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Core Wardrobe Suggestions

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    Core Wardrobe Suggestions

    I am transitioning job / career rolls to more outside sales and have had a difficult time putting a “uniform” together.

    I live in the Upstate NY where we have extremes of all 4 seasons. This adds a complication to “interchangeability” dealing with temperatures ranging from 90F down to 5F in a 6 month span. (snow, salt and sun!)

    I now visit contractors and manufacture facilities on job sites as well as management level meeting in a “conference room” setting. There is quite a difference between the standard dress code and is difficult to “fit in” both situations in the same day.

    My struggle is finding pieces that are fitting for my daily job. I have fallen back on Redwing boots, chinos and button-ups (polo in the summer) with a sport coat in the car. I’m in my 30s with an athletic build and am ready for updates and potential “investment” pieces.

    I would love to know what the community would suggest or not suggest!

    What specifically do you think isnt working? I imagine the uniform you describe would work well for your role. Or are you just looking for upgrades to the chinos and button ups?
    Last edited by whereismurder; October 4, 2019, 11:35 AM.


      Sorry, I should of clarified that.
      I’m looking for upgrades to the Old Navy / Target / JCP / Gap items I have now. I am looking for suggestions on things that other people have had good long term value with.


        I'm not sure you'll find any “investment” pieces if you're just looking to upgrade your daily chinos, button-up, polo uniform. However, you can upgrade from JCF, Old Navy, etc. Although if you are spending time in manufacturing plants on a regular basis I'm not sure I'd want to go spending a lot on clothes that may get dirty/ruined.

        For chinos I would check out Bonobos. People on this site love them and I have several pair that have lasted 3+ years so far with weekly wear. Also check out Huckberry's Flint and Tinder 365 pant (it's a little more casual but well made).

        For polos there are a ton of options so I would just find one that fits well. Kent Wang is a popular upgraded choice. Personally I would avoid Banana Republic for polos. All the ones I've bought from there have shrunk like crazy in the wash.

        And finally for button-up dress shirts. I've exclusively gotten all of mine from Charles Tyrwhitt the past few years. The quality is pretty good, they have a ton of style/size options, and they are affordable with all of the constant promos and bundle prices (3 for $99). Since I wear a button-up everyday to work I've tried to find some that are decent quality but don't break the bank like Ledbury.

        If you want to upgrade the whole look I would throw in some merino v-neck sweaters in the mix as well. They'll help you change up the uniformity without looking too out of place in a warehouse/plant.

        There you go. Those are my suggestions. Hope they help!


          If I lived and worked in NY, I'd definitely own a camel hair blazer.


            I think it depends what you mean by investment pieces. To me it sounds like you mean more versatile pieces. To me clothing are not investment pieces. They all can get snagged, spilled out, ripped etc even if you buy higher end items.

            If you mean some more versatile items. I’d look into a cardigan. It can help be a layer when cold. Adds a bit of formality under a suit or blazer. Can be informal but still dressed up between meeting types. It was one of the areas I was hesitant about until I read a lot here. Now I love them. I got a nice blue and gray one from BB on sale and a maroon from JCF. They see a lot of use.

            I also think good trousers can make a difference to work between your different meeting types. I’m a huge fan of the SM ones. Great textures and fit for me.


              If you're essentially saying you want to move up from the standard BR/Jcrew/AE/etc. that gets thrown around here a lot... here's what I would suggest - and all these things are not cheap, some of these might seem a little ridiculous too. (I thought about not including the APC stuff, but it is really nice...)





              If you're not looking at things quite that expensive, anything from Bonobos, Suit Supply, and Everlane will be pretty nice compared to those brands.







                  As an admitted Brooks Brothers and Polo fan, none of these picks will be surprising. Go to a department store for Polo, dont hit Marshalls or an outlet, they carry a diffusion line.

                  Chinos: My favorite chinos are red fleece by Brooks Brothers, a pair of "cohiba" all cotton tommy hilfigers from Macys (looks like they dont make them anymore which is too bad because they are my all time favorite chinos. started putting stretch in them, so I cant vouch for those specifically), or polo (geez they put stretch into these too).

                  Oxfords: Again Brooks Brothers, polo, interested in trying Kamakura.

                  Polo: Brooks Brothers, Polo, Nike team polos (UCF and Patriots!).

                  Blazers are where I diverge a bit just because I dont like the cut of Polo blazers and BB are a little expensive when not on sale. Banana Republic makes great blazers. I have also had success with Bar III from Macy's.


                    My job is similar to yours...I need levels for the field/farm/factory, local office, C-suite. Rugged, casual, business casual and business formal. And I live north of you. I find I am forever looking for pieces that can multitask, but usually end up disappointed as they look out of place in multiple settings! I aim for button downs/polos with rugged chinos or same with denim and a blazer.

                    Some additional suggestions:
                    - Shoes -Blundstones - these can fit across the spectrum, and the soles are more suited to actually getting dirty. I also have Wolverine cap toes and Timberland lost history chukkas.

                    - Shirts - Batch has some nice takes on the traditional.

                    - Blazers - get a good hopsack. Mine is from Charles Tyrwhitt. I have a couple of chino type, and even a duck canvas one (don’t try that..). I have been thinking about a synthetic travel one in charcoal, (, but not convinced this would be better than a hopsack or wool from SS or Bonobos.

                    - Denim. I would never cuff my pants in most work settings (waaaay to trendy for that crowd), but Gustin and Taylor Stitch are nice. I recently tried a pair from Carhartts WIP line. Really nice, some stretch and have Cordura for durability. I ordered them too slim tho, so will have to see if I can sell them on the exchange.

                    -Rugged Chinos - Huckburry, Patagonia (breath well) or...Kuhl. These are aimed at hikers, but are a step above Carhartts.

                    Hope this helps. I slowly being promoted and spend more time in the office, so now trying to fill out the business casual and formal boxes better.


                      Check out Billy Reid for inspiration. The have a design aesthetic that fits with your lifestyle. If you make it down to the city, they have a store in SoHo. They can be a bit pricy, but you can source less expensive versions of key pieces that you like elsewhere. As you're in a four-season environment, I would focus on layers and texture. For OCBDs, I love Kamakura Vintage Ivy. Their fabrics are very thick and much more durable than what you typically find at an $80 price point. They have a store in Midtown.

                      A few things to consider: cords (which are warmer and more comfortable than chinos in colder weather), chambray shits (which can be both elegant and utilitarian and great transitional pieces), crew neck sweaters (in neutrals like navy) and dark wash dress denim.



                        A nice dress boot should do you well. As referenced above, Cobbler Union makes some great-looking dress boots. I have some Cobbler Union oxfords and love them.

                        I'm loving my recent purchase of AE Stirling boots. Very dressy in black, translucent lugged soles provide traction but aren't super noticeable as lugs, so they maintain the dressy look. On sale right now for about $310.



                        I'm also enjoying my Ledbury shirts. They are great without a tie because of that second button placement. They are pricey, but sometimes they run a good sale. I found a few at Nordstrom Rack for about half off.


                        No matter which dress shirt you wear, give yourself a very finished look by using metal collar stays and some little magnets to hold your collar down. You can find Wurking Stiffs on Amazon for way too much money or you can buy metal collar stays from Amazon and get the little magnets at Home Depot.



                        If you want an "investment" grade tie to wear on occasion, I don't think you'll find a better deal than Sam Hobar. Bespoke ties starting around $100. When you email them, a Hober answers.

                        The website is a little clunky and hard to understand the ordering process, but just email them with questions and they will answer quickly (but don't forget the time difference--they are in Asia somewhere).


                        Sports Coats/Dress Trousers

                        I'm enjoying my Brooks Brothers suits and although it sounds like you don't need suits, I would imagine the sports coats are similarly good. I would stay away from the tech fabrics though and go for Italian wool. I have one Suit Supply suit and I would say that is a bit better made than BB, although they use the same fabric as the BB suits I own. So, I recommend them as well. But they don't go on sale as often as BB. And if you go to the store to buy, they are always trying to up-sell you.


                        The cold weather upstate gives you a great opportunity to wear sweaters and go for layered looks. I'm in So. Cal. now, and I miss that part of living upstate--wearing sweaters, not the cold--so, no suggestions for sweaters.


                          Originally posted by alexd3 View Post
                          If you're essentially saying you want to move up from the standard BR/Jcrew/AE/etc. that gets thrown around here a lot... here's what I would suggest - and all these things are not cheap, some of these might seem a little ridiculous too. (I thought about not including the APC stuff, but it is really nice...)


                          I'm a big fan of both of these companies. If you get down to NYC on occasion, Justin Fitzpatrick has a store there now. By appointment only.



                            Couple threads that might help/be of interest.