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    Serious Help Needed!

    Hello All,

    Well I have to say this is the last forum I ever expected to be joining, lol. No offense, I just have never really cared all that much about what I wear. I am in my early 40s and still a t shirt, sweatshirt and jean kind of person. I spent the last 15+ years working for a company with no real dress code for the IT team. I am a software developer and just sort of wore whatever I wanted. In the summer that meant shorts, most of the rest of the year jeans.

    So early this year I was downsized and now find myself close to taking a job for a company that has a super old school office environment. Dress up everyday, dress pants, shoes, shirt and tie, not 100% sure if a suit coat is needed. They do not even have dress down fridays. Not ideal thats for sure, but a man needs to do what he needs to do to support his family so here I am.

    I need massive help I own 1 suit, a cheap black one I purchased at Macys a few weeks back to interview. I have a single old pair of dress shoes, not in bad shape. I have 3-4 dress shirts, just got a couple new ones a JAB (sorry I thought they were good) and I have 3-4 ties. I could seriously be a contestant on one of those make over shows.

    I dont know where to begin. I need a lot and I dont want to drop 2-3k on clothes. I need at least 3-4 dress pants, 3-4 more shirts, brown shoes, probably some better black shoes, a couple more ties an outdoor jacket (Its cold here).

    SO where do I even begin? I have hit the net looking for answers (thats how I ended up here). I have learned a few things, I think. I ordered 2 belts from naragansett belts. I have found The Tie Bar and Chipp Neckwear and will probably purchase from there.

    What to do for shoes? Suits?? Dress Pants? Any HELP would be fantastic!

    #2
    marjen, I would begin by creating a list of what you have and what you want to acquire. Be practical, and stick with the minimum.

    Here's an example:

    5 dress shirts in shades of blue, 1 white.
    1 navy blazer
    1 charcoal suit. Buy two pairs of pants with the suit. You can use the second pair as a pair of odd trousers with your blazer.
    1 dark navy suit.
    Three pairs of shoes in black or dark brown, your choice.

    That should be all that you need to get you through the week. Beyond that, you can experiment based on your own taste.

    Edit: as for specific brands:

    Shirts: Charles Tyrwhitt, T.M. Lewinn. Both of these are inexpensive. Alternatively, Nordstrom's house brand in the slim fit.
    Suits: J.Crew Factory, Banana Republic, SuitSupply (probably over your budget).
    Blazer: Charles Tyrwhitt, Brooks Brothers (heavily discounted), Hickey Freeman (heavily discounted). All three of these are easy to find on sale. In fact, I believe that Fred shared a link to a Hickey Freeman blazer on sale earlier this week.

    Shoes: DSW, or Allen Edmonds shoebank. The shoebank is a network of outlet stores that carry shoes with very slight defects. These shoes are called "seconds". You can often purchase their shoes in 2 for 250, 2 for 300, or one for $165 sales. I believe that they have a sale going on right now. I recommend emailing Edward Wickham of Allen Edmonds at the Freeport, Maine store to see if they have any shoes in your size. His email address is [email protected].

    Comment


      #3
      I'm in IT too and started out in jeans and tshirts. Moved to a more dressed up IT environment and I'm still ok, you will be too =) In fact, now I want to dress up more.

      One thing I learned from this site is that not all long sleeve/dress shirts are the same. At first, I hated how my "dress shirts" made me look and feel too dressy. That's when I figured out the difference between OCBDs and dressier shirts.

      OCBDs, anything with button down collar and a pocket is more casual but still passes for a lot of shirt and tie environments. I think you'll be a lot more comfortable with them as it's in between casual and dressy.

      It sounds like you want quantity then quality for right now so I suggest you get to a jcpenney asap and look for their jcp brand OCBDs and other button down long sleeve shirts which are currently going for $14 dollars, less with coupon code. that is if you are into the slim cut style.

      Comment


        #4
        try uniqlo, h&m, zara

        make sure your OCBD fits your body. Slim fitting instead of baggy around the waist.

        pictures are worth a thousands words:

        http://i.imgur.com/impIert.jpg

        http://imgur.com/a/jWvLA

        shoes with outfit ideas:

        http://i.imgur.com/GWYYPz6.jpg

        fall outfits ideas:
        http://imgur.com/a/AbioY#0

        how clothes should fits:

        http://imgur.com/a/ggOlK
        Last edited by jackbauer24; December 18, 2013, 08:20 PM.

        Comment


          #5
          You can find some good options on ebay and can also go for companies like Natty or CT for shirts, Itailor for shoes and many more discussed on this forum as well.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by marjen View Post
            Hello All,

            SO where do I even begin? I have hit the net looking for answers (thats how I ended up here). I have learned a few things, I think. I ordered 2 belts from naragansett belts. I have found The Tie Bar and Chipp Neckwear and will probably purchase from there.

            What to do for shoes? Suits?? Dress Pants? Any HELP would be fantastic!
            The suits and shoes will be the main expense and to save some money I would get some used items from Ebay to get you going. If you are a common size it is pretty easy to start there. It will also give you a feel for what you like and what you don't so when you drop more serious money you will not be wasting it.

            Having said that you can likely get away with some cheaper shoes initially, especially if you only wear them indoors to keep them alive longer.

            As far as shirts go I can't say enough good things about my T.M. Lewin shirts. As they are the best price when you multi buy they are a great choice to get you going.

            Comment


              #7
              I am not even sure what size suit I am. So I guess I need to start by getting measured. I am 5'10" about 195, I have wide shoulders, which makes fit a little difficult. I am still in decent shape for an old guy, I run all the time and I need things a little bigger in chest, back, shoulders, thighs but that makes everything look baggy I feel.

              So I would probably rather start with new for now with the first suit or two. Is it better to hit Macys or Kohls as opposed to JAB? Shirts I will probably order over the internet if I can get the best deals there.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by marjen View Post
                I am not even sure what size suit I am. So I guess I need to start by getting measured. I am 5'10" about 195, I have wide shoulders, which makes fit a little difficult. I am still in decent shape for an old guy, I run all the time and I need things a little bigger in chest, back, shoulders, thighs but that makes everything look baggy I feel.

                So I would probably rather start with new for now with the first suit or two. Is it better to hit Macys or Kohls as opposed to JAB? Shirts I will probably order over the internet if I can get the best deals there.
                You should be able to do pretty well at Macy's, they have some pretty good quality suiting at a reasonable price. I don't know much about suiting at Kohl's, but it doesn't get much play on here. If you have a J Crew Factory near you, however, I would definitely give that a look. Banana Republic, as bruschetta mentioned, is also a good one, and they're everywhere. For other dept stores, you can do pretty well at Dillard's during a sale (or if you have a Dillard's clearance center near you, you can get Hart Shaffner & Marx suits (pretty good quality USA-made) for a little over $200). JC Penney also has a couple serviceable options in the under $200 range (Claiborne wool). You might not be getting the best construction, but you can certainly get decent material 100% wool in that price range, so I wouldn't settle for anything polyester or even wool blend.

                There are a lot of good options for shirts. TM Lewin and Charles Tyrwhitt, as mentioned are both great. Uniqlo and H&M, also mentioned, are even cheaper. I've gotten some that I like at JCPenney and they are extremely cheap. I also can't say enough about Goodwill for dress shirts. Probably half my shirts are from Goodwill. There are always dozens of Banana Republic, Gap, and J Crew shirts when I go, and occasionally some Brooks Brother, Zegna, or better.

                jackbauer: those imgur links are fantastic. They should be stickied. You didn't make that beginner's guide, did you? That should be given out to every man in high school health class.

                Comment


                  #9
                  As mentioned, fit is most important. Take your time. I have a co-worker who wears all the "required" items for the dress code, but they're probably two or three sizes too large. Or four. Fit is a big deal. Jack's links above regarding fit are excellent -- print one out and take it with you when you shop. Use it as a checklist!

                  It's OK to buy inexpensive items at first. When you figure out what you like and what looks good, you can replace the items in a year or two with quality items. If you already know what you like, buy quality today. Florsheim shoes are great starter shoes at around $80 a pair, or hit up DSW. Again, refer to Jack's awesome link on fit for shoes to help you in your search. Brown will be more flexible than black, especially if you bought grey or navy pants.

                  Stay with muted or traditional colors. I assumed variety in my outfit was supposed to come from colorful shirts. Not neon mind you, but even so it was a bad idea. Keep your shirts in muted/traditional colors and they'll be a flexible base for ties and will be compatible with more outfits. Probably 80% of shirt colors are obnoxious and 80% of those colors are sadly in my closet. (I'm working on it!)

                  Do not by any means buy a polyester suit. I bought one six months ago and I'm replacing it right now with wool suits. They (polyester suits) are hot and uncomfortable, and cost just as much to tailor as a wool suit that's worth keeping.

                  It sounds like your environment, being IT but professional, wouldn't typically require a suit five days a week, depending on your role. I'd imagine you can stick with some flat front straight/slim pants, even Dockers D2 would be fine (to give a widely available example). Grey and navy are great colors to start. I don't even wear my black pants.

                  Tie width should be proportional to your width. I'm a skinny guy with a closet full of 3.5" or worse ties. Don't make my mistake!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    If you're a decently built guy: at 5'10 195 if you don't have a belly, I'd recommend avoiding TM lewin's really slim fit shirts, I have them and my forearms look like they are in sausage casings. Charles Tyrwhitt I find has nicer fabrics as well.

                    Pants and shirts etc you COULD order from lands end on a sale, they will be the cheapest. They also offer a slim fit dress shirt now as well, I find their supima polos to be very nice material.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I ordered a couple pairs of LE's "slim fit" dress shirts. Should get them on Monday. I'll try to remember to report on whether they are any good. For $32 a pop (with a discount code) they seemed like a pretty good deal.
                      Ben

                      Comment


                        #12
                        They had a web buster the Saturday between black Friday and cyber Monday. Some of their shirts were 15 bucks. Unfortunately the sale was on at 5 am and I decided to have a few drinks the night before and missed it. Still haven't tried them out yet but I am very interested considering the price.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I figure I'll be happy if they are three quarters as good as my Brooks Brothers shirts that cost twice as much.
                          Ben

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by marathon View Post
                            Probably 80% of shirt colors are obnoxious and 80% of those colors are sadly in my closet. (I'm working on it!)
                            Hah! That's great. I've got way too many "other" colors in my closet, though I still wear them pretty regularly. So at least you are a repentant sinner.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              No i did not make the guide, found it over in reddit. Found other one here:

                              http://www.buzzfeed.com/antwaunsarge...-in-one-infogr
                              Originally posted by P J View Post
                              You should be able to do pretty well at Macy's, they have some pretty good quality suiting at a reasonable price. I don't know much about suiting at Kohl's, but it doesn't get much play on here. If you have a J Crew Factory near you, however, I would definitely give that a look. Banana Republic, as bruschetta mentioned, is also a good one, and they're everywhere. For other dept stores, you can do pretty well at Dillard's during a sale (or if you have a Dillard's clearance center near you, you can get Hart Shaffner & Marx suits (pretty good quality USA-made) for a little over $200). JC Penney also has a couple serviceable options in the under $200 range (Claiborne wool). You might not be getting the best construction, but you can certainly get decent material 100% wool in that price range, so I wouldn't settle for anything polyester or even wool blend.

                              There are a lot of good options for shirts. TM Lewin and Charles Tyrwhitt, as mentioned are both great. Uniqlo and H&M, also mentioned, are even cheaper. I've gotten some that I like at JCPenney and they are extremely cheap. I also can't say enough about Goodwill for dress shirts. Probably half my shirts are from Goodwill. There are always dozens of Banana Republic, Gap, and J Crew shirts when I go, and occasionally some Brooks Brother, Zegna, or better.

                              jackbauer: those imgur links are fantastic. They should be stickied. You didn't make that beginner's guide, did you? That should be given out to every man in high school health class.

                              Comment

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