Discussion in 'January And Everything After' started by Tactu, Feb 16, 2012.
What, like "Raaargh! Hulk refill the water cooler!"?
It's something like that.
One of my weight-loss milestone rewards is to go get fitted for a new suit and some classier workplace attire/casual clothes. The problems I am running into are that I am shaped like a fire hydrant with gnarled tree trunks for legs. Which is why if I wear straight-leg jeans it winds up looking like denim sausage casings. I know relaxed fit is not fashionable these days, but when the alternative is to be uncomfortable with no range of motion, it's what folks built like me are stuck with.
I should pick up a fabric tape measure and actually get some measurements done just for my own records.
The funny thing about this is that rolled sleeves work really well in summer, but short-sleeved shirts (which seem like the logical progression) are a hideous abomination in every setting. It's the way the sleeves hang, I think.
Nute, I have no idea what you're doing with your arms that inexplicably causes long-sleeved shirts to rupture at the back but leaves short-sleeved ones mircaulously unscathed. Is it something awesome to do with explosives? Anyway, since you're on the weight thing at the moment (and seem to be doing pretty damn well) I think holding off until things stabilise is a good call.
I have very broad shoulders and a wide torso, and most off-the-rack shirts tend to fit tightly across the back - if I get ones that fit my shoulders properly, the sleeves are about 4" too long and the neck is too big even for me. Thusly, when I forget and do something like reach across my body quickly, like for a pencil to the left of my keyboard with my right hand, things often stretch and pop. This is possibly also due to buying most of my work shirts at Target.
Yeah, that is likely. I'm guessing your shirts are mostly sized as Small/Medium/Large, that kind of thing? Try to find some that have proper measurement sizes. But if your build is really that unusual, maybe it's still not possible for you, I dunno.
The sizing thing is partially a price issue -- cheap shirts tend to do the S/M/L things more expensive ones have actual measurements -- you can still find inexpensive shirts that have measurements. I know places like Kohl's sell shirts like that, and they mostly aren't the best quality but they're certainly serviceable and might fit better. Other than that, shop sales.
If you could get your measurements that would help you a lot. I barely even try clothes on anymore because I know my size. (This is not actually a good idea, I just hate trying on clothes. You should try things on before you buy them.)
My other issue is that I'm trying to change my size, so that makes a bit of a challenge when it comes to buying new clothes if I'm only going to have them altered - and with the amount I'm hoping to drop (a minimum of 4" on the waistline, for starters) it's almost not worth purchasing expensive pants that'll be too big in a few months.
So part of my program is also learning about style and experimenting with what will eventually work once the body recomposition project is a success.
Dillards often does properly sized shirts (within reason) and, of course, Jos A Bank and Brooks Brothers do these as well. There are also a ton of places online that will do sized dress shirts at a reasonable price -- Paul Fredrick was one of my go to places if I wanted something a bit more fun than Jos A Bank carried but didn't want to spend too much. And you can find all kinds of weird sizes. And if it's too billowy you can have darts sewn in very cheaply.
What non-navy color jackets are appropriate for wear with chinos? Navy, as Hunty mentioned, is too yacht club/prep school. Light grey, maybe?
Haven't bought the black shoes yet, if anyone still has recommendations to make.
What about tan? Especially if you went with suede.
Also, I have a cheap black corduroy jacket that goes great with jeans.
Oh, wait, chinos. Dang it. Tan on khaki may not be advisable.
As far as I'm concerned there are only three shoe manufacturers even worth talking about, depending on budget.
These are all very high quality shoes that cost $300-700/pair but will last you, literally, the rest of your life since you can have them resoled. Get them in a classic style -- cap toe oxford is hard to lose with -- and in black and you're set. If you like Cordovan then Aldens are the way to go. Church's can be hard to come by in the states compared to the others.
Some nice classics are these A&E:
Note that while expensive, all three of those brands are by proper shoe makers, whereas it's trivial to spend $1500+ on shitty shoes from 'designers' like Ferragamo, Prada, et. al.
Now, if you don't want to spend that much, I think Johnston & Murphy make very serviceable disposable shoes in the $100-200 range (and honestly, I even like some of their high end ones -- my favorite loafers are a pair of lizard skin J&Ms). Wait for a sale and grab some.
These J&Ms are under $100:
You just want to make sure you're getting good quality leather (full grain, not "top grain" or "corrected grain") and a good welt. The difference in appearance between a high quality shoe and a lower quality one are apparent once you see them.
Aren't chinos more of a summer/spring thing? I'd go with a cotton summer jacket or even linen. That said, I don't wear chinos or khakis, and one of the reasons is that it just never feels like there's a proper jacket to wear with them.
Yeah that's the price range I was looking at, I know I have to drop some coin to get good shoes. They are really expensive, to my novice eye, but a guy from SA pointed out how much more I was going to be spending on shitty shoes if I kept doing that and replacing them and the numbers were persuasive.
I was eyeing some Allen-Edmonds, deciding between the Park Aves that you linked and the Fifth Aves mainly. I'm going with the Fifth Aves mainly because they are in stock in my size and the Park Aves aren't. Only real difference is the brogueing (I think that's the right word?) on the cap-toe.
I had originally ordered the Kenilworth, which I liked the look of a lot, but after I ordered I received an email saying they'd fucked up and didn't have it in stock after all. I was pretty sad about that.
The Aldens are nice, but I don't think they're enough to justify $150 more than the AEs. Maybe this is because I don't know enough about shoes, but it was hard enough to convince myself to drop AE levels of money. Thanks for the advice, I basically just needed confirmation that I could wear them without a suit.
Cheap nice shoes are false economy. I had a friend who bought $120 J&Ms and wore them every day and they'd wear out in six months (he walked a lot). The first problem is he was buying entry level shoes then putting hundreds of miles on them and expecting them to last -- that just doesn't happen in dress shoes. The second problem is that he wasn't alternating shoe wear -- you really want your shoes to have a chance to breathe and air out, so wearing them EVERY day is a bad idea.
If you need to wear dress shoes for work, you should own several complementary pairs (e.g. brown, black, a loafer, a wingtip, etc.)
The Fifth Aves are nice, but the AEs have different lasts so you need to make sure that they fit properly.
If I get Aldens it would be solely because they're the premier Cordovan shoe maker in the world. But Cordovan is what I recommend as maybe someones'...fifth pair of dress shoes. After a couple pairs of black and brown dressy lace ups and slip ons. A good mix is black cap toe, black penny loafer, brown wingtip, and brown monkstrap...then you get your cordovan.
Yeah, I'm learning that. I'm no longer wearing the same pair two days in a row, I'm using shoe trees, and I am finally using proper polish.
I own a pair of brown loafers, a two-tone brown monk strap, a pair of black Aldo monk straps, and now these, when they get here. None of them are as nice as these, obviously, but they're serviceable. When they do wear out, I can replace them with better (and get a laced pair of brown shoes, presumably), but no reason to do that until they do fail me. And one pair of these at once is a lot of money for shoes for me, much less two.
What does this mean?
Incremental upgrade is definitely the way to go.
Just that different AEs fit differently, vs. having a uniform last that means all their stuff fits the same. So if you tried on and liked some AE Fifth Aves it doesn't mean that their Kenilworth's will also fit.
Gotcha. Well, we'll find out when they get here. Zappos has a good return policy.
I'm too sick to do a righteous reply, but let's just say I strongly disagree with the characterizations regarding the cost, quality, and "properness" of shoes other than Allen Edmonds, Alden's and Church. I agree that there are plenty of overpriced men's shoes, but to cast a wide net over all designers is objectively wrong. And in my personal opinion, I find the shape of a traditional AE shoe (and all of the shoes pictured in this post) to be extremely unpleasant to the eye. Maybe something like this?
Or, if we're sticking with AE, how about this?
I agree with this, what a bunch of ugly shoes. Who wants to wear the same shoes for ten years, anyway? Boring.
I don't want shoes to fall apart within a year, but I don't plan on wearing the same for 10 years. Unless I needed some sort of dress shoes only for very formal events. But I don't do any formal events where there's that kind of conservative expectations to my clothing (I also haven't worn a tie since I did my national service). I have several pairs of nice shoes depending on occasion and sneakers for everything else. Those pictured are fine... if you work in a bank.
You guys seem to be interpreting my recommendations as "Never wear any shoes but these" -- the specific examples were of 'reference' shoes, shoes that you should invest in if you're going to spend money on dress shoes. Because they are PRECISELY the shoes you will wear to court, weddings, funerals, etc. I'm not recommending an entire closet full of black oxfords!
Obviously when I say "These are the only three companies worth talking about!" it's a bit of hyperbole.
There are plenty of specialty shoe makers that are worth the money and very high end, but they're much harder to find so I didn't bother mentioning them. And anyone interested in John Lobb Paris isn't reading this thread for advice.
If you're going to invest in shoes, invest in quality. If you want quality, you buy from a reputable shoe maker that is known for their shoe quality, not for being a design house. Design houses are invested in rotating stock yearly and thus invent or follow fashion fads. I have numerous friends that spent huge sums of money on trendy styles (Testoni is the antithesis for all I stand for in shoes) only to find them unwearable a year or two later. If you want to buy into a trend, then go get some from Kenneth Cole or Aldo where you're spending $100-150 (which is still too goddamn much for those places).
Before spending a ton of money on any fashion related items, I suggest people read "Deluxe: How luxury lost its luster". It's sobering.
I personally only wear my oxfords (ironically enough, they're Cole Haans and my least favorite shoes) for those occasions. But they're the first pair of dress shoes everyone should have if they're buying dress shoes for, well, dress occasions. I own a lot of shoes, for example these:
I own several pairs of Fluevogs, and they are far from conservative. I have a pair of blue, sparkle monkstraps.
I have 30+ pairs of Converse Jack Purcell sneakers in various colors.
You don't have to be beholden to some stodgy notion of appropriate attire, but I suggest that if you're going to create your own individual sense of style, do just that (as opposed to buying the latest from Prada or whatever looks hot in Details this month). Most of the 'name' brands don't even make shoes, they just resell shoes from the real shoe makers, so when you buy Ralph Lauren shoes it's often some other brand marked up 20%. Ferragamo, last I checked, outsources all their construction, and a lot of the Italian manufacturers have been outsourcing parts to China then assembling them in Italy so they can resell them in the US as "Italian made".
I got my Fifth Aves. Very comfortable, very nice looking. Gonna polish them up for tomorrow.
I don't know if any of us said that you were suggesting people buy a closet full of black oxfords, or that people only wear those shoes, or that people not invest in quality, or that we go out and buy the latest designer stuff. You seem to be arguing against something nobody has advocated. All I'm saying is that I think all of the shoes you suggested are ugly. So regardless of the quality of construction, or anything else, it's a non-starter for me - and the point is that you just can't tell someone to buy a certain shoe because it's "the right shoe". Even you advocate someone finding the right shoe for them - how can you do that by telling them that there are only 3 brands shoes worth talking about? I understand that you later clarified it was hyperbole, but if someone is asking about shoes, are they going to know that? If you want to help people build up their own style, you have to find out what fits them. Who knows, maybe Inigima loves the AE's and wears them for the next 10 years, but I'd never have them in my closet.
And regarding outsourced construction: not to sound flippant, but does it matter that much? Is a suit made in Turkey worse than one in Italy? I think it's all situational and you can't assume that because the construction of a garment was globalized that the quality goes down. Brooks Brother permanently lost me as a customer when I ordered their "Genuine Leather Made in Italy" card case turned out to be coated canvas. Brooks brothers is supposed to be quality, but I learned my lesson, Chester Mox or go home. Whereas Hugo boss outsources their suit fabrication but my tailor thinks the well of the quality of the suits that I've brought him, even though they also have shitty suits, which he's also told me in person. What makes if good or bad? You have to check it out. What I'm trying to teach and talk about here and with the blog at least are components of quality and stylish thinking that someone can use to determine on their own what is quality of not. That's why I asked Jeffd a bunch of questions, so I can make sure that I give him an answer that really fits his needs now.
p.s. not to sound like I'm hating, overall I'd just prefer a less...decisive writing tone and not to sound like all piss and grits I never heard of Testoni until now, but damn, they have some fugly (and overtly trendy) shoes. I completely agree that they are terrible.
Yes, it matters, but only because often you're paying for a perceived increase in quality that may not exist. If the only difference between suit A and suit B is that suit B says "Hugo Boss" and costs 3x, it matters. And with luxury brands, this is precisely what is happening, where the same production line will generate suits for luxury brands and discount brands.
And you can be assured that a suit made in Cambodia or Vietnam was made there solely because of cost issues -- China is now becoming considered an expensive area to produce fashion items, so a move to 'less regulated' areas like SE Asia is not a good sign about the priorities of a company that does so.
Sure, and I have no problem with all that, I just prefer a direct, short cut method of getting something that is conservative but still good. It takes a long time for someone to discover their style, and up front investigation rarely helps (in my experience), you just have to get out there, start simple/safe, and branch out. That, at least, is the approach that has worked for me and my friends, and prevents them from overcommitting to a
Again, the decisiveness is just to provide firm direction for someone to get started without making a critical purchasing error. It also prevents choice fatigue which is an issue when deciding on what to buy initially. I'm a proponent of "Buy these safe choices so you have the basics, then branch out".
Choice fatigue is a serious problem. I go into shops and get overloaded by all the clothing choices. I have a sort of idea in my head, but without knowing how to assemble the various building blocks in a coherent fashion I just surrender and flee or abdicate responsibility to someone else.
You'd think there'd be trained staff to help people like me. But no. I've at times been reduced to using sex as a way of getting fashion advice from particularly well dressed people.
I like the AEs a lot, but I'll let you know in five years whether they're still kicking. They are a pretty standard, albeit conservative, look. It's one that most people who wear dress shoes regularly ought to own though.
I've spent way too much on shoes lately, I don't plan on buying more for a while, but does anyone have an opinion on Mezlan as a brand?
Regarding AE and quality: Allen-Edmonds are kind of the gold standard by which shoes are measured. They are generally not flashy, although I love the way some of their loafers look, and you can definitely find pricier and/or more stylish shoes. For shoes that are sincerely high-quality, they're even considered on the low-end, insane as that sounds. But they have a rep for quality materials and workmanship and for longevity. This will be my first pair, but this is generally not a controversial assertion. I definitely don't agree that the three brands Bacon mentioned are the only decent shoemakers (well, I don't know anything about Church's, but the others have a good rep). But they are kind of reliable anchors, and at this point I think it's clear he didn't literally mean that.
It kills me to spend this kind of cash on a pair of shoes, it really does. But if the claims about Allen-Edmonds are accurate, it will work out much cheaper than replacing shitty quality shoes with shitty quality shoes for the same length of time. Only one way to test those claims, so I dove in. It is, of course, contingent on taking proper care of them -- don't wear them two days in a row, keep cedar shoe trees in them when you aren't wearing them, polish them every 5-10 wears or if they start to look scuffed. (The liquid stuff with the applicator brushes, I'm told, are not good for your shoes. Buy real polish, it is cheap and not much more work than the crummy stuff.)
When I first decided to dress better, I was utterly clueless. I enlisted the help of some friends with good taste, and they both advised me on what to look for and literally told me what to buy for a little while. Drag a friend shopping with you, as Tactu helped Jason, and after a little while you'll start to learn what looks good.
It also took me a little while to understand that I wasn't in school anymore, that t-shirts with writing on them and even polo shirts were no longer Things I Should Wear if I wanted to look good, and that dressing well would look awesome even though if someone had shown up wearing the same clothes in school they'd have been mocked for it. I wear a jacket on the weekends voluntarily because I just think it looks really good.
Since this is the guy fashion thread: what's the opinion of tie clips?
If you need them to keep your tie from flying about on a windy day or in place because you have weird slouchy posture, then yes. Otherwise, they don't really serve a purpose.
I like them. It's about the only piece of jewelry an unmarried guy can get away with.
They're fine, within reason.
Cuff links and watches work, but that assumes you're willing to go with french cuffs and wear a watch.
Also, in case you haven't noticed, all the kids these days have shit sticking out of their heads, faces, and ears, so plenty of crazy jewelry options there.
I mean, you could also do the bracelets and gold chains thing if your chest is sufficiently hairy.
I always thought they were kind of silly looking, but I saw an awesome skull one on Amazon and it made me think. But, on further contemplation, I realized a tie clip would look REALLY stupid on somebody with boobs (e.g., me). I AM getting a skull tie, though. Maybe skull and crossbones...
Tie clips are fine. They became less common some time ago, but I think they are coming back again. It would have been fine to wear one even when they weren't as common.
Wearing a clip isn't going to make a big difference in perception for your intended use, though, I don't think. Ties on women are a pretty nonstandard choice, as is skull anything on anyone, and clearly we aren't talking business attire. If you're looking for the contrast between neckties and wearing lots of skulls, a tie clip will probably accentuate the contradiction, which you may want.
I'm a student. I can wear whatever. :)
You can wear whatever anyway outside of business needs. I'm just saying that worrying about whether tie clips are in or out seems pretty pointless given the nature of the inquiry.
Sorry to take so long with the reply - I hope you have found some good clothes, but in case you're still looking:
1) If you are going for general use, my recommendation is to go for some patterned blazers, in gray. Also, since this question will come up - a blazer is distinguished by it's metallic (usually golden) buttons and is generally made of wool. Not too fine, but not really rough either. Sport coats generally don't have the metallic buttons and can vary from linen, to cotton, to some really heavy tweed. I'll use the terms interchangably, but note that unless you are going for a very specific look, the gold buttons is probably not a good choice. I think that you can find alot of great examples here:
I read this site all the time. I also think they can target your price point so you can find many great (and timely - he follows sales religiously).
Try not to buy suit seperates and just wear the blazer unless it's cotton or linen or a tweed. I really think a light tweed fabric makes a great year round blazer.
2) The price is going to be an issue - even if you find something at that price, make sure you have enough to get it tailored if needed. But you can do it if you make sure you run with the sales. For instance, this blazer isn't a bad option if you are ok with just a summer coat:
normally, $108....BUT Gap is running 25% off. That makes it around 85 with tax, which is enough left over to either fix the sleeves, or bring in the waist. Hopefully you'll hit one of the measurements dead on and only need to fix the other.
H & M has alot of great summer styles right now for your price point:
The don't let me link directly, but the first 2 in the upper left hand corner look nice for summer. Branch out from there are your own risk - it looks better at the bottom to perhaps too trendy in the middle. H & M construction is sketchy - go try these in person and for sure worry about it being baggy.
3) You can get your measurements by going to your mom, taking her sewing tape measure and measuring the circumfurence of your chest directly under your arms. That number is your measurement. Then look in the mirror and eyeball the ratio of arm to torse. Long torso == L. Short Torso == S. The letter refers to the drop of the jacket. If you're not sure start with M and see how it looks. You should be able to curl your fingers comfortably under the hem without it crumpling. Less hem == shorter and trendier. Too much hem is ugly and noone likes that look. If your mom doesn't have that tape any seamstress at a laundromat can check you out. If you have the balls to fake having the money, you can also get a men's department store in a nice place to measure you. In the end it doesn't matter too much since you'll have to try everything on anyways - there is about a +/-2" variance, so you may think you're a 40 but in this jacket at this store it's loose, you gotta go to 38.
4) If you're light skinned stick with darker toned jackets. That doesn't mean all black and dark grey, but if it's too light you'll need to coordinate the rest of your clothes to compensate and that's just a hassle. Shaved head makes no difference.
5) Haha, not too loaded. Some people just like feeling that way. I don't. It's all good. You're not preppy.
6) Forget about this for now, it'll become and issue later.
OK, so some more questions, regarding button down shirts.
As mentioned, I am trying to stop dressing like I'm in my late teens/early twenties. That means more button-down shirts. I think I've got the idea behind what to buy (patterned, the solid ones seem more formal, but nothing too crazy pattern wise). I have two questions on how to wear them.
1) Tuck them in or not? "Be a Tucker, Morgan," exhorted Cpt. Awesome on Chuck during the first or second season. But I'm honestly not sure if this advice holds true. I'm wearing them with jeans, does tucking them in seem too formal?
2) How many buttons to leave open? Obviously the collar, but I see a lot of people on TV leaving the next button open as well. Complicating this dilemma for me is the fact that I've got a rather hairy chest (all that whisky I drank when I was younger) that leaving the second button open definitely shows off.
Tuck vs. no-tuck is more complicated than it would seem. If you're wearing jeans with no jacket, then untucked is fine, as long as they are not clearly designed to be tucked. In other words, if it's a dress shirt designed for suit and tie, it will likely be longer (so it stays tucked in better) and will have laundry tags and what not on the lower part. Don't wear that untucked.
But tucked vs. untucked also depends on whom you're hanging out with and the type of situation. It can step over the line of "casually disheveled" to "slob" pretty quickly.
Do not button the collar, the next one down is up to you. Consider an undershirt. Do not unbutton anything below that unless you're in the process of taking it off.
One of my ladyfriends insists that button-down shirts (especially tucked in) are a sign of gayness in guys under 40. She always ribs me for not dressing my age. It's awkward.
Separate names with a comma.