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What should I wear to my girlfriends design exhibition?

cand26

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Hey

I'm new to the forum. I'm usually a pretty laid back type as far as fashion goes, i like to look good but i'm usually a jeans or shorts, t-shirt and casual shoes type of guy. I think I have decent taste in clothes, but what I really don't have a clue about is formal wear.

My girlfriend is having an exhibition culminating her four year graphic design honours degree, showcasing her work with about 20 others. It's the opening night, and i'm also meeting alot of her friends for the first time so want to make a good first impression. It's being held in an art gallery, alcohol, food etc etc.. I have no idea what to wear. I want to look good but not overly dressed up, I am pretty sure suit and tie is out of the question. I'm only 23, around 6'1 and naturally lean build. I was thinking a plain t-shirt with vest/waistcoat over top? But have no idea about pants and shoes? Or should I go for a shirt? She has quite high personal presentation standards and im sure will be dressed to impress so i'd like her to notice i'm making a bit of an effort.

Thanks for your help!
 

washanddry

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I think T-Shirt with a vest on top would really look good. Maybe a black formal pants or any color that will match the vest will be good. As for the shoes, a pair of black shoes would be great. Hope this helps
 

Eccentric

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First off, no visible T-shirt. This will just look messy. If you must wear a vest, then wear a shirt under it. Personally, I would wear a sportcoat, with or without tie. If your girlfriend is going to be dressed up, then you should be too. If you want to make an impression on her friends, then dressing up a little is the way to go. You dont need a suit, imo, but an odd jacket of some sort would be perfect in this case. Another thing, don't dress up in black. Everyone does it, and almost nobody looks good in the process. Matching colors in anything but black will serve you well. I hope this helps sway you from vest/ T-shirt ensembles.
 

JohnnyLaw

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Originally Posted by washanddry
I think T-Shirt with a vest on top would really look good. Maybe a black formal pants or any color that will match the vest will be good. As for the shoes, a pair of black shoes would be great. Hope this helps

The blind leading the blind.
 

dirk diggler

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what city are you in? How's the weather? I would think about wearing a pair of dk charcoal slacks with a brown wool turtleneck and either a odd jacket in a guncheck pattern of orange, dk grey and brown or perhaps wearing a dark charcoal suit with the brown turtleneck and a pair of dk brown suede loafters.
 

Fuuma

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Don't ask us, ask her. Don't listen to anyone (except her) telling you black isn't appropriate or that you need to dress like you're going to an office job; you'll look out of place and somewhat ridiculous.

Pending specific instruction I'd say it's hard to go wrong with a nice sportscoat, a plain tee, jeans and dress shoes/ankle boots.
 

goodlife

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I think it really depends on where you are. This will not only affect what you may be able to pick up on short notice (and I assume on a budget). If you are in a suburb, college town, or smaller city I think you could get away with an odd jacket, v or turtleneck sweater, and either flat front odd trou or very smart looking denim. If you are in a major urban center I think a suit would be best. This is an instance when black may be appropriate, but you will get much more future value in navy, charcoal, or mid grey. Despite love for thrift, discount, and ebay on the board (myself included) you are probably better off going for a sure thing in terms of fit and styling, and sacrifice a little in terms of quality and construction. If you have access to an H&M, use it!

I know it my seem like this suggestion is a little overboard, so check with the gf. You said yourself the gf will be dressing to impress. It is her night, and you are arm candy.
 

Vintage Gent

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Originally Posted by cand26
...I am pretty sure suit and tie is out of the question.

If ever an occasion called for a suit, this is it. Honor your girlfriend's accomplishments by presenting yourself at your best.
 

whiteslashasian

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Definitely ask her what she will be wearing and if there's anything that she'd prefer you in. I don't know what school this is, where the event is being located, who will be there (other than her friends) so we cannot really give you any advice at this point. However if you do find out what she would like, i.e. Formal wear, dress shirt and slacks, jeans and t-shirt, than we can help to guide you from there.

Also I think it would be better to dress a notch higher than she expects so she and her friends will be impressed, but don't out-dress her. This is her night and you don't want to pull the spotlight from her.

Again if you can find out what is expected than we can get the ball rolling.
 

Nouveau Pauvre

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I would google leatherdaddy and go like that. Artsy people really love that sort of look.
 

Fuuma

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Not to disappoint anyone but ironic tee, shemagh, tight jeans and cons is probably what's most "appropriate".
 

itsstillmatt

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Originally Posted by Fuuma
Not to disappoint anyone but ironic tee, shemagh, tight jeans and cons is probably what's most "appropriate".
Is smegma ever the most appropriate thing to wear? Just go in something that makes you comfortable. The last thing she needs is an uncomfortable boyfriend that she needs to worry about while she is already under a lot of pressure.
 

dsmolken

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Originally Posted by Fuuma
Don't ask us, ask her. Don't listen to anyone (except her) telling you black isn't appropriate or that you need to dress like you're going to an office job; you'll look out of place and somewhat ridiculous.
I dunno. I ended up at an opening of an exhibit yesterday wearing a coat and tie (though I changed the tie I wore to work), the only one there aside from the art school professors dressed like that. Getting stares from the artsy girls and chatting them up was absurdly easy.

But yes, do ask her. Your purpose there is to boost your girlfriend's ability to make a good impression.
 

lawyerdad

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Originally Posted by Fuuma
Not to disappoint anyone but ironic tee, shemagh, tight jeans and cons is probably what's most "appropriate".

Fuuma, aren't you confusing "appropriate" with "ubiquitous"? I thought the idea was to show respect for his gf's hard work and achievement, and to be sure he knows he's making an effort. I'm not sure dressing like everyone else accomplishes that (obviously, a lot depends on the gf's personality/views/expectations). My experience has been that you'll see everything from jeans and t's to suits at an art exhibition, albeit more of the former than the latter. But it sounds to me like this is also a graduation celebration of sorts, which for me would skew it more toward "dressing up" (whatever that means in the OP's circle).
 

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