Sartorial Steppin' Up

Music, books, movies, TV, games, hobbies, food, and potent potables. And forum games! Pour a drink, put on your smoking jacket, light a pipe (of whatever), and settle in.
User avatar
Jake
Posts: 2573
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 18:38

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by Jake » 27 Feb 2018, 17:48

Thanks for the advice, everyone! I just have so many noob questions.

I've got two suits in my new size (charcoal grey and blue). I did braces before, mostly because I had a big ol' belly that would hang over my belts and looked awful, and braces helped keep it contained. Now, though, belts are treating me much more kindly. Is there any difference in "acceptability"/formality if I opt for braces or belts?

Also, I've seen various websites saying I should get rid of my white socks and wear some other color with my jeans and my new brown leather casual shoes. Brown? Black? Blue? Patterned or plain?

And pocket squares. Are they still a thing? What level of "formal" needs a pocket square? And what part of the outfit are they supposed to match/contrast with?
"TIL that it's genetically impossible for whales to have evolved from leg-having ancestors, millions of scientists are signing a petition to stop the teaching of evolution and evolution isn't real because Nazis wanted to kill all the Jews. Alternately, I met a moron at the museum." -- TIO

User avatar
Jake
Posts: 2573
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 18:38

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by Jake » 27 Feb 2018, 18:08

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
27 Feb 2018, 15:32
First, what is your objective in building a new wardrobe? Other than, obviously, needing new clothes.
This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer. Needing new clothes isn't the reason, really, it's the excuse -- I mean, if it were just about needing new clothes, I could easily just go to Wal-Mart and buy more jeans and t-shirts and use them to cover my filthy body.

But I've decided that this is an opportunity to be a better-dressed person all-round, because I like the novelty of looking (sort of) good, and I want my wardrobe to reinforce that. I've also gotten into a career path that depends on strangers taking me seriously, and I can't dispute that first impressions matter along those lines... and I never know when I'm going to be giving that first impression. I suppose it's a little bit celebratory as well -- I've changed my relationship with food, and now I want to change my relationship with slovenliness. :)
"TIL that it's genetically impossible for whales to have evolved from leg-having ancestors, millions of scientists are signing a petition to stop the teaching of evolution and evolution isn't real because Nazis wanted to kill all the Jews. Alternately, I met a moron at the museum." -- TIO

User avatar
Jadagul
Posts: 6713
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 18:51

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by Jadagul » 27 Feb 2018, 19:01

Jake wrote:
27 Feb 2018, 17:48
Thanks for the advice, everyone! I just have so many noob questions.

I've got two suits in my new size (charcoal grey and blue). I did braces before, mostly because I had a big ol' belly that would hang over my belts and looked awful, and braces helped keep it contained. Now, though, belts are treating me much more kindly. Is there any difference in "acceptability"/formality if I opt for braces or belts?

Also, I've seen various websites saying I should get rid of my white socks and wear some other color with my jeans and my new brown leather casual shoes. Brown? Black? Blue? Patterned or plain?

And pocket squares. Are they still a thing? What level of "formal" needs a pocket square? And what part of the outfit are they supposed to match/contrast with?
My sense is that braces/suspenders read as more dressy/old-fashioned/tryhard than belts. Maybe the word I'm looking for is "statement piece". When I wear suspenders, people compliment me on my decision to do so. No one ever says "wow, you're wearing a belt? Cool!"

I really like pocket squares as an accent. They definitely can be a statement piece, but I think a plain white pocket square is also pretty neutral.

And yes, you definitely shouldn't wear white socks with your brown leather shoes. White socks are for sneakers basically exclusively. You can get some plain brown or black socks. I'm a big fan of getting the thinner "dress" socks and wearing them with most of everything. I wear a lot of semi-colorful patterns, with argyle and such, but you can also get pretty plain thin brown or black socks, with maybe a subtle pattern on them.

Part of this depends on how much effort you want to put into things. I have like forty pairs of dress socks none of which match each other, but which have slightly different patterns and color palettes. I match them to the outfit of the day. Most people consider this a bit of overkill, but it also, again, gets me regular compliments when people notice.

User avatar
JasonL
Posts: 22445
Joined: 05 May 2010, 17:22

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by JasonL » 27 Feb 2018, 19:40

Navy socks

User avatar
D.A. Ridgely
Posts: 17886
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:09
Location: The Other Side

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 27 Feb 2018, 21:39

Jake wrote:
27 Feb 2018, 18:08
D.A. Ridgely wrote:
27 Feb 2018, 15:32
First, what is your objective in building a new wardrobe? Other than, obviously, needing new clothes.
This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer. Needing new clothes isn't the reason, really, it's the excuse -- I mean, if it were just about needing new clothes, I could easily just go to Wal-Mart and buy more jeans and t-shirts and use them to cover my filthy body.

But I've decided that this is an opportunity to be a better-dressed person all-round, because I like the novelty of looking (sort of) good, and I want my wardrobe to reinforce that. I've also gotten into a career path that depends on strangers taking me seriously, and I can't dispute that first impressions matter along those lines... and I never know when I'm going to be giving that first impression. I suppose it's a little bit celebratory as well -- I've changed my relationship with food, and now I want to change my relationship with slovenliness. :)
As I suspected, there may be career implications. But clothing does affect one's self image, some people more than others. So on the first count, assuming you can afford it, my further general recommendation would be to go a bit upscale. Get the damned polo shirts from Ralph Lauren or Lacoste, for example. (RL is better, imo, because it's cut with a longer tail.) Don't stroke out from sticker shock over the price of better quality clothes. Assuming you keep the weight off, you'll get your money's worth.
I've got two suits in my new size (charcoal grey and blue). I did braces before, mostly because I had a big ol' belly that would hang over my belts and looked awful, and braces helped keep it contained. Now, though, belts are treating me much more kindly. Is there any difference in "acceptability"/formality if I opt for braces or belts?

Also, I've seen various websites saying I should get rid of my white socks and wear some other color with my jeans and my new brown leather casual shoes. Brown? Black? Blue? Patterned or plain?

And pocket squares. Are they still a thing? What level of "formal" needs a pocket square? And what part of the outfit are they supposed to match/contrast with?
With a dinner jacket, go with braces. With a business suit, suspenders or belt is a wash. Get a decent leather belt, though. Two, actually. One brown, one black, both no more than 1 inch wide. The belt color should match the shoe color, but any shades of brown work together fine. Don't go around wearing suspenders without a suit coat, though, until you've actually been elected to Congress.

No white socks ever, ever, ever except with athletic shoes / sneakers. I'm told, for what it's worth, that wild socks are very fashionable with Millennials, Silicon Valley and the West Coast generally. My 30 year old son is a fan of Sock Club.

Pocket squares, like men's real handkerchiefs, should be white. White silk if you must with a black dinner jacket, but otherwise white linen for the breast pocket (they're pricey but show better) and white cotton in your jacket pocket for actual use. The only time your breast pocket handkerchief should match your tie is if you're at an actual white-tie formal affair. I've never once been to one, and I've been to a fuck ton of galas at embassies and such over the years, so forget about it unless the Queen is knighting you.

User avatar
Jadagul
Posts: 6713
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 18:51

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by Jadagul » 27 Feb 2018, 21:48

Well, I think you can also wear white socks with white dress shoes in the summer, but I doubt that's going to come up for Jake.

User avatar
D.A. Ridgely
Posts: 17886
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:09
Location: The Other Side

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 27 Feb 2018, 22:03

Jadagul wrote:
27 Feb 2018, 21:48
Well, I think you can also wear white socks with white dress shoes in the summer, but I doubt that's going to come up for Jake.
Point taken.

User avatar
lunchstealer
Posts: 15879
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:25
Location: The Local Fluff in the Local Bubble

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by lunchstealer » 27 Feb 2018, 23:18

I don't know if this still holds, but if you have the money and the time, going into a place and having an attractive salesladytypeperson pick you some stuff out can also get you a pretty decent look that will be just different enough to get you compliments without having to actually understand anything at all.

The last time I managed it, though, was in the '90s when Structure was still a going concern in malls, which were also still a going concern. Nowadays I don't know where one would go for that. Maybe Banana Republic? Not cheap, but easy.
"The constitution is more of a BDSM agreement with a safe word." - Sandy

"Neoliberalism. Austerity. Booga booga!!!!" - JasonL

"We can't confirm rumors that Lynndie England is in the running to be Gina Haspel's personal aide." - DAR

User avatar
Mo
Posts: 22820
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:08

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by Mo » 27 Feb 2018, 23:23

If you find a non-depressing Macy's you could pull it off for a decent price. On the pricier side, but more reliable, would be doing the same at Nordstroms.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

User avatar
lunchstealer
Posts: 15879
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:25
Location: The Local Fluff in the Local Bubble

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by lunchstealer » 27 Feb 2018, 23:28

The Belk in Camden SC is not your first choice, at least if you're in a hurry.
"The constitution is more of a BDSM agreement with a safe word." - Sandy

"Neoliberalism. Austerity. Booga booga!!!!" - JasonL

"We can't confirm rumors that Lynndie England is in the running to be Gina Haspel's personal aide." - DAR

User avatar
Mo
Posts: 22820
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:08

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by Mo » 27 Feb 2018, 23:36

Years ago, I bought a shirt in the manner recommended by lunchstealer (she just volunteered. She got me a deep purple Oxford and I got dozens of compliments for it over the years. Prior to that, I would have never considered wearing purple, but that one instance from my 20s taught me that I look quite sharp in a purple top.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

User avatar
Ellie
Posts: 11275
Joined: 21 Apr 2010, 18:34

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by Ellie » 28 Feb 2018, 11:54

Men's fancy clothing is much more complicated than I realized.
"NB stands for nota bene do not @ me" - nicole

User avatar
JasonL
Posts: 22445
Joined: 05 May 2010, 17:22

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by JasonL » 28 Feb 2018, 12:05

In high school I once bought pants and an up sell belt when commissioned mall cutie suggested the belt and then put it on me. Sold. I don’t remember the pants or the belt but I remember the sales process.

User avatar
dhex
Posts: 15357
Joined: 05 May 2010, 16:05
Location: 'murica

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by dhex » 28 Feb 2018, 12:10

suspenders are best for suits hands down (and gives you wiggle room if the pants are a bit loose). on their own, you gotta be willing to go all out lumberjack. like with flannel shirt and jeans it's fine if done right but i already look like a skinhead so i have to tread lightly.
"I do wear my New Balance tennis shoes when I'm wearing cargo shorts, though, because truth in advertising." - lunch

User avatar
Jake
Posts: 2573
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 18:38

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by Jake » 28 Feb 2018, 12:38

Ellie wrote:
28 Feb 2018, 11:54
Men's fancy clothing is much more complicated than I realized.
No kidding! There are voracious rules swimming past, just under the misleadingly placid surface.
"TIL that it's genetically impossible for whales to have evolved from leg-having ancestors, millions of scientists are signing a petition to stop the teaching of evolution and evolution isn't real because Nazis wanted to kill all the Jews. Alternately, I met a moron at the museum." -- TIO

User avatar
Sandy
Posts: 9984
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 18:03
Location: In the hearts of little children, clogging their arteries.

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by Sandy » 28 Feb 2018, 13:05

lunchstealer wrote:
27 Feb 2018, 23:18
I don't know if this still holds, but if you have the money and the time, going into a place and having an attractive salesladytypeperson pick you some stuff out can also get you a pretty decent look that will be just different enough to get you compliments without having to actually understand anything at all.

The last time I managed it, though, was in the '90s when Structure was still a going concern in malls, which were also still a going concern. Nowadays I don't know where one would go for that. Maybe Banana Republic? Not cheap, but easy.
I once more or less got a completely new wardrobe at J Crew doing that. It was not cheap, but given the amount of clothing I got, it wasn't too bad.

They did sell me some sucker pieces, and only one of those was seersucker.
Hindu is the cricket of religions. You can observe it for years, you can have enthusiasts try to explain it to you, and it's still baffling. - Warren

User avatar
D.A. Ridgely
Posts: 17886
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:09
Location: The Other Side

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 28 Feb 2018, 13:10

Sandy wrote:
28 Feb 2018, 13:05
They did sell me some sucker pieces, and only one of those was seersucker.
They saw you coming.

User avatar
Sandy
Posts: 9984
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 18:03
Location: In the hearts of little children, clogging their arteries.

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by Sandy » 28 Feb 2018, 13:26

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
28 Feb 2018, 13:10
Sandy wrote:
28 Feb 2018, 13:05
They did sell me some sucker pieces, and only one of those was seersucker.
They saw you coming.
Yeah, but I got a wardrobe that was socially acceptable, especially to the female of the species.
Hindu is the cricket of religions. You can observe it for years, you can have enthusiasts try to explain it to you, and it's still baffling. - Warren

User avatar
lunchstealer
Posts: 15879
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:25
Location: The Local Fluff in the Local Bubble

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by lunchstealer » 28 Feb 2018, 13:39

dhex wrote:
28 Feb 2018, 12:10
suspenders are best for suits hands down (and gives you wiggle room if the pants are a bit loose). on their own, you gotta be willing to go all out lumberjack. like with flannel shirt and jeans it's fine if done right but i already look like a skinhead so i have to tread lightly.
Would you get more leeway if you got a COEXIST neck tattoo?
"The constitution is more of a BDSM agreement with a safe word." - Sandy

"Neoliberalism. Austerity. Booga booga!!!!" - JasonL

"We can't confirm rumors that Lynndie England is in the running to be Gina Haspel's personal aide." - DAR

User avatar
Jasper
Posts: 2823
Joined: 27 Apr 2010, 07:56
Location: Newyorkachusetts

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by Jasper » 28 Feb 2018, 13:43

dhex wrote:
28 Feb 2018, 12:10
suspenders are best for suits hands down (and gives you wiggle room if the pants are a bit loose). on their own, you gotta be willing to go all out lumberjack. like with flannel shirt and jeans it's fine if done right but i already look like a skinhead so i have to tread lightly.
Or you go all-out Vickie old west and get those old-timey trousers with the waistband at your actual waist, and the waistcoat to cover them.

Yes, I have have purchased clothes from Historical Emporium. What of it? :lol:

(Midlife style crisis when I hit 50.)
"i'd like to move toward not combusting except on special occasions like arbor day." - dhex

User avatar
JasonL
Posts: 22445
Joined: 05 May 2010, 17:22

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by JasonL » 28 Feb 2018, 14:19

Just remember - if you cross a certain line, you better be ready to bring it.

https://www.theonion.com/man-purchasing ... 1819574851

User avatar
Jadagul
Posts: 6713
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 18:51

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by Jadagul » 28 Feb 2018, 15:33

JasonL wrote:
28 Feb 2018, 14:19
Just remember - if you cross a certain line, you better be ready to bring it.

https://www.theonion.com/man-purchasing ... 1819574851
This isn't wrong. And is sort of what I meant by statement pieces.

I have shown up to casual social gatherings in a full white linen suit several times. But I did that fully knowing that this was not a neutral choice.

User avatar
Jake
Posts: 2573
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 18:38

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by Jake » 28 Feb 2018, 16:09

So to synthesize the advice I've gotten so far in this thread into a blueprint for my ultimate stylish outfit:

(Starting from the feet and working upward)
  • Leather casual shoes
  • Patterned socks in navy blue
  • Khaki chinos from thrift store
  • Leather belt that matches the shoes
  • Light blue Oxford shirt, untucked
  • Suspenders
  • Charles Tyrwhitt chainmail hauberk
  • White linen pocket square
  • "Coexist" neck tattoo
I'm feeling good about my new look! 8-)
"TIL that it's genetically impossible for whales to have evolved from leg-having ancestors, millions of scientists are signing a petition to stop the teaching of evolution and evolution isn't real because Nazis wanted to kill all the Jews. Alternately, I met a moron at the museum." -- TIO

User avatar
JasonL
Posts: 22445
Joined: 05 May 2010, 17:22

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by JasonL » 28 Feb 2018, 16:17

No pleats in either your chinos or your hauberk!

User avatar
Eric the .5b
Posts: 12214
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 16:29

Re: Sartorial Steppin' Up

Post by Eric the .5b » 28 Feb 2018, 20:30

Jadagul wrote:
28 Feb 2018, 15:33
I have shown up to casual social gatherings in a full white linen suit several times. But I did that fully knowing that this was not a neutral choice.
At times, I'm tempted to go full Bond-villain-on-casual-day and just wear loose white linen through the warm months.

Those times are usually the warm months.

Image

Somewhere between that and a full dashiki.
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
"Cyberpunk never really gave the government enough credit for their ability to secure a favorable prenup during the Corporate-State wedding." - Shem

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests