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Want to play dress me up?

February 4th, 2009 at 06:37 am

Ok, first, let me just say that this is most definitely not the best title I've ever came up with. Big Grin However, I do have a slightly interesting "problem" on my hands.

For literally years, I've worn the work clothes that my employer has issued to me. For both on and off work.

And why not? Polo-like shirts and khaki pants? It actually looks pretty good. Best of all, it's free. It even comes with free dry cleaning!

But now that I am switching employers, I have to turn it back in soon. Supposedly, the new employers have their own "uniform", but what will that look like? When will I get it? What do I wear in the meantime?

And besides, I really do need clothes of my own anyways, in the remote chance that this new employer doesn't work out and I have to job hunt.

Oh, and in case you're wondering? No, my old clothes won't work. Not unless my merry collection of gag T-shirts ranging from, "Kiss me because I'm Irish" (I'm not), "I love mushrooms" (Mario Bros. video game joke), "I do my own stunts" (that one is true), and the ever-popular "I'm not a doctor, but I'll take a look at it" will win over prospective employers and women alike, then yes, I suppose I could wear them.

But something tells me I need clothes that are a bit more... formal. Something I can wear to interviews. Something that I can wear at work. Something I can wear while out at town.

Is such a thing possible? I'm a guy so, I really just need one set of clothes that I can wear anywhere for most if not all occasions.

And of course, I'm also hoping to pull this off for as little money as possible.... Or is clothing something that I should probably spend a little bit on quality?

Oh, and if it helps, I already have some navy blue slacks that I can keep wearing. But, if I have to ditch them because they're mismatched somehow, then... well, so be it.

So, based on all this, can anyone here make any recommendations on what kind of outfit I should wear? I don't know anything about clothing or where to even shop for stuff like this....

Also, what do you guys think of this outfit?

20 Responses to “Want to play dress me up?”

  1. Caoineag Says:

    Blazer, slacks, tie (for more formal occasions) and dress shirts. Only problem with the outfit you showed is the blazer doesn't match the slacks. You really should have those matching for an interview in my humble opinion.

    That's basically business casual and most women will think you well dressed so its a good all round look.

    As to expense, well, Ross Dress for Less sells dress shirts, Famous Footwear can get you decent shoes but the blazer and the slacks you will probably want to spend a little more for. Again, just my opinion

  2. Broken Arrow Says:

    Ok, so you're saying it's best if the slacks and the blazer should match. I have to agree that that is the safest course of action....

    Yeah, I also had a bad feeling that I'd have to pay up for this one. It's almost sad, but it's something I've put off for years so.... When was the last time I actually bought clothes? Let's see, I believe it was 2001. Yeah. So, considering that I've managed to get away with it for so long, perhaps it's not a terrible thing in the grand scheme of things?

  3. kdmoffett25 Says:

    Me personally. I love how a navy blazer looks with khaki pants. That's what my husband has for interviews, funerals or weddings with a tie, etc.

  4. Broken Arrow Says:

    Hmm! But that obviously doesn't match... but can still work? I'll keep that in mind as well.

    By the way, that's similar to my current dress clothes. Navy polo shirt with khaki pants. For free, it's stylin'!

  5. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    I think the next step up from khakis & a polo shirt is khakis & a colored long sleeve oxford shirt. That shirt can go, too, with slightly dressier slacks, so I think it is more useful than polos for the work place. A white long sleeve shirt would be the step up from that. Anyway, the less expensive way to slightly notch up the wardrobe is to go for dress shirts while keeping the khakis. The dress shirt also gives you the option to add a necktie.

    My DH dresses very informally (jeans) in his work, but once when _I_ needed him to dress up a bit, he went to a mall-based men's clothing store and described what the occasion was and his level of discomfort with suits and spending on clothes. The guys at the store were great at helping him pick out an outfit that he was comfortable with and that fit the occasion. He could never have done it by himself, and those guys got it just right. So maybe you could do that for an outfit or two, then duplicate the look they guide you to somewhere less expensive.

  6. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    PS....Make us some paper dolls to dress up, please? Once I saw an online program to turn your own photos into paper dolls.

  7. Broken Arrow Says:

    Good point, Joan! Yes, although I didn't come out and say it, I was definitely thinking of Oxford type dress shirts. Good for all occasions as you say, even without a tie in informal settings.

    As for the paper cut out thing... uh, I'm not sure what to make of that. Hehe.

  8. swimgirl Says:

    I've been dressing a man for years!

    First, I think the consistently best deal (you might find sales and bargains here and there other places) for dress shirts is Marshall's. They have some upscale brands (I always buy the good brand for Hub, but they never cost more than $16 per shirt-- I know, not as good as "free") and a pretty decent variety most of the time.

    Are we talking interview or work?

    For interview, depending on the kind of job, I think you can do fine with NICE khakis and a navy jacket. I also like the navy pants with gray jacket.

    But basically, for my husband's work clothes...

    I buy pants: black, navy, khaki, gray, olive green
    I buy jackets: gray, navy (he doesn't wear every day)
    I buy shirts: white, some strips, some colors

    He'll ask me if things match on occasion, but I try to make it so that most things can be switched around (I'm not a fan of mixing black and navy, but some people do)

    Sounds like a challenge...

    My son's t-shirt says, "Don't make me use my super powers!"

  9. Broken Arrow Says:

    Thanks swimgirl! I'll definitely keep Marshalls in mind and I do like the color schemes.

    I'm looking for clothes that can be used for both interviews and temporarily at work.

    Although I want to keep the cost down, I'm prepared to pay a pretty penny for this. Obviously, I'm typically not interested in clothing, but.... at this point in time, I think it is necessary and I want to do it right. But I'm still in the "brainstorming" stage, so no real money is on the line yet either.

    Like your son's T-shirt! Hehe.

  10. princessperky Says:

    I love a fellow in a dress shirt and jeans. Though for an interview I would go with slacks. Most men with access to a three way mirror can pick a pair of jeans, not to tight, not to loose.

    A t-shirt or two that is polite would be fine for a shopping trip (err not the dr one IMO)

    As to slacks, you really would be well served with in person advice, they make all kinds, and some are flattering, some are not. (IE pleats usually bad, pockets can hide or accentuate the rear depending on need, fabric varies from true no iron to get a pro to press) So ditto Joans idea on advice for one or two outfits then use their info to shop on your own.

    BTW I personally dislike golf shirts but that is prolly cause growing up I only saw them on fast food employees.

    Oh and linked photo is of a fellow trying to hard with all that grey.

    One last thing, I fall into the make pants and coat match group, or at least in the same family.

  11. Broken Arrow Says:

    Awww, but the Dr. shirt is my favorite one! Haha. Seriously though, I've never worn any of those shirts in public.

    Great advice by the way. All new stuff to me.

    And yes, I'll be leaning away from Polos for my own shirts, and towards Oxfords.

    Ok, and the grey outfit is out.

  12. LuxLiving Says:

    It's the shoes baby! Go the extra mile & $$s to buy some fashionable dress shoes and keep them polished and heels up (if the heels go, see your local shoe repairman if you can find one). For guys, black is usually a good safe bet with most everything. Can be worn w/dress jeans or your work interview suit. A nice black leather belt might be in order. You'd need a cool one for jeans/casual or khaki and a thinner more dresser one w/ a very low key buckle for a suit.

    Power tie = red!

    When dressing it's about the overall grooming in my opinion. Pressed & fresh. Haircut kept up to date, nosehairs trimmed, etc. Clean & a very small amount of cologne on.

    When dressing - the belt buckle lines up with the zipper, which also lines up with the buttons on the shirt. Tidiness is I guess to what I'm referring. Not just slopped together. Babe points to the guy who has these issues mentioned above covered.

    Your future employer won't be unimpressed either.

    IMHO, you wouldn't go far wrong with what you've pictured. Black or grey flannel dress pants. One each black and white oxford dress shirts. A black and red tie and the other clothes I mentioned would take you most places. A decent black blazer would be good for casual or a casual work place. If you're going up for a more serious job then a full on suit would be needed.

    For dates - jeans and the white or black shirt untucked w/the casual blazer & good dress shoes should take you most places. Leave off the blazer & add tennis shoes to jeans for a walk in the park to play frisbee or something.

    Out for Coffee w/her? Jeans, blazer, witty t-shirt & tennis shoes.

  13. my english castle Says:

    The Saving Advice women are smart, and smart dressers.
    For casual, I also like a thin wale corduroy shirt with jeans. We bought DH a black blazer at the Men's Warehouse last week, and it looks great (I guarantee it).
    I agree that shoes are important. Black or oxblood loafers? Black wingtip?

    I'm with the girls on the oxford shirts. Get the ones that are easy to iron.

  14. whitestripe Says:

    well, i don't know what your op shops (thrift stores) are like over there, but here DF always find top name brands like Ralph Lauren shirts that are in perfect condition for about $6. The thing about these shirts is they have a much better cut. Once you give them a gentle wash and iron them, you could never tell you bought them at an opshop.

    oh and my boss has a shirt that say 'you too can have a body like mine for $3 a pot' (of beer)

  15. LuxLiving Says:

    Ummm I forgot I was going to mention...a good man's cologne is Acqua Di Gio! Clean & fresh smelling.

    That's what else I was going to say - clean & pressed clothing. If it needs repairs, go to your local drycleaners to get buttons sewn on, hems lifted, etc.

    Or pay a few bucks extra at the men's shop to have things properly tailored to fit you. Nothing worse than having clothes that are 'cool' but not right-sized for you.

    Should be needless to say but if you've worn the jeans six times already - get a hint, they need WASHING!! (well, maybe not you BA, but some guys need to turn on to the fact that lots of people have ultra sensitive sense of smell and if you've worn stuff twice at most in my book then it probably needs a good washing.) I'm not sure on how often a man's suit should be cleaned but I'm sure someone here who's man wears a suit could help you.

    FWIW, I liked the all gray outfit. Monochromatic can be very stylish!

  16. Phenomenal Woman Says:

    If you can find a nice suit (go Business Casual here and not formal), you can use this for interviews and other formal event like a wedding or something. On Fridays, you can wear the blazer or jacket from the suit with a nice pair of med - dark blue jeans(please no bleach or holes!), either with a button up shirt or a nice colored T-shirt and some nice shoes (no running shoes here). This way you will be ready for an instant date after work on Fridays and yet still be appropriate for work.

    As far as everything matching, go for colors that goes together rather than matchy matchy. You would not want to risk looking like a car salesman with those matchy matchy suit in teal, purple, and etc.

  17. Petunia Says:

    Wow, you've gotten some great advice. I'm completely lazy when it comes to clothing, so I'd be no help. Good luck with your shopping - with all the great info here I think you'll do well!

  18. Broken Arrow Says:

    WOAH, information overload! Hehe.

    It's going to take a little while for me to absorb all this, but I've got roughly two weeks to iron all this out so....

    But yes, great, great advice! Things I don't think most guys (or at least I) would have never thought of.

    I never knew that shoes made such a big deal. Unfortunately, that's something I may have to shelf until later on, because I can't wear them to work anyway (where I have to wear pre-approved ones).

    And finally, uh, perhaps I've over-emphasized the need to look good for prospective dates. I'm mostly thinking of interviews and work, but to save money, if I ever go out for some social function... or even dates... then it's a suit that I can also wear for that as well.

    Hehe. Anyways, thanks again for the super advices!

  19. crazyliblady Says:

    I think what you should wear depends on your line of work. I like the style in the photo, but as another poster noted, the jacket does not match the pants. If they were contrasting colors, like blue and khaki, this would look great. Black jacket and pants would look good on you. The black/gray shirt is nice also, but if you want a little more contrast, other colors would also look nice. White and blue oxford shirts are very conservative and look very nice. For trendy colors, red and blue, respectively, come to mind for you. Type of pants depend on your body. Pleats look good on some people and not on others.

  20. boomeyers Says:

    I agree with checking out the thrift stores first. Great way to see which shirts are all wrinkled, or which blends still look good even though they have been scrunched up on a hanger! Same with pants! And hey, the thrift store has shoes too! Check them out first, then move on to Marshalls or TJ Maxx and then move onto your department type stores, JC Penney, Macys, then the Mens Warehouse. The Mens Warehouse is the only place my DH goes for suits and those suits can last forever!

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