that goal. As would wearing a sport jacket more often. To convey "Creative" plus "Authority and Expertise," the best style of dress shirt might be small blue checks on a white background.
Thank you very much.

Can you give examples for what types of dress shoes you mean would be better than my Brown Clarks or Blue Loyds... without killing me economically? ... I have black dress shoes, but I'm not a huge fan of the overall expression they give my outfit.

The small blue checks on white background will not be something I can see myself doing.
But would like to see an example before I judge anyways...

Btw. these clients contact me, because they are hardcore business men or engineers with no expertise in design themself.
So I should stand out a little instead of being exactly like them (my experience is they most often wear either: dress shoes + jeans + tshit + sportsjacket. or a suit and dress shoes if they are older).

I'm in the communicative dilemmas of:
1. Wanting to dress up, so they feel that I'm expensive and professional (I am regarding my work, and I'm selling myself as such).
2. Don't want to seem needy or trying to please them ...
3. Not having much free money right now to use on this personal... everything is bound in deals in my company for at least a few months... and I have an important new client soon.

It's summer right now, so will probably just roll up my sleves and meet them in chino and my dress shirt.
I normally like my sweather though, because it somehow hide the connection peace from my pants and top... which is a bit problematic because my stomach is so big ... I'm actually thinking about buying suspenders (though I do have a good belt)... but not sure which I should buy then ... perhaps it could give a creative + boss like expression?
 

mensimageconsultant

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Shoe size, part of Europe? It's high-risk to order a 'new' brand of shoes online without trying on first, and the pricing and availability of specific shoes vary depending on location.
 
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In Clarks bushacre II I used 42,5 EU / 9,5 US. (Denmark).

Just thought you might got examples of what types of shoes you meant.
 

paulraphael

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I do similar work, but on the writing / content strategy side. I worked more on the design side in a previous life. A couple of years ago I realized that many of my clients really didn't understand what I did, or how to evaluate it. So they were looking for cues outside of the work itself to decide how much to trust me. In this sense, a big part of my job is performing competence. Great work without a dog-and-pony show won't cut it for typical clients (excellent clients are different ... they know good work when they see it).

This is why I realized I had to dress better, and why I ended up lurking in this forum. My basic strategy is to adjust my dress somewhat based on the client. I have to fit in with them. I had a recent gig at fairly conservative digital infrastructure company, which required business casual. When I work at a branding or ad agency, it's more casual-casual.

In any case, the version I choose is a slightly more NYC, downtown take on those styles, which suits my personal sensibilities as well as the image I'm trying to project. And of course I have to pay attention to fit and to the styles that look good on me (thank you, modern MTM industry, for making this remotely possible).

For example: no suits. Jackets only occasionally. Well-fitted dress shirts, but often in darker, more interesting, less formal colors and patterns. Spread or cutaway collars. Raw denim or fitted chinos. No pleats, ever ever ever. Derby shoes with lug soles. If at an ad agency or creative company, leather sneakers. Nothing that could ever be mistaken for preppy.

I'm not suggesting any of these clothes for you; you have to find that intersection between your esthetic, the image you need to project, and the house style of your clients. It can be an interesting puzzle.
 
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Thank you for your inputs ...

To be honest I used to wear casual suits earlier in my carer (I'm only 39, but have been really ambitious for a long time)... Been compensating to much from the hard work (often 18 hours a day for years and years) by eating to much cake and maintaining my powerlifting and running too little ... so eventually I grew out of all my suits ... and money actually became less available, because everything I own is invested in work and projects.

I transitioned to the fitted "slim cut" Chinos, white dressshirt with boss like blue stripes and either sweater or a jacket years ago... also shifted to brown Clarks Bushacre and a similar more elegant boot in Lloyd (that I was so stupid to buy in blue)... lately I'm growing out of the jackets as well though, and the Clark boots looks a little to worn ...

In stead of just replacing, I'm thinking of improving.

I prefer to use time to plan my style and presentation, but use as little thought and time that I can on it in every day life... so I can focus on the job... the last thing I need is to make allot of complex style decision before I show up on work, and makes those decisions for my clients brands... But it's a difficult thing, exactly because of what you say ... the entire "dog-and-pony show" and the perception it makes of you is just necessary to gain the right authority.

Thnx again.
 

paulraphael

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I prefer to use time to plan my style and presentation, but use as little thought and time that I can on it in every day life...
I'm right there with you. I'm not suggesting putting a lot of thought into it every day. That would make me crazy.

Maybe your situation is different from mine ... I tend to have a single client at a time for a period of weeks or months, and I spend most of my time at their offices. So adjusting from a buttoned-up client to a punk rock client is an occasional event, not a daily one. If you have multiple clients at once then that part of my thinking would be impractical.

But even so, I'm really just talking about more or less formal versions of a style ... not like going undercover and putting on different costumes.
 
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I actually work much like you do, but I want an identity that is somehow consistent over most clients and situations... yes, there will become events where nothing less than a suit will do... but outside of those needs I would like some consistency.

Right now I actually have been very consistent with my style for a longer time.
But I'm looking for small things to improve it.

Shoes is really a hard thing for me ... I used to wear exactly the type of sneakers you mention on the agencies ... but dressed up from it to desert boots when my clients became more hardcore business types... in my free time I mostly wear boat shoes and so on ... I have a hard time imagine what the perfect shoe or boot for green slimfit tailored chinos would be for me and my clients.
 

paulraphael

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Shoes are tough. On workdays I navigate subway stairs and platforms and typically walk 1 to 3 miles, so the things that usually pass for dress shoes are out of the question. Leather soles generally are banished from my wardrobe. So I wear shoes that would probably get the thumbs-down from most people around here, but they look good, are comfortable, can handle the mileage, and don't send me tumbling down wet subway stairs in the morning.

I don't have any of the shoes on this page, but it's the general idea: https://www.gq.com/gallery/best-office-casual-shoes-for-standing-desks-comfortable-commute
I think medium-brown shoes like these would work well with green or khaki chinos. Why don't your desert boots work for you?

In the fall and winter I wear the hell out of Blundstone chelsea boots. I can stand and walk all day in those, and the chisel-toed ones are pretty versatile. If you have a bigger budget and don't mind sacrificing the industrial non-slip sole, RM Williams are supposed to be better quality. I find the quality of the Nubuck, leather-lined Blunnies to be quite good. The leather quality of the lower-end ones has gotten crappy.
 
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I like my desert boots personally, but mensimageconsultant mentioned future up that there could be an advantage ... since I'm about to replace them, I want to consider this point.

I don't know why I feel uncomfortable about chelsea boots ... never worn them ... it's like the western element to them hmm not sure what it is ... but they scare the shit out of me haha

I like two of the shoes you link to "Viberg derby shoe" and the "Zara navy blue shoes" I can see right away that the rest is not for me (not something I would personally be comfortable wearing) :)

Clarks is insanely expensive to get to denamrk btw. it'sso irritating .. I will literally end up paying 3-4 times more than they cost in the US... so that's another argument for an alternative :)
 

paulraphael

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Some of the shoes on that page are a bit ridiculous. I've been keeping an eye out for similar ones that are less exaggerated (not into the platform soles, etc). Generally I just stumble onto them.

Here's a pair that I like that are not available in the US:

Those Vibergs are nice, but $750 is more than I've ever spent on two pairs of shoes ...
 
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Question btw, anyone know why Jordan Belfort always wears sneakers ... even with a suit?
Is it to communicate he is "slime", because he is kind of a "kid" or is there something I'm missing out on? ... he is heavy into the dress for success philosophy.
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/5-things-i-learned-from-jordan-belfort-wolf-wall-street-rob-illidge/

Personally it's something I noticed but thought where a little off ...

The reason I ask is ... could sneakers (not my old leather converse), be a better idea than clarks? ... but something like plimsolls perhaps? or the brown sneakers from the Common project https://denvelklaedtemand.dk/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Sneakers_Common_Projects.jpg

Thoughts?

- Helio
 

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