Re: Ask The Mineshaft: Suitable Suitables Edition

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First, are you a lady or a real human being? Or do you want gender-free advice?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:47 AM
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Two words: pleated pants.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:50 AM
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I'd say the advice is roughly the same for both genders -- go find someone who's roughly your physical type and in roughly your job, and look at what they're wearing. If they look appropriately dressed, go buy the nearest thing you can find to what they have on.

For men, this is going to be simpler. For women, it'll probably take a couple of weeks of people-watching.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:51 AM
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Also, epaulets? If you've joined the Ruritarian Navy, they'll give you your own uniform.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:52 AM
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You can get nice women's dress shirts that are not blousy. Find a place that makes them in exactly your size and shape and buy a ton of them.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:53 AM
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I think we're talking to a boy. But even if so, there are still tailored, non-blousy, men's dress shirts out there. (I like non-iron shirts, whatever dsquared says about them. But I'm a slob who hates ironing, and I'm really cheap about getting things laundered.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:56 AM
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Women don't have to wear dress shirts to look snappy. I really love silk knits; they're like t-shirts, except very smooth and beautiful. You can find silk/wool blends that provide some warmth as well. My absolute favorite of these is by Tse; I picked it up at the Goodwill and couldn't believe my luck.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:57 AM
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Buying cheaper brands requires more of an "eye" for what fits well. If you've got no eye, it's probably safer to find expensive brands which are on sale.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:57 AM
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What men's dress shirts are blousy?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:58 AM
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If we're talking to a boy, then he should also look into fine wool sweaters. Everybody needs nice sweaters!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:59 AM
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Agreed. Sweaters, sweater-vests. I'm into it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:00 AM
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9: Lots of them. They size on neck and arm length, and that can be the same on a potbellied guy or a skinny, muscular guy. Skinny guy with lots of extra shirt fabric around his midsection is something I see all the time.

I'm not much on men's fashion, but I think the blousy dress-shirt as described above is at least sometimes an intentional look. If you're slim and you don't want it, you look for words like tailored or slim-fit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:01 AM
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For men, the Pirate look is all the rage. Go for giant drapy cuffs, and lots of tuxedo ruffles.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:02 AM
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7: True fact. My standard 'thing to wear under a jacket' is some kind of stretchy knit top: silk, cotton, or polyrazzmatazz.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:02 AM
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12: Yuck.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:04 AM
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I believe that the comfort vs. snappy distinction is overblown. True, your professional wardrobe is not going to be as comfortable as sweatpants, but if you have the money to buy middle-of-the-road new clothes, you're going to be able to get professional gear that will be at least as comfortable as jeans.

Are we talking about a job where corduroys, a nice sweater, a dress shirt, and a tie would be considered professional? That's what my honey wears to his various jobs, sometimes with a nice blazer; he looks marvelous, if I do say so myself.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:04 AM
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Blousiness of shirts depends on his build IME. If you're young or in reasonable physical condition, it turns out that most shirts are made assuming big bellies and small shoulders. Tall or long sizing helps.

Also most pants are inexplicably snug in the inseam.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:04 AM
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They size on neck and arm length

Yeah I have a thick neck and I usually have a problem with most dress shirts being cut way to generously around the midsection causing them to blouse out in the back. I am not even particularly slim or anything.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:05 AM
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re: 18

Ditto, and I'm fairly fat. Slim fit shirts tend to be too tight around the gut area [which is none too slim] but normal shirts are often balloon-like.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:07 AM
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Whenever I tuck my shirt in, which is every couple of months, I feel like it is blousing to unprecedented extremes, since it would be doing so less if it weren't tucked in.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:08 AM
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I'd figure this person does not need to wear actual suits or else he would know that one has to, like, go and buy suits at a suit store. Right?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:09 AM
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Do men need to shop around the various labels to avoid the blousiness, then? It might be worth dropping a fair amount of money, at least initially, to get a few really well-cut pieces.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:09 AM
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7: Tse is hardly Kmart, but it's a cheap enough store label for, say, those on grad student budgets to shop in find used from time to time.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:10 AM
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No, men don't know what the difference is between various labels. They are interchangeable as far as anyone can tell.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:10 AM
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I'd say the advice is roughly the same for both genders -- go find someone who's roughly your physical type and in roughly your job, and look at what they're wearingsteal their identity/wardrobe.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:13 AM
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I'd like to put in my usual plug for buying professional clothes on eBay. If there's a brand you've tried on recently so you know for sure what size fits you in that brand, searching for "[brand] [your size] NWT" is going to get you new clothes at often about 1/2 to 1/3 price. This is better for someone like me who doesn't really care what they're wearing, so long as it qualifies as roughly professional, but if you're willing to lurk until you see stuff you like, you can find all sorts of good stuff. I got my last three suits on eBay.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:13 AM
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I always covet what I see in the window at Pink, but I think that makes me an asshole.

Bought an incredible tie at Men's Wearhouse this weekend. They're having everything in a buy-one-get-one sale right now. Problem with MW is that they collect a lot of styles, many of them dumb, so you have to root through a lot of crap. Plus, they seem to sell only non-iron shirts right now, at least at the Atlantic Yards location. Those shirts are very unappealing to me. My tie, though, is to die for.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:13 AM
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Many men's dress shirts are now "slim cut," announced or otherwise. If you were to hang, say, a Paul Smith shirt in front of a standard issue Brooks Brothers shirt, regardless of neck or arm sizing, you're going to see an inch or more of that BB shirt peeking out on either side. The Banana Republic website, I think, sells both "traditional" and "slim" cut men's shirts.

I always recommend that men who live near NYC go dress shirt shopping at Century 21. You can get some really beautiful, really well-made shirts there for the price you'd pay for infinitely crappier shirts at someplace like Banana Republic.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:15 AM
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I have a MW suit. 11 years old, wore it maybe 5 times so far.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:15 AM
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Also most pants are inexplicably snug in the inseam.

Laydeez.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:16 AM
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My favorite shirt on my honey is a royal blue twill from, I think, Nina Ricci. God only knows how much it costs; it was a present from his mother who probably got it wholesale.

I think a certain amount of blousiness on a tucked-in shirt is inevitable. The totally smooth look you see in fashion photos and on women isn't a realist goal: the fashion photos involve pins and tape and photoshop and the women's clothes involve spandex and sometimes even those ghastly crotch-snaps. The way to avoid looking stupid with a tucked-in dress shirt is to wear something over it, like a nice sweater or a jacket.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:16 AM
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As a guy who feels the reader's pain, I'd say Thomas Pink is good, but expensive. I've been introduced to Charles Tyrwhitt by my roommate, and have liked what I've gotten there so far, and the prices seem more reasonable.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:16 AM
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I love clothes. I love Goodwill. I miss my clothes and maternity clothes are super dorky so I'm either in work clothes or men's v-necks with sweatpants on the weekends. My old clothes are like, "Hello? We miss you! Wear us!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:16 AM
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re: 24

This isn't true. But I am British, and therefore already quite a long way along the:

marlboro man jean-paul gautier

axis.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:17 AM
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Bugger. My cunning ASCII drawing of a double-arrowed line was removed.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:18 AM
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I've been introduced to Charles Tyrwhitt by my roommate

Ooh! I like!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:20 AM
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maternity clothes are super dorky

I've always wondered about this. Isn't pregnancy a great time to embrace caftans and saris and maxi dresses? If I were five months pregnant right now, I think I could find at least a weeks worth of clothes in my closet to wear immediately. I think.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:21 AM
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You must own a lot of caftans and saris and maxi dresses. Congratulations.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:21 AM
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37:If giant loose drapy things are something you'd tend to wear spontaneously, then you're in good shape for maternity clothes. If you want to wear a top and a pair of pants or a skirt, you end up looking dorktastic.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:23 AM
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Someone needs to goad that Phoebe person into participating in this thread, to liven things up. Emerson? Apo?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:23 AM
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Skinny guy with lots of extra shirt fabric around his midsection is something I see all the time.

Yeah. The non-custom fit Polo oxford-style shirts are the worst offenders here. Partly, I think that's supposed to be intended; partly, it's just cheaper to make them that way. Grr. I hate 'em.

what things are really necessary in a professional wardrobe.

This varies from profession to profession, too. Academic professional dress is a lot more casual than legal professional dress.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:24 AM
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re: 41

Yeah, but there are only really two or three options.

Formal: suit, shirt, tie
Semi-formal: some variation on slacks/khakis with blazer/sportscoat/shirt, with or without tie.
Casual: whatever.



Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:25 AM
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41.2: Yeah, that's the point of stalking someone who looks like you except appropriately dressed for your job -- even non-fashiony people can usually spot someone who's getting it right, and imitate them.

40: I felt bad about that. No one was being all that unfair, but the interaction seemed to get unnecessarily hostile.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:26 AM
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37: I love the way dresses look, but I don't actually like bare leg on bare leg. (I don't like mittens either, for the same reason.) So I don't actually own any comfy, shapeless dresses - mostly tight-waisted 50's dresses and things like that.

For my cotton and knit tops, I worry about stretching them out, and a lot of them aren't long enough.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:26 AM
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You must own a lot of caftans and saris and maxi dresses.

No, but I do have a djellabah and a long shapeless knit dress and a collection of schlumpy cardigans and a bunch of drawstring pants. I would love to own a caftan, and a muumuu.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:27 AM
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I think that a few anti-Semitic Francophobe comments might rouse her. Elaine in Seinfeld is of French Jewish descent, related to the Dreyfus of the Dreyfusards. We should start being mean to Elaine.

Not Elaine herself, who is from Long Island, but Ms. Louis-Dreyfus.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:27 AM
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No one was being all that unfair, but the interaction seemed to get unnecessarily hostile.

Come on. She makes a joke on her blog about how people would stop being so anti-Semitic if Jews tried to be a little less excellent--you know, get mediocre degrees, if any, and develop addictions to North Face and pot, like other minorities she would hate to have to name. (It was a "joke" I didn't get at first because that does describe a lot of working-class NYC Jews.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:29 AM
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46: Elaine herself was supposed to be from Maryland, I think. Or at least was said to have grown up an Oriole fan.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:30 AM
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I don't actually like bare leg on bare leg. (I don't like mittens either, for the same reason.)

Wait, what? You don't like the physical sensation of rubbing your bare legs together? If so, well, okay.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:30 AM
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You don't like the physical sensation of rubbing your bare legs together?

This is bad in the heat of the summer, but spring, winter and fall are not bad leg-rubbing-together times.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:32 AM
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I guess that wasn't her parents I remember, but George's. I'm not really a Seinfeld historian.

What were they thinking when they named a town "Babylon", BTW. Why not "Gomorrah", if you're going that way?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:33 AM
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You don't like the physical sensation of rubbing your bare legs together? If so, well, okay.

Yeah, pretty much. There's something faintly damp about it that bothers me, after awhile. I also change my socks a lot.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:33 AM
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Elaine herself was supposed to be from Maryland, I think. Or at least was said to have grown up an Oriole fan.

Towson.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:34 AM
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If the correspondent is male, go to Brooks Brothers when they have a sale, at least for the dress shirts. You can get them fitted if you're thin. And get the no-iron ones. It doesn't look at crisp as a professionally pressed shirt, but that only lasts for the first couple of hours after you put it on.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:34 AM
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Maternity bike shorts as underwear?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:34 AM
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This is bad in the heat of the summer, but spring, winter and fall are not bad leg-rubbing-together times.

Maybe it's not the sweat, then, because I also don't like it when my skin is plenty dry in the winter. Then it's too smooth. Or something.

Also I don't cuddle very well.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:34 AM
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Yeah, my New Jersey friend now in Israel was a major, Oregon-grade stoner ages 13-20. Whatever you say about Israel, they rehabbed the kid most excellently.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:34 AM
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Maternity bike shorts as underwear?

Right, when I'm going to wear a skirt or dress, I most prefer to wear tights or bike shorts underneath.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:37 AM
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Also I don't cuddle very well.

I DON'T EITHER! I am willing to cuddle until my partner goes to sleep, but I always wake up on the opposite side of the bed.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:37 AM
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54: I'm very fond of Brook Brothers' womens clothes, but I think that's an artifact of build. Any broadshouldered, big-ribcaged, thick-waisted (boy, this sounds unattractive, doesn't it) women out there should check them out for professional clothes -- they've always got some sheath dresses that fit my body type beautifully. And their pants work nicely too.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:37 AM
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Babylon, Long Island is the train stop I use to go to the beach! It always makes me happy to take the train to Babylon, and I always get that song "how many miles to Babylon? three score and ten" stuck in my head.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:37 AM
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Whatever you say about Israel, they rehabbed the kid most excellently.

Even Arafat had to admit this.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:39 AM
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develop addictions to North Face and pot

This is half the Gen-X Jews in Park Slope, isn't it? I suppose they have good degrees, though.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:41 AM
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Any broadshouldered, big-ribcaged, thick-waisted (boy, this sounds unattractive, doesn't it)

This has come up before, but we've totally got the same body, LB. And there's a Brooks Brothers outlet at the outlet mall right in town. I'll have to keep it in mind if I ever have to look professional.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:42 AM
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You can get custom-made dress shirts that won't be blousy, being, obviously, custom-made, and they aren't actually all that much more expensive than the more expensive end of non-custom dress shirts.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:43 AM
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I stand by my previous contribution regarding professional dress in the workplace.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:43 AM
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Come on. She makes a joke on her blog about how people would stop being so anti-Semitic if Jews tried to be a little less excellent--you know, get mediocre degrees, if any, and develop addictions to North Face and pot, like other minorities she would hate to have to name.

On the theme of anti-semitism due to Jewish superiority, I think she also had a post about how if Israel had just been as immoral as other nations in how it treated its "natives" (e.g. America and the Indians) then it would be in the clear internationally right now. Weirdly out of tune with reality.

You don't like the physical sensation of rubbing your bare legs together? If so, well, okay.

Yeah, pretty much. There's something faintly damp about it

women rubbing bare legs together=sexy. Also, damp. Yes, I know I'm getting creepy.

I am willing to cuddle until my partner goes to sleep, but I always wake up on the opposite side of the bed.

This shows perfectly fine cuddling skills. After you fall asleep all bets are off. Same reason you can't be prosecuted for stealing the covers.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:44 AM
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I bought an Oxford button-down at American Apparel the other day that fits my skinny frame pretty nicely. Express also has reasonably well-fitting dress shirts. A little lower on the scale, H&M shirts don't last terribly long but they're far from blousy.

OTOH, if you have any sort of budget at all, you're probably best off (as noted above) at Brooks Brothers, which sells a slimmer cut, or rooting around at Century 21 or Filene's Basement and getting deals on great shirts, taking care about brands and blousiness.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:45 AM
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Lizardbreath was right, I am a boy. It seems the office is right on the line where suits are fine and nice slacks plus coat and tie fine. Hence some of the confusion.

Size wise I'm right in what is claimed to be the middle. Well,was. Miraculously I now wear some items in small that used to be medium.


Posted by: Asker Of The Mineshaft | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:45 AM
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I bought an Oxford button-down at American Apparel the other day that fits my skinny frame pretty nicely.

Yes, but surely it's made out of t-shirt fabric?

PGD, you are always already creepy. Don't worry about it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:47 AM
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Hey Asker, do you think high-grade corduroy would work in your office? I really like corduroy.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:48 AM
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On the theme of anti-semitism due to Jewish superiority, I think she also had a post about how if Israel had just been as immoral as other nations in how it treated its "natives" (e.g. America and the Indians) then it would be in the clear internationally right now. Weirdly out of tune with reality.

But this is also the position of the economically sale Angry Bear blog.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:48 AM
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RE: cuddling

A couple I know talks about how much they love their king-size bed, which allows them to sleep without touching each other. Nothing inherently wrong with this, but they seemed a little too enthusiastic about it.

"You know, guys, if you weren't married, you'd never have to touch at all."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:49 AM
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re: 69

Well, if you already know where the line is at your office, what sort of information do you think Unfogged can provide?

[I'm not being sarcastic, I genuinely don't know what specific other information beyond 'nice slacks plus coat' is going to be helpful]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:49 AM
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but I think the blousy dress-shirt as described above is at least sometimes an intentional look.

If it is an intention, it's a terrible one.

I'm convinced the reason is that It's just cheaper to make them like this, and you don't have to carry so many variants.

So long as you are actually wearing a suit jacket, it's probably not noticeable. As soon as you take it off, though you're in trouble. I mean, you already look silly if you're wearing a tie and no jacket (assuming 2 piece here), but then you've also got this ridiculous looking sail effect on the back.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:49 AM
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68: Express also has cute boy-sweaters that actually fit. (Gap's men's sweaters are always rather oversized. I buy them if they're very on-sale.) If your workplace is casual enough for sweaters, it's a good place to go, and they've been having a ton of sales this winter.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:50 AM
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I like the recommendations to go to C21 even though it's not known that the asker is in New York.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:50 AM
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65 is exactly right, by the way.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:51 AM
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"economically sale"?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:51 AM
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Why is it that cuddling is always associated with sleeping? I am a cuddle enthusiast, but cuddling is for laying around and talking or internet-surfing. Not sleeping. Cuddle before sleep, then turn your backs to one other to sleep. Those people who sleep "in the crook" are crazy.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:53 AM
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I need to go to C21. Haven't been there in like two years.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:53 AM
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Lying around, monsieur!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:53 AM
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69: Then don't go too cheap on the shirt. For the suit or jacket, make sure it is wool and that it doesn't gap at the neck or shoulder. If you are young-looking and/or ambitious, go with suits most of the time. At BB, you'll be sure to get a well-fitted jacket and good advice, but it will be more expensive. You can buy cheaper suits as long as they are well-tailored. Ask around before you buy too many suits.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:54 AM
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80 is right.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:54 AM
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Those people who sleep "in the crook" are crazy. have chronic pins-and-needles.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:56 AM
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I don't know about the US, but here in Oxford, if you are cunning at 'sale' time, you can buy really nice jackets for well under 200 quid.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:56 AM
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80: I especially hate cuddling while doing other things. If I'm reading, I'm reading. If I'm sleeping, I'm sleeping. If I'm working, I'm working. If I'm having a conversation, I'm having a conversation. Cuddling gets in the way of all these things, or at least all these things make cuddling anxious and unpleasant.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:57 AM
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make sure it is wool

Oh yes. You don't want to be buying any polyesther or nylon at this point.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:58 AM
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Right--I know approximately the level of dress, but I do not know how to select actual adult clothing that will be flattering or even go with other items of clothing. Any strategy to share?

I have basically worn blue jeans and tshirts my entire life, so I am just clueless.


Posted by: Asker | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:59 AM
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I have a similar, but opposite problem. As budget allows and my new business gets off the ground (a new marketing agency), I need to find the right mix of professional and artsy cool for my to-come wardrobe. I've got the ratty jeans and sweatshirt thing down, but for client pitches and such, I'd like to be more professional but am no longer (hallelujah!) a suit. Suggestions from the commentariat?


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:59 AM
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I need to find the right mix of professional and artsy cool for my to-come wardrobe.

My thoughts:

If you are leaning `arsty', suggest interesting (but not loudly so) shoes.

Shirts with no tie benefit from a bit more texture/pattern, but you can overdo that too. You don't want to look like you're heading off clubbing after the meeting. Get a couple of blazers that are flexible but not too drab or neutral. This latter is somewhat climate dependent.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:04 AM
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Any strategy to share?

Like I said above, stalk people. I'm really serious: it's easier for a non-fashion person to spot someone who's well dressed in the right kind of way than it is to figure out what exactly they should buy to be well dressed.

In your case, if you're in an office where suits are appropriate, just go buy yourself a couple of nice suits and a bunch of shirts. The beautiful thing about a suit, if you don't like clothes, is that it matches already, so you don't need to think about it in the morning.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:05 AM
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I mean, you already look silly if you're wearing a tie and no jacket (assuming 2 piece here)

For the record, AB, who has a nice sense of style (she gets a lot of compliments from girlfriends), is an advocate for this look - a nice* dress shirt with a good tie. No jacket necessary.

* good material, nice pattern, what have you


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:05 AM
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Asker, I suggest that you start really basic. Get a very plain two-piece gray wool suit from somewhere that caters to younger men. Then get a dark gray sweater. Gray goes with everything. Then you can look into adding royal blues and camel browns. Those colors will go with your grays and your blacks, and also with your jeans for the more casual occasions. Don't buy any reds or purples or oranges until you feel more confident.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:06 AM
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If you are leaning `arsty'

Then shake your caboose on the dance floor.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:06 AM
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Whatever you do, don't get a jacket that's too small because the person you're shopping with thinks the one that's the right size is too big.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:06 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:06 AM
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Please go away again, tos.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:08 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:08 AM
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67 As I've been saying the body counts in Gaza have been 100 to 1 Palestinian. In the US the Sand Creek and Wounded Knee massacres were only 14 or so to 1. (Granted this is partly because drunk honkies were shooting one another).

Israelis vs. Palestinians is far too reminiscent of the Indian Wars here, or the Russian occupation of Central Asia (look up the "Circassian genocide").


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:10 AM
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94.--I meant to say, a nice cashmere v-neck sweater. I'm serious about the v-neck; it's much more versatile than the crew-neck. Cardigans are much more season-dependent; they're really hip for men right now, but they're being offered in a lot of cuts, some of which I reckon would be wrong for a lot of men or a lot of offices. I really like cowl-neck or half-zip cardigans on men, but I think you'd have to have some confidence that it didn't make you look like your grandad. Step three or four on your fashion progress, I'd say.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:10 AM
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89: For shirts, buy button down or regular collar oxford shirts in white and pale blue. For suits, start with charcoal gray and navy with pin stripes. These will all go together (except not a blue shirt with a charcoal suit). If you are worried about your ability to match stuff, buy ties that have simple stripes. I don't know much about ties as I my wife won't let me buy my own anymore.

Just go to a good men's store and tell them it is your first professional-type job and you need to start building a wardrobe. If they steer you toward something much different than what I've said, go to a different store or find a different clerk. The first suits should be the common ones so you don't need to worry about matching, etc.

As for flattering, that isn't the point of a suit. Unless you have gym-rat shoulders or a huge belly, the suit hides all.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:10 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:11 AM
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For the beginning shopper, I'd advocate buying a lot of pieces at the same store. Suits are easy because someone will help you choose everything. But trousers, sweaters, shirts, etc., you may have to match yourself, and doing it all within one smallish store's inventory should help you get things that go together. (For example, I don't recommend doing this at H&M because nothing there necessarily goes together. But J Crew, Express, Zara, Gap will offer more suggestions.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:11 AM
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re: 101

Yeah, cashmere or lambswool v-necks work well under jackets.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:12 AM
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is an advocate for this look - a nice* dress shirt with a good tie. No jacket necessary.

I think it is something that can work, but almost invariably does not. If you have the right build, an actual nice dress shirt that is tailored properly, and a nice tie well matched to it .... it's can work.

That cuts out almost everybody who ever does this look, as far as I can see.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:12 AM
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90: 91 is about right, but I'll serve as your internet model for LB's suggested stalking:

2 jackets, camelhair and linen, depending (obvs.) on the season.
nice, distinctive pants: multiple colors of linen for the summer, cords and woolens for the winter
shirts: avoid anything identifiably "office" - no blue oxford, no white pinstripes. If you're going to be wearing one of the jackets, the shirt can be a little more "out there" - I have a German shirt that is vertical stripes, maybe 1/2", in brown, beige, silver, and I think 1 more color/tone. On its own it's probably a bit much for Americans, but under a camelhair jacket it looks great.
sweaters: a handful of silk or cashmere sweaters, trim fit, non-bulky, for going under the jackets or working on their own.
shoes: John Fleuvog.

Find a color that works for you (mine is orange) and work it a bit - a sweater, a couple dress shirts, some socks. I have no idea how clients feel about it, but it makes me feel better when I'm in those go-to garments.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:13 AM
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As for flattering, that isn't the point of a suit. Unless you have gym-rat shoulders or a huge belly, the suit hides all.

I'd put this as saying that any reasonable suit is going to be flattering on most men -- it bulks up the skinny, and makes the fat look muscular rather than flabby.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:14 AM
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Camelhair? wtf? I don't even think I've ever SEEN someone wear one.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:14 AM
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That cuts out almost everybody who ever does this look, as far as I can see.

Soup is currently looking down the hall in his math department, of course. Pay no mind.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:14 AM
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I especially hate cuddling while doing other things. If I'm reading, I'm reading. If I'm sleeping, I'm sleeping. If I'm working, I'm working. If I'm having a conversation, I'm having a conversation. Cuddling gets in the way of all these things, or at least all these things make cuddling anxious and unpleasant.

Your linear scientific mind is repressing your cuddly White Bear nature.

Alternatively, bears are singleminded and don't cuddle while tearing into seals.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:14 AM
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but I think you'd have to have some confidence that it didn't make you look like your grandad

There is nothing wrong with looking like one's granddad!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:15 AM
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Not a good place for Israel-Palestine, I think. Carry on, fashionistas!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:16 AM
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Dress shirt and tie, no jacket, only looks good if you have the jacket draped over the back of your chair. If you're really not wearing a jacket at all that day, the tie makes you look like you work in the mailroom.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:17 AM
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Get a very plain two-piece gray wool suit from somewhere that caters to younger men.

That, and/or a blue blazer plus a couple of pairs of slacks and shirts, by the sounds of his workplace.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:17 AM
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I'd skip the sweaters at the start. First, it's just one more thing to worry about. Second, I can't see a sweater-vest without thinking of Michael J. Fox on Family Ties.

101 put it "they're really hip for men right now..." This is exactly what you want to avoid if you aren't comfortable in a suit.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:18 AM
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Here's a shirt in that lovely royal blue I was talking about. It goes with almost everything.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:19 AM
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Dress shirt and tie, no jacket, only looks good if you have the jacket draped over the back of your chair.

And often not then.

Wear a suit if you're going to actually wear a suit. If you're going to wear half a suit, do something else.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:19 AM
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Dress shirt and tie, no jacket, only looks good if you have the jacket draped over the back of your chair.

It can look ok if, instead of the jacket, you are wearing a sweater.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:19 AM
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Your linear scientific mind is repressing your cuddly White Bear nature.

Naw, this is the tragedy of our people. We inspire cuddling in others because we are soft and adorable, but it's all we can do during a cuddle not to KILL KILL KILL.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:21 AM
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117: holy shit $350 list price? You can get multiple custom-made shirts for that! What's more, I hate that fucking blue!

If you're going to wear half a suit, do something else.

A tie isn't half a suit.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:21 AM
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107: WTF?? Don't go trolling when a young man's future is at stake.

108: Point taken. Your take is the more accurate.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:21 AM
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120: I have that thought about snow leopards at the zoo all the time. "Ooo, its paws look so soft; and look at the fluffy belly. I bet I could scratch it under the chin for ten or fifteen seconds before it ate me."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:22 AM
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121.---I was not suggesting that he buy that shirt, just that I liked that blue. You hate it, and that is your right.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:22 AM
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re: 121

Indeed. IIRC, someone on here once recommended an off-the-peg sport coat that cost significantly more than it'd have cost you to go to Saville Row and get someone f'ing make you one, bespoke.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:23 AM
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Soup is currently looking down the hall in his math department, of course. Pay no mind.

Nobody has a tie on in my hall.

I'm really not talking about academic workplaces at all, more from my previous industry experience, and from current interactions.

About the latter, I'll just say that medical is at least as weird as academic, but differely.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:23 AM
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125: But clothing gets so discounted -- I usually assume that no one I'd know actually buys anything in that price range full price, you wait for it on sale. I have a cashmere sweater that at one point was listed for over a thousand dollars, but I paid less than a tenth of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:25 AM
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A tie isn't half a suit.

No or course not, but if you're wearing a suit sans jacket, it's half a suit.


125 is exactly right. Hell, you can get bespoke shirts for under $100.

French blue, otoh, is a pretty good place to start for most skin colors I suspect.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:26 AM
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There is nothing wrong with looking like one's granddad!

Dressing like one's granddad is probably okay, but whether looking like one's granddad is okay depends on what state of decay the body is in.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:26 AM
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If your skin is French blue, call the doctor immediately.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:27 AM
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re: 127

Yeah. I don't tend to anticipate that level of discount, though. I don't think I've ever bought any item of clothing that's been much less than 1/3 the original list price.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:28 AM
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If your skin is French blue, call the doctor immediately.

Unless you already know you've got argyria (sp?)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:29 AM
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Isn't seersucker coming back into style as officewear?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:30 AM
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Just make sure the tie goes with the shirt. Not hard, but obvious when wrong.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:30 AM
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So, Asker, are we helping?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:30 AM
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seersucker is pretty regional, I suspect.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:30 AM
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nattarGcM, why don't you just shop at Century 21 like everyone else?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:30 AM
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122: I believe he was more interested in answering Chopper's question than not, and while I'm personally very scared of linen it seems like a decent wardrobe for the slightly artsy look.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:32 AM
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re: 137

Probably the 3000 +miles of ocean.

Actually, I lie. I bought a black/charcoal cotton trench-coat from French Connection recently. At about 20% of original list price.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:32 AM
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133 should not be taken as a serious style suggestion. It's just Emerson's way of asking for a new thread.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:32 AM
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140: Except I do see it around here.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:33 AM
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Isn't seersucker coming back into style as officewear?

Sorta. I know a young male lawyer who wears a full seersucker suit in the summers in NYC, but he's got premature gray hair, an ironic attitude, and generally a charmingly louche air about him. Women can wear seersucker non-ironically, and it was huge a couple of summers ago and still is fairly fashionable I reckon. I'm not sure how advisable seersucker would be for a young man who doesn't feel confident in his clothing.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:33 AM
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107: I just looked and I that you are also in Pittsburgh. Seriously, who dresses like that for work in Pittsburgh? The editors of Whirl?


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:33 AM
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I'm not sure how advisable seersucker would be for a young man who doesn't feel confident in his clothing.

Yeah. I know a young(er) architect who wears it most of the time, most of the year (but we've got the weather for that). He's pretty confident about it though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:34 AM
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I've been circling cautiously around the idea of a real seersucker suit for the summers for a few years now. I'd need to buy spectator pumps, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:35 AM
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If I had my way, more men would wear the three-piece corduroy suit.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:35 AM
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Man, I want to work at Whirl. I bet the offices are filled with swirly things in candy colors and people sit around all day on inflated balls and listen to circus music.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:35 AM
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Probably the 3000 +miles of ocean.

You know, I had a feeling that joke would misfire.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:35 AM
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Camelhair? wtf? I don't even think I've ever SEEN someone wear one.

If you hire me to design something, I promise I'll wear mine to the meetings.

In addition to the blazer/jacket, I also have this coat.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:36 AM
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I'd need to buy spectator pumps, though.

Nah. I'd go with Italian sandals: leather, wide straps.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:36 AM
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There have been a couple of mentions of how affordable bespoke shirts are. Can anybody point to a place that does this for a reasonable price? I'm in Boston, but I'm interested to see if there's a vendor anywhere with a web presence, just to see what it looks like. I remember reading a magazine article a year or so ago where the range seemed to be maybe $150+/shirt, which doesn't quite fit my sense of "reasonable."


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:37 AM
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Whirl does not even come close to fulfilling my expectations.

Who the fuck names a "luxury lifestyle magazine" Whirl?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:37 AM
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Apparently I guessed right about the seersucker.

I've heard that felt trousers are the latest thing in the cutting-edge fashion world.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:38 AM
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107: WTF?? Don't go trolling when a young man's future is at stake.

That's not trolling - it's to Chopper, not Asker. I'm very close to where he is, as described in 90.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:39 AM
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152: Many people feel the same way. I almost got my picture in it. Adorable toddler wasn't cooperating.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:39 AM
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re: 149

Hah. That's a nice coat, but in the UK camelhair carries distinct associations.

They make me immediately think of Arthur Daley, Boycie [both sitcom characters] and Ron Atkinson [a football manager]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:39 AM
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Actually, I would totally love felt trousers. Except--wouldn't the knees get all baggy?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:40 AM
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A camelhair coat isn't that out of the ordinary, fearsome though those lapels be.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:41 AM
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151: Until some time last year, there was a place in [fancy mall] here that would do them for $75 or $80 a piece if you bought at least 3 (or maybe 2, I forget). As I have no need for such at the moment, I haven't kept track of them, but such places do exist.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:41 AM
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Actually, I would totally love felt trousers

That's easy enough to accomplish.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:42 AM
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re: 158

Yeah, I was thinking that I've never seen anyone wear a camelhair jacket.

Coats, yes. But I associate them with a middle-aged second-hand car salesman with a line in poorly concealed racism.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:42 AM
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I just looked and I that you are also in Pittsburgh. Seriously, who dresses like that for work in Pittsburgh? The editors of Whirl?

I'm an architect.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:42 AM
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Jackmormon, yes, the suggestions are helping. And I had a pair of cords when I was in HS: softer than any fleece I ever felt.


Posted by: Asker | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:43 AM
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'Nuff said.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:43 AM
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But I associate them with a middle-aged second-hand car salesman with a line in poorly concealed racism.

Yet another thing that doesn't really translate across the pond, I think. They aren't common here, but don't have the same associations at all.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:43 AM
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Adorable, but shouldn't she have a spear or something?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:44 AM
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166: And a horsehair crest for the helmet.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:46 AM
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163: Asker, I think cords (even very nice cords) are too casual for many offices.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:48 AM
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168 was me.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:49 AM
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Yeah? That sucks. Oh, well. I could still get some to break up the monotony of blue jeans.


Posted by: Asker | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:49 AM
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168 is probably right. Still, I like cords (especially nice thick ones) better than khakis for casual pants.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:50 AM
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While MC is right, if you're a very snappy and confident dresser, you could probably pull off a sport-coat and cords look occasionally. But given the question, I wouldn't try it unless you're really sure you're going to look great.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:51 AM
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1: pleated pants, Apostropher? Do you use the folds to store your bacon?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:53 AM
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Does Asker have the patience to take a fashionable friend shopping with him? Sometimes the problem isn't the knowledge, but the skill in actually browsing, choosing what to try on, and subsequently choosing what to purchase, which can be stressful with a salesperson breathing down your neck.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:54 AM
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174: And probably best with a fashionable man, rather than a woman. While most women are going to know more about clothes than most men, a lot of it doesn't translate well. I've got strong opinions about what looks good on men, but I get all confused trying to help them shop. (If you've got a real expert/hobbyist, gender doesn't matter.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:56 AM
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I don't think I have any fashionable friends. The most professional one has a terrible fascination with plaid.


Posted by: Asker | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:58 AM
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I say that only because he isn't a lumberjack.


Posted by: Asker | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:59 AM
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If I ever learn to play an instrument, my band will be called "terrible fascination with plaid".


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:59 AM
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You can do a lot of good stuff with plaid. I myself am wearing plaid pants right now! (Grey, with a white line, and two black lines on either side of a red line, making two and a half inch squares.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:02 AM
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yeah, but can you do terribly fascinating things with it, LB?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:03 AM
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"Oh, yes those trousers are very nice, I'm sure. But these trousers are made of Kyrgyz fat-tail sheep felt."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:03 AM
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180: Depends on whether the audience is predisposed to be fascinated with my pants. In the absence of such a predisposition, probably not.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:04 AM
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Can I also recommend buying a fucking nice pair of shoes? You can get away with some pretty casual menswear if you've got on a serious pair of shoes. Doesn't have to be something flashy, just nice and not scuffy.

IME, men can tend to be fashion-intransigent about two things that can really bring down an otherwise-great outfit:
1) Wearing clothes that are way too large for them
2) Wearing crappy old comfy loafers or hiking shoes instead of honest-to-god dress shoes

If you're wearing your own size and nice shoes, you're already on top of the game.

(I'm thinking about this shoe thing because I was at Men's Wearhouse helping my best friend's husband choose a suit. He was about to drop $500 on a discounted designer suit, and knew it looked good, but cried poor when it came to buying shoes to go with it. "We can barely make our rent! I'm not fucking buying new shoes! I'm wearing my Merrells!" We ended up talking him out of wearing a suit at all rather than see him pair a suit with hiking loafers.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:06 AM
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Hiking ... loafers?

There really are more things on heaven and earth.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:08 AM
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I'm very ashamed. But it's icy today!, particularly in the park with all the stone steps I have to walk through to get to the subway, and the office is pretty casual, and the lace-up shoes with hiking-boot soles are really comfortable, and not ugly at all if no one looks at them.

I really am ashamed of myself. I hate shoes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:13 AM
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I know no one knew I was wearing what are the next thing to hiking loafers. But I am, and I hate myself for it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:13 AM
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I wear Merrells with dress pants when it's icy too! You don't have to hate yourself! But if it is a general rule, even when not icy, I think it would be a problem. (The above suit was for a job interview. Wear dress shoes for a job interview!)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:15 AM
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I wear hiking boot soles all winter. The salt will just ruin nice shoes anyway. Also, as Morgan Freeman's characters says in Shawshank "Have you ever really look at another man's shoes." I can answer this 'no.'


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:16 AM
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The classy mall shop I was familiar with that did custom-fitted shirts was The Custom Shop, but I believe they ended all mall presence a few years ago. The two shirts they made for me back when I was 16-17 are still probably my favorites. The only competition is a really nice striped shirt I picked up from a fancy-pants shop in Singapore where they did free alterations and took almost an inch off the waist on both sides of a fairly fitted shirt.

Two things that I'd add to the above:
1) Fitted shirts, as understood by most labels, is still a very rectangular cut. It's just a narrower rectangle. If you want to get something that cuts in toward the waist, you'll likely need to get the shirt darted (avoid this with striped shirts) or taken in at the sides of the waist (fine with pretty much everything). The pricier dress shops should include this basic tailoring in the cost of the shirt, or throw it in for minimal extra cost ($5-10, tops).

2) I've found undershirts super-helpful for keeping that $150 dress shirt pristine for a lot longer. I particularly like these shirts in the "natural" because it matches my skin-tone well enough to not be noticeable except under the most transparent of shirts, it fits very closely so it doesn't bunch under even the snuggest of dress shirts, and the deep v-neck means I can also wear it as an undershirt if I'm wearing my dress shirts open with no tie.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:16 AM
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addendum to 188.

When I wear a suit, I do wear real dress shoes. I just don't have to wear a suit much anymore.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:17 AM
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"Oh, yes those trousers are very nice, I'm sure. But these trousers are made of Kyrgyz fat-tail sheep felt."

If they made felt trousers, AB would totally get them for me.

In the meantime, felt really is terribly versatile.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:17 AM
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"natural" isn't one of the colors.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:18 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:18 AM
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& if you opt to "view a woman in this unisex style", you will see that about half the colors are modeled by a woman wearing the shirt and nothing else. Surprisingly, there seem to be no instances of men wearing the shirt and nothing else.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:20 AM
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I agree with MH. It's really hard to imagine (realize?) that people would (will?) actually notice what shoes I'm wearing.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:21 AM
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I wear shoes until I step in a shallow puddle and my sock gets wet.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:23 AM
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If Kyrgyz fat-tail-sheep felt trousers ever become the latest thing, everyone remember that it was my idea.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:24 AM
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I knew these bastards would bring back Hypercolor.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:24 AM
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I agree with MH. It's really hard to imagine (realize?) that people would (will?) actually notice what shoes I'm wearing.

I will spare others the trouble of nothing that both Ned and MH are in Pittsburgh - not only is the housing cheap, but you can also wear whatever you want on your feet!

Actually, as I know I've said here before, we got our reviewing gig through AB's out-of-character decision to tell a stranger on the bus that his shoes (Fleuvogs) were nice; guy turned out to be the editor of the alt-weekly, and the rest is history.

Take note, Ned and MH!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:25 AM
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194: In fairness to AA, it appears that all of the offending pics feature a single woman, who must have simply forgotten to wear anything to the shoot. Hardly the company's fault.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:27 AM
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195: They will and do. Just because you don't notice shoes doesn't mean other people don't. Also, a nice dress shoe changes your stride quite a bit, so even if they're not looking at the shoes themselves, they will see how you walk. I know this is something men don't always think about consciously, but I know as a woman that I am treated very differently, even by men, if I'm wearing hiking shoes or dress shoes, no matter what the rest of the outfit is. It's not like they say, "Hey, nice shoes!" But it changes my posture and stride in certain ways that make me look more or less dignified. (Often, I choose the hiking shoes on purpose to avoid being treated a certain way.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:28 AM
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My wife was told by her supervisor back 40 years ago that you could tell a classy guy by his shoes. The lesson is that to preclude costly relationships, you should wear sneakers at all times.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:29 AM
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There was a period in my life, about a few days' extent, in which I wanted these—I think.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:31 AM
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203: To protect you from Satan?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:32 AM
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I had a pair of dress shoes once that made my feet bleed. I hate walking in dress shoes even if my feet don't hurt. It's like liberal, watered-down footbinding.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:33 AM
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These are insane in a way that I need to prevent myself from finding appealing.

Not that I could ever wear them, anyway.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:34 AM
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It must have been a different pair.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:35 AM
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199: Unless you want to get in Whirl. Then you have to dress fashion forward.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:35 AM
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I agree with MH. It's really hard to imagine (realize?) that people would (will?) actually notice what shoes I'm wearing.

Try wearing a pair of white running shoes with a suit and report back.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:38 AM
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206: Those are cute when not attached to a person, but I think they would look totally douchey on a human.

And 202 is silly. I am a self-righteously cheap date, but it doesn't mean I don't get off on seeing an $800 pair of men's shoes on my floor.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:38 AM
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"natural" isn't one of the colors.

Huh, true. That's a pain. It looks like they discontinued the shirts I actually got from the store, which were part of their "The Summer Shirt" line that only seems to include crew necks these days. Shame, that. I prefer the better color match of the natural shirts, and the moral-consumption-bandaid thought that at least my extraneous layers of clothing didn't require bleaching/dyes in the manufacture.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:39 AM
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You know, I find Fluevogs really, really overpriced for the quality. Sure, they're cute--but for over $300? Why not kick down another $40 or so and get a pair of Fiorentini & Bakers, which are really nice? A good leather lining, durable stitching, beautiful smooth exterior, high-quality fittings--make the Fluevogs look like silly-colored plasticky junk, which wouldn't bother me at a lower price-point. (Although I admit that my Fiorentini/Bakers come from Ebay gently used, or in one instance from an online shop clearance.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:39 AM
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Of course, I could also try closing my tags.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:39 AM
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You could just spend the $800 yourself and avoid the mess and wear and tear. Women shouldn't depend on men to satisfy their needs.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:40 AM
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The overwhelming majority of mens dress shoes look horrible to me. There's something about the overall lines, especially in the toe area that look just aggressively meh. I realize I'm in a tiny minority here, since if even a modest percentage of men felt this way there would be a much wider selection. I think that the thing I can't put my finger on that I dislike about them is actually the very thing that a designer has in mind as the irreducible essence of "men's dress shoe."


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:41 AM
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How can you tell they're good by looking at them? I thought "quality" was determined by durability.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:42 AM
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214: I don't have $800, John.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:42 AM
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215: If you look a bit harder, there are a ton of variations out there. Of course, you can't wear them without it saying "I don't like regular shoes" or whatever, but that's ok.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:43 AM
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I thought "quality" was determined by durability.

This is sort of adorable, Ned.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:44 AM
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I think I must be used to primarily looking at expensive heels, but one thing I'm struck by over and over when looking at the shoes linked here (for men and women) is how aggressively upturned the toe is. Is that normal? Is that even desirable? I thought I loved expensive shoes but I'm not finding my pulse racing at the sight of them, since it brings to mind elf clothing.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:45 AM
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215: It's the pointy/flimsy thing I don't like...I understand the allure of the hiking-ish shoe, simply because it looks solid...of course, most of those also look plasticky and designed for sport, and I can't be having with that.

A really frivolous men's shoe is all right (and in that sense I like the Fluevogs) as are certain of the more enthusiastic Italian designs one sees about. But a serious men's dress shoe? Fragile without beauty, thin-soled without grace. A waste of dead cow.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:46 AM
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"She just loved me for my shoes. My heart is broken."

Maybe you could get a shoe loan.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:46 AM
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214: I don't have $800, John.

You would if you hocked his shoes before he woke up.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:46 AM
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People who wear epaulettes (and hats with symbols of birds) often do care that shoes be dressy and shiny.

I work in this type of office and the uniform of the day for civilian men is usually a suit and tie with dress shoes. Looking around, most of the suits are gray or navy.

Get shirts that fit properly in the neck and you are less likely to hate wearing ties. My solution for the blousy shirts (I hate them) is to fold two darts in the back when I put them on. Makes them look better in front, that's for sure.

Like most folks have said, get the basics and go from there.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:48 AM
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Probably you'd need to hock three pairs of shoes to buy one.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:48 AM
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219: what, then, is the mark of quality?

It used to be said about, after all, that the mark of really good shoes, you know, handmade by an old Englishman, is that they last (modulo soles) decades and decades. Maybe you mean "quality" in terms of fashionability or something, but that's arguably a different, completely independent dimension: lots of fashionable, attractive stuff is crap from a craftsmanship standpoint.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:50 AM
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What I mean is that high-quality shoes are not the same thing as formal shoes. Formal shoes means non-casual shoes. I could spend $40 and get something suitable for all job interviews, which look superficially the same as these high-quality shoes but are not durable and will quickly start looking bad.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:50 AM
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216, in case 216 was about my comment: well, quality is also about foot-feel, and a really good lining is essential. But actually, I've owned Fluevogs before, and even now every once in a while I look longingly at a cute pair in a store somewhere and then realize that they are not leather-lined all through (the toe is the give-away) and that the lining is kind of dry and thin leather anyway, and put them back on the shelf. Yes, I am appallingly fussy about shoes.

Virtually all my other clothes come from the thrift store, though.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:50 AM
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But a serious men's dress shoe? Fragile without beauty, thin-soled without grace. A waste of dead cow.

Really? I love them. I went through a long period with ties where I confused my love of beautiful ties for love of the men who wore them, so I eventually started collecting my own ties. I could stand to start collecting men's dress shoes, if I could find them in my size.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:51 AM
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Some store round about here carries a line of extremely eccentric men's shoes that, again, I covet though I could never wear them. I can't remember the name, though. Lots of asymmetry and shit.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:52 AM
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On the not-to-do-with-shoes tip, the quince&vanilla jelly I made in october turns out to be really good.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:53 AM
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Do you wear the beautiful ties, AWB?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:53 AM
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232: Yes, I do. I'm very excited about the new one I just bought because it will go with a lot more of my outfits than my other nice tie.

Currently, I only own two beautiful ties and a handful of crappy thrift-store ones. I borrowed a great one from Bave for our band's first public gig and reluctantly eventually gave it back.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:55 AM
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Dress shoes.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:56 AM
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Do you wear the beautiful ties, AWB?

She uses them to strangle her lovers, so that no other may enjoy their touch.

Sort of gruesomely romantic, our AWB.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:56 AM
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Too bad about the colors in those Fluevogs in 206. Those shoes in a beat-up brown leather would be devastating on the right guy.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:56 AM
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I'm a men's seven, which is usually the smallest conventionally available men's shoe, and I've occasionally bought men's dress shoes to wear with dress pants. I'm conflicted about it, though -- my goal is to get more comfortable shoes without being conspicuous, and I'm not sure how conspicuous I'm being.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:57 AM
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229: I dunno. I can't really love a shoe unless it will stand up to a lot of walking and biking and also be beautiful, smooth and interesting-looking. Also, it must look better as it ages. Shiny shoes (and so many men's dress shoes are shiny) just don't. Leather that creases easily, leather that cracks, leather that smudges....thin soles that wear through quickly...I once had what had been a very expensive pair of men's dress shoes, and after just a few walks to work and a couple of bike rides they were completely trashed. (And I'm not some kind of mountain bicyclist; it was just a little genteel peddling around town.

The productive tension with all of my possession-selection is the desire for things that are beautiful and not sporty that will none the less stand up to a life of what is essentially sport, although sport conducted slowly. Hence, clothing-wise, a lot of corduroy.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:58 AM
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I just noticed that the shoes I'm currently wearing are falling apart! The toe is coming loose from the sole, and after only a year and a half in my ownership! This is intolerable!

This is the second pair of shoes I own to be falling apart! I knew I should have got others when there was a sale on!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:00 PM
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beautiful and not sporty that will none the less stand up to a life of what is essentially sport, although sport conducted slowly. Hence, clothing-wise, a lot of corduroy.

I have no idea how to carry this off without looking demented, but this description sounds like heavy tweeds to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:01 PM
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Or, you know, sport coats.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:02 PM
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Having bitched about men's dress shoes I now see that these are actually quite nice. Been a while since I looked at dress shoes.

Ties are a conundrum for me - I love being able to tie all the complicated fancy knots and the like, but having a dangly thing in front of me gets annoying after a while.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:02 PM
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234: dress shoes


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:03 PM
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having a dangly thing in front of me gets annoying after a while

Poor togolosh.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:04 PM
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Somewhere on the Internet an Air Force officer once explained how to tuck in a men's dress shirt so that it looked tidy from any side. I'm trying to remember... smooth out from the ventral line with both hands, and make deep pleats facing backwards just behind the midline?

The Fluevogs linked are "from the banking era". The one that ended 18 months ago??


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:07 PM
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The thing is, whatever I wear has to be comfortable with a little bicycling. A full knee-length skirt (which could I suppose be tweed) would work. A men's sport coat would indeed look demented--I'm built just so that men's clothes neither fit nor look adorably oversized. Today it's just a corduroy skirt, a grey men's style cardigan, a tee shirt, leggings, woolly socks and fabulous german boots. More formal than the clothes worn by the lab staff (yes, it's true!) but completely suitable for five miles in the cold.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:07 PM
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236: I think 230 is referring to those shoes you knew the name of. With the asymmetry, and shit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:08 PM
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It used to be said about, after all, that the mark of really good shoes, you know, handmade by an old Englishman, is that they last (modulo soles) decades and decades.

This is one of the things that still has me a little torn over the direction that Ecco has gone with their shoes. Their polyurethane outsoles are incredibly comfortable, but virtually impossible to replace while maintaining the look and quality of the shoe. So while their uppers remain as durable and lovely as ever, you're pretty SOL when then sole wears through after a few years of steady abuse. Overall, I'd still say the trade-off in product lifetime for comfort and grip is worthwhile.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:08 PM
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If you're in the middle size-wise, you have it pretty easy.

If your shirts are too blousy, the tailoring to remove all that extra fabric was something like $6/shirt the last time I had it done. Also, if you have Nordstrom where you live they do custom shirts for the same price as their off-the-shelf shirts with a minimum order of three. I wear a 17/37 dress shirt (when I can actually find them, anyway) and I invariably have to have them taken in. Gap has a line of "fitted" dress shirts in relatively standard sizes, and Banana Republic also sells dress shirts that are much less blousy than average for their neck size. Also, you can do far worse than just to order your dress shirts from Lands End.

If you want to appear stylish, remember that button-down collars are only to be worn when you're not wearing a tie. Whether you want a spread or point collar depends on your taste in jackets (I wear mostly Italian suits and I find the point collar to be the best on me with them). Also, a tie with no jacket makes you look like a waiter or the IT contractor; if you must omit a piece, wear a jacket and skip the tie.

For suits and separates you could do far worse than Brooks Brothers, although by nature of my size I've never been able to shop there. Brooks has the advantage of selling their suit pieces as separates, so you can get the jacket and trousers that both fit you with minimal alterations. Otherwise you're into the land of "athletic build" suits and trying to learn what brands have what drop (the difference between jacket size and waist - six-inch-drop [say, 40-inch coat, 34-inch waist] used to be the norm but now you find eight-inch-drop suits in many stores [40/32]).

To determine if a jacket fits you, look at:

1. The shoulders. If your arms protrude visibly from under the pads, it's too small; if there's obvious looseness in the fabric under the pads it's too large.
2. The neck. It should sit smoothly all the way around.
3. The lapel. It should sit flat when the jacket is buttoned. If it sticks out from your chest the jacket doesn't fit.
4. The chest under your armpits. With the jacket buttoned, this area should be smooth. Most jackets now are cut for athletic builds and barrel chests, so there will be a lot of extra fabric under the arms. If there's too much fabric here you'll get a vertical wrinkle from about the bottom of the arm hole all the way down to your natural waist.

The last two items can be fixed with some very expensive tailoring if you absolutely must have the jacket (like my current tuxedo, since tuxedo offerings are somewhat limited) but you're better off trying to find a brand that fits you.

For suits and separates, wool or wool-and-silk will give you the most mileage. There are very fine weaves (Super 80s, Super 100s) that are very hard to wrinkle, but you have to be careful you don't shine them if you have to take an iron to them. Figure out if you like jackets with no vent, a single vent on the center seam in back, or double vents; avoid double-breasted suits and jackets because the rules about who can wear them and when are too complicated for mere mortals. Pleated trousers are usually a no-no, but they usually hang better on me than flat-fronts do, so remember that most rules can be safely broken if everything else is right.

Department stores everywhere have sales a couple times a year where suits go for about 40% off, so you can build your professional wardrobe a suit or two a time at the sale price once you figure out what works for you. Also you can try specialty men's stores (DC has several Jos. A. Bank locations, for instance, and once you get on their mailing list you'll never be without a discount offer; I've bought a number of Italian suits at the place my mom buys suits for my dad in Tulsa), and learn the art of haggling - independent specialty stores will often make deals if you're buying more than one thing at once.

Shoes: buy two pair of good, black dress shoes, and never wear the same pair two days in a row. You can buy one set of cedar shoe trees (I like the ones at Nordstrom) and at the end of the day switch them into whatever pair you just removed. Since you don't really have a personal style yet you might buy one pair with a square toe and another with a pointier toe and figure out what you like better (I'm a square toe guy myself). You can also identify if certain brands are more likely to fit you, but don't take that as gospel: I have a couple pair of Kenneth Coles made in Italy that fit me perfectly, and another pair (from a different source, I guess) that pinches my toes.

Also: don't spend too much money trying to get started, because your taste will probably change as you get used to wearing the clothes. Once you've identified what really works for you, you can be pretty ruthless with getting rid of old clothes. You'll figure out quickly that you're not actually wearing them, so they might as well get out of your closet.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:08 PM
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You'll figure out quickly that you're not actually wearing them, so they might as well get out of your closet.

This is really, really good advice that I have a hard time with. You shouldn't own anything that doesn't look good on you (with an allowance for beloved old stuff); if that means donating 90% of what's in your drawers to Goodwill, go for it. I'm being vehement about this because I have trouble with it -- my closets are always clogged up with unwearable clothes. Every couple of years I psyche myself up to purge them, and then I'm happy until the sedimentary process begins again.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:14 PM
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Cydwoq!

I mean, peep this shit.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:17 PM
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Those are a little much even for me. More.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:19 PM
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Back in 175 (while I was writing 249, oi), LB said:

While most women are going to know more about clothes than most men, a lot of it doesn't translate well. I've got strong opinions about what looks good on men, but I get all confused trying to help them shop. (If you've got a real expert/hobbyist, gender doesn't matter.)

My girlfriend now makes me come shopping with her, because I have a better eye for what fits her than she does. Neither of us knows how this happened.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:19 PM
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Cydwoqs are really nice. I have trouble with them because the soles are slippery and they have a steel shank in them (useful for prison breaks, though) but they're just about the prettiest thing going and very well made.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:20 PM
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my closets are always clogged up with unwearable clothes

Nothing quite sets my teeth on edge as seeing my beloved wife staring at her closet, full to bulging, which bewailing the fact that she has "nothing to wear". Intellectually I know this to be true, as many items are seasonal, or n more casual or formal than what she needs at the moment, but still.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:20 PM
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While bewailing, not which


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:21 PM
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They are never on sale, though.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:21 PM
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Here's a shirt in that lovely royal blue I was talking about. It goes with almost everything.

Oh god. French blue is the default shirt color for male middle managers in the tech industry (at least here in the Bay Area). In isolation, you're right, it's a lovely color, but the cultural associations are horrible to me.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:22 PM
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They are never on sale, though.

SET UP A SEARCH AT EBAY. I get a little email every time someone puts a pair of Chie Miharas or Cydwoqs in a 37.5 up for sale.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:24 PM
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257: One can sometimes find them on Ebay, actually. They run just a teensy bit small, probably because they also stretch a teensy bit.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:24 PM
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255: Yeah, she needs to purge. My problem is a combination of presents and hand-me-downs that don't suit me, and clothes that don't fit properly or are slightly too beat up to wear to work (it seems ridiculous to throw a perfectly good pair of pants out because of a couple of snags in the fabric, or something of that sort, but I'm not going to wear them to court like that, which means I'm never going to wear them.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:24 PM
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I'm not sure I'm ready to admit to myself that I might want to put up a search on ebay for shoes.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:25 PM
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I find Cydwoqs to be terribly uncomfortable. Something about the curvature of the shoe, plus the rigidity of the sole. I have a pair which are not quite these, but somewhat like, and after an hour or so my feet go completely numb. They're pretty, but I can only wear them if I won't have to stand for very long.

It's a shame, because the shoes look like they're human-foot-shaped. But actually they are stylized-robot-foot-shaped.

It's also a shame because, uh, they were expensive.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:25 PM
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Josh, french blue is not royal blue. There was a link somewhere. French blue is the default (and has been for yonks) besides white well beyond tech or the bay, but that's because it works with a lot of (skin) colors, etc.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:25 PM
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Also, I'm a little surprised no one has mentioned this yet, but Asker could do a whole lot worse than just going to Nordstrom and putting himself in the hands of one of the salespeople. It is, after all, what they do for a living. (And IME they're sensitive to price concerns, so it's not like they're going to load you up with $800 dress shirts if that's not what you want.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:25 PM
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Trust a salesperson? I thought by definition that was never, ever to be done in any situation.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:26 PM
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french blue is not royal blue

Ah, so it's not. Okay, so amend 258 accordingly.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:28 PM
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265: well 102 did anyway, if not earlier.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:28 PM
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Trust a salesperson?

Depends where you go. Nordstrom has famously good service.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:28 PM
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it seems ridiculous to throw a perfectly good pair of pants out because of a couple of snags in the fabric, or something of that sort

When my dress shirts are no longer serviceable for work they become the property of my teenager daughter. I remember wearing my dad's old shirts as a smock at school, but I guess they don't do that anymore.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:29 PM
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265 - I've had salesmen try to sell me jackets far from my own size. If I hadn't known better, I'd have a lot of ill-fitting clothes that no tailor could fix.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:30 PM
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I'm not sure I'm ready to admit to myself that I might want to put up a search on ebay for shoes.

Well, you 1) need shoes periodically, and 2) seem to like shoes out of your price range. I think that ebay function is made for you!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:30 PM
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268: Correcting me two comments in a row? Are you trying to make me cry or something?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:30 PM
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My sister and I used to do the same thing with our father's clothes (including swiping the occasionally sweater that was still in current use.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:30 PM
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273: Damn. Sorry 'bout that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:32 PM
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I remember wearing my dad's old shirts as a smock at school, but I guess they don't do that anymore.

Don't knock my smock or I'll clean your clock. Tee hee hee.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:32 PM
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271: Salesmen in general, or at Nordstrom? I wouldn't trust a salesperson at most other stores, but I've never had one at Nordstrom steer me wrong.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:32 PM
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It was a salesman at Nordstrom that suggested to Josh his much-beloved exercising rhino shirt.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:33 PM
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And let me say that the Brooks Brothers no iron shirts do not hold up as well as their traditional Oxford cloth shirts. Probably something in the process.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:34 PM
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LETS HEAR IT: LOAFERS OR NO LOAFERS?


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:34 PM
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278: For a minute there I thought you were suggesting I wore Marc Ecko to the gym.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:37 PM
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Depends on the loafers- re 249.9 I alternate between wing tips and the eponymous tassles. But then again I am suit and tie every day, so YMMV.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:38 PM
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I've never had one at Nordstrom steer me wrong

I have, on the first suit I ever bought. A good salesperson can be trusted to a degree, but you have to be able to evaluate the advice they're giving to figure out whether they're good.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:40 PM
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These will all go together (except not a blue shirt with a charcoal suit).

Is this a proper rule? It's pretty much the staple of my formal wardrobe. Have people been laughing at me behind my back all this time?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:40 PM
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277: Other stores. I accumulated much of my knowledge of how to buy and wear suits before I had access to Nordstrom. The guys at Foley's were the worst but they weren't alone.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:41 PM
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Wow, I could talk myself into some of those Cydwoqs, but not at those prices. Oh well.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:41 PM
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When my dress shirts are no longer serviceable for work they become the property of my teenager daughter.

Sons can also take over this duty. Extensively pre-worn shirts are especially comfortable to just throw on with untucked tails and rolled sleeves. It also helps that people of my father's generation could even find tailored shirts off the rack back in the 70s and 80s. This latter fact is so well established that Spoon even wrote a song about it.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:44 PM
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Oh, now I see 263. Not comfy. Oh well.

I'm very pro-Blundtstones, although my (professionally-appropriate!) tendency to wear them in very rough conditions make them scuff-prone, and therefore much less professional.

Now I save them for, like, the third client meeting - "Yes, I'm wearing fancy clothes, but these shoes clearly just came from a construction site."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:45 PM
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276: WHAT ON EARTH IS WRONG WITH YOU!!!!??????


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:46 PM
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||

Just bragging about my eminent heritage again, but one of the most important Nazi propagandists in the US was one Edwin Emerson, which happens to be my father's name. He grew up in Germany, graduated from Harvard, fought in the Spanish-American War, and was part of Manhattan high society as late as 1914. He was also a German agent in WWI.

It is true that whatever blood relationship there is can only be found before 1800, if then, but high-born social-climbers like me don't let things like that stop us.

The most famous John Emerson so far, as we know, was Dred Scott's owner.

|>


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:47 PM
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Oh, now I see 263. Not comfy. Oh well.

I suspect this doesn't generalize well. Peoples feet are really different.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:47 PM
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but these shoes clearly just came from a construction site."

I keep a pair of "site shoes" in the trunk of my car to avoid this. Serviceable sturdy loafers.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:48 PM
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280: ON CLOSER INSPECTION, LOAFERS.


Posted by: OPINIONATED WOLFCASTLE | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:48 PM
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Also, if girls inherit dad's dress shirts, it's fun and easy to tailor them to fit you. Find a well-cut dress shirt of your own and you'll see that there is usually an extra set of seams up the middle of each side of the front and back. Measure how much wider dad's shirt is than yours, and cut out four narrow triangles (usually, up to nipple-height) in these places and sew back together. Add another set of darts across the shoulders and under the armpit, and but the bottom to the right length.

I did this with a white Oxford I found in a subway station and sewed it back up with little red X's. (The shoulders and armpits I did in white.) It is now falling apart after five years of wear, but that's not bad, and it looked pretty cool.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:49 PM
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Oh, now I see 263. Not comfy. Oh well.

I know two people who will only wear Cydwoqs, so YMMV.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:49 PM
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I did this with a white Oxford I found in a subway station

Your assignment, class, is to write a short story on how the shirt came to be abandoned at this particular site. Points off for a "sex on the train" story.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:52 PM
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I know two people who will only wear Cydwoqs, so YMMV.

This strikes me as excessive.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:52 PM
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site shoes


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:53 PM
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Yeah, neither of them is a not-excessive person.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:54 PM
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Wearing crappy old comfy loafers or hiking shoes instead of honest-to-god dress shoes

Despite owning several pairs of nice dress shoes, during the winter I wear my twenty-year old, multiply-resoled Timberland boots or my beloved Fryes nearly every day. If I wore dress shoes I'd mess them up!


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:54 PM
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296: It was in a dry-cleaning bag.

I have also found a very nice Italian tie (dropped on 35th St.) and an outrageously bright yellow sweater (middle of the Manhattan bridge). NYers are constantly dropping clothes, it seems.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:55 PM
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297: Curiously, it strikes me as extremely rational. I will only wear Trippens and Fiorentini-Bakers, at least while my existing pairs hold up and assuming that my luck with Ebay continues. I live in dread, now that I've found comfortable attractive shoes, of having to go back to the old system of ouchy stiff ones and bleeding, blistered feet. One reason I'm such a snob about shoes--my feet are extremely hard to fit, and it's only been in the last few years that I've bought shoes which only produce a little blistering when new rather than days and weeks of massive bleeding until scarring renders them wearable. (I actually have really scarred up toes and ankles because ever since I was about twelve each new pair of shoes has required new injuries before they were wearable)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:57 PM
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Don't think that Phoebe Maltz and the Troll of Sorrow aren't watching us. You're just determined to confirm their suspicions.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:57 PM
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It was in a dry-cleaning bag.

In interesting opening sentence, but you need to flesh out some more details for full credit.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:57 PM
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Is this a proper rule? It's pretty much the staple of my formal wardrobe.

Not that I know of. I could see how maybe a light blue shirt might look strange with a gray suit, but the saturated royal blue we were arguing about above should look fairly good.

Also, Ginger Yellow is a man? Maybe I haven't been paying enough attention.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:57 PM
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Somebody get JE a new post quickly, or he will explode!


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 12:59 PM
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One thing about doing ballet when young is that it really trains you into accepting bleeding blistered feet as God's Plan for Man on Earth.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:00 PM
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This reader is Ogged, right?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:00 PM
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the saturated royal blue we were arguing about above should look fairly good

Yes it does. It pretty much necessitates a light-colored tie, but it looks quite nice.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:01 PM
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Ogged has already chosen ten articles of clothing and their manufacturers and does not deviate from course. This much is known.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:03 PM
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290: Say what you will about the Nazis, but they did have excellent taste in men's shoes.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:03 PM
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i hate all clothes coz my hands hurt, one blister is just open dermis now
coz i washed some clothes yesterday after the washing mashine, the water i rinsed came out dirty! so have to wash it all again by hand
who knows maybe before i allowed them to dry in that water never knowing how dirty, they just smelled detergent, but hopefully not
maybe i just loaded too much stuff in there this time
i swear to not buy any more clothes though unless they fall apart


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:06 PM
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309: which is why getting into saturated colors etc. is trickier. The bog standard suit & shirt combinations are bog standard because they're really difficult to screw up. Move too far away from that and you run the risk of looking a lot better or a lot worse.

It's sort of like the blue jeans + tshirt thing. Even if you are color blind or generally don't pay attention, you can manage to dress yourself in the morning without making too much of a hash of it. Once you let things into your wardrobe that are potentially really horrible together, you've got to start paying attention.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:06 PM
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Argh. I hate men's shoes. Twice in a row I've gone to buy shoes, found something that looked okay and felt okay in the store, and then absolutely killed my feet when I wore them all day (including the mile or two of daily commuting walking). I'm sure there's something better out there, but my willingness to spend $100-200 at a pop to keep trying is very limited.

Instead, I will relish the fact that I work in tech and that my usual outfit of black sneakers, slacks, and a dress shirt puts me at about the 90th percentile of dressiness in my office. The fact that I will never look good to someone who is looking for a well-dressed man is just something I'll have to work out with my therapist.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:07 PM
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Thanks, fedward, for the very complete information. Tips I could definitely use.

md20/400, that seems sensible.

I really hate dress shoes. Why should I spend so damn much on something I hate? Gah. Actually, that sort of extends to the whole shebang. I have to buy a costume to wear to work? Lame.

Thing is, I know it's important to exhibit these status/class markers in order to get people to listen in that place: it's just that I don't care about them in any sense beyond costumery.


Posted by: Asker | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:07 PM
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"Dogs Playing Poker". Published by Brown and Bigelow, which was run by an ex-convict who was a major contributor to radical politics. He also published a lot of the classic cheesecake calendars. The publisher of Fawcett books (noir fiction) also supported radical causes, in Minnesota of course.

The cone snail, with its beautiful shell, produces one of the most deadly poisons found in nature. It captures and eats fish.

Zircons have been found which had been subducted down into the mantle and ejected from volcanos three different times. After being ejected that had to roll downstream into the sea to the subduction zone. These processes took entire Buddhistic kalpas to complete.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:10 PM
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Further to 315: so since I do want to be listened to, I have to execute the costume at least semi-competently.


Posted by: Asker | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:11 PM
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The tapir can make a good house pet if you like having a lively pet in the house. Their breath smells like lettuce.

Read has a good attitude toward clothing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:11 PM
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I watched a Nordstrom salesperson earnestly try to steer my brother to a much cheaper first suit than he wanted to buy. She was tactful and he was oblivious, so eventually I murmured `software' and all was well.

Then I twirled my mustachios. I love taking men shopping, even my brother; it makes me feel like Madame Max on a rampage.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:12 PM
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315: Fwiw, If you go the suit route, you are pretty much committing to dress shoes (though as in links above, they can be pretty out there if you're up for it). If you go slacks + blazer you've got more room to move on the footwear and tie front, while still "fitting in" in the sense you seem to be talking about. Not sure it that helps.

[caveat all this from someone who could (but doesnt') wear jeans and a tshirt every day to work at the moment]


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:13 PM
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The reason why cuts and scratches in your butthole area seldom get infected, despite the filth and bacteria, is that you have abundant blood vessels around there bringing antibodies white blood cells to your rescue.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:14 PM
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I hate men's shoes. Twice in a row I've gone to buy shoes, found something that looked okay and felt okay in the store, and then absolutely killed my feet when I wore them all day (including the mile or two of daily commuting walking). I'm sure there's something better out there, but my willingness to spend $100-200 at a pop to keep trying is very limited.

I am a cheapskate.

Yet, with men's shoes, I have found that it is worth it to spend money ($200 - $300) to buy nicer dress shoes. I tend to buy Allen-Edmonds.

For me, my feet (hips, back) have hated me whenever I have bought and worn a less-expensive shoe.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:15 PM
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Sardinian is not a dialect of Italian any more than Romanian is. It's an independent branch of the Romance family.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:15 PM
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John, you are being annoying.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:16 PM
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Yess, but I can't match the bunch of you guys.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:17 PM
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it's just that I don't care about them in any sense beyond costumery.

It is a costume, and you are an actor playing a role. How I dress for work is definitely part of putting my "game face" on.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:17 PM
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No new thread. I am kind of enjoying Emerson's random fact melt down.

Also the fact that I could probably show up in swim trunks and a tank top to my job without my boss saying anything is a big selling point for my job. Not that I would actually wear that to work.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:17 PM
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Rockports are well made, comfortable, and durable, about 2.5x sneaker cost. Can't be resoled and tend to scuff, but look and feel OK. This years styles are uglier than those of 2 years ago, so knowing the name of one of these older shoes allows use of overstock retailers.

Cydwoqs look great, but don't the toes and sides get scuffed to hell before the expensive shoe is worn out?

Why should I spend so damn much on something I hate?

Think of it as a tax you pay towards the idea of civilization, an extension of not making unnecessary noise or mess while eating in company. You may find that your social life improves after you give in.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:20 PM
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Mmph. "Hate your expensive shoes? You aren't spending enough!" isn't very convincing, somehow; it's hard to believe that the success rate would improve.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:20 PM
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If asker is a guy, buy white shirts and basic blue shirts for now. Keep it simple.

Black shoes. Black belt.

Ask salespeople to help. But keep it basic for now.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:21 PM
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I am kind of enjoying Emerson's random fact melt down.

Like the robots in "I, Mudd" Star Trek, TOS.
(Jonah Golbergism added for extra cruelty.)


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:21 PM
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Why should I spend so damn much on something I hate? Gah. Actually, that sort of extends to the whole shebang.

When you find the right dress shoes (I'd recommend leaning toward a shorter, more rounded toe if you're used to sneakers or casual shoes), it's surprising how much you'll enjoy wearing them. Suits, however, still feel like way too much fabric on my body and far too much cost for a good fit.

Also, all you people talking about Frye boots have got me looking at these. What's the upkeep like for distressed and oiled leather? Do you just periodically clean them and then rub on a special oil sort of like they're a bit of nice wood furniture? Is that sole all leather or leather-on-wood or something? Does the sole stay very stiff or loosen up with wear? Sorry for all the questions, but I've never had a leather-soled shoe or boot.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:23 PM
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It will, Nathan. $100 isnt enough. $200 is approaching. $300 is better.

I look for solid, durable, comfortable shoes. Cole Haan - expensive but not durable.

Allen-Edmonds are a good combination.

Much like running shoes, it helps to go see someone who knows something about feet when you buy dress shoes.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:23 PM
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Hate your expensive shoes? You aren't spending enough!" isn't very convincing, somehow; it's hard to believe that the success rate would improve.

I think this holds to a certain point (i.e. cheap shoes behave like cheap shoes). Beyond that though, it's fit. This has nothing to do with dress shoes per se. Due to damage and physiology, I have to be more careful than most in picking shoes, but have found than ones that a) are well built and b) actually fit me properly make all the difference.

It's really worth spending the time finding maker(s) who build shoes that actually fit you. Bear in mind that with anything like a dress shoe, this is is a lot less forgiving than sneakers etc.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:23 PM
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People with super skinny feet swear by Ferragamo. I have feet shaped almost exactly like blocks of concrete, so Ferragamo have never come near fitting me and never will. It is best to be honest with oneself about such things.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:27 PM
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335: The maddening thing about Ferragamos is that they seem to have different lasts in the US and Italy. My mother used to buy Ferragamo flats in Italy, and wide-footed I loved them; they were like gloves. Buying them in the US, though, they're different shoes. (And insanely expensive, but I would have bought them when I was richer except that they didn't fit.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:30 PM
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I suspect I'm in the minority, but I hate those light blue buttoned-down shirts. That wedgewood blue looks good on nobody -- it makes pale white guys look red-faced, and makes everyone else's complexions look sallow or dull.

White is universally flattering, and so is pale pink. A gray or blue pinstripe on a white shirt breaks up the field of color so that you don't look so much like a big block of white.

Black pants with a white shirt will make you look like a waiter. Charcoal or gray pants are better. Pleats only if you are really skinny.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:31 PM
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but don't the toes and sides get scuffed to hell before the expensive shoe is worn out

I must not understand this question. Why couldn't you polish them?


Do you just periodically clean them and then rub on a special oil sort of like they're a bit of nice wood furniture?

Yes. Maybe a spot of brown polish if you gouge them somewhere.


White is universally flattering

And this is one of those things you always read in fashion advice that is just not true. I look really, really terrible in white.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:39 PM
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In my experience, the cheaper the shoe, the more comfortable it is. But then I think I may have different ideas about what constitutes a "dress shoe". To me that connotes something to go with a tux (likewise "dress shirt"), and those are bloody uncomfortable. With a suit, unless I have good reason to wear the proper dress shoes, I tend to wear shoes that aren't all that different in style from the ones I wore to school. But then I'm a journalist and we're allowed to be scruffy.

Extensively pre-worn shirts are especially comfortable to just throw on with untucked tails and rolled sleeves.

Sounds horrible to me, but then I don't like rolled sleeves. Surely no collar is more comfortable than collar, regardless.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:39 PM
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338: I must not understand this question. Why couldn't you polish them?

I'm hard on shoes, I kick stuff and get them all scuffed up, and it doesn't take much (IME) to scuff through the color of the leather into the undyed leather underneath, on a lot of shoes. Polishing over that doesn't really cover it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:42 PM
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This whole damn thread is just making me feel guilty about my scuffed shoes. Can everybody please just drop it. Let's all go to AWB's blog and comment on the boxing/wrestling thread.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:42 PM
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I hear that wrestling can be especially hard on shoes.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:44 PM
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You should probably never wear wrestling shoes with a suit.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:46 PM
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Ties are a perfect indicator of social status - they serve no function other than decoration and they get in the way if you are doing manual labor. I don't know if it's still the case, but managers at Caterpillar plants used to be required to wear clip-ons so that if they were caught in a piece of rotating machinery the wearer wouldn't be strangled, which seems like a pretty good reason to forbid ties altogether.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:46 PM
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A version of that is why doctors are slightly more likely to wear bow-ties -- they don't dangle onto the patient and spread germs from one person to the next.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:49 PM
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Ties are just there to keep suits from looking bad, togolosh.

Nothing about a suit lends itself to manual labor. Which is part of the point I sure, but not actually all of it. Work boots and denim aren't actually the most comfortable thing you can wear.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:49 PM
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LB brings up a good point. If the end of your surgeon's tie has prominent bloodstains, I'd go to someone else for that operation.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:50 PM
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Do you just periodically clean them and then rub on a special oil sort of like they're a bit of nice wood furniture? Is that sole all leather or leather-on-wood or something? Does the sole stay very stiff or loosen up with wear?

Yes. Mink oil does the trick nicely. I'm not sure just what the sole is. It's very hard. My boots are broken in and really comfortable to wear, but the sole is still stiff enough to make you adjust the way you walk.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:51 PM
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When I was young I was always told that the President had to wear clip-on ties so that no one could use his tie strangle him to death. I know I heard this several times from different sources, but I'm just remembering it now for the first time in decades. Surely it must be a false rumor?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:52 PM
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I've found conglomerations of doctors to mostly feature a pretty even mix of reasonably expensive-ish but boring suits / dress shirts in all variations of fit from properly to terribly ... and scrubs.

Getting scrubs passed over as acceptable professional wear for all occasions is one of the smartest things they've done, I suspect.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:53 PM
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This whole damn thread is just making me feel guilty about my scuffed shoes reinforcing my sense that meetups with the better-dressed portion of the commentariat are best avoided.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:53 PM
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Wearing ties does make me feel slightly more susceptible to misadventure. It's kind of a turn-on.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:55 PM
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fedward has some good advice. I am going take some shirts in to be tailored. I tend to have the blousey shirt problem. I am short but have big chest, and neck so tend to buy shirts that are too wide around the waist. Can they tailor patterns as well?


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:55 PM
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348: A company called Dayton used to sell similar but better made boots (than Fryes) for less money. A quick look suggests the latter is no longer true though, don't know about the former. You could give them measurements in about 10 places on your leg and have them make a pair that would fit like a glove, too, for no extra cost (but you'd wait a couple months). No idea if that's still true.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:56 PM
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Can you actually evaluate whether the shoe fits well without buying it? That's where I'm stuck - "evaluating" means spending the money, wearing it for long enough that it can't be returned, and trying again. It quickly seems like it's going to cost thousands of dollars to find something workable.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:56 PM
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351: But, but . . . somebody's got to be the scruffiest at the meet-ups, NPH.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:56 PM
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351: Lots of people have opinions and knowledge that they don't put into practice because their jobs do not require them to look in any way fancy or good. But by God, if I did get paid a reasonable wage and had a job for which dressing up wasn't stupid, I would. I swear I would.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:57 PM
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355: I take them home, wear indoors for a couple hours at a time for a few days, seems to do the trick for me.

If you are unused to buying leather shoes (as against sneakers), it takes a bit to get used to the feel of what will break in properly, and what is fundamental to the fit.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:58 PM
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356: For any meetups in NY, I promise to show up, if everyone else promises not to mock my shoes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:58 PM
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351 - In daily life I'm a schlub who needed to shave two days ago. I just clean up real purty.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:59 PM
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You could give them measurements in about 10 places on your leg

You must have some pretty fancy measuring tape if you can get figures that accurate.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 1:59 PM
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353 - They just take the shirt in at the side seam, so whatever pattern mismatch there might be is going to be hidden (and quite possibly no worse than what's there now).


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:02 PM
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For any meetups in NY, I promise to show up, if everyone else promises not to mock my shoes.

I have never adjusted to the sight, mostly in the Northeast, of women in their attractive business attire and running shoes. Obvs. they change upon arrival at work, but it still strikes me funny.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:04 PM
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somebody's got to be the scruffiest at the meet-ups, NPH

You can hang out in the corner with Smasher, Chopper, Emerson, and me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:07 PM
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You must have some pretty fancy measuring tape if you can get figures that accurate.

No, these are high boots, say 14" - 16"

So you'd give [*] length, width at heel, ball, instep, ankle or whatever and then at 2 inch increments up your calf. Something like 10 in total.

Depends on the design of the boot of course, but some of them would conform to these measurements.

[*] practially meaning you'd go to the store and they'd do it for you.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:07 PM
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Getting scrubs passed over as acceptable professional wear for all occasions is one of the smartest things they've done, I suspect.

This is the very reason my dad has so many now-abandoned dress shirts in his closet (aside from the inevitable waist-loss of hitting the fifties). Throughout training and at his old practice, shirt and tie used to be the standard dress for dentistry and even oral surgery. Once he started his own practice, it was straight to scrubs.

355: I've usually found it easy to gauge fit on a shoe in the store. If anything feels wrong when I first put it on, jump around a little, walk around the sales floor, then that's probably going to get worse instead of better (except for some minor tightness-over-the-instep which loosens up in all-leather uppers). The biggest problem is when people say something like "Well, it feels a bit tight on that toe, but I can live with it." After 14 hours, you're much less able to live with it. (This may not be the case for things like heels, with which I have no experience.)

You really can't tell how well the shoe will wear until you've had it for a while, but someone else who's worn the same brand/style for a while should be able to tell you that.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:08 PM
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You could give them measurements in about 10 places on your leg and have them make a pair that would fit like a glove

I fully support an economic stimulus plan for cordwainers.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:10 PM
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356: My sartorial goal is generally to be bland, inoffensive, and middle-of-the-road, so I probably wouldn't qualify as scruffiest. Unfortunately, the style-conscious around here seem to be most offended by exactly the sort of blandness I'm shooting for. Also, living where I do, several of my shirts are from the same source as George Michael Bluth's.

I do clean up OK on occasion, and I've developed a decent eye for stuff for my wife, but I'll never qualify as hip.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:10 PM
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363: Yeah, I've never been able to stomach hauling an extra pair of shoes around, so I just wear scruffy but non-sneaker shoes all day.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:10 PM
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No, these are high boots, say 14" - 16"

See, the joke depends on construing "measurements in about ten places" as meaning "measurements with about ten significant digits".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:12 PM
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Unfortunately, the style-conscious around here seem to be most offended by exactly the sort of blandness I'm shooting for.

That doesn't surprise me at all.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:12 PM
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370: Hah! it worked.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:12 PM
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Also, the commenters I have met in person should assume that 351 is a recent realization. No criticism of their personal styles was intended.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:14 PM
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369: I thought most people just kept a spare pair (or spare pairs) of shoes at the office, rather than hauling a second pair around? That's what I do, for days when I need to wear snow boots. I only have one pair stashed under my desk, but I know several female coworkers who seem to have their entire dress-shoe collection permanently stored under their desks. They wear sneakers in and put on an appropriate pair every day.

I have a pair of Michael Toschi shoes that are by far the most comfortable I own--worth the cost. But I couldn't afford to own many of them.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:16 PM
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Unfortunately, the style-conscious around here seem to be most offended by exactly the sort of blandness I'm shooting for.

I say suum cuique! What is intolerable is not someone's giving himself a blah law, but someone's attempting to give another the law, blah or exciting or otherwise.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:16 PM
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352: Plus they're handy for improvised light bondage gear.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:17 PM
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376: In college, I owned a demonstrator airplane seat belt, the kind with connectors on either end of a short length of belt material. Possibly the awesomest light bondage gear ever?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:21 PM
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But I couldn't afford to own many of them.

Would you need to? How many pairs do you realistically require?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:23 PM
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Ben, way back there: Who the fuck names a "luxury lifestyle magazine" Whirl?

The start-up dudes were from the sister clubbing mag, Hurl.

340: I'm hard on shoes, I kick stuff and get them all scuffed up, and it doesn't take much (IME) to scuff through the color of the leather into the undyed leather underneath, on a lot of shoes. Polishing over that doesn't really cover it.

Scrape off any protruding (no! not proturding!) bits with a knife, and then ink them with some sponge-on shoe dye. Then polish them. It won't get rid of any divots, but the colors will merge well enough and the polish should smooth it out.

max
['Or at least, that's what I do.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:26 PM
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378: Well, 2 or 3, minimum. Preferably more like 4-5, I'd think. And I couldn't even legitimately afford* one pair--I got mine at a half-price sale.

*By "can't afford", I only mean "am too cheap to buy."


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:26 PM
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375: I'm not sure what people are bitching about here. Someone asked for advice and people gave it, and now other people feel reviled and judged for not personally caring about this advice. What's the problem here? If you don't care about dressing well, don't. If you do and want advice, then ask.

When I see someone not wearing nice shoes with a suit, I don't think "What a loser!" I just think, "Ah, this is someone who is does not care very much about wearing appropriate shoes," which would be accurate. I myself do not always care about wearing appropriate shoes, so communicating that information would not be harmful or misleading.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:27 PM
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379: If by 'shoe dye' you mean 'magic marker' I do that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:29 PM
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If by 'shoe dye' you mean 'magic marker' I do that.

Highlighter doesn't count, LB, and is a little counter- productive.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:31 PM
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381: In my case, it's that I feel professionally responsible for dressing non-absurdly, but don't feel that I'm up to snuff, so I get cranky when someone identifies something I do as unprofessional. They're probably right, which means I'm not living up to my own standards, which means I'm going to lash out randomly at nearby people for making me feel bad.

It's a perfectly rational process, honest!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:32 PM
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What are considered "appropriate shoes" also varies by individual circumstance. If you had to hike two miles to get to the opera house, then you'd be pretty silly to wear four inch stilettos.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:32 PM
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I just think, "Ah, this is someone who is does not care very much about wearing appropriate shoes," which would be accurate.

"Appropriate" is one a them "thick" terms.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:34 PM
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I'd also suggest that it's always far more striking when someone is dressed well than when they're not (barring absurdity). I recognize when people are wearing tailored clothing because I see it so rarely, or when someone has a perfect hairstyle or accessories, I notice it because it is special. So when someone says they want to make a good impression, I tend to think of that as in contrast with making no impression at all, which is what not-thought-out clothes do. And most days, I myself will go out of my way, if I have to, to make no impression at all with my clothing, but it's generally pretty easy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:37 PM
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381: And I realize perfectly well that what one wears does communicate various messages to various audiences, whether one intends to or not, and that my youthful desire to be judged only for who I really am (whoever that may be) was perhaps a bit naive. Any bitching about style consciousness from this quarter is not to be taken particularly seriously.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:38 PM
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What does one wear when one intends on skipping out on the bill?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:39 PM
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A cummerbund.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:40 PM
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389: I'm not sure. W-lfs-n?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:40 PM
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when someone says they want to make a good impression, I tend to think of that as in contrast with making no impression at all

The old school take on this was white shirt, blue suit red tie, black shoes. Promote the product, not the salesman.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:41 PM
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If you don't care about dressing well, don't. If you do and want advice, then ask.

Yeah, this reaction is bizarre to me as well. Asker is fully aware that there is a sort of game being played, and thinking that he ought to play along. Identifying the rules of this game and how he might go about doing it is just the advice he's looking for, I think.

Thing is though, you literally cannot avoid this stuff. Choosing to play along or not is a form of signaling, a non verbal communication. You can recognize what is there and how it's done, even if you don't ever choose to play along.

Very few people are truly oblivious to all this stuff. You can't get dressed in the morning without signaling something. Far more often people consciously choose not project certain images, than are actually unware. I know I do things along these lines that make it nearly impossible for people to fit me into certain mental categories. (e.g. I wouldn't read as `a suit' , even in a suit). I'm not going to pretend than this is just because I don't know how to conform to a particular expectation if I wanted to.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:45 PM
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"Appropriate" is one a them "thick" terms.

Asker asked for advice on how to dress "properly," what will "look good," and what is "necessary in a professional wardrobe." Surely we aren't to be faulted for opining as requested.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:46 PM
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What does one wear when one intends on skipping out on the bill?

runners.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:46 PM
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390/391 was perfect.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:47 PM
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Related: does this guy's oufit fit properly? Because both the suit and the shirt look ridiculous to me, but I've got poor taste.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:47 PM
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I guess maybe I feel a bit bitchy about this "I shouldn't have to be judged by what I wear!" thing because women, especially in positions of authority, are judged by what they wear all the time, like ALL the time. If you dress down, people comment. If you dress up, people comment. If you dress more feminine, people comment. If you dress more masculine, people comment. There is no "white shirt, blue suit red tie, black shoes" outfit for women.

Trying to find outfits that my students won't dissect and interpret has been really difficult. I've finally settled on something like a uniform of dark straight-leg casual pants with flats, and a button-down or nice T-shirt under a size-S man's sweater in neutral colors.

At other times, I don't feel so vulnerable and I wear electric blue skirts with lacy tights and heels. Most of the time, though, I just can't stand it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:47 PM
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397- jacket is too small- even for a more tailored look.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:49 PM
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Very few people are truly oblivious to all this stuff. You can't get dressed in the morning without signaling something.

Fair enough, and I think the gender differential in my 398 has broken down in recent years to the point that this is why we're seeing male grumbling about it; they used to be fashion invisible, and they miss it. But we're all women now. Mwa ha ha ha!!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:49 PM
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397: It's hard to tell, because it's so dark -- you can't tell how it's hanging. But the sleeves look short to me, and unless he's emaciated, it's awfully tight.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:51 PM
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397: A smaller man could pull it off. I've seen it done. But that guy looks like he has an actual build under that little suit, and it isn't flattering.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:51 PM
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400: I'd agree. While people are mostly always going to be judged on what they wear (or don't wear), it remains much harder for women.

Also, if working in a suits standard context, guys can get away with a bad/badly fitting suit more easily than girls can get away with poorly fitting clothing.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:52 PM
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Okay, good. I agree with all those comments. I just assumed my assessment was wrong, though, since that's professional modeling.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:53 PM
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404: nah, now you see why that one is in clearance.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:54 PM
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On the upside, that suit makes his hands look HUGE.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:54 PM
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387 is absolutely true. Unstylish does not lend itself to notice, so much as downright inappropriate or ill-fitting. But there's a lot of slack in there. White or light blue shirt, pants that fit the waist and are somewhere in a 2-inch margin of acceptable inseams, typical belt and brown or black leather shoes with no distinguishing details on the front half will do just fine. So long as the collar on the suit fits without obvious gaps, the tie isn't cheap-looking polyester, and the suit jacket doesn't look ludicrously oversized or unable to button in the front, the suit will look ok as well. People just don't really examine what someone's wearing so long as it's the uniform, and everyone accepts that 80% of people expected to wear suits will just buy something off the rack that pretty much fits.

It may be helpful to be distinct and to stand out in some situations, but there's plenty of room to slide into the "unremarkable but appropriate" box. And let's face it, unless you're really into clothing, there's not much reason to put a bunch of thought into being anywhere else.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:54 PM
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Maybe I can play my too-small jacket as if it's deliberate.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:55 PM
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But we're all women now. Mwa ha ha ha!!

I think your right about this. I'm glad I can get away with my very traditional look. A while back my wife tried to "update" my wardrobe. I felt ridiculous.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:56 PM
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397: It's too tight for a standard business look. The tiny suit looks cute on underfed Thom Browne models, but it doesn't quite work for Brooks Brothers.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:56 PM
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397: That jacket fits his body. If it were too small it would pucker more where it's buttoned. I'd say the sleeves are too short, but they look like they've been hitched up at his elbows to show the cuffs of his shirt more.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:57 PM
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398: If I was swapped into a woman's body right now I think I'd have a mental breakdown in short order over this issue. I have enough trouble dealing with the fairly minimal expectations on me as is. One of my plans for this year is to get a better handle on matters sartorial.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:58 PM
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accepts that 80% of people expected to wear suits will just buy something off the rack that pretty much fits.

right, but as 403 was suggesting, this is more difficult for women.

Mostly those 80% don't look good (and maybe even bad), they just look "appropriate" which is context dependent.

This is why the resistance upthread was confusing. This is a uniform, as you said.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 2:59 PM
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I didn't even look at the copy:

Brooks Brothers' most trim expression, distinguished by narrow lapels, higher armholes and trimmer trouser.

They definitely want it to look like that.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:00 PM
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If I was swapped into a woman's body right now I think I'd have a mental breakdown in short order over this issue.

That's the only one? What about your hair, your figure, who you're dating, etc?

Proud patriarch that I am, ever morning while I stand while taking my first piss I am thankful not to be a woman.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:01 PM
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They definitely want it to look like that.

Which, to be fair, isn't the same as "you" wanting it to look like that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:02 PM
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414: But B2 is notorious for making giant rectangular suits for men -- there's a lot of room to be trimmer than B2 without being outside of the norm. I bet that's styled tight for the picture, but looks more ordinary as sold.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:03 PM
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I can absolutely understand and resent how anyone might dislike this stuff. I do, but Soup nailed it, and TLL did, too. There's a uniform, but I don't really have the knowledge to assemble it, and I'd like to minimize the asking of clerks and whatnot for help.

How many suits are needed? Three? Is black good, or too mortuarial? Do you dry-clean everything weekly? Monthly?


Posted by: Asker | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:03 PM
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How many suits are needed?

The fact that I can wear jeans to my white collar job makes me more likely to stay here than any other single aspect of the position.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:05 PM
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352: How Freudian.

This thread reminds me that I need to go out and get new shoes one of these days. This job is more formal than my previous. I'm wearing a striped shirt with a (non-button down) collar, a tie, and gray slacks right now, with a sportcoat over the back of my chair, and I think this is average for my office or maybe a tiny bit more formal than average. Compared to my previous job as a reporter, and my job before that at a nonprofit small enough to run out of an office attached to the director's house, this is a pretty formal place.

For the most part it was easy to dress up to the standard; I've bought two shirts and a tie since starting here, and got an additional shirt and tie as gifts, but I could have got away with just one single shirt. One thing I haven't bought, though, is shoes. I've worn my pair of shoes suitable for formal occasions so little since high school, and worn them so gently, that they're still the ones I'm wearing now. They're still in fine shape, but if nothing else, I feel cheap.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:06 PM
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414/317: I've no doubt they "wanted it to look that way"; again, it's a professional shot. My question was whether anyone thought it looked anything other than utterly ridiculous. (Which was my reaction.) I guess so.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:06 PM
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417: Yeah, one kind of hates to discourage them when they're trying so hard to be more flexible. I'm tempted to blame the model, who just has the wrong head for that suit. (The short-sleeves-big-hands thing is fine.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:07 PM
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If you're getting three suits, I'd get only one black one, at most. Dark gray might be a better starting place. Dark blue is also traditional. I'm partial to brown, but I suspect that's me being weird. You probably are going to want a lighter weight one for summer, but maybe that can wait.

As for dry-cleaning, jesus. When you spill something on it you can't get off with light sponging? When it smells? The shirts should go in after a couple of wearings, but I'm lost when it comes to regular dry-cleaning of suits.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:07 PM
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By the way, a lot of very useful comments. Thanks everyone.


Posted by: Asker | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:07 PM
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397: I think the cuffs on the shirt should be more fitted to his wrists to match the small jacket, and it looks like he must have extremely narrow shoulders relative to his head size and height which just makes the whole outfit look odd.

My own personal opinion is that the jacket has too boxy of a shape for something meant to be fitted and crisp. That sort of trim fit on the shoulders and arms can look extremely good, but it requires that the waist and hips on the jacket are tailored in far more than you usually see (this is why my roommate and I were raving over Daniel Craig's suits in Quantum of Solace).

I was a bit surprised that this piece wasn't actually from Thom Browne's collaboration with Brooks Brothers, since he seems the source of the fucking stupid-looking "boxy jacket, everything else too small" suit fit in designer fashion.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:08 PM
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I'm tempted to blame the model, who just has the wrong head for that suit

Ouch. Seems to me that he has the wrong suit for his head. After all, he can't do anything about the other.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:09 PM
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NOT BLACK. # of suits will depend on your budget, of course. Three would be good, but depending on weather you may need summer and winter weight as well. Lots of tan poplin suits in NYC in the summer (even some seersucker, for the bold). In LA one can wear a darker poplin most of the year. I have one heavier wool suit for colder days.
Definitely keep your suits clean, but you can get three or so times wearing one before cleaning as long as you hang it up when you get home. Wrinkled is never allowed.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:10 PM
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If you're buying one suit, do either charcoal or navy. If two, definitely charcoal and navy. If three, I'd add grey. After hat think about browns and greens and all that other stuff. Most people can get by on 2-3 suits for a long time.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:11 PM
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The fact that I can wear jeans to my white collar job makes me more likely to stay here than any other single aspect of the position.

I hear you.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:13 PM
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but you can get three or so times wearing one before cleaning as long as you hang it up when you get home

Three? Try dozens.

Also, cleaning and pressing are not the same thing. And you shouldn't do the former if you only need the latter; you're wearing your cuit out unecessarily.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:13 PM
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This might be worth picking up a copy of, especially since it's going used for $0.34.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:14 PM
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AWB's wrestling/boxing thread features wrestling, boxing, Roland Barthes, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Greek tragedy, Jesus, The 120 Days of Sodom, Aristotle's Poetics, Fanny Hill, and Zeuxis and Parrhasius. Yet here you all are, nattering on about collar sizes for hundred and hundreds of comments. I don't know what's wrong with you people.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:14 PM
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Okay, "cuit" was supposed to be "suit. But I'm sticking with "unecessarily."


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:15 PM
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As for dry-cleaning, jesus. When you spill something on it you can't get off with light sponging? When it smells? The shirts should go in after a couple of wearings, but I'm lost when it comes to regular dry-cleaning of suits.

For heavy menswear fabric suits, if you hang them up after taking them off, you can wear them quite a number of times. I have mine cleaned when I notice they look rumpled, but that can be a while.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:15 PM
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Also- match the shoe color to the suit color. If one has navy, charcoal and grey suits stick with black shoes.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:17 PM
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Brown shoes can work well with either navy or grey.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:18 PM
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436 to 435.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:18 PM
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397, 406: Yeah, really, his hands are scary. They'd look normal on a 60-year-old, but not someone with that face. Fixed waxy grin, very skinny body in very dark clothes except for the collar, skeletal hands - he reminds me of a character from a Tim Burton cartoon.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:19 PM
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How many suits are needed? Three? Is black good, or too mortuarial? Do you dry-clean everything weekly? Monthly?

If I had to wear the costume every day I'd start with one blue suit, one grey suit, nice trousers in black, grey, and khaki, and at least one if not two sport coats. If you're in banking, you need five suits, but in pretty much any other business a sport coat and trousers is dressy enough. Black is fine, but I would get something with a stripe or windowpane pattern and not just flat black (which looks waiter-y). Nothing too shiny either. If you choose your pieces carefully you can mix and match (jacket from blue suit with khaki or grey trousers, jacket from grey suit with black trousers), but be careful of mixing patterns. Avoid solid browns, but some brown suits can be very sharp.

Dress shirts: get a week's worth plus one. Find undershirts you like and always wear one (somehow, even in July heat I find having an undershirt more comfortable than not, and it will prolong the life of your shirts and jackets).

Dry cleaning: only when they need it. If you are dry cleaning one piece of a suit, have the other piece cleaned at the same time. When you get home, immediately hang up your clothes so they air out and regain their shape. If you care for them properly (good wooden hangers, not too densely packed in the closet) your clothes should last a long time and require only infrequent dry cleaning.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:19 PM
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Three? Try dozens.

I wear my coat much of the time. I can't go a dozen times wearing a suit or it (read I) would smell.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:20 PM
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The same cut in a lighter color with a different shirt collar on a different model looks a lot more natural.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:22 PM
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Actually, the dark looks good on the second model, too.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:25 PM
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Yeah, I think the initial model had a giant head compared to his body size, and so ended up looking like a pen-and-ink caricature. Not the suit's fault.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:26 PM
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441 - That one's riding up on his hips (you can see from the way the jacket is puckering from the button downward). The sleeves are the right length, though.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:26 PM
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I think we would like the initial suit better on its model if he weren't wearing the spread collar with it. It creates some kind of horizontal-line effect that makes the whole suit look weird. SORRY I SAID MEAN STUFF ABOUT YOUR HEAD, MODEL.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:30 PM
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441, 442: The body of the jacket looks more flattering, too. Narrower relative to its length than in 379. I wonder if they did any pinning on that, as that could also explain the slight puckering that fedward pointed out.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:31 PM
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What's wrong with the first model's hands? I have veiny hands too, alas. (Not quite as bad as Madonna's, but sort of getting there.)


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:32 PM
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Re: shoes:

http://www.duckerandson.co.uk/

Also, I almost bought a pair of these in a sale last week:

http://www.grenson.co.uk/RushdenRange/main.asp?productid=55&categoryid=2

[only the chelsea style one they don't do anymore, not lace-up]

Decided it was just a little 'much' for me, personally.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:33 PM
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Mine are also veiny. My mother says this is a sign that I am "delicate" and will die young.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:33 PM
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I sure as shit ain't delicate.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:42 PM
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I sort of feel about clothing the way I feel about food. People say "You poor soul, once you try this fancy tomato you will never be happy with normal tomatos again." Well, obviously that will make me never want to try the fancy tomatos, unless I want to reroute my entire lifestyle so that eating such things is an everyday occurrence. Better to avoid the whole universe of options.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:43 PM
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re: 451

I buy a lot of cheap stuff. But sometimes, slightly more expensive stuff is just nice to have. It's not an all or nothing thing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:45 PM
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It's ok to not be happy with "normal tomatos again", CN. You've got to eat every day. It doesn't have to suck. It also doesn't have to be a big production, either.

And like ttaM said --- you can mix it up.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 3:56 PM
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Catching up on the thread: haven't I read JRoth's recommendations, or a comment very similar to them, in 107 before? And I know I've seen the three-piece corduroy suit linked here before. I'm getting this weird feeling of all-this-has-happened-before.

The first time I gave a talk at an academic conference (or maybe the second? back when I was still an undergrad, at any rate), I wore a suit, because I hadn't had many opportunities to wear one for a few years. People looked at me like I was a space alien, and my advisor told me my shoes were too shiny to belong to a scientist. Never again have I dressed up for anything work-related.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 4:01 PM
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You know when I wore a suit to conferences, everyone seemed to take me more seriously than I deserved.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 4:11 PM
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And I know I've seen the three-piece corduroy suit linked here before

JM is quite fond of it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 4:17 PM
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1) Asker isn't a woman, so this advice doesn't apply quite as much, but if you're just building a professional wardrobe, buy things that are conservative and classic. You can be trendy later, but you want a number of things that won't look out of style or dated.
2) Ask the clerks; it's what they're there for.
3) Natural fabrics.
4) Everything looks better tailored. This is a cost saver, too, because less expensive stuff that is tailored to fit you beats out more expensive stuff that is ill-fitting.
5) Nice accessories (shoes, belt) can make the whole outfit look more polished.
6) eBay is your friend. You're getting everything tailored anyway (right? right?), so you can be a bit flexible on size and you can often get good deals. This also works for shoes once you know your brands and size.
7) My hands don't look like Madonna's only because she is significantly older.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 4:53 PM
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8) Cala's Kabbalah string is a different color.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 4:58 PM
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Well, naturally. I coordinate it with my outfit.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:03 PM
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449: AWB is Laura Fairlie!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:05 PM
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Everything looks better tailored. This is a cost saver, too, because less expensive stuff that is tailored to fit you beats out more expensive stuff that is ill-fitting.

Do you mean that you buy cheaper things, and then get them tailored? I can never do that. I have to feel like something is really nice before I will spend the money on altering it. (Hemming pants and sleeves are the exception, but I mostly do that myself anyway.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:07 PM
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You know when I wore a suit to conferences, everyone seemed to take me more seriously than I deserved.

I think it depends a lot on the conference.

At ours, I've seen everything from very nice european suits to shorts and sandals. Both extremes somewhat rare, and somewhat regional. But still, nobody seems to care.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:17 PM
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Everything looks better tailored. This is a cost saver, too, because less expensive stuff that is tailored to fit you beats out more expensive stuff that is ill-fitting.

Surely this only actually saves you money if the stuff isn't so cheap that it falls apart prematurely?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:18 PM
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462: yes, definitely. On the other hand, the larger meetings contain the whole spectrum. Which makes it much more amusing.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:22 PM
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461: I mean that less expensive + tailored usually beats out slightly more expensive + out of money for tailoring most of the time. E.g., better to buy the slacks/jacket on the sale rack that are a little too big and spend the money on the tailor than the more expensive non-tailored stuff that is closer to your size.

For me anything that counts as dress clothes has been to the tailor, largely because I am beyond useless with minor alterations, but also because I am short and do not want to look like I borrowed my mother's dress clothes.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:22 PM
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"Surely this only actually saves you money if the stuff isn't so cheap that it falls apart prematurely?"

Sure. I said inexpensive, not cheap, and I meant price, not quality, particularly.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:25 PM
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makes sense


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:25 PM
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Every time I wear a suit to work, I get comments (only from women) about how sharp I look. None of my suits are anything special; I guess folks are trying to encourage me to dress up more.

It isn't going to work.

I only really worry about when I have to face a jury: I don't care at all what people think of my appearance, but am haunted by the thought that they might hold my appearance against a client.

Cala's rule no. 1 applies to men: go classic, and pay no attention to what is stylish. Blue and charcoal suits. No brown. Let your character and countenance define how people relate to you, rather than clothes. Which should be, imo, so forgettable that the next day, no one can recall at all what you wore the day before.

Taking sartorial advice from me is like taking relationship advice from Emerson: I'm only dressed at all because it wouldn't be forgettable if I came to work naked.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:28 PM
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I was also assuming a fairly limited budget. If the person has lots of money, then it doesn't matter quite as much. But I personally think that it's more important whether something fits than whether it is durable; this may be because women's clothing tends to be made more cheaply *and* more subject to changes in style.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:29 PM
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Why not kick down another $40 or so and get a pair of Fiorentini & Bakers, which are really nice?

I am wearing a pair of Fiorentini & Bakers shoes right now. (These are the shoes I was all excited about just having bought at the MFA meetup, for those who were there.) I lurve them.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:32 PM
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I broke a pair of shoes at the APA. No, not the heel; tore a cut into the side of the leather with the power of my mighty instep when I turned my ankle. Better the shoe than my tendons.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:35 PM
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Let your character and countenance define how people relate to you, rather than clothes.

Yes, I'd love to think this is possible in almost any situation. But I suspect that in dealing with folks who wear hats with pictures of birds, as in 224, I'd be disappointed.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:39 PM
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this may be because women's clothing tends to be made more cheaply

Yes, this is maddening.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:41 PM
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Which should be, imo, so forgettable that the next day, no one can recall at all what you wore the day before.

This makes a lot of sense (why chase fashion if you don't care about it). The thing about is thoug, the clothes that meet this criteria vary by job, region, age, etc.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:42 PM
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Cala's rule no. 1 applies to men: go classic, and pay no attention to what is stylish. Blue and charcoal suits. No brown.

I'm wearing a brown suit, green shirt, green and gold tie RIGHT NOW. And my shoes are scuffed! HA HA HA HA HA


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:45 PM
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tore a cut into the side of the leather with the power of my mighty instep

Impressive!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:48 PM
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Or a sign that I need to purchase heartier shoes.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 5:50 PM
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Or both, perhaps!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 6:01 PM
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I don't know Cala, you might have a superpower


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 6:09 PM
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E.g., better to buy the slacks/jacket on the sale rack that are a little too big and spend the money on the tailor than the more expensive non-tailored stuff that is closer to your size.

I'm really not getting how this could work out financially, and I'm trying to figure out where our disconnect lies. Is tailoring a lot cheaper where you are than where I am? Do we mean different things by 'tailoring'? I always have the waist taken in on anything without an elastic waistband, and that's plenty expensive already. The cost of making something that's not my size in more than one major area of my body into something that is my size would just not be worth it.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 6:20 PM
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AWB, I'm curious to know how you know what your students make of your dress. Do they mention it to your face? Are you just good at reading them? Or are you interpreting your own choices from their perspective

I'm curious only because I have no idea what my students make of how I dress, and I'm actually rather concerned about it (I'm young, I'm a woman, I'm teaching a course that invites them to speculate on my personal life in a way I'd prefer they didn't but is probably inevitable due to the topic). At my university it seems like 75% of the profs dress in jeans and very casual tops, while a few outliers go the full suit route. I fall somewhere in between, I suspect, but worry that I still don't project quite the right image.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 6:28 PM
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Huh, weird, that ate part of my comment. Must have fucked up the HTML. But it was in response to: Trying to find outfits that my students won't dissect and interpret has been really difficult.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 6:29 PM
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481: They talk about it. I've taught at five (very) different colleges so far, and found that I was comfortable in different kinds of clothes in each environment. Students will comment on things that I wear, particularly if they're odd or dressy, or, if we're very comfortable together, under-dressy. After the semester was over, one student confided to me that several conversations about my possible sexual orientation took place behind the scenes, focusing on my clothing.

I used to be more anxious about it, but clothing choices often come up during our conversations about gender performance, and talking about why we choose to wear the things we do often helps to relieve that tension.

I should point out that I've only rarely faced outright criticism from students about my clothes. I've heard of people teaching at Ivy-League-type places where students will openly make fun of a female grad student instructor's cheap shoes or whatever, and I've never been in that environment, thank God. And the physical scrutiny (that is, of my body or attractiveness) I've gotten hasn't been a tenth as bad as it was working at an upscale spa, or even as a secretary.

But clothes, yeah, they notice, but I think it's mostly just a sort of harmless "I wonder what she's like outside the classroom" thing.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 6:43 PM
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The only times it's been uncomfortable was when a few students took me wearing a dressier outfit as an OK to say things or ask things that aren't really in-bounds, given our relationship.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 6:45 PM
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And I'd say, DL, that if they're not talking about it, and not spending half of class time narrowing their eyes at some part of your outfit, that it's a good sign; your clothes are not giving them something to discuss or distract themselves with, so you're probably well within the bounds of normal.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 6:47 PM
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I feel much better about the clothes I wear to teach now that I just consider teaching days the days when I wear clothes that (a) I like and want to feel like I am wearing in front of someone outside my house, (b) aren't too slutty or too evening-wear, and, crucially, (c) there is no c.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 6:48 PM
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483: Thanks. I was worried that there were some obvious signs about what they thought that I might be missing, but that all seems straightforward enough.

This is a class where we spend a lot of time discussing sexuality and gender roles and I am vividly aware of what I'm communicating to them. I think for that reason, I'm more comfortable in gender neutral clothing in front of the classroom. Yet, I prefer to wear tall boots and skirts and pretty shirts and interesting jewelery, so I think I must look rather schizoid in my wardrobe choices as I careen from safe to what I want and back to safe again.

Of course, I spend all this time worrying, and then conclude that they're probably not awake enough at 8 am to be thinking about it much, anyway.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 6:54 PM
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aren't too slutty or too evening-wear

Aha, this is the part I worry about! For so long, dress up = going out that I fear my sense is warped. But thanks for the advice and the reassurance - I haven't noticed any reactions to my clothing in particular or heard a peep about it. (Well, beyond a girl who told me she liked my shoes and asked where to get them).

Now, if only I had the salary to dress very nicely, then my students would be talking...


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 6:59 PM
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Yeah, I just mean that I skip the PVC dress with a pull tab and the dresses I would wear to weddings.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:08 PM
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with a pull tab

Buh?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:12 PM
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490: I'm imagining something like that plastic thread embedded in some packaging that you can pull on to open it more easily. Sorta like when you pull the thread on the Mini Babybel cheeses and suddenly Pop! they're outta the wax wrapper.

Kinda weird to think of getting a person out of their wrapper that way, but I suppose speed can be of the essence sometimes.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:17 PM
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It has a zipper all the way up the front with a nice big inviting zipper pull.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:20 PM
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489: I once attended the wedding of a colleague of my wife's at which another colleague wore a short black dress accented by a prominent zipper down the back with an oversized pull. Probably wasn't quite the impression she wanted to be making.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:20 PM
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Damn, I can't wear my stripper clothes to class? I knew I was doing something wrong with the thigh high boots, but it never occurred to me to avoid the tear-away pants.....


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:21 PM
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I had a dress like that in college--a very short hooded sleeveless dress made of jersey mesh, with a big full-length pull zipper. It was so cute, but it deserved a home with someone shorter on whom it would not look totally absurd, so I gave it to my roommate. So fun!

One of the shitty things about, like, having a job is not getting to wear my super-fun clothes too often. I went through I period when I just wore them to teach anyway (o polka-dot stiletto maryjanes! with bows!) but it wasn't worth it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:24 PM
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Probably wasn't quite the impression she wanted to be making.

How do you know it wasn't exactly the impression she wanted to be making?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:26 PM
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polka-dot stiletto maryjanes! with bows!

So, so want. And I'd wear them anyway - shoes and jewelery are one area that I let even my conservative self go wild in. But I can completely understand them not being worth it (given all my anxiety over similar choices).


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:36 PM
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496: I don't, for sure, but most of the firm was there, and she was a fairly marginal staff attorney who generally tried hard but ineffectively to attract positive attention from the partners (as one of my wife's classmates put it, "we're all trying to make partner; she's trying to make associate").


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:38 PM
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One piece of advice I haven't seen here regarding women's clothing is to buy everything from the same line so that you can mix and match (which is very handy for conferences). Most of my suit pants and jackets are from the Victoria's Secret catalog (the professional clothes there are non-skanky, and fit me perfectly) in their "seasonless stretch" fabric. I used to do the same thing with Petite Sophisticate's Collectibles line. Re: the Vicky's catalog, they're very good about returns, so you may want to order a couple sizes for fit at first, and return the ones that don't. They also make 4 different inseam lengths, so I can get one for flats and one for heels. They have fairly regular catalog sales. The downside, of course, is that they will send you multiple catalogs each month for the rest of your life.


Posted by: JRo | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:42 PM
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All this talk about clothes made me stop in at the Goodwill around the way. I was seriously tempted by this small 1970s-looking purse with a Lanvin label on it, but on examination, it had irreparable scratches in the leather on the front. On further examination, I found a diamond earring in the inside pocket. I thought it was a diamond earring, at least---and so too did the nice gentleman at the Goodwill counter, who thanked me and put it in his shirt pocket. I didn't find anything for me.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:43 PM
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I'm hoping that my recent purchases will be enough to get me to the summer. I have enough business casual dress shirts (of which 2 are blue and one is white, albeit with faint stripes) for one week and only one pair of shoes. I'll probably get another sweater and maybe another pair of pants. And there's that suit I'm unlikely to need to wear + a tie I can't tie.

If people want more variety, they should give me a raise.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:47 PM
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a tie I can't tie

?!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:53 PM
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480: I buy most of my nice stuff on sale racks or online, often at a very steep discount. Sometimes this means I have to fudge on the size. If I were to buy the same item for full-price, I'd probably have to hunt around a little more for something that fit better. But by snooping around sales, and then going to a tailor, I can find something nice, pay another $30 to get the waist and length sized, and still be better off than I would be.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:55 PM
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it never occurred to me to avoid the tear-away pants..... All my clothes are perforated for easy removal. The pant-legs and shirt-arms have convenient sections for use in progressively warmer weather.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:57 PM
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I didn't say I can't learn to tie it, but it's been years and before that, more years, since I've had to wear one.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 7:58 PM
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Seriously, eb. There are websites for tie-tying that are very good. I mastered three different knots in an hour of practice.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:00 PM
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506: You don't say. It's the kind of thing that doesn't stick with me without necessary repetition.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:05 PM
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I'm very, very disappointed that rfts didn't show up in SF wearing a PVC dress with a pull tab.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:05 PM
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It's the kind of thing that doesn't stick with me without necessary repetition.

I wear a tie maybe once every 2-3 years so I also have to look up how to tie it every time I need to wear one.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:09 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:12 PM
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501: you might want to add a nice pair of convservative corduroys that'll last you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:14 PM
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PVC dress with a pull tab.

What's the male equivalent? I mean, I'd like to dress slutty from time to time, but I don't have the first clue how to go about it.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:15 PM
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512: oh, net shirt, definitely.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:16 PM
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What's the male equivalent?

Tight jeans, motorcycle boots, a not-baggy buttondown shirt with the sleeves rolled up.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:17 PM
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514: ew!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:19 PM
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Somebody's trying to make foolishmortal look like Ryan Seacrest.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:19 PM
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I guess my suggestion isn't slutty at all. I was just trying to think of what would read as sexxaaaay to me. Seems that 'slutty' for men is going to inevitably border 'gay'. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:20 PM
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I wore corduroy pants sometimes when I was a kid but when we got a dog I had to stop. It's always shedding season for Siberian Huskies in non-mountain California and few things picked up dog hair like those pants.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:20 PM
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Somebody's trying to make foolishmortal look like Ryan Seacrest.

You're thinking of it way too metrosexual and not rocker enough.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:21 PM
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Now, leather pants and a waxed chest, that'll totally do it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:22 PM
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What's the male equivalent?
I think that may just be douchey.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:22 PM
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It's one of those things that some people know how to do instinctively.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:23 PM
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It's one of those things that some people know how to do instinctively.

That mesh shirt would look better if it were tighter.

Huh, that isn't something I ever thought I would say.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:28 PM
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AWB's comments make me wonder what the hell my students thought of the way I dressed. I did end up married to an ex-student who confessed to looking at my ass during class, but I always assumed she was an outlier. And before you degenerates leap to the conclusion that togolosh's classes have the "easy-A" option, I had no inkling until after the end of the semester that she was interested. Probably would have worked out better had I still no inkling, but that's a story for another day.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:29 PM
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I tried doing an image search for sexy men, but all I got was nudity. A search for sexy male clothing was all underwear.

IME, sexy male clothing is like sexy female clothing: basically dress clothes with some creative use of textures, colors, or patterns, and a bit more form-fitting than you'd wear in a professional environment, but not tight.

But I don't get what those chicks on the PATH from Hoboken at 3am going to Manhattan were doing in their tiny black leather corset mini-dresses and stripper heels. I don't find that very sexy, and I imagine any male equivalent would also not be sexy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:30 PM
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Was the former governor in town?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:33 PM
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525: no.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:36 PM
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The male equivalent is to be found at International Male (now confusingly located at undergear.com). Have you people no sense of tradition!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:43 PM
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509: The key to tying a tie is to remember that the starting position is always with the fat end on top of the skinny end. After that there are only a few variations. Remember which ones you already tried and which failed, and it will be only 3-5 attempts before you hit the either a Half Windsor or a Full Windsor. The latter, incidentally, is pretty much the only knot worth using. If you're going to have a symbolic cock hanging from your neck, might as well give it a respectable set of balls.

Also, when you're tying the tie bear in mind that the skinny end takes up all the slack, so start out with it at about 1/2 the desired final length.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:45 PM
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Slutty != sexy. I think my current style of dress screams "clueless programmer," and advertises an earning potential far beyond my own, which is sexy to some. I'm looking for something that indicates "moderately successful pimp." I want my clothes to say that my stable is in the single digits.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:46 PM
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Oh, and the skinny end is entirely passive - it's the fat end which does all the swirling about.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:47 PM
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Further to 528, see here.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:47 PM
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532: And before that, there was something about Finland.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:48 PM
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Not everyone can rock a full windsor, tog.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:49 PM
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So here's a problem I've been trying to figure out for a while, and this is the perfect thread for it: WTF do guys wear that's not a) a suit and tie, b) business casual, or c) T-shirt and jeans (and, I guess, d) casual button-down shirt and jeans). I've been going with c) for the past few years, largely because I work in an environment where a) and b) would be completely inappropriate, but I'm starting to feel like I'm in a rut. d) is an option, I suppose, but there are a lot of guys who dress like that around here and I'm not really sure it'd be much of an improvement. Any ideas? Any decent stores or websites I should be checking out?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:53 PM
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Have you tried adding sweaters into the mix, Josh?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 8:55 PM
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536: Yeah, but that gets back to my last question. I have a couple I got at the Gap, and a nice one from Express, but they're all kind of conservative and boring.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:00 PM
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You could go for option d) but wear somewhat nicer or more interesting button-downs. You could also get fabulous shoes.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:02 PM
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Do you have a light sweater that zips up the front? (Full zip, not a half zip.) Those are sexy.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:02 PM
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540

Have you tried sweater-vests? With ties?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:04 PM
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535: polo-y kind of shirt and corduroys?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:04 PM
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(I don't approve of Express's advice to use a sweater-vest to "dress up a T.")


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:05 PM
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534: Oh ye of little faith.

Admittedly, a Schoolboy looks better on a woman who is working the sophisticated-yet-vulnerable look, but a Full Windsor sends a clear message that she knows her knots. Which is seven kinds of flaming hot. Perhaps not the right message for class, though.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:05 PM
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You could go for option d) but wear somewhat nicer or more interesting button-downs. You could also get fabulous shoes.

Yeah, this is pretty much what I'd figured I'd end up with. The sad thing is that, given where I work and who I work with, I'll end up looking like half the other guys in the company/city. Which I guess I already do, I'll just look nicer than I do right now.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:05 PM
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I have yet to mentally de-nerdify the sweater vest. I immediately picture Urkel at the sight of the word (though I understand that there are much more fashionable versions).


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:07 PM
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539: hah, beat me to it.

Josh, listen to 539. Blume made me buy one of those and it's swell.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:07 PM
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543: I do a half windsor, usually. I have a thin neck and can't pull off the full, though I've tried!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:08 PM
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540, 542: Unfortunately, given what I do for a living, rocking a tie at work would get me looks, and not the good kind either. And since I fully agree with you WRT Express's advice...


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:08 PM
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(I don't approve of Express's advice to use a sweater-vest to "dress up a T.")

Gaybestfriend does this quite a lot, and it works well on him. I think the ensemble has to be pretty tight, though- slouchiness isn't going to cut it for that look.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:09 PM
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544: well, shit, given what city it is, if you really want to branch out, why not go for psychedelic plaids or muu-muus or full leather gear or rawhide ponchos? Nobody's going to say anything.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:09 PM
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551

535: A Utilikilt.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:09 PM
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552

Tie-dye sweater-vests with ties.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:11 PM
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548: you could wear a sports coat with, like, whatever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:11 PM
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535: (d) is basically my work costume, plus sweaters. There's quite a bit of variation available. I've been trying, slowly, to dress a bit more fashionably, as far as my budget allows, and I feel like the areas of success have been a pair of expensive jeans that make me feel awesome and led to finding a couple of pairs of inexpensive jeans that looked similar, being picky about the fit of shirts and finding a basic look of shirt that I'm comfortable with, improving my shoes, and in general weeding out the worst-fitting sweaters and such. To dress it up just a bit, I have a (intentionally slightly too small) corduroy blazer. But the fit of things, for me, makes the most difference in how I look and is the hardest part to get right, requiring more shopping than I usually have patience for.

If you can get away with a t-shirt, you can get away with some pretty cool casual button-up shirts.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:12 PM
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Do you have a light sweater that zips up the front? (Full zip, not a half zip.) Those are sexy.

I used to have a small collection of similar things, but they've all gotten worn out. You're right, I should get another one.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:13 PM
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I wore a bright orange polo shirt under a bright yellow, um, what's the word...corded sweater, that's it. Corded. Last week I wore that one day after remarking to my girlfriend that these two items of clothing I would probably never wear, having just received them for christmas, since I never wear anything in either of those colors. So wearing them together was quite the wild and crazy thing to do. It looked pretty stupid.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:13 PM
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550: See, that's the spirit. I just have no idea where I'd go *finding* most of that stuff...


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:15 PM
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557: just walk into every clothing store on haigh in succession and tell them "I want something freakin' weird!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:18 PM
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Corded? Do you mean cable knit?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:18 PM
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560

"Haight".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:19 PM
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551: You joke, but I used to work with a guy who wore one to work.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:19 PM
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Ah, no, google tells me that there is also something called a corded sweater. You learn something new every day.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:19 PM
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Man, I remember working in SF. I used to show up to work every day in full on day-glo rave gear.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:19 PM
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Maybe you should go all the way the other way, wear a tux.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:21 PM
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Oh, and 538: If you have suggestions for places to find fabulous shoes, I'm all ears. I've done surprisingly well with the shoe department at Nordstrom, but that's about it.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:21 PM
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565: dude villain's shoes on haight!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:24 PM
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Also there's some store on Hayes that we walked past that has tons 'o Cylonwoks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:24 PM
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If you can get away with a t-shirt, you can get away with some pretty cool casual button-up shirts.

So where do you shop? And do they sell stuff that'll look decent on someone with a bit of a gut?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:24 PM
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566: The place is named "Dude Villain's Shoes"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:27 PM
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566: Wow, Villains has gotten way less goth-y than the last time I looked in there.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:29 PM
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569: the place is named Villain's, dude. They have a separate storefront for shoes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:29 PM
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570: they shift with the times. They're all indie now. They were rave-y when I used to go there in the late '90s.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:31 PM
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I would love to try the tie & sweater vest & skirt combo, but I think it's inevitable that it would look like Scary Aged Catholic Schoolgirl.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:44 PM
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Scary Aged Catholic Schoolgirl = hott.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 9:57 PM
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575

How do schoolmarms dress?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:00 PM
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Cable knit sweater seems to be the same thing as corded sweater. According to google image search.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:03 PM
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571 et al: Shopping in the haight involves a submission to whatever's trendy. Stores don't last long there unless they provide cachet. Far better to either go to Telegraph Ave or Pacific Heights, depending. Why go with half measures?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:07 PM
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577: I disagree with your assessment. Certainly Villains tries to stay trendy, but half of 'em are thrift stores, and the other half are full of bongs and tie dye crap. It's only the third half that's trendy, and even then it's that weird San Francisco trendy that burbles along semi-oblivious to the rest of the world.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:16 PM
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The male equivalent. Sorry if the conversation's moved on.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:34 PM
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Napster killed the Haight, imo, just as sure as speed. The Amoeba used to be cool, the center of a scene, now it's an artifact. There used to be vinyl stores up and down the block. Now? Same old junkies, same tourist shit, less redeeming value. Of course I say this from 3000 miles away, and I'd be happy to be wrong, so correct me.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:35 PM
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Also there's some store on Hayes that we walked past that has tons 'o Cylonwoks.

Yeah, that's the one I was thinking of.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:37 PM
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foolishmortal would probably drop dead if he saw Alembic, but I like it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:38 PM
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583

Gimme Shoes! I miss that shoe store.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:39 PM
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Bulo is nearby, too. You're probably thinking of that one, actually, IIRC, it's the one the carries a lot of Cydwoqs.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:40 PM
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580: yeah I dunno, I was just there, and between the art for sale in the Giant Robot store and some of the clothing stores, it still seemed pretty fun to me. Besides, Amoeba's still fun; they have all that used crap! It's just less financially painful now.

And I could do without some of the three-records-two-t-shirts-and-a-hat stores that proliferated during the dotcom boom. Stores that are actually in it to sell things are more fun.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:41 PM
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Thank you ben. I've long searched for an outfit that expressed my identity as a "walking turn-on." Remember, if I am able to procure such a suit, you will be partially responsible for the swarm of lust-formed progeny that will inevitably follow. I shall name them "Ben," and they will obey me.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 10:43 PM
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sexy cool crinkle cloth!


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-26-09 11:29 PM
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LB @ 382:379: If by 'shoe dye' you mean 'magic marker' I do that.

If by 'magic marker' you mean an actual magic marker, no, that's not it.

I usually use the leather dye on page two (because it also works on jackets and the like) but the scuff cover on page three will work too. (Kiwi has relabeled the saddlesoap and mink oil cans as some green outdoorsy shit. Stop with the modernizing.)

max
['Divots build character!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 1:43 AM
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Tight jeans, motorcycle boots, a not-baggy buttondown shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

So, Jeremy Clarkson, then.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 3:01 AM
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589: some douchebag, anyhow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 3:05 AM
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I only really worry about when I have to face a jury:

Carp:

A lawyer in our firm had a jury trial against a good friend. As the lawyer in my firm rose to give his closing, his friend discretely gave him the zip up your zipper motion.

After giving his closing with a folder in front of his crotch, he sits down only to realize that his friend had just played a joke on him.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 6:39 AM
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To the original post, I recommend flying to Thailand and getting a tailor to make you an original bespoke wardrobe. You people can't wait to see my new black suit. That, plus two shirts, plus three pairs of pants and one suit with skirt and pants and blouse for Mrs. Wrongshore = $450. Coulda got a bit lower, but it's good stuff.

(Add $15 for when I decided to have him replace the black lining of the jacket with royal lavender.)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:12 AM
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535: I recommend option a). As long as you're not cold and unapproachable. Then you'll be, like, "You know that guy Josh who wears suits all the time? Yeah, he's actually cool!" And then other people will wear suits, and you'll be in charge.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:24 AM
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Re: fashion advice for Josh in 535, sometimes I consciously wear all black. These days I'd have a tie on too and I don't own a solid black one so I go for color for contrast, but in a less formal situation, no contrast needed. Black slacks, khakis or jeans; tailored shirt or sweater or t-shirt; black dress shoes or mostly-black sneakers; whatever works for where you work. Doing it on a regular basis would mean something different, but now and then I think it stands out, which is nice.

I have a little niggling fear that this makes me look like a tool, but so what, right? That fear is due in part to a post and comment thread here a while back about some really dorky picture of a guy in a black shirt. Anyone remember the thread I'm talking about? The dorkiest thing about the picture was simply the dorm room bunkbed in the background.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 7:33 AM
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Perhaps it's too late, but Cyrus, you're not some kind of mid-twenties IT guy, right? Particularly not a white guy with medium dark brown hair which isn't quite long enough to be long but isn't short either? And little tiny wire-rimmed glasses? Because if you are then yes, your outfit as described does make you look like a tool. (But you're not, right? If you are, I apologize...but it just had to be said.)

People who are not the pinkish variety of white person usually look better in black than pinkish white people do.

I would suggest (if one absolutely must wear a black dress shirt) some regular-fit grey jeans (not the skinny sort that are trendy right now) and a nice pair of non-sport black boots, or maybe black converse if you're into that sort of thing. Possibly some dark grey wool pants. Absolutely not grey chino/khaki-ish things.

The trouble with all-black...well, there are two troubles with all-black. The first is that you may look as if you think you're really badass; the second is that you may look like you work in HR and spend all your money on the tanning booth and highlighting your medium-brown hair.

(And I actually know one person who is really, genuinely, carries-a-knife-in-her-boot-in-a-plausible-way badass. She does not wear head to toe black.)

Outfits with multiple shades of grey, as it were, have much of the effect of black while being easier to wear, assemble and maintain.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 10:51 AM
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People who are not the pinkish variety of white person usually look better in black than pinkish white people do.

Really? Damn. (Actually, I don't wear all that much black day-to-day, but I do head for it when I'm dressing up. And I am nothing if not pinkish.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 11:06 AM
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Well, it's not like it's impossible to wear black if one is a pinkish white person--I wear a good deal of black myself. But to my mind looking good in black requires fairly strong coloring rather than the neutral/pinky kind I'm stuck with--otherwise the black is just overwhelming.

I usually wear black with grey, because grey is the black of pinkish Scandinavians, or at least it should be.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 11:20 AM
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fairly strong coloring rather than the neutral/pinky kind I'm stuck with

Ah. If that's what you're thinking, I'm probably okay -- while I'm pink in the sense of not having any melanin at all inbetween my freckles, I'm red&white rather than neutral.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 11:22 AM
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595: Well, I'm 26, but I was an English major in college; the closest I come to IT at work is Microsoft Office, and at home is World of Warcraft. I'm white, and I have brown hair, although I'd call it dark rather than "medium dark," but that's nitpicking. My hair is definitely short, at least at the moment, but I got it cut yesterday. My glasses aren't tiny, and they have half-rims.

What do you mean by "the pinkish variety of white person"? I definitely don't have much of a tan. And what does HR have to do with anything? I guess that's a stereotype I'm unfamiliar with.

So it sounds like I'm over your toolish line or at least nudging it, but... meh. My job is not one where bad style could cost me opportunities for advancement. I definitely don't act like I think I'm really badass. I don't do this on a regular basis; maybe once every two weeks at most. And while there might be a social cost to looking stupid, there's also a benefit to standing out now and then, so I figure it's a wash and I might as well have my fun.

Although maybe having a tie is what really makes this outfit work (I might not have mentioned wearing all black at all except for the fact that I happened to do it this morning), because a few hours ago I got a compliment from my boss on how I looked. FWIW.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 11:31 AM
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looking good in black requires fairly strong coloring

Well that's hardly fair, because I think that having strong coloring is also what makes colors look good on people.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 11:36 AM
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601

Life isn't fair, Megan. Sorry.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 11:36 AM
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Cyrus wins the thread. You like what you're wearing? Then wear it! Other people think it makes you look like a tool? Meh.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 11:42 AM
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603

greylife is the black of pinkish Scandinavians


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 11:45 AM
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I am shopping on the haight for the first time in about 15 years. I just found out about the kezar parking lot just off of stanyan:

http://www.superpages.com/bp/San-Francisco-CA/ABC-Parking-L0122490339.htm

It makes it super easy to go to Amoeba while avoiding the rest of the haight.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:07 PM
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599: I can tell that we'll have to agree to differ. It's just...it's just that somehow all-black formal clothes just carry this vibe of both trying-too-hard and obliviousness. Mall gothiness, kind of. Synthetic menace and power.

A genuinely sharp haircut and glasses would indeed compensate, I grant you.

What sort of tie is this?

I can just barely imagine an all-black outfit working well with an open collar and no tie, everything fitting properly but erring if at all on the side of looseness.

The most compelling-looking fellow I know dresses in what I can only assume that the Free Shelf people throw away as unusable, so yes, individual results vary considerably.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:07 PM
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In honor of this thread, I dressed like a crazed Catholic schoolgirl today. Effect so far, one compliment on my boots.

My father once took advantage of a round-the-world business trip to get a suit made in London, and then copied in different fabrics in Hong Kong (for a frrrrraction of the price). I don't think he managed to pick up his own suiting in Italy, which would have been the trifecta.

I also know people who have decent stuff made by online tailors in India, although not to the above standards.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:10 PM
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I add that pinkish white people are, like me, low-contrast white people--medium-colored hair, medium-colored eyes, skin with a consistent pink undertone. "Meh" would be the very word for our coloring. We most emphatically do not convey menace and allure, at least not without substantial hair-dye/make-up/careful attention to dress.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:10 PM
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Actually, I don't wear all that much black day-to-day, but I do head for it when I'm dressing up. And I am nothing if not pinkish.

I think black dress-up clothes are the exception because one can make up for a lack of strong coloring with make-up, hair, and grooming choices. It's also recognized as a formal color, so it works just fine.

But I think black looks good on people with pinky undertones in their skin. It's the yellow undertones people who are better off with some shade of gray.

I wouldn't think of someone in head to toe black as trying to convey that they were badass.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:13 PM
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Why does wearing black mean that you're attempting to convey menace and allure? Black is a simple, all purpose neutral for me and while I rarely wear all black it's not as though I'm setting out to show people that I'm a bad-ass when it's the majority of my outfit.

(Then again, I'm more of a brownish person, so maybe this only applies to the pinky-white? I'm confused).


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:16 PM
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Totally pawned.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:17 PM
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I wouldn't think of someone in head to toe black as trying to convey that they were badass.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:18 PM
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605: red and silverish diagonal stripes today, four inches at the widest point.

this vibe of both trying-too-hard and obliviousness

Ah, maybe that's the thing. No one has ever accused me of trying too hard, except in relationships. FBOFW.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:21 PM
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I'm going to guess that red-and-silver stripes don't really convey that you want to scribble on the world with the black crayon of your soul (menacingly.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:25 PM
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It's not that there's anything wrong with black, DL, it's that there's something wrong with all-black. There's something odd about full-body monotone any color. White, blue, red, yellow, brown, black. It's going to stand out. And people in all black are usually trying to convey some sort of a message, unless they're just completely clueless.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:25 PM
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"Meh" would be the very word for our coloring.

And you think "meh" is best accented with grey attire? I'm as meh as they make 'em, rather like grey, but have repeatedly been informed that it makes me look "washed out." And no, I have not been repeatedly informed as to what would make me look not washed out aside from a couple of weeks in the sun.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:26 PM
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616

615: blue.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:27 PM
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608: Perhaps it's a regional thing. 'Round here the people who wear all-black are pretty much crusty punks (ornamented with patches, though; generally a successful look); mall goths (I have a soft spot for them, but they look silly); women in lower-level admin positions, especially corporate (black ponte knit; not my favorite); and IT guys. There's a strong suggestion of "but black is cool, man" that makes me uneasy.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:28 PM
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617: Here's it's probably "middle aged academic who is probably now buying his own clothes"; "grad student who doesn't care", "man who thinks he is Johnny Cash", which can be toolish, but not in a menacing sort of way. Maybe "goth kid." But in all of those cases it's not the color black as much as the cut, fabric & design of clothes.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:32 PM
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611: Apo captures it perfectly: the ill-advisedness of black when one has meh coloring, the wishing to appear badass while secretly being afraid of looking ridiculous, the obliviousness...

See, if one is funny-looking (and I am, and almost everyone I've ever been really attracted to is, at least a little bit) one may be at a bit of a loss as to what to wear. Aha, I'll wear black, one may think. It's simple, conveys no gaiety (and who could feel, er, gay in this corrupt world?), and by its very sobriety won't make me look silly. Perversely, it them proceeds to make you look very silly indeed.

Cyrus, I admit that the tie sounds nice and like virtually the only sort of tie which would really make good sense with an all-black outfit.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:36 PM
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It's not that there's anything wrong with black, DL, it's that there's something wrong with all-black.

Hmm, this does not square with my image of all black - it seems to me to be the one color (or non-color) that you could get away doing this with. I don't, because I'm cursed with pieces that are subtly varied shades of black and can't be bothered to do something about it since it's not high on my fashion priority list.

Maybe, as Frowner puts it, it is regional. For me, it conveys a certain sort of art school, fashiony- vibe which may not always be a good thing but it's also not anywhere near the realm of "bad ass." It's more about the type of clothes worn (a trench coat vs. skinny pants and a tight tee) than the color that distinguishes wannabe bad ass from actually looks rather adorable rocker chick.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:37 PM
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Damn, I keep getting Cala-pawned. I should probably stop commenting. And go write a lecture.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:38 PM
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615: A deep, attractive charcoal grey looks very nice on me, at least. Mutes the pinkishness, looks good with the hazel-ish eyes, does not overwhelm the medium-brown hair. I'm wearing a charmingly oversized charcoal-grey sweater as I type.

618: Middle-aged academics in Minnesota wear a lot more brown, I think. And really regrettable shoes. Grad students? I suppose all-black would be an improvement for some of them. I do know a grad student fellow who has a pair of the most bizarre patent leather combat boots, and they're black. When last I saw them he was wearing them with fatigues, though. (Two-thirds of the room coveted them immensely; the remaining perform-masculinity-correctly-or-die straight men in the room mocked him in a way I didn't really like.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:41 PM
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There's something odd about full-body monotone any color.

Except green.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:42 PM
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613
don't really convey that you want to scribble on the world with the black crayon of your soul

Ah hah, it seems my ruse has worked. Excellent.

614: This, I can definitely see. Sure, monochromaticity is weird. I'd add the following caveats, though: solid black isn't all that weird compared to say, solid red or green or blue; and sometimes being weird is good.

619: Thanks.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:47 PM
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616 -- Hmm. Makes sense actually. You know what also helps? Photoshop! Yay marketing person who every so kindly took liberties with my photo for the website! (Wearing charcoal gray, Frowner -- it apparently didn't help me as much as it does you.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:50 PM
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Boy, it's amazing what a good professional photographer can do, isn't it? I don't mind the way I look at all in person, but I look like hell in pictures -- the bright-pink skin tone just comes off all blotchy and weird, and my nose makes the family relationship with Tip O'Neill apparent. We've got a friend who does portraits for a living, and while I'm not sure what he does to pictures of me, they look great: I'm still not a model, but I look like I fondly imagine I look, rather than like casual snapshots make me look.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 12:54 PM
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Boy, it's amazing what a good professional photographer can do, isn't it?

Even without retouching or technical gimmickry, I'm always amazed at how different people get such different shots of me. I'm quite certain this is reflective of how the photographer feels about the subject and the subject about the photographer.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 1:00 PM
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What about pinkish people with blackish hair? Can we wear black?

Actually I think the closest I usually get to monochromatic is grey sweater with different-grey chinos.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 1:24 PM
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626: Two things make a huge difference in getting away from the look of "snapshots" (there are lots more, but these two are immediate, huge differences). First, use light to advantage (e.g. realize that the little flash on the front of your point and shoot is a terrible source), and second, color balancing the light that was there correctly.

Both of these things are typically incorrect if you use and auto-everything point and shoot and let it do the processing.

Pros will do this as a matter of course. Di's right though, a big reason a lot of professionally done portraiture is technically ok but overall only so-so is that they don't know the subject personally, and it can show.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 1:29 PM
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In addition to 629 - don't use a digital compact.*

If you were to design a camera to take the worst possible pictures of people, you'd design something that looked a lot like a digital compact, i..e something with a tiny sensor, huge depth of field, short focal length lens, high levels of noise, and a tiny flash mounted right next to the lens.

You want shallow depth of field and a long-ish focal length, for example. Neither of which are even possible with the majority of digital compact cameras.

You want your flash, if you are using it, as far away from the lens as possible. Off camera, or bounced off the ceiling or some other reflective surface.

Also, basic compositional stuff and use of light, as soup biscuit says.

If you see fashion photographers work they are often really quite surprisingly far away from their subject. Not so far they can't make a connection, but far enough that they can make use of lenses that flatter the face.

* there are exceptions.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 1:37 PM
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You can get a sense of how fashion/style clueless I am from the fact that until I read this thread, it had never even occurred to me that skin colour/tone was a determinant of what colours are suitable for you. Does this apply for men as well as women? Because it's not like men have a whole lot of skin showing normally.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:28 PM
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Does this apply for men as well as women? Because it's not like men have a whole lot of skin showing normally.

Yes, the skin on your face is the most relevant bit.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:43 PM
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630 is true. You can do good things with a digital compact, but you have to know what you're working againsts.

I meant "use of light" to include flash/bounce flash etc.

I think the fashion industry goes through cycles too, lenses get longer and shorter ... but they're always typically "long" compared to a normal lens, for the reasons taMM states. The difference is using an 85 or 105 vs a 135 or 200 (or 300 or even 400). Of course all rules to be broken, etc..


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:45 PM
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"Yes, the skin on your face is the most relevant bit."

OK, so what works for pasty ginger blokes?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 2:56 PM
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634: What colour are your eyes? Would you say your skin's undertones are warm (yellowish) or cool (pinkish)?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 3:04 PM
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what works for pasty ginger blokes?

For me, dark greens, tans/browns, some yellows, and navy blue.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 3:09 PM
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Brown and pinkish.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 3:09 PM
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637: I would say some sort of medium to charcoal gray instead of black for a suit colour, or brown if you can get away with it (but brown, for men, is considered unsuitable at many offices, I'm pretty sure). Or even a deep olive green, which again, is probably considered not quite the thing in many offices. (The range of acceptable colours for men is quite narrow, isn't it?). For shirts, sweaters, etc: "autumn" colours, but nothing too orange: rust, brown, medium to dark green, teal blue (not too loud, though, more of a dusky teal).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 3:23 PM
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Not coincidentally, the acceptable [protective] coloration for pasty-faced ginger blokes is tweed. Sneaks in some actual color, but is so durable and scratchy as to be `manly'. Inconveniently, you technically don't wear it in `town', do you?

...There's got to be someone making silk tweed for warm climates and heated offices.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 3:43 PM
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(but brown, for men, is considered unsuitable at many offices, I'm pretty sure). Or even a deep olive green, which again, is probably considered not quite the thing in many offices. (The range of acceptable colours for men is quite narrow, isn't it?).

This is not really a 'dress for success' tip, just something that would make me happy, but I'd like to see more men being bolder about color. Not crazy -- I'm not inciting anyone to ruin their professional life by buying a safety-orange suit -- but just ignoring the pressure (which does exist, MC's not wrong) to keep it ultra-bland by avoiding things like brown and olive, or whatever happens to be flattering on you.

If the clothes aren't ugly, I think you get points for being self-assured by wearing something a little bit unusual. And I'll enjoy looking at you more.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 3:57 PM
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That was me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 3:57 PM
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there is more color in summer weight suits. Also, one can have "fun" with glen plaid, or various pinstripes.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 4:01 PM
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I'm not inciting anyone to ruin their professional life by buying a safety-orange suit

I've a friend with a traffic-cone orange corduroy suit. Just the thing to make an impression on the new office, don't you think?


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 4:01 PM
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Jesus Christ, you couldn't pay me to wear a green suit. I don't know what they signify in the US, but over here they're only worn by Tucker Carlson types. Dark green shirts are fine, although you don't see many of them about. I had one at school.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 4:04 PM
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643: I'm not inciting anyone to ruin their professional life by buying a safety-orange suit

Ah, the all-purpose Tennessee outfit. Wear it to cheer the Vols on Saturday, go hunting on Sunday and pick up trash along the highway during the rest of the week.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 4:36 PM
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Meanwhile I have spent the evening picking out a pair of wellies. I'm so glad I don't have a proper job.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 4:39 PM
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re: 644

I used to know a guy in Glasgow who used to rock about in 3 piece tweed suits. Green included.

It worked for him. But he was a working class, uber-lefty guy [Lenin beard, the lot], so it didn't really have those implications.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 4:42 PM
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Orange AND earth tones.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 4:44 PM
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Also, one can have "fun" with glen plaid, or various pinstripes.

I'm imagining this said in a voice hinting at licentious pleasures. "Sometimes... the shoes have tassles."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 4:46 PM
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648: Suitable for concealing yourself in a bonfire.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 4:47 PM
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Me again.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 4:47 PM
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Traffic cone orange is one of my favorite colors. That and hrududu yellow.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 4:51 PM
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650: No, it's totally about making yourself a more effective hunter, honest!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 5:01 PM
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hrududu

Sayn lay narn, Marli?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 5:05 PM
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652, 654: I've forgotten most of the words, but "tharn" is a part of my family's dialect to the point that I forget it's not English, and I can't expect strangers to know what it means.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 5:09 PM
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Yes! "Tharn" is extremely useful.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 5:12 PM
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654 - You got me. I have no idea WTF you are saying. I pretty much tap out after hrududu, tharn, and -rah.

Though as in 655, hrududu is so deeply embedded in my family's vocabulary that I'm pretty sure my mom at least couldn't communicate the concept of big engine driven machine without using it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 5:53 PM
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Showing that I read the book at about ten or so, one thing I do remember is "Silflay hraka." It's not all that often you want to tell someone to eat shit in the persona of a rabbit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 5:56 PM
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And I think 654 is something like "Why so sad, doe?" Isn't it what Bigwig says to Hyzenthlay in Woundwort's warren?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 5:58 PM
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Jesus Christ, you couldn't pay me to wear a green suit.

Oh right, suits. I don't really wear them. I just meant colors generally. I wouldn't wear a yellow suit.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 6:02 PM
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"Is groundsel nice, Mother?"

It's something Fiver says in his sleep at one point.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 6:02 PM
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I've a friend with a traffic-cone orange corduroy suit. Just the thing to make an impression on the new office, don't you think?

Don't brag about friends like that.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:12 PM
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I had no idea green suits had these kind of associations. I have a kind of greenish suit, and it makes me look like... a dude in a suit. I also have a yellow, furry suit. Not so much for work.

Hey, apostropher, when do men's spring collections get released?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:19 PM
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I have a very shiny olive green suit with pinkish undertones. I don't consider it very professional, although, oddly (evidence in favor of 640?) I get compliments on it every time I wear it. (Which is only when everything else is dirty, and usually not even then.) The compliments seem sincere, even.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:22 PM
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Oh, no wait, that was my last olive green suit. I'm not sure anyone ever complimented that one. The one I have now, which receives the compliments, is less shiny (although still somewhat unprofessionally shiny) with blueish undertones.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:24 PM
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I also have a yellow, furry suit.

TMI, dude.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:25 PM
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I hadn't realized that "cydwoq" is pronounced "sidewalk". Lame. And apparently they do go on sale.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 8:31 PM
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Don't brag about friends like that.

Dear god, I really thought that there would only be ONE suit like that, and now I am sadly disabused of that notion.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 01-27-09 9:28 PM
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