One of our writers was recently pinged regarding “fitting in” and fashion. This is a topic we love. In fact, the answer is already in the quotes. Get clothes that fit and stay in shape. This is the best way to avoid being hated on at work and fitting in while not standing out as the “poor guy” in the office. You need a wardrobe that costs significantly less than everyone else and a nice body as well.
Upper body looks:
Shirts are relatively more difficult as sizes are made for extremely poorly proportioned men, however below are the three key points.
- This is the example you want to look at. The 1 is pointing to the tighter fit around the armpits and chest area as it exudes a man with a “V-taper”. Effectively you want to emphasize the chest up and appear to be wider than normal. This is also done from the back. You’ll be doing a lot of lat pull downs, wide grip pull ups and incline dumbbell flies to get the taper.
- This is a photo of bad fit and “okay” coloration. Notice how the shirt is not hugging Mr. Trump’s arm. Instead it looks like his vest is a parachute and his T-shirt was made for someone with arms twice his size. Another minus point as his vest/parachute should end right where his shoulder begins to leave the socket.
- This is “Okay fit” and bad coloration. Take your hand and place it over the face of Daniel Craig. Without knowing it is him you can still tell that the guy has a V-taper. Now take your hand and place it over the face of person #3… you can’t tell if he has a good body. The shoulders of Craig are up and parallel, for person #3 the shirt is slightly baggy in the arms and incredibly loose around his chest. On top of all this he is wearing another neutral color for pants. Bad style. He should replace the tan with grey, black or dark blue.
With the basics out of the way we recommend shirts as follows.
- No pockets: Buy 6 pocket-less shirts in thrift stores and find cheap brands such as Van Heusen and Uniqlo to buy up the rest.
- Material: Wear shirts that are not see through. The best way is to try all of your clothes on shirtless and simply make sure it does not look cheap.
- Tailor: If you find a brand that fits your chest and waist perfectly but the arms do not, go and get the arms taken in $10-20.
Each shirt should not cost more than $30-40 on average all in. Over time get 12 of them. No more no less is needed. $500 all-in. The real key here is not blowing any cash on things your “super cool co-workers” can’t notice. They are not smart enough to know the difference between a Brooks Brothers (bad quality by the way) and a tailored no-name brand. Most people in finance have a fashion sense that ends with “the pocket-less shirt”
* Note: Make sure to avoid extensive tailoring, for every man there is a brand that will fit his chest and arms, waist and arms or arms and chest… so stick with a single type of tailoring.
Lower Body Looks:
Overall pants are easier to get fit in one area, the top or bottom, resort to a tailor for one part and you should be good to go on $50-60 per pair of slacks, no more than 6 are needed. $350 all-in.
- Simply make the pants come in close to your ankles. You don’t want a parachute pant leg coming down where it looks flimsy or rap-star thug style.
- Make sure your pockets do not protrude when you stand up. If your pockets do not look like they are being squeezed a bit together they are fitting just about right.
Finally the last items… belts and shoes.
For belts… simply get something cheap that matches your shoes. That simple. Avoid brand names and if you work for an extremely d-bag centric group, find a way to get fake ones. If they try to really inspect your belt they might just be a switch hitter so I wouldn’t worry about that ever happening. $30-40 for a decent belt… only need 3. $120 all-in.
For shoes… the truth is you need high quality ones. Why? They last longer on an economic basis and are the most obvious feature when you walk into meetings beyond your shirts. We recommend spending $250 per pair of shoes… start with two and you need maybe 3 max. Just like belts. $750 all in.
Important Key Notes for Shoes:
- Get Shoe Trees. Get them off Amazon for $15 bucks a pop for your shoe size.
- Get heel plates from your local shoe shiner. They cost $8 and make the heel of your shoe last many months longer
- Get regular shoe shines. These will make your $250 purchase last for 5+ years. You can wear quality shoes for many years if they are well taken care of.
Conclusion: To have a solid business casual outfit selection all-in you’re looking at $1720 and $30 a month of maintenance. This isn’t that bad at all and it will last many years. The trick is to make sure you buy quality items, keep them in shape and avoid a constant wardrobe change. The impact you want is this – be slightly above the rest in terms of stylish looks and people will have a difficult time knocking on your clothes if you look better than them.
One glaring omission here that we did not include is suits. This will be a separate post in the future, however for now stick with Black, Navy Blue and a Grey (three tops max). That’s all. Get one suit custom for real meetings and the other suits are not of great importance, show up to work slightly early hang up the suit jacket and it will become increasingly difficult for people to know you only own a few suits. For ties keep it simple, take note of the patterns people wear around the office and simply find the exact same patterns from a cheaper outlet. At the end of the day, this post focused more on exuding a presence and fit because no one cares if you have Ferragamo loafers if you can’t see them over your expanding waist line.