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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. 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.
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member 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
    1 person likes this.
  4. 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.
     
  5. 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.
     
  6. 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.
     
    2 people like this.
  7. 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.
     
  8. 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
  9. 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.
     
  10. 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.
     
  11. Griffyndor

    Griffyndor Senior member

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    yes, but it would be atypical for a summer offer to not result in an offer for a full time job.
     
  12. archetypal_yuppie

    archetypal_yuppie Senior member

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    Just go to brooks brothers. Easiest, fastest, perfectly good results.

    Get two/three entry level suits, 10 shirts, some ties. Get two pairs of allen edmonds shoes around the corner, one black, one dark brown.

    Get them in the right size, have the tailor tailor them (show a little cuff, pants NOT TOO LONG [don't wear them like jeans cumbled up]), and you'll be fine.

    You'll look very good for this summer, and they'll last you several years.
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. archetypal_yuppie

    archetypal_yuppie Senior member

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    One more thing. Don't get the impression that that salary is a boatload of money. It's very healthy, but you're not making enough to throw money around. If you want to save any $.

    I get the feeling that a lot of people around here aren't big savers...
     
    1 person likes this.
  14. BigRob

    BigRob Senior member

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    To address concerns regarding what my budget ought to be (and to end the speculation in here): Market for a first year associate in NYC is $160,000 plus a bonus if you meet your billable hour requirement. The summer associate program pays $3,100 per week for ten weeks - it's approximately the same compensation as a first year's. My firm has extended offers to 100% of the summers who have worked there since 2009, so while I am counting my chickens, it is probably appropriate for me to do so.

    I've never had a paying job before so it's going to be a big change for me. I do appreciate the suggestions for temperance, though, and don't intend to go overboard.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  15. Quadcammer

    Quadcammer Senior member

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    sure, the following year.
     
  16. Ambulance Chaser

    Ambulance Chaser Senior member

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    The more prestigious the law firm, the worse the lawyers dress. These places tend to be populated by Law Review nerds from top schools.

    I agree that it's likely that you're business casual for most of the summer, with suits reserved for special occasions. Go to Banana Republic for that.
     
  17. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    Go to Brooks Brothers, try on their Milano Fit pants, figure out your size, and then buy that size on eBay for 60% off.
     
  18. Mr. Six

    Mr. Six Senior member

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    You should ask your contact with the firm what people there actually wear. Are summer associates expected to wear a suit every day, or are trousers and a dress shirt sufficient most days of the week? Because it's a big firm, it go either way. It's not actually a weird or uncomfortable question, even if it seems like one. The coordinator of the summer associate program is there to answer those kinds of questions. The advice here about going to BB, HF, or a higher end department store and getting staple suits, shirts, shoes, etc. is sound, but if the other summer associates are mostly going to be wearing trousers and a dress shirt, you might have some additional shopping to do, depending on what you have already.
     
  19. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Senior member

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    Mistake #1 - buying a bunch of items at once. Possibly suckered by customer service. Who knows if the fit is good? Post pictures or bring to an outside tailor for an opinion. Can you return some of the shirts? By the way, the collection should include some vertical stripes.

    Do not buy seconds or irregulars. Don't buy bargain-bin anything. Do not buy from eBay (where items often are no longer in 'new' condition, regardless of what the listing claims). Because it's false economy. In some law offices, image is very important.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2013

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