The 'Work' Wardrobe.
First of all... Good morning & hello!
My first post on the forums but I am a serial beans reader (great work by the way, one of my daily reads).
Come January I will be starting a new job (hurrah). My current job is office based but the company are very relaxed about the dress code; chino’s, t-shirts, sweaters are all fair game.
My new role is at a larger company who have a much stricter dress code and although I cannot be completely sure to what degree the dress code is adhered too from people I’ve spoken to shirts are a standard and suits are occasional.
I currently only own one suit and due to my size I find it hard to find something with a decent fit (even my current suit isn’t great). I’ve included a photo below (not included brown brogues). For reference I’m 6ft 4” and on the skinny side (find it hard to put weight on).
(Apologies for the massive picture).
I obviously own a number of shirts, I do try to steer clear of patterns and keep to single colours; predominantly white & blue.
What I need help with is doing to be building a wider variety of office wear that is both acceptable and fashionable.
I only own one pair of decent working shoes (brown brogues) but believe I’ll also need to pick up some black shoes for continuity of which I am thinking Chelsea boots? Adding flares including tie bars is something I’d be keen to do.
What works well for you?
I’d really appreciate some advice/idea’s on how to keep my office wear clean, comfortable but most importantly I’d like to keep it varied and fashionable.
Going from what you've said about a larger company with stricter rules, I'd follow these guidelines:
1. No boots! So that means the chelsea boots are out. You need two pairs of shoes as a bare minimum: one brown and one black, so you are half way there. Make sure the shoes are lace ups and keep them simple (nothing more fancy than a brogue, and no silly chunky soles)
2. No skinny ties (as they look silly in a work environment). Your tie knot looks dwarfed by the shirt collars. A narrow tie is fine (I tend to go for 6cm or so).
3. Buy three ties as a basic starting point: one navy, one red, one black. You'll get an amazing amount of variety with your with your base of blue/white from those.
4. Pocket squares will make you stand out from the crowd: buy white cotton for starters as you can wear them with literally any other items. Use a square fold for simplicity.
5. Own at least three suits (I'd go for one mid-grey, one navy and one black). Make sure they are wool. This is obviously the biggest decision and the most expensive. But a suit with natural fibres needs a day to rest after wearing it to let the fibres relax into shape. Brush it down with a good quality clothes brush after each wear and the morning you are going to wear it, take it into the bathroom while you shower so that the steam irons out any folds and creases from pervious wears.
6. Own belts that match your shoes. Buy them at the same time so you know they match.
7. Use a tailor. Spend less on the suits themselves and spend the difference on getting a tailor to make them fit perfectly. Trust me, because so few men have suits that fit well, it will make you look a million dollars by comparison.
8. Put it all together correctly. Pair the brown shoes/belt with the grey and navy suit and the black shoes with the black suit. NEVER wear black shoes with a navy suit or brown shoes with a black suit. NEVER wear the black tie with the navy suit or blue shirts or with the black suit (unless someone just died).
9. Accessorise: a couple of simple classic scarves, one good quality coat (if I could only have one it would be stone or navy trench), fitted leather gloves, a leather satchel or brief case, and a crook handled umbrella are all additions that will make you stand out from the average office dullard.
And most importantly.
10. Be confident.
Thanks! I'll let you know how I get on.
I'm not sure I'd go from chino's and t-shirts straight to 3 suits and a trip to the tailor myself, especially when you're not entirely sure what others wear. What industry is it? It sounds like a fairly regular office, shirts/ties most days and suits for meetings etc if i'm reading into it correctly.
A suit is obviously a good idea for when it's necessary, I'd go for a grey and add blue/black afterwards. Bear in mind it is winter and a jumper would be nice. I do like a blue gingham shirt, slim tie and blue merino v-neck jumper with grey trousers. I don't know what your budget's like but if you want odd sizes due to your height head to TK Maxx for some odd sized leftovers.
It's actually the Toy industry but you're right, from what I can tell it's shirts (occasional tie) every day and suits for meetings.
I'm not sure I have a budget but it's more about getting value for my money than splashing 100-200 on a shirt/jumper. Key, versatile pieces that can give me options in my work wear would be ideal, I'm definitely interested in purchasing a new suit but I think my need for shirts, tie's, shoes is more dire.
Thanks for the feedback.