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"Dressed up for work"

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    "Dressed up for work"

    I might be missing something glaringly obvious here, but as I observe what other people around me are wearing, there's something I'm having trouble putting my finger on...

    There's this certain "dressed for work" look that I'm noticing: slacks, dress shirt or polo, and dress shoes, but no ties or suits. The clothes don't fit necessarily bad, in fact on initial glance and to an untrained eye, the clothes seem to fit fine. But the whole look seems to carry no style. You're dressed "nice" but you're not at the same time.

    Anyone know what I'm talking about? Maybe that particular look has been burned into my mind after all these years and it's always been associated with, well, people going to work, so when I see it I think, "He's dressed for work." Wish I had a picture to show...

    What's the point of this... Oh yeah, it's this: How do you dress nicely without having that "dressed for work" look?


    I know what you mean. I just don't think it's really a good look. A plain dress shirt is just that - plain. It's lacking a piece to bring it all together. There are several options for this like blazers, sweaters, ties, etc. That's why I personally accept the jacketless tie look.

    But to answer your question, as I said before, I think anything that reduces the visible surface area of the dress shirt in question. So blazer, tie, sweater are the obvious choices. Even rolling up your sleeves can be enough to break up the look. I'd also argue that if it's allowed, patterns (check/gingham/etc.) can make a look a lot more welcoming.



      That's funny, I hate that sweater/knit wool vest(anytime for these!) over a dress shirt look, I think that is a sign you are either covering an ill fitting shirt, trying to hide your physique or you didn't iron. Pretty much like putting a rug over a dirty spot on your floor.

      I agree there is a major difference between seeing someone with a shirt that looks like they put some time and effort into its fit vs someone who said "yup seems good".

      I tend to pay attention to shoes now and that whole OP perception is why I'm experimenting with solid coloured socks and non black shoes



        I hate that sweater/knit wool vest(anytime for these!) over a dress shirt look</blockquote>

        Excuse my ignorance, but what else would you normally wear those over if not a dress shirt?



          runners n jeans, thank you for asking what I was too embarrassed to ask.



            If you want to be dressed up but not look like you're headed to work, look to the concept of country vs city dressing. Introducing colored accents, bolder patterns, or textures are a way to dress well but keep it less professional.

            I don't wear a suit to work so my dress is completely geared towards this.

            - Shirts can be a little bit bolder like larger, less subtle stripes, plaids, and ginghams.

            - Suits & sport coats/blazers can be fun colors, texture, and patterns. Green, brown, lighter navy, etc... I prefer unlined cotton or linen. (living in Florida). Don't forget tweed in the winter.

            - Most of my ties are cotton or knit

            - Dress shoes with broguing but also suede dressier shoes and boots of all sorts

            - Pocket squares, just do the poof and shove them in, no folding

            - Also, fun things like a lapel pin/flower or an interesting tie bar

            - Avoid shiny fabrics.

            It takes a lot more work than throwing on a suit and white shirt with a tie but you look stylish and won't be confused for just getting off work. This is just my general approach and take it with a grain of salt. I think websites like StyleBlogger are great in moderation but even more conservative sites like PutThisOn, IMO, push this kind of approach.

            I like the sweaters and cardigans over dress shirts look but if its with a tie I think it needs to fit the material, matte wool or knitted ties.



              Brush and Runners: I was talking about the sweater alone vs sweater + dress shirt. And just burn sweater vest so they were out of the equation before the "over the dress shirt" line, c'mon follow along boys! maybe my sentence was a bit bad.

              That's just my opinion and lots of people do like it, but I see it so overdone with just bad combos, like rounded collars, plain ugly sweaters etc.

              Simplified: just buy a nice friggin sweater!



                Add bright colors and you won't look like your "dressed for work". I guarantee your image of dressed for work involves the colors grey, black, navy, and white. Add some yellow or pastel like colors and you'll look fine.



                  Shadow - you still need a shirt to pair with the sweater. I think you should reconsider your rejection of folks wearing shirts under sweaters!



                    It's acceptable at Christmas events...I'll conceed that, but really, the whole shirt hanging out the bottom and a sweater over top look just, meh.



                      I alternatively reject people who wear sweaters without a collared shirt beneath. Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to.



                        Yeah definitely know what look you are talking about OP. I had a moment a couple of days ago where I was walking to lunch and I noticed this group of 6 guys sitting near a fountain eating their lunch. Every single one of them had an ill fitting light blue or white solid shirt with black or charcoal pants and crummy black "dress" shoes. They were dressed "nice" in the sense that their clothes didn't have holes in them and they weren't wearing graphic tees but in no way would I consider them dressed well. They simply looked like poorly dressed corporate drones.

                        How to avoid that look? I think it is pretty simple. Focus on fit first of all. Even if you are wearing the corporate drone look if your fit is perfect you will look better than most people anyways. Second focus on the shoes. It is completely true that women notice shoes on a man. More than half the random compliments I get from women on what I am wearing are about my shoes. Third focus on patterns. Checks, stripes, or whatever break up the look a tad. Fourth wear something different. That can mean different colors, a jacket, or even different materials. Fifth accessorize. For a closer inspection a nice belt, pocket square, tie, or glasses (vision or sun) can set you apart from the drones.

                        I think that fit and shoes are good places to start also because they are the least likely to set you apart in a negative way. The other stuff is a lot more noticeable and will get comments which since you are dressing for work may not be an outcome you are looking for.