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    What to wear for my presentation in two weeks

    I'm giving a short talk at a scientific conference (Wildlife Society) in a few weeks and am trying to decide what to wear with my still-limited wardrobe. Now, I'm pretty sure there's not too many fellow biologists, or scientists for that matter, on here but suffice to say it isn't a field known for its fashion sense. A suit would definitely be over the top, as would a tie most likely. Unfortunately I don't yet have a sport coat to wear over a nice dress shirt and chinos, so it's likely that I'll have to stick with a dress shirt and chinos only. I'm thinking that my Nordstrom Calibrate navy gingham shirt, BR Emerson chinos, and Cole Haan Paul chukkas will have to suffice, but am open to any ideas for how I could spice up this outfit a bit. I don't really want to wear a merino v-neck sweater over the shirt because I'll be sweating enough from nervousness already (plus Sacramento in late January is liable to be in the 60s). I do have a pair of gray wool trousers but the only brown shoes I have to wear with them are dark-brown Kenneth Cole square-toes so don't want to go there. It's times like these when the holes in my dress wardrobe (brown wingtips, sport coat/blazer, solid ties) become really aggravating!
    Last edited by MattRicketts; January 17, 2013, 05:28 PM.

    #2
    Well, I would say a few weeks is enough time to look into getting your hand on a sport coat... It's a good excuse to pick up something like a simple navy jacket.

    As an engineer, I can imagine the fashion sense of those around us are pretty similar. That also means that the people in the audience aren't going to be the most critical, as long as you look clean and put together. Personally, I would still go for the grey wool. If you don't like your brown shoes, do you have black?

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      #3
      I'm confused, you say a tie would be overboard but you mention wearing a sportcoat which is for arguements sake half a suit.

      Dress shirt, tie, wool pants and some nice black dress shoes would be my vote, it's quite typical and not over the top so people should be quite used to seeing it.

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        #4
        Don't wear a tie without a sportscoat or suit - it's not a good look. You can take your jacket off, but arriving with shirt and tie but no jacket is lowbrow. That's how little kids dress.

        I suggest the outfit you describe plus a sportscoat. A good sportscoat is versatile and you have time to buy one.

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          #5
          Two weeks isn't that much time to get a sportscoat, actually. To be on the safe side, you have to allow close to a week for tailoring. And then, you know, there's work and life and stuff. It's possible to do it if you're diligent, but not easy, I'd think. And you don't want to settle or buy something that's not quite what you're looking for just because you're on a deadline.

          I'm also in the tie + shirt only = little kid camp.

          I think gingham looks best when it has a layer over it and you get flashes and slivers of the pattern showing. Visually, a bare block of gingham is extremely strong and unsubtle and will make you stand out. Given the environment you'll be in, I don't think that's something you want your clothes to do.

          Sportscoat (in navy) would be ideal. Fills a big gap in your wardrobe and completes the outfit for your event. But if you can't find one, and v-necks are out for reasons of comfort, how about a solid grey cardigan? Easier to take off than a v-neck and strikes a nice formality and color balance for your event. Throw a solid knit tie in there (all of mine were in the $10-20 range) and the whole thing's pitch perfect, imo: sharp but laid back.

          Edit: Also, I always forget my temperature thresholds when I'm not using them (it's 30's/40's now where I live), but 60's is close to perfect weather for wearing a sweater only as your outermost layer, iirc. And fwiw, as someone who also sweats a lot, sweaters do make you warmer but they also hide sweat spots pretty well. Which, paradoxically, should help you sweat less (cause you're not self-conscious about your pit stains).
          Last edited by Idle_Hands; January 17, 2013, 10:12 PM.

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            #6
            Conflicting opinions: Chinos + sportcoat is just...eww, two different ideas(or you want to be a hipster); chinos are lower down than a dark wash denim for the dress scale, great for golf.
            Last edited by shad0w4life; January 17, 2013, 11:52 PM.

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              #7
              Originally posted by shad0w4life View Post
              Conflicting opinions: Chinos + sportcoat is just...eww, two different ideas(or you want to be a hipster); chinos are lower down than a dark wash denim for the dress scale, great for golf.
              Conflicting opinions, indeed. I disagree quite strongly with most of what you've posted in this thread. Here are my opinions:

              Nothing about chinos + sportscoat screams hipster. Nothing about them is incongruous, either. Both occupy a middle ground between formality and informality. Chinos are dressier than denim, even dark denim, but less dressy than wool trousers. A sportscoat is dressier than most layers most men wear but less dressy than a blazer or a suit jacket. Sure, most people use the word "sportscoat" interchangeably with "blazer," but, even still, most sportscoats, so defined, look perfectly congruent with chinos.

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                #8
                Matt, I have experience with academic conferences, presentations, etc. My advice is to be one of the best dressed people in the room. As the presenter, you should appear completely professional and in charge. Dressing nicer should also help you relax; it will allow you to better adopt the role of a teacher.

                I personally like the look that you have going on in this post: http://threads.dappered.com/showthre...ll=1#post94113

                I suggest that you pair the top half of that ensemble with your Emerson chinos and your chukkas. Idle_Hands is 100% correct about the sweater: a wool sweater will hide underarm sweat. I also agree with him regarding chinos being dressier than dark denim, and chinos being fine with a casual sport coat.

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                  #9
                  Matt, I will just chime in with what bruschetta said here. The exact outfit he listed is great for what you have to work with.

                  Unfortunately, I have yet to encounter any science-oriented field that is even remotely well dressed. My most recent WIWT on the current page was for a research conference yesterday in the social sciences. I was one of the better dressed people there with a V-neck, dress shirt and wool pants. Some guys were in suits, sure but they were mostly oversized khaki suits with 1990's Jerry Garcia ties and square brown shoes.

                  That being said, I have a pretty big national conference coming up in February. For that I will break out a blazer, tie, and dress pants.
                  "You don't need money to dress better than you do" - Salvatore Romano

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                    #10
                    At the academic conferences I've been to it's usually scaled down a bit...with that said tho, I've always been able to remember the person that was presenting a lot more if he was more dressed up.

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                      #11
                      Thanks for all the advice, guys. I think I'll go with the white OCBD under v-neck outfit but am going to check BR next week to see if they have anything that might be a bit cooler than the merino sweater I already have. I was at Target today and tried on some navy cotton v-necks but the L was too baggy in the chest and the M was too tight around the waist. If I see a solid gray cardigan at BR or elsewhere in the same mall (J. Crew, Gap, H&M) that blows me away I may go that route, but if all else fails I can fall back on what I already have and hope that it's cold in Sacramento on the 30th.

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