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Dress better WITHOUT a jacket

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  • LosRockets
    replied
    I had to look up the tech pants, NC, and I'm glad I did. Love a company with a good sense of humor:
    "We took our Originals and added in a little Shatner. Made with our soft, space-age 7 oz. Nylon that feels like Cotton, but wicks away moisture and protects the skin from harmful UV rays. Articulated knees, Rugged Gusset™ crotch, cargo pockets on the thighs, and rear pocket flaps offer excellent performance and comfort in severe weather environments. Like the cold, merciless oblivion of space. Or the woods."

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  • nicholascrawford
    replied
    I'm a lumberjack and am wearing www.arborwear.com tech pants right now. I'm not about to wear a suit to work and operate a chainsaw and expect to be taken seriously.

    I have fun on the weekend getting dressed up and wear work clothes for the utility of it all week.

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  • Morgan Liu
    replied
    Wear the clothes you slept in to work, sweats or pajamas, with maybe a bucket hat with fishing lures in it in order to subtly ridicule the other people.

    Then, when people inevitably tell you that you aren't dressed well enough for work, come in suits and stuff. Then they're stuck because they'd look really freakin stupid and hypocritical if they criticize you for addressing their first criticism.

    done.

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  • LosRockets
    replied
    As a med student and someone living in TX I can relate to you a little bit. At first I got a lot of comments when I occasionally wear jackets to class, but eventually people got used to it and realized I wasn't trying to be pretentious or project anything by what I was wearing. With respect to that fact, I only wear tweed/cotton/linen blazers in those situations, as a worsted wool jacket is far too formal. As for clinic, jackets are out of the question, so I wear slim fitting slacks, nice shoes, and fitted shirts (w/ or without tie). I stand out with fit and color coordination (this one is big) but it's not going to be something that keeps my patients from trusting me (in a similar boat to Greg_s here, I'm not going to form a healthy, open relationship with them if I'm wearing loud pants and a french cuff shirt and monk-strap shoes).

    For example, today I wore slim navy trousers, a light blue fitted shirt, a dark blue/gray wool/cashmere tie, walnut belt and walnut AE Players. If I were in your work environment I'd do something similar, sans the tie. If you want to wear a jacket, stick to a cotton/wool type blend that won't get terribly wrinkled nor look very formal. Fitted polos and dark-wash jeans are also a good suggestion. Grab a pair of Red Wing or Wolverine 1000 or Chippewa boots and rock them 2-4 times a week, with fitted chinos and a tucked-in fitted button-down shirt. I do variations on this one frequently and get lots of compliments.

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  • frankinaug
    replied
    I fight it by wear quality. I may not be in a suit when everyone else is in cargos and polos but I will wear nice tailored well fitting slacks and nice sport shirts or tailored fitting polos.

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  • MikeAD91
    replied
    Originally posted by Nmoore View Post
    My typical attire is dress pants or khaki's, dress shoes, and a dress button-up or polo.
    Everyone has already said fit, but have you addressed all the details? Pleated vs plain front, wool vs synthetics, nice shoes, shirt collars under control, etc? Everything is properly tailored?

    A jacket doesn't make you look good if everything else is wrong, so I think you need to follow most of the general advice on the forum, and then skip the jacket. If you've done that already, then I think you shouldn't worry about it.

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  • Idle_Hands
    replied
    I think Greg_S nails it: a big part of dressing well is dressing appropriately for the environment you expect to be in. Dressing well is *not* synonymous with dressing up and, as Greg says, it can actually be inappropriate in certain work situations.

    I have two pieces of advice besides the obvious advice about fit:

    1) If your workplace is flannel-level casual, lean towards pieces that are a bit more ruggedly masculine in nature: so workboots instead of wingtip boots, trucker (and other workman's) jackets instead of blazers, OCBDs instead of dress shirts, etc. Many of us on here, myself included, lean towards a dressier aesthetic, but that doesn't mean it's the only way to look sharp and put together. The same principles pertaining to fit, color, etc. apply, but you're just trying to tone down the formality to a context-appropriate level.

    2) I'm of the mind that layers almost always look better than just a shirt, but obviously in the heat layering becomes impractical. But not totally impractical: you can still layer things when it's warm, only you use fewer layers and you use pieces that a lighter. So cotton instead of wool, or linen instead of cotton, or henleys instead of v-neck sweaters, etc.

    In essence, once you learn about menswear you realize that there's a pretty foolproof formula to dressing well that involves well-tailored staples and versatile colors. But that formula doesn't work perfectly for every context; it needs to be tweaked. And because those tweaks deviate from the formula, they require a bit more ingenuity and know-how. But I think it's perfectly possible--and in many cases ideal--to build a great wardrobe that does not revolve around suits/blazers and ties.

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  • greg_s
    replied
    Originally posted by Nmoore View Post
    So what about the people that this type of clothing is completely unnecessary and in fact would make me look like a shmuck to most of the people I work with?
    I think this is an excellent point that is often overlooked. Sometimes we can't just say "well screw them." There are fields where you will actually *lose* credibility and the ability to work with your peers if you dress up too much. I can relate a bit as I work with younger children typically in urban, lower socioeconomic schools. Many students that I work with do not respond well to a person in a tie. There are loaded issues here that I could write about extensively, but I gain credibility and the ability to relate more by dressing down. All this is to say: I get it.

    Make things fit. That is what will set you apart. And nice shoes. A great looking pair of shoes is never out of place. I do a lot of chinos and button-up shirts with a sweater (cooler climate up in MN). If it is too hot, just focus on fit. Make sure your shirts and pants are tailored very well. You have less items to buy with fewer layers so invest in nice dress shirts that fit you well (and are cool), get them tailored if need be and do the same with pants. Get a couple pairs of great shoes.

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  • splitplug
    replied
    Like others have said, fit is the most important part when you are just wearing chinos and a button down. I live in Miami, so most of the year is hot, sticky, and humid, but my office runs the AC at icy cold temperatures. I come in from the heat carrying my jacket, and then put it on once I get settled in. I take it off if I go out to lunch or run some errands. I wear a blazer maybe once or twice a week, but most of the time I wear a denim jacket, harrington, or canvas jacket instead. They are more casual, but still offer the warmth I need in the office.

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  • Shomas
    replied
    Originally posted by Nmoore View Post
    Maybe if you're not wearing a suit the fit of you shirt is the single most important part of your look now because it will so very visible. Maybe it all comes down to that. What do you think?
    This is indeed the case. I think a sport shirt that fits well with some cotton pants that also fit well and an appropriate pair of shoes is going to work just fine. There's nothing good-looking about a guy sweating through his suit and if you feel super self-conscious, nothing you wear will matter anyway; you'll carry yourself too poorly. Most of the time in the summer, I'm dressed in a thin cotton shirt (that fits me well), chinos and wingtips and I feel (and look, I believe) great.

    I recommend checking out the WIWT thread. There are often more casual, dressed-down looks on display there that should give you some decent ideas. Good luck!

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  • toomoody
    replied
    I think fit is key. You can look damn good in a pair of boots, some jeans, and a button up of some sort, if it fits well. I wear a suit to work M-Th, so on the weekends, I like to go casual. I generally wear jeans and tee shirts. But the jeans fit perfectly and are either a dark wash or grey. And the tee shirts are nicely fitting, solid color, soft cotton vee necks (but not treandy deep vees). I think I look good, even though it's very casual.

    Or, if you want to dress up a bit without getting the "interviewing" questions, you could also try wearing a waistcoat/vest and/or a casual tie (rough looking wool, knit) with a tie bar or clip.

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  • shad0w4life
    replied
    I work in oil and gas and I wear suits all the time, no one really says a thing here now. Also I honestly couldn't care less what someone wearing new balance shoes around the office had to tell me about dressing up; Or about anything in the gym for that matter. I've got enough compliments from women and higher ups at work to know it looks good, and I don't really care what random guys at work think.

    I do understand what you're talking about, we had folks from Houston come up here and "Dressed up" for our meetings and honestly they came off as slobs, just terrible fitting cheap looking clothes, heck I remember some initials on the shirt sleeve as well..vibrant blue on white, not a subtle colour for that added touch. I recall my trips to Houston as well being extremely casual once we realized that is wasn't all like the Galleria
    Last edited by greg_s; March 14, 2013, 05:33 PM.

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  • Ian619
    replied
    Originally posted by Nmoore View Post
    Alright, here's a question for all of you with more experience than me.

    How does one improve their style if they work in an environment where a suit is not common or necessary and would actually be seen as a bit stuffy if worn? I work in an O&G firm and many engineers come to work in boots and jeans and those outdoor fishing shirts (the ones with the nifty flap in the back...you know for "venting"). If you're dressed up you get questions like "hey who you interviewing with today?". My typical attire is dress pants or khaki's, dress shoes, and a dress button-up or polo. Every time I look at these lists of essential wardrobe pieces it's centered around jackets and suits. I own two suits and those are for church and the Christmas party (oh...and interviews...). I also live in the South where a suit will get HOT and is not a useful item of clothing. Heck even a sweater is mostly not used around here. The majority of friends who grew up here in Houston don't even own a winter coat. What for? Those two days out of the year it's below 30? Stay inside.

    So how do feel about style sans suit and tie or jacket?
    My thoughts are "f--- them..." I work in a business casual office as well which leans more casual (polos = the norm) and this year I said screw it and started wearing ties and blazers every day and yeah I got the "job interview today?" "are clients coming in today?" type comments for the first month or so, but eventually everyone got used to it and the comments are all positive now.

    On the heat part of it, that I can't really say because I just started this pretty recently myself. I'm trying to find some unstructured sportcoats that I like to be able to continue when the weather warms up. Otherwise just remember fit is king. Well fitting chinos and a button up shirt (sleeves rolled up if needed), nice shoes and belt and you'll still stand out versus the crowd.

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  • Nmoore
    replied
    This is an issue that doesn't get much attention. It seems more and more folks are interested in moving back to classic style of the 30-40's. Now we're seeing more people in the public eye dressing like dandies, etc.
    I don't work in an environment that requires to be suited up everyday. So what about the people that this type of clothing is completely unnecessary and in fact would make me look like a shmuck to most of the people I work with? I need good information and examples of how to enhance my looks but not have to suit up.
    Maybe it all comes down to fit? Maybe if you're not wearing a suit the fit of you shirt is the single most important part of your look now because it will so very visible. Maybe it all comes down to that. What do you think?

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  • Vicious49
    replied
    My wife just moved up here from Houston. The 'winter coats' she owned were pitiful. They wouldn't have kept her warm in our winters. She didn't even realize they made much warmer coats since they don't even sell them down there.

    I would say throw on a thin sweater for the chilly mornings. Or you could always go suspenders and bowtie. No one can think you're going to an interview in a bowtie, but you will look more dressed up

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