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Wardrobe Help

Harlan

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Hello,

Thank you for such an informative Form.

The time has come in my life for me to take my appearance more seriously and see clothing as an investment in stead of just a necessary covering.

I have put together a one time budget of $5000.00 CDN to redress myself and want to do it right. The problem is I don't know where to begin. After browsing the forms it became apparent that the people here are much more knowledgeable them me.

Here is some background. I am 26 years old male and have been hired as a teller at a local bank. That means I wear a suit and tie everyday. I have religious activates on the weekend that also requires a full suit. I live in a Prairie Province in Alberta. The yearly temp ranges from -42c to +32c My primary wardrobe has consisted of black T's, jeans (ill fitting as I have recently been told), one pair of black shoes (poorly taken care of), and one pair of white athletic shoes).

Any tips or advice you would be able much appreciated. If I left anything out let me know.
 

alchimiste

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Are you in a rush? The more time you have the more likely you are to get good deals. If you need everything yesterday you may have to pay full retail.
 

Patrick06790

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Harlan -

Does work require an actual suit or can you mix in a sport jacket/trousers? (The latter will give you a lot more bang for your Canadian buck.)

Nice problem to have, though, eh?

Cheers,

Patrick
 

AlanC

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With a bank job and religious activities (I have the latter all the time) obviously you want to aim conservative.

You'll want to start with 2-3 suits, navy, charcoal and perhaps a subtle pinstripe. A navy blazer with gray flannels might work for 'casual Friday' if you have it. It's just one notch below a suit.

I would also think 2 pairs of black shoes would be in order so you can alternate them plus one pair of brown or cordovan. I would look Allen Edmonds (can be found at discount), Alden and the Brooks Peals (on sale) at your budget level.

Eventually you'll want 10-12 dress shirts so you can alternate, but you can start with one week's worth (especially if you do your own laundry rather than sending them out). Start with white and blue with a mix of barrel and french cuff. Throw in some color and stripes for variety.

Ties, well it's hard to have too many ties. Again, you'll need to start with at least five for variety during the week. You'll want to move to 10-12 pretty quickly and eventually 20+. Ties are pretty easy to find at a good deal. Go with some solids (grenadines), conservative wovens and prints (neats, paisleys, repp stripes).

My advice is don't skimp when it comes to shoes, shirts and ties. Quality there can make an okay suit (that fits well) look great. Cheap shoes, shirts and ties can kill an Oxxford.

The key is buy quality basics now to 'get in the game' and then patiently fill out your wardrobe on discount over time.
 

alchimiste

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I would look Allen Edmonds (can be found at discount), Alden and the Brooks Peals (on sale) at your budget level.
[...] Oxxford.
Alan stop trying to draw him to the trad side of the force.

Also, shouldn't we have some HOF definitive "basic wardrobe" thread so newbies have a detailed list and we don't repeat ourselves.

Mathieu

PS: I still haven't figured out what a grenadine tie is.
 

Luc-Emmanuel

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What are "religious activities" ? Does that mean hanging out in the church ?

luc
 

MilanoStyle

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Harlan,

You must learn about suit fitting. If you think you have an average male body shape then ready to wear suits will fit you fine. Are quality and construction important to you? If so, your best bet is eBay, since it probably is the only place where you have access to such labels as Brioni, Isaia, and Kiton. Have visit to clothing stores. Try on many suits. Examine carefully on shoulder, chest and waist fitting on jacket. Once you know what kind of style fits you the best, you can shop on eBay I think.

BTW, it took me many trial and error to discover a suit fitting on my body.

Best of luck.
 

thinman

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(AlanC @ April 24 2005,22:34) I would look Allen Edmonds (can be found at discount), Alden and the Brooks Peals (on sale) at your budget level. [...] Oxxford.
Alan stop trying to draw him to the trad side of the force. Also, shouldn't we have some HOF definitive "basic wardrobe" thread so newbies have a detailed list and we don't repeat ourselves. Mathieu PS: I still haven't figured out what a grenadine tie is.
Good idea, alchimiste. I'd find it usefult to refer to such a list periodically, as I build my wardrobe.
 

AlanC

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Originally Posted by AlanC,April 24 2005,22:34
I would look Allen Edmonds (can be found at discount), Alden and the Brooks Peals (on sale) at your budget level. [...] Oxxford. Alan stop trying to draw him to the trad side of the force.
Well, he's working at a bank and on a budget. I'm all for C&J Handgrade, Grenson Masterpiece or Edward Greens, but I don't think his budget will allow that at full price. There are some more conservative Italian shoes at Franco's (ie, Rider's shop). Still, AE on discount or Peals on sale will be his best bang for the buck that's readily available. I wouldn't cosider Oxxford "Trad" in the way the purist AmTrad guys mean (I'm not one of them, btw, although I do draw from that style).
PS: I still haven't figured out what a grenadine tie is.
It's a tie with a loose weave (usually solid) that looks somewhat like a knit. Here's one on clearance at Ben Silver:
For suits, considering you're in Canada, you might be able to find some Samuelsohn or Coppley at a good price somewhere.
 

Harlan

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Thanks for all the advice so quickly.
To answer some of your questions: alchimiste: I'm in no rush but would like to be outfitted as soon as possible. Patrick06790: The bank I work at has a strict dress code of full suit and tie but I do want to pick up some blazers and Sport Coats for other occassions. P.S what is the difference between a blazer, sport coat, and the top half of a suit?
 

VMan

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P.S what is the difference between a blazer, sport coat, and the top half of a suit?
A blazer will always be navy blue and will have some sort of metal buttons - shiny gold buttons are the most common, but you'll also see some antiqued dark brass and even antiqued silver or nickel.

A sport coat will be made of a more textured fabric. Silk-blends, tweed, heavier wools, linen blends, etc. Also, usually has a larger pattern that might not work for as well for suit - Houndstooth, windowpanes, larger herringbones, etc.

Suit jackets will have finer fabrics and smaller patterns or stripes. Some suit jackets can be paired quite successfully with other trousers, you just have to do some experimenting.
 

stache

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5K CD go to Bangkok. Take photos of garments that you like from magazines etc. You will get all that you need except accesories.
 

Lydia

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5K CD go to Bangkok. Take photos of garments that you like from magazines etc. You will get all that you need except accesories.
Good call. IF you find the right tailor - perhaps the Sikh one that did the suits for the bushes and the foreign service officers - this would be the best use of your money. You just need to take a several week break from work. Living costs are very low in Thailand, and, in general, it is a much better place than either the USA or Canada. In fact, just use the 5k to start a new life there. Worth it. It is paradise. Forget the suits. You can spend under a hundred for all of the linen and batik clothing you'll need, and look better. Of course, if you have a wife etc. or care about the good old American work thing, this would not be a good option. Otherwise, find an Aka girl, sit back, get a part time teaching job, and forget about the snow and competition.
 

Patrick06790

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Harlan-

Get yourself a single-breasted navy blazer and a couple of pairs of grey slacks - one dark, one lighter. Yeah, it's a uniform, but very handy and appropriate just about anywhere.

Sport coats abound. Get 'em cheap at Sierra Trading Post or thrift shops (or church rummage sales). Keep it simple - if you can't imagine wearing it with the above-mentioned grey trousers, skip it.

Also get some good chinos in so-called British tan, or khaki - LL Bean will be fine for now. They will go with most sport coats. I am violently anti-pleat, but that's just me.

If you're going tie-less for non-banking affairs, or because you don't want to get coleslaw on your tie at the church picnic, I strongly recommend the buttondown collar shirt. Other collars without a tie look like swallows returning to Capistrano.

And have fun doing all this.

Selah,

Patrick
 

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