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oof, overwhelmed. need some help.

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    oof, overwhelmed. need some help.

    i've been reading the dappered posts for a while now and only recently came across the threads forum. holy crap is there a lot of information here. more recently, there has been a new post that lists EVEN MORE blogs to check out. a couple of weeks ago i tried going to a goodwill but to my dismay did not find anything, just a lot of "stuff" there. i also bought a lot of stuff online since there have been a lot of sales going but ended up returning almost everything i bought.

    man, i am overwhelmed. i work in a business casual (more emphasis on business, no jeans or sneakers are allowed) and have been trying to "establish" my own sense of style. at 27, i'm actually one of the youngest people in the office (everyone is in their 30s, 40s, 50s, with families, etc.) i would like to be the trendier guys in the office. i feel like maybe having upgraded accessories like socks, watches, etc would help? i've read the $1500 wardrobe series and did learn a little.

    when/where/how did you guys first start establishing your style? i've realized that bigger i'm a slightly bigger guy (5'11", 195 lbs, 44r blazer, 36w/32l pants) some of the brighter pants and shirts (i.e. pink, bright green) just don't look right on me. but that's as far as i've gotten.

    dappered dudes, please help. i guess what i'm looking for is a place to start/lookbook of business casual ideas.


    Make sure you aren't making the cardinal sin of buying jackets that are too big for you. I am 5'10" 200, 36/32 pants, and buy 42r or 41r when they have it.



      I'm relatively new to this also and I found it helpful to start by taking a thorough inventory of my wardrobe, right down to socks and even exercise apparel. That should help give you a sense of the holes in your wardrobe, as well as any strengths. From there, you can't purchase everything you need at once, so it's a matter of prioritizing the most important pieces. Making a second list (of purchases to prioritize) is also very helpful.

      Some other pointers:

      1) the more of an overhaul your wardrobe needs, the more you should prioritize versatility in your initial purchases

      2) as you continue to learn and develop your tastes, some of what you initially thought you wanted will turn out to be less important than you imagined, or even outright wrong. Which is another good reason to take things slow and really put research into each new piece you acquire

      2a) part of developing your own taste involves not only recognizing what clothing you like but also recognizing what clothing your job and lifestyle require

      3) have fun and seek out your more sartorially savvy friends for further ideas/advice/support

      4) only buy things you genuinely love and want to wear



        My thought is this - as much as you might be tempted to do a total wardrobe overhaul this very second, DON'T. Take things slow. Figure out what fits you well and buy staple pieces as you can afford them. Most people here will tell you that when they first started out, they bought a whole bunch of stuff, and as they continued to learn, they realized they made a lot of mistakes with the things they originally bought.

        As you're first starting out, you may also be tempted to put lots of money into accessories and trendy items that you might think will "punch up" your wardrobe. Again, I would advise against this. Style isn't about pops of color and finishing touches so much as it is about getting the basics right. Once you've got the basics down, you can turn your attention to seasonal trends.

        James Bond is a useful reference when you're first learning about men's style - the basics are dark, tailored suits, light fitted dress shirts, simple ties, elegant dress shoes. Stepping down in formality, you come to things like slim-fit chinos, dark wash jeans, fitted polos and casual shirts, casual boots and canvas sneakers.

        Go slowly. Figure out what really fits you before you invest a lot of money into things. Buy pieces one at a time, and don't waste your money on stuff that you don't immediately love. Think about the things you already wear, and how you can integrate new pieces into your wardrobe to get maximum use out of them. If you buy a suit right away, you might not wear it often or at all, simply because it feels so different from what you're accustomed to wearing. But fitted shirts, polos, and chinos are easy to integrate into just about any wardrobe. A pair of nice leather shoes that straddles the "casual" and "dress" gap (think: Allen Edmonds Strand, or a nice loafer, or a wingtoop boot) is also easy to wear on a regular basis.

        If you have a cell phone camera, it might be useful to try stuff on in stores and take some pictures that you can share here - we can give you some advise on fit.




          I'd say just do whatever Nicholas Crawford does!

          Really though it is overwhelming. I was 27 when I started to really focus on my style (I'm 28 now so still a work in progress).

          Biggest thing is to find what fits you, go out and try things on. It's easy to end up with a bunch of nice, but not great fitting clothes, I know I did...

          Get a few pairs of well fitting (notice a theme?) chinos. You could do worse than Dockers.

          And invest in some shirts that fit you well. Your measurements are pretty proportional so it shouldn't be too difficult. Start with a slim fit, trim or tailored might be too much for you.

          Get some good quality shoes. Shoes are one thing where the quality between top and bottom is HUGE and, if properly taken care of they will last 10-15 years. Just search Allen Edmonds around here for ideas.

          Next check out some blazers. They come in different colors, patterns, material. It's a good way to inject personality into your outfit and takes you a step above standard 20-something business casual.

          Lastly, if you haven't already get one good suit. Get it tailored. Navy or Charcoal. Again there are a ton of places, so try things on and see what fits well off the rack and go from there.

          As another resource checkout it's aimed toward your demographic and they have a lot of good outfit ideas.

          Dress for style, live for results.



            You might want to focus on buying things from just one store. Stay with me on this.

            If you try to drink straight from the firehose, it's pretty intimidating. But if you pick a store that you like...say J.'ll start to follow their sale cycle, get a sense of what fits you well, etc. You might pay a little extra, but it would make things a lot more manageable. Express has done that for me. I now have literally everything that I would ever want from Express and have moved on.

            Don't worry about accessories yet. Focus on fit. If you go to J. Crew, try their Urban Slim Fit pants, then the Bowery Fit, etc. Try them all and learn what suits you best. Get solid white and blue shirts. Buy basic brown and black leather shoes with leather soles. Set a budget of $500 or whatever you can afford and buy the basics before regrouping and aiming for the sales.

            The danger with sales is that the trendy stuff gets the deepest discounts while the classic staples you need stay at their regular price. This is where sticking to one store to bundle your purchases so you qualify for their "Buy $200 and get $50 in store credit..." kinds of offers will work better.



              tom - LMAO!! Now I know I've said too much!

              It's striking to see how we're all on the same wavelength! Pretty cool feeling, actually.



                Again, great starting point is Lands End. Majority of my wool pants have come from there. It's very affordable and now I have a sense of what colours I like and I really have come to like light grey pants and dark navy blue. And they also have many different fabric types so if you don't know how twill, oxford, pinpoint, linen, linen cotton bled feel, you could pick up some cheaper shirts and get a sense from that.

                Also with the MTM route for shirts, you have MANY more options for fabrics, so get a pink check instead of a solid etc. With the added bonus of you can request fabric swatches from some places for free, or modern tailor you will have to pay which kind of sucks, but they have the deal where you get 25 fabrics and some gift cards.



                  Bobby V, I'll give you the same advice that I give myself in the mirror every morning: do exactly what bruschetta would do in all style-related circumstances. WWBD.

                  Try to focus on the basics: wool slacks, a few nice sport coats and blazers, and 3-4 pairs of shoes. You can branch out (and spend money) once you have the essentials.

                  A 44R chest size is quite large. Have you had yourself measured at a high quality men's store? BenR's advice is good. Nicholascrawford manages to look trendy on a budget. Check out both of their fits in the WIWT thread.

                  As a parting bit of wisdom: go the traditional route and you'll always be in style. Avoid fads.



                    i would like to be the trendier guys in the office.</blockquote>

                    Start here at the very bottom:, specifically this:

                    About developing your own sense of style amidst the various kinds that are out there:

           Read the small paragraph that starts "Notice fits that you like and try to emulate them..."



                      I like Nick's advice. I did that with Land's End/Canvas, mainly because they have very decent sales on top of pretty good initial prices, and returns to Sears are free and easy. (LL Bean and Signature to some extent, too.) It makes it easier to just check a couple of web sites and get on their email list.

                      The biggest other advantage is you'll figure out how that brand fits on you, and on subsequent orders you should be right on. Every new store feels like starting over.

                      I think J. Crew is another good one, and if you have a store nearby, you can drop in often and check the sales rack.



                        I find everyone's input awesome! I didn't realize it but I naturally started doing what others have mentioned.

                        - I have been overwhelmed myself, but I have started w/ 3 stores: Jcrew, LE & BR. I have worked my way through ordering items or going to the store to get my sizing down and now I have a feel for what fits at these stores, but some items I've been posting in the fit thread w/ great feedback.

                        - One thing that I have been doing through this process has been to note the return policies and keeping track of ALL of my receipts. This has helped me work through items that I've purchased, thinking is a great item at the time only to realize that it wasn't for me. This has allowed me to easily return or exchange for something else.

                        - I'm not sure if this is right though, but I started my rebuilding process in this order:

                        1. shoes

                        2. pants/shorts

                        3. blazers/suit

                        4. shirts

                        I haven't worn most of the new items I've purchased yet because I find it TOO HOT here in Arizona to do so & have been trying to educate myself on finding a good tailor & what/how to get the alterations I want done before bringing them in. I have gone as far as pinning notes on all my items listing the alterations I want done to help me remember.



                          holy. crap.

                          guys - thanks so much for the responses. this is one of the reasons i'm always checking these forums. you all gave incredible input and i plan on using as much of it as i can.

                          hardrain and bruschetta - you were right, i checked my blazers and i'm actually a 42r. question though - how much can blazers be let out? i tried a 44 instore and it was too big. my 42's that i recently bought from banana republic could be let out a smidge - is this possible?

                          standarddeviance - i like your idea of making the lists (i'm huge on making lists for almost everything) so i will try this one out

                          benr - how did you know i was in the process of getting rid of a lot of my clothing? lol - so far i've only gotten rid of stuff that i know just doesn't fit and stuff that i haven't worn in 2+ years. and regarding purchases that i might not need - last year i got two alfani suits which fit decently, but i just don't have any occasions to wear them (other than the occasional wedding). i only bought them because they were on sale

                          tomservo - i definitely follow nickcrawford! who doesn't?? lol - and regarding the shoes, i find the allen edmonds to be a little pricey although i have been checking out ebay to possibly score a pair

                          nc - i like your idea of picking a store and sticking to it. jcrew factory shirts actually fit me pretty well so that might be a contender

                          shadow - i don't quite follow the "they have the deal where you get 25 fabrics and some gift cards" do certain tailors have a deal where you make 25 shirts?

                          bruschetta and runners - thank you for clarifying the difference between style and trends/fads.

                          itsm3json - nice one with keeping the receipts it goes hand in hand with standarddeviance's lists

                          so much awesome info here. thank you all again.



                            To keep track of potential purchases I made a wardrobe planning board on When I come across some valuable bit of advice or find an article of clothing I'd like to buy, I put it on my board. It's like pinning note cards to a bulletin board. From there, I can drag and drop them to prioritize my purchases.

                            When I go to shop, I look at my board to know what I'm looking for. And if there's a sale, it also has to fill one of those cards (although it might not be one of the highest priorities). If you like lists, this might help you too.

                            I started by making a list of all the things that would make a great wardrobe. I then separated those into columns: things I already own (inventory your closet), things I need to buy, and things I'm holding for future consideration (accessories and non-essentials atm). When I make a purchase, I move a card from the to buy category into the things I own group. Then I slide an item from the holding considerations into the need to buy column, placing it at the lowest level. This all creates a nice flow and keeps me focused on acquiring the essentials first before making impulse purchases.



                              I've been here for a few months, and I can still feel quite overwhelmed. I would personally say stay away from goodwill until you're more established in your understanding of style. I tried out thrifting a couple times and it always put me in a bad mood. If you're still starting out, it's better to get new stuff where you can be sure of what you're getting.