Changing my look

Discussion in 'The Haberdashery' started by breadstick, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. I have, for a long time, despised the way people present themselves to the world. Since I've discovered wet shaving, I only leave the house unshaven if I'm working in the garage or yard and need to get supplies and haven't showered. My wife recently commented that, even if I'm only going to the grocery store, I'm always well put together (which consists of of clean not-outrageously faded jeans, Iron Ranger boots, a decent shirt, and a saddleback belt). The major push for this is seeing people at a restaurant in sweatpants or the slobbing equivalent.

    I have the start of a few things, but I want to step it up. I have some corduroy pants, some canvas-type pants, some plaid shirts and such, and nice casual-type sweaters. I have found that my brown Iron Ranger boots literally work for every single outfit I own (even my gray pants) so I think those will work for most everything I get. I want to get a few casual-type suits for when I go out with my wife (decent restaurant type places are about a fancy as we usually get). I am in money saving mode for this year (some unfortunate events put me in more debt than I am comfortable having), but I know there are good tailors around St. Louis, MO that will make good suits for a decent price. I'm looking for the traditional Darren Stevens type suits (I prefer a classic look) so I can wear these to a movie and dinner with my wife as well as a wedding or a stage performance if I need to dress it up further. I wear my uniform more than anything and I'm in pajama pants and a t-shirt at home, so I should be able to get away with three suits. I want black, a light gray, and either blue or dark brown. Again, this won't happen until next summer 2014 earliest, but I want to do this right and do it once, so I'm starting the planning now. I get a LOT of clothing sale information from the Cool Material website and I might jump on some small things but I'm small and off-the-rack suits just don't fit me the way I want, so getting a suit made is just about the only option for something I plan on wearing for as many years as the stitches hold.

    This is usually where I would curse all you enablers for leading me to this, but I want to thank you gentlemen for helping me step up my game. I am old enough to realize that I don't want to be part of the problem any longer, so it's time to do something. It'll be a long time in the making, but better late than never. I'm working with what I have to ease the transition now and I see it going pretty well.
  2. Hey, I didn't realize you were in St. Louis!

    Sorry though... I've got no advice for you. I'm in the process of stepping up my own game.
  3. I've been considering a similar post as of late. I'm in that mode as well of pursuing a more gentlemanly image. I wish I had advice, however, I just have more questions than anything. Best of luck on your change though and be sure to post up your changes for us!

    Also, glad to see another Missourian! I'm a little ways south of St Louis (Cape Girardeau area) but do make it up to StL throughout the year.
  4. I recently found my self "stepping up my game" as well. Changing the way I go out, unless it is something I am doing around the house. SWMBO will make a comment "why are you all dressed up to go to the store". Not that I was sloppy before just not as "put together". I attribute a lot of that to this forum.
  5. why can't you buy a suit that fits just a bit big and have it taken in or let out depending on the area? that's what i do.

    I typically buy my suits on sale and always keeping an eye out as I have a difficult time finding stuff that will fit me without issue off the racks. So if i find something that fits off the rack, i try to buy a second

    Find a decent tailor that will pin you up and you'll be good. Some bigger retail stores may even do it for a very small fee.
  6. CRG


    Great post - like others, I've also been trying to dress a bit nicer, though I'm not sure exactly where to look for inspiration. Is there a resource (book, website, etc.) where one can go to learn about classic styles, rules of style, etc? I've taken some inspiration from posts in the Haberdashery, but I'm looking for more. I like the idea of having a few high quality garments - pants, shoes, shirts, sweaters and maybe a jacket or two, but how to put it all together is a mystery to me. I just picked up some Red Wing Beckman's, so I have the casual shoe side covered.
  7. Doc4

    Doc4 Moderator Emeritus Contributor

    First off, congrats on your dedication to stepping your game up. :thumbup1:

    Now, may I suggest a bit of footwear-game-up-stepping, too? Owning a pair of Redwing Gentleman Travellers as I do, I can attest to the quality of their footwear, but ... they are far clunkier than you'd want a good suit-wearing shoe to be. (They'd work for the more casual aspects, but only barely.) Besides, you will need black shoes for that black suit, so you might as well get "real" dress shoes rather than making casual boots try to do too much.

    Since you mostly wear other clothing and the suits will be for occasional wear, three should do just fine. May I suggest that instead of black, you go for midnight blue? It's going to be much less common than black (which "everyone" will have), and will be just as good or better for evenings, and much better in daytime. BTW, midnight blue is the "other acceptable" version, besides black, for tuxedos, and it is said to look "blacker than black" under the artificial lights of the evening.

    Light grey ... go for it. Get it made in a lighter, summer-appropriate fabric. Prepare for a long, outdoor, July wedding where you will spend a great deal of time baking in the afternoon sun. (Not that you can't wear it hundreds of other times in cooler weather, but ... there's your extreme.)

    Instead of the blue or brown suit (both fine choices) may I suggest instead ... a navy blue blazer. (Well, "odd jacket", since I do not recommend the brass buttons.) This will give you a slightly less formal option than another suit ... dress it up with proper dress slacks ... dress it down with chinos or chords ... or jeans if you must ... so that you can tweak your outfit a bit more if the need arises for that flexibility.

    I like your "do it once ... right" mentality. Find the tailor in town you want to go with, and (unless he retires or turns out to not do a good job) stick with him. Each MTM suit will be better "for you" than the last, as he tweaks his understanding of what fits you. So, get one suit made at a time, rather than all three.

    Consider getting two pairs of pants made for each suit. That's the way it used to be done all the time. Pants wear out faster than jackets, and are the cheapest half of the suit, so ... getting two pair made will roughly double the lifespan of your suit. (No, you can't go back ten years form now and ask him to make another pair of pants to match the suit ... if he's actually still not retired yet ... as it will be virtually impossible to match the "dye batch" of the suit material.
  8. I'd suggest looking at Dappered or Effortless Gent for starters. Some of their stuff is too "fancy" for me but it's a good jumping off point.
  9. strop

    strop Moderator Emeritus

    Doc4 beat me to it, but I was also going to suggest a sport coat or blazer that you could dress up or down.

    My only experience with MTM is with the Tom James Co. I lived in St. Louis for many years and can give you a name of the rep.

    I've dropped about 2 sizes in the last 6 months, and am planning on taking a sport coat or two to a tailor on Brentwood south of 41. If it works, I'll give you the name of the place!:biggrin1:
  10. I also agree with adding a blazer to go with more casual pants, and foregoing the black suit for some other color. I also agree you will need a conservative, black "suit shoe" such as a cap toe blucher.
    (I only recently learned that wingtips are considered less fancy than cap toes and thus cap toes should be worn with suits).

    A couple of sites and forums you might want to visit are

    Ask Andy

  11. Some I have found helpful...
    Black Tie Guide Ok, I know you weren't asking about tuxedos! But what a great web site!
    Esquire's Black Book Fall 2012
    Esquire The Handbook of Style: A Man's Guide to Looking Good
    Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion by Flusser

    I've read the last two. Fairly inexpensive books, learned a lot from both. Spending enormous amounts is not a prerequisite for men's style.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  12. Avoid styleforum like the plague. All that site does is make you feel bad wearing anything that doesn't cost $100 plus. They consider Allen Edmonds entry level shoes for jebus sake.
  13. I'm clean shaven and immaculately tailored during the week and enjoy being unshaven and wear my Adidas sweats on the weekends.
  14. start at and from there you'll find dozens of excellent, like-minded blogs in which to link.
  15. Thank you all for the great advice. Like I said, I have plenty of time before I am in comfortable putting somewhat significant money towards this, so all these research links are greatly appreciated.

    I have read lots on Dappered and they have great ideas and tips, but I love Cool Material. They not only post amazing sales from reputable dealers (like J Crew and Jos. A. Banks) and high end things I normally wouldn't know about, but a lot of things you can get locally from places like The Gap and Target, they will have someone actually try on and take pictures so they can tell you if it runs big/small or doesn't look like the advertisement.

    Also, to answer Global_Dev's question, I have tried lots of off-the-rack suits but I'm 5'4" and the pants are always too baggy, even if they fit in the waist. I understand that they make the suits for an average height person and they generally have thicker legs, but it just doesn't work for me. I have found that I am on the very top of the children's suit size chart and I have a Calvin Klein suit from Burlington Coat Factory that is acceptable, but I want to get something more tailored to my frame that fits like a suit is supposed to. I have found, in my increasingly old age (only 33) that I'm tired of settling only to buy the same thing again in a year or so. This is why I got the Iron Rangers and my Saddleback belt (which I adore).
  16. unless it's a tuxedo, resist the urge to buy a black suit.
  17. Agree!!
  18. I think you've all talked me out of the black suit. I think I'll go with the recommended deep blue. It still seems good enough for dress occasions but can still be dressed down if need be. I think I'll probably get vests with all the suits to make them more dressed up when need be.
  19. First, I'd like to say that I too commend your decision - far too many people wear shower shoes and gym clothes in public these days, at least for my taste. That said, many people confuse style (timeless) and fashion (fleeting), and will, as Greek Trojan stated, tell you that it takes $10000 to build a very basic wardrobe (quite untrue.) I typically buy one or two articles of fine clothing in a any given month because in doing so I continue to build upon a nice wardrobe in a reasonable amount of time that is composed of clothes that I appreciate and enjoy wearing. Truly quality clothes (well and properly built, not just mass produced by slaves in a sweat shop and adorned with a flashy label) will last you a lifetime, with proper care, so taking the time to learn how to recognize quality made clothing will serve you well your whole like. Flusser's book is a great place to start, as is your local mens clothier (not Jos. A Bank or Men's Wearhouse, but the local place that is run by one of two old gentlemen, probably downtown in an old storefront. hopefully you have one left) Anyone employed in such an establishment will be more than happy to teach you timeless sartorial basics and will be able to help you build a wardrobe that you will feel comfortable in (very important and often overlooked) and therefore look good in as well. A large part of looking good is feeling good about the way you look, so take time to learn what you, specifically you, like and enjoy wearing and put less faith in what is "fashionable" at the moment. You'll look and feel fantastic all the time. Personal style takes a little effort, but you'll know when you find it and you'll be happy to spent the time and effort.

    - Randy
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  20. Doc4

    Doc4 Moderator Emeritus Contributor

    +1 on the "avoid Styleforum" ... well, unless you like that sort of thing. It's a lot less "gentlemanly" there than here.

    Hey, birds of a feather and courses for horses and all that ... not everyone is interested in the B&B way of doing things ... that's fine. But if you like the atmosphere here, you'll probably find SF too rude. (Mind you, I got lots of good info there myself ... but ... )

    You "ought to have" as one of your three suits a very dark suit that would be perfect for evenings out and quasi-semi-formal (one step below "go rent a tux") events. Black would be fine, but midnight blue ... don't let the tailor talk you into navy ... would be better ... and would be better in the daytime ... this suit can do double-duty as your "winter" daytime suit as well.

    (If you go onto Styleforyum and search for "black suit" you will find many threads of great length where they rail against them like they were the devil incarnate. Let me summarise as best I can that Proustian volume ... "black does not look as good as dark blue or charcoal in daytime natural light ... most black suits out there are cheap and ill-fitting suits from cheap retailers and so the black suit has become the hallmark of the guy who doesn't really know what he's doing and just walked into Men's Warehouse (bad) and bought his first suit. Use the search function, n00b, there are lots of threads on this already, just read them already, don't start another thread about this. Yada Yada yada." Sorry, got a little "SF" on ya there. Starting a new thread is just fine; this is a chat forum, not Wkipedia.)

    If you prefer a charcoal suit to the midnight blue, that's okay too. But IMHO since you will be having these made, and since midnight blue is very seldom seen, go for that one ... odds are you will be the only guy you know who owns one.

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