Summer Associate at a large firm in Manhattan; I need an entirely new wardrobe. Help!

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by BigRob, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. BigRob

    BigRob Senior member

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    Thanks! That was very helpful.

    What are your thoughts on irregular ties from Brooks Brothers? I remember seeing a bunch at Marshalls on sale for like $15 each and was considering stocking up on ones that I couldn't find anything wrong with.
     


  2. comrade

    comrade Senior member

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    Winston Tailors is an excellent suggestion. I'm a former customer
    who stopped using them because I don't get to New York much anymore.
    However, as an MTM and bespoke operation, I doubt Winston Tailors could
    deliver the suits on time for your job. If they can't, I suggest Paul Stuart.
    Stay away from their Phineas Cole line. Both J Press and Brooks Bros.
    have declined significantly in the last twenty years.
     


  3. rfc84

    rfc84 Member

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    My significant other spent several years at on the of top law firms in nyc. I met many of her coworkers and, to be honest, I was amazed how poorly many dressed, considering what they were getting paid. Sure, a few of them always looked great and were in top quality outfits, but a good chunk also looked like slobs/dressed terribly or in ill-fitting suits. I guess working 12 hour days 6 days a week didn't leave them caring much about their dress. I wouldn't worry too much.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013


  4. BigRob

    BigRob Senior member

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    My last post in this thread got absorbed as waiting for a moderator (that was six hours ago). Dafuq.
     


  5. explodo

    explodo Member

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    Heyo, I also went to the law school and contended with this issue pretty much exactly (except that I work in public service, and don't get the big firm bucks).

    My suggestion is not to buy a bunch of suits all in one go, as your taste in suits will evolve really quickly once you have to start wearing them every day, especially if you are around a lot of other lawyers in your firm, or if you are in court a lot.

    For your first suit or 2, I would probably just buy two hickey freeman suits, which are fine middle of the road suits. They might be a little boxy, but they should be totally fine (I know a lot of people like the Brooks Brother's suits as decent starters, but unless they are on a deep discount, I have always thought they were not such a great bargain).

    Just buy a navy blue, and a charcoal. Watch out for jackets that are too short! This is sort of a fad these days, but it is not where you want to start out with your proper suit ownership; particularly in a legal environment

    Then, GO TO A TAILOR AND MAKE HIM TALK TO YOU ABOUT WHAT HE THINKS. In my experience, tailors are usually not very giving in conversations about clothes, but torture the guy and make him spell out how the suit looks and how it should look. I think this is a good way to sort of wrap your head around how clothes should look until you get your sea legs.

    Then go to Brooks Brothers and buy 7 or 8 non iron shirts. Don't buy 8 copies of the same shirt, because you want to give the illusion that you have a broad range of clothes.

    Then buy some Allen Edmond's Park Avenues, or something similar, and a belt that matches from the same shop (there is an AE store in NYC, so it might be best to just go in there, and skip the internet. The LA store has great customer service).

    Finally, your taste in ties is also going to change fairly rapidly and they are fairly expensive new (I know you are making gumby bucks, but still, no need to flush it away). I suggest just buying a bunch of decent brooks brothers / faconnable ties off ebay.
    I would probably buy about 10, which is a little thin once you start wearing them everyday. Once you have a better sense of what you like wearing, you can start buying them new, but in the meantime, you can get really decent / like new ties off the ebay for extremely reasonable prices.

    Okdoke, I hope that helps, best of luck in the grind!
     


  6. nate10184

    nate10184 Senior member

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    ^ This is the best advice in this thread. Lulz at the guys telling a summer intern who "knows nothing" about clothes to look into MTM/bespoke. Having been in your shoes:

    - Don't go out and drop $3k all at once. Your tastes will evolve and you will come to lament your first purchases...minimize the financial damage
    - Even at big law firms in Manhattan people don't dress particularly well, nor do they pay much attention to how others dress (especially associates)
    - One solid charcoal, one solid navy is plenty to begin with. As long as you rotate ties and shirts you could wear the same suit every day and nobody would notice or care
    - Get one pair of black oxfords - Allen Edmonds are probably a good entry point. Once you learn a little more you might want to go upmarket
    - Buy a batch of conservative ties (navy, dark green, dark red). Ebay, Century21, Brooks Brothers should have plenty to choose from

    I haven't been in Charles Tyrwhitt in years but I always thought they gave the best bang for the buck if you had to buy in a brick and mortar store. Definitely check them out before you pay full retail for a boxy BB suit.
     


  7. Hiras Fashion

    Hiras Fashion Senior member

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    The guys here know what they're talking about. As a summer associate, start with the basics suits then gradually incorporate some patterns as you become accustomed to wearing suits in your office. A new suit doesn't have to be expensive.
     


  8. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    You guys want him to see learn about bespoke clothes and choose a tailor? That's absolutely nuts. He's going to start working in little more than a month. This is what Jos. A. Bank is for. Get one grey and one navy suit. That will be more than enough to start. Get something on sale. Quality doesn't need to be special. Nobody will care or notice.

    Anyway, most days, you won't even be wearing a suit--just a shirt and trousers. So, what you really need are shirts, pants, and shoes. Again, get stuff on sale. Nothing fancy necessary.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013


  9. BigRob

    BigRob Senior member

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    I really hope this post doesn't get held up as waiting for a mod (read:deleted), but yeah - thanks for the advice, guys! I bought 5 shirts for $250 from Charles (their customer service rep had a lovely British accent). I plan to pick up more shirts from BB when they have a good shirt sale.

    I'll go to Brooks Brothers' brick-and-mortar store with a friend of mine and see if I can't find some suits on sale - I'll get a dark grey and a navy blue one. Finally, I'll go to the NYC AE store for two pairs of black shoes and a matching belt. Does this sound like a solid game plan?

    Also, how do you guys feel about the Brooks Brothers "irregular" ties from Marshalls etc., for $15? I have two of them now, and I can't see any irregularities in them so I doubt other people can.
     


  10. New Shoes1

    New Shoes1 Senior member

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    Every firm is different, but I'd be surprised if you are in a suit five days a week. So, I agree with Foo and others that you need a suitable rotation of dress slacks and shirts and one pair of nice brown dress shoes (I do not think you need two pairs of black shoes). If you go to Brooks Brothers, their wool gabardine slacks can be had in basic solid colors (mid-grey, charcoal, navy, brown) for $85 a piece during a corporate incentive sale. Finally, do not obsess too much about dress. The expectations for Summer Associate dress are lower than for associates; everyone understands SA's usually have limited funds for their professional wardrobe. People will pay more attention to whether you exercise good judgment in how you dress.
     


  11. JLibourel

    JLibourel Senior member

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    Me too. I do know that there is quite a glut of law school grads out there, and unless maybe the OP was the editor of the Harvard Law Review or something like that, a starting salary of $160K seems, well, a bit surprising. However, I don't know much about salaries at law firms. And, I would expect a guy stepping into such a position would have more than just "poverty clothes." Hell, if I were making that kind of dough, the first thing I'd do would be to schedule an appointment with someone like Fioravanti.
     


  12. VinnyMac

    VinnyMac Senior member

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    Instead of clothes, some people would rather spend their money on homes, luxury goods and vacations. The fact that they make a lot of money doesn't change that.
     


  13. VinnyMac

    VinnyMac Senior member

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    Well, you're a 7K+ posts member on a style website, lol. Most people aren't. See my above post.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013


  14. Griffyndor

    Griffyndor Senior member

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    $160K is the starting salary for first year associates at every large law firm in Manhattan (and I assume other major US cities as well). You would get a bonus on top of that based on a variety of factors. In New York city, believe it or not but that isn't much. For those who borrowed to go to law school, you aren't looking at Fioravanti prices for a very long time.
     


  15. Quadcammer

    Quadcammer Senior member

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    but this guy is claiming to be a summer associate, i.e. an intern.

    he might make that $12k a month, but he'll only do it for 3 months.
     


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