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Old 10-25-2016, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,494 posts, read 44,706,285 times
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My son is a college professor overseas and has finally admitted he needs help with his wardrobe to get the promotions and advancements he needs. He travels all over eEastern Europe and Asia giving lectures and presentations so he needs something which travels well.

Questions

1- do gentlemen- you professionals- really need suits or would a nice sports jacket and trousers with a tie work
2- is worsted wool still the best all round fabric for good men's clothes?
3- how many pairs of trousers usually come with a suit- it used to be 2
4- how much would a good quality men's suit or jacket and slacks cost?
5- how many wears between cleanings? I know this depends on the wearer but would like some input here.
6- What national stores have good reputations for quality men's clothes with tailor on staff?
7- Which color is more practical - black, gray, navy?
8- what color shoes? black goes with everything I suppose.

I am so pleased he has finally acknowledged he has not been dressing like he should. And I want to help him as much as possible. He will be home for 10 days and we want to get as much done as possible.
Thank you for any help you might offer.
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Old 10-25-2016, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
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Don't you need to ask this of those that live in Europe and Asia? Styles, etc. are diff. in diff. countries.
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Old 10-25-2016, 10:00 AM
 
1,185 posts, read 707,001 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
My son is a college professor overseas and has finally admitted he needs help with his wardrobe to get the promotions and advancements he needs. He travels all over eEastern Europe and Asia giving lectures and presentations so he needs something which travels well.

Questions

1- do gentlemen- you professionals- really need suits or would a nice sports jacket and trousers with a tie work
2- is worsted wool still the best all round fabric for good men's clothes?
3- how many pairs of trousers usually come with a suit- it used to be 2
4- how much would a good quality men's suit or jacket and slacks cost?
5- how many wears between cleanings? I know this depends on the wearer but would like some input here.
6- What national stores have good reputations for quality men's clothes with tailor on staff?
7- Which color is more practical - black, gray, navy?
8- what color shoes? black goes with everything I suppose.

I am so pleased he has finally acknowledged he has not been dressing like he should. And I want to help him as much as possible. He will be home for 10 days and we want to get as much done as possible.
Thank you for any help you might offer.
1- I don't know what the culture is like over there. In the US professors can be super casual or go for the sports coat and slacks look.

2- I work in a corporate office and prefer wool pants. I do wear Dockers on a lot of days though. I think wool slacks look sharper and I find them more comfortable than a synthetic fabric.

3- The standard is 1, but he should be able to buy an extra pair.

4- Opinions probably vary, but I would say $300-$400 will get you something decent and will include tailoring.

5- Opinions will vary on this as well. I do not clean my wool pants very often and a lot of people will recommend this. I wear each pair on average about once per week. Unless I get them dirty I tend to only get them cleaned every six months or so. My wife has never mentioned an odor. You can brush and press them between wearings. It airs out nicely. Cleaning more frequently will wear them out much faster.

6- Opinions vary here as well. I've had good luck with Men's Warehouse, but others don't like them. I have never shopped Jos A Banks, but I know people who go there.

7- Charcoal gray and navy should be the first two suits a man owns. Actual black is really too formal and should be reserved for funerals or possibly going out at night. Navy and charcoal can also be used for these things.

8- I actually prefer brown shoes and wear them with both colors mentioned above. With navy in particular I personally think brown looks better.

I am by no means a fashion person, so take all of my answers with a large grain of salt.
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Old 10-25-2016, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,494 posts, read 44,706,285 times
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Thank you so much for your response.
I talked to a knowledgeable young man at Nordstroms. He too recommended navy and/or charcoal with either brown or cordovan shoes.


His prices were way up there suits from $795-895- I was floored!!! with trousers at $195- 295
navy blazer $595-895

They are probably at the top of price range for this kind of thing. I don't know.
This is going to be difficult on a college professor's salary so Santa might have to chip in.
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Old 10-25-2016, 10:21 AM
 
1,185 posts, read 707,001 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
Thank you so much for your response.
I talked to a knowledgeable young man at Nordstroms. He too recommended navy and/or charcoal with either brown or cordovan shoes.


His prices were way up there suits from $795-895- I was floored!!! with trousers at $195- 295
navy blazer $595-895

They are probably at the top of price range for this kind of thing. I don't know.
This is going to be difficult on a college professor's salary so Santa might have to chip in.
Yeah, Nordstroms is a bit expensive. Maybe he can shop there after his career advances!

Like I said, Men's Warehouse or Jos A Bank are more reasonably priced and a step or two up from buying something at JC Penney or somewhere similar. The last time I bought wool trousers at Men's Warehouse was about a year ago and I think they were about $100/pair. They've held up well and I think that is a reasonable price for wool pants. I'd also pay attention to the climate where he is at. There are different weights of wool pants, and if he's somewhere warm I doubt he want want the heavier type!
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Old 10-25-2016, 11:33 AM
 
4,412 posts, read 3,325,611 times
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He can never go wrong with a suit in a professional setIting. He can dress the suits up or down with his choice of shirts, ties, and shoes .

The best suits for work are dark gray and navy. Black is too formal for work. For someone just starting to build a professional wardrobe, I would recommend black shoes for their versatility. Eventually he can get a second pair in another color.

The key things to looking good in a suit are high-quality wool fabric and excellent tailoring. Wherever he buys the suit, he has to make sure that it is well tailored to his body shape, not boxy, and with no gaping.

A well-maintained wool suit can be cleaned every 6 months (with moderate wear, i.e., not worn every day) if it is regularly aired out and pressed. Never take a suit to any dry cleaning establishment. Suits must be cleaned by a good dry cleaner who takes care to prevent shrinking, fading, imprints of buttons, tears, etc. A bad dry cleaner can ruin a suit in one "cleaning."
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Old 10-25-2016, 02:45 PM
 
4,412 posts, read 3,325,611 times
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I just noticed that your son travels to Asia. If he ever goes to Hong Kong, he should definitely buy some suits there. Hong Kong tailors are world reknowned for the quality of their suits, and their prices are very low for what you get. Their suits will generally last a lifetime, with proper care.
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Old 10-25-2016, 03:53 PM
 
12,717 posts, read 18,850,914 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage 80 View Post
I just noticed that your son travels to Asia. If he ever goes to Hong Kong, he should definitely buy some suits there. Hong Kong tailors are world reknowned for the quality of their suits, and their prices are very low for what you get. Their suits will generally last a lifetime, with proper care.
Exactly what I was thinking when I read "asia", before I dropped down to your post. Hong Kong is where he wants to buy suits. He needs to pick his tailor carefully however, touts will literally come to him as he is walking down the road to fit him for a suit.

If he wants off the rack crap he can go to Men's Warehouse or Nordstroms, the guys in Hong Kong will custom make it.
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Old 10-25-2016, 06:24 PM
 
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My work experience is blue collar, primarily in the construction trade of residential and commercial painting. I've never worked a day in my life in a "professional" setting. I do have some college, university education under my belt though.

Okay, number one, my suggestion is this is where one first begins: 1) Know what you want to look like, or roughly so. Then 2) know your price point you can work within.

From those two things you can begin to build your wardrobe. How do I know? I function on a limited income and I'm officially categorized per yearly income as one of America's "poor." But you would probably not know it if you saw me (dressed) in certain settings. Almost 95 percent of my clothing I got from sales and patience from spending weeks or months searching. And I don't have much (by American standards) but I have enough.

Your son does not have that time (only 10 days, or about 9 now).

I have no black suit. I do have a charcoal gray suit. Charcoal gray is a dark gray suit. And I would echo others in recommending this over black. You can wear charcoal gray to funerals too.

A light gray suit is more appropriate for weddings and more festive occasions.

Navy is a traditional American choice for blue among A epic an professionals and politicians. My understanding, is that in Europe as well as Russia (which portions of it fall into Asia), "True Blue" is the chromatic blue is the more preferred choice among professionals and politicians.

How a person dresses should be an extension of their personality. So, if a person is a little more socially conservative then there is nothing wrong with their style of dress and wardrobe reflecting that. Likewise if they are more liberal (then we might get into high collars worn with a suit or "leisure pants" (said pants more popular among ethnic Black-American adult men)).

You can spend well over $1,000 on a good suit. Any bespoke suit (suit made from ground up just for person paying for it) suit in the US is going to cost you over $1,000. In China or Hong Kong supposedly you can get a bespoke suit made for you at a fraction of that cost. And Chinese tailors are renowned as being as competent as Italian tailors (The Southern Italian Camorra mafia supposedly have warehouses full of undocumented Chinese tailors making knock-off brand name goods, in a multi-billion dollar industry, that floods small US stores all over the United States including the small stores of New York City).

But I can't afford a bespoke suit (generally "full canvas"), so, I shop at the likes of Men's Wearhouse. I highly recommend them. The Jos A. Banks is more or less in the marketing and sales category of Men's Wearhouse except Jos A. Banks tends to sale suits at a slightly higher price point.

The suits at Men's Wearhouse (or department stores like Boston Store for that matter) are made mainly on factory lines, with cost of production per suit being roughly $30 and buy the time Men's Wearhouse or a department store are selling these suits their price on the rack is about $600.

This is why Men's Wearhouse can offer frequent fantastic sales which mark down their $600 suits to $200 or their $200 suits to $77.

The suits made in these factories (Indonesia etc.) which sale their suits to Men's Wearhouse or department stores, almost always have glued or "fused" material, as opposed to the free floating half and full canvas suits made from hand stitching. But why does it matter? Because the free float drapes better, more naturally, over the chest of the man. Secondly, one problem with the glued material is that it can deteriorate from rain drops hitting, over time, and bubbles can form in the jacket.

But if your son does not have lots of money buying glued material suits from Men's Wearhouse or Jos A. Banks between the $200 to $700 range is perfectly fine. Plenty of professional American men, as well as those that armed Federal agents (eg., FBI, IRS, ATF) buy suits from the likes of Men's Wearhouse, Jos A. Banks, and Napoleons.

The single most important thing in buying a suit is this: the fit. I can't emphasize that enough. I wear slim fit but I bought a modern fit (one step up in width from slim fit) sports coat online from Men's Wearhouse. It took me 3 fittings before I left with it, with the first 2 of those fittings requiring then master tailor on site to pin the thing in spots and then ship it to their main tailoring shop. And even after I finally left with it I had to accept that it does not fit me (in torso width) as good as it should. Now, the good news is it fits me good enough that I can get a way with wearing it. However, even after multiple tailoring, it still does not fit as handsomely as a true slim fit would on me (even most slim fits would require minor tailoring). But the master tailor recommended I not take the coat any further more in in the waist (I forget why, I think it was because it would result in the chest lapel areas popping out slightly).

So, your son should get a suit that fits him right, first and foremost. Ergo, I will recommend Men's Wear House or Jos A. Banks over any department store. Department stores generally lack suits for slim fit and "short." Men's Wearhouse stocks--or provides online orders--for a broader range of body types. Even the "portly" (for wide width, "fat" or stocky built men) fit.

Now, one other issue with these off the rack suits. The arms holes (the underarm areas) are made wide enough to accommodate a "general" or wide range of body types. So, the arm holes are wider than on custom made or bespoke suits made just for you. Sometimes this is not that much of a problem, but depending on the brand and your own body build, it can look a bit unsightly when you raise your arms. So, when and if getting said kind of suit, keep arms down as much as possible.





2 button vs 3 button

The 3 button suit is emerging again as fashionable. If purchased and worn your son, of and when buttoning the coat, should only button the middle button. Or possibly the top 2 buttons but never the very bottom button.

The 2 button is the most timeless though. In this respect it is the safest investment. Only the top button should be buttoned when the jacket is worn. Of course, he can always wear the jacket completely unbuttoned too.


Double breated

Men's Wearhouse has some of this hanging up. One of the last times I was in their I asked about them. I was told by one of the young men working there that, yes, the double breasted is coming back in style. But this time with a more tapered fit into the waist.

So, I recommend if your son is more liberal and trendy in his fashion choices. But the double breasted is prone to going in and out of style. For my pen personal taste the modern double breasted with the tapered in waist look is beautiful or handsome.


Color and pattern

Okay, so, getting a gray or navy or light blue suit (or any other color) are not your only consideration. Patterns on suits is something too. Such as a light or medium gray suit with a "windowpane" pattern in the fabric. This is fashionable and can provide some added "pop" or character to your look.

But a solid color with no pattern is always a "safe" bet or investment in the long term.


Shoes

Black is safe. I have a preference for burgundy. And your belt should always match your shoes. But bear in mind he can have his suit pants tailored to have the buttons put on the inside and outward loops taken off, so he can wear his trousers with suspenders. Supposedly, suspenders make your pants gang better when worn. I've never had this done so I can't speak from experience.

Burgundy and cordovan are sometimes used interchangeably. And burgundy comes in a variety of shades and depth of color. Some might argue the only true cordovan is that of the number 8 produced by the Chicago Horween leather company. One of the most respected and venerable tanneries in the world.

Shoes like Allen Edmonds (former President George W. Bush choice of brand for shoes) and Aldens use leather from that Chicago company. They use only the highest quality leather which provides more durability. But the price point on these shoes are high. But not the highest. When you start getting into brand of shoes like Bellevdere (spelling?) you are getting into an even higher price point of shoes. But their shoes are beautiful, and often made with exotic skins like crocodile, ostrich and so on. Multi-color exotics skins including the best quality leather.

At a much lower, and affordable price point, you get into the brands like Stacy Adams and Floreshiem (spelling). The latter is a more conservative style. The Stacy Adams your son could easily rock with dark jeans and a navy blazer or brown or gray sports coat.

Boots are in. I have a pair of medium brown Sonoma brand boots made of faux leather (i.e., plastic). I got them on sale for $30. I have had complements on them and few to no one I personally know has been able to tell they are not real leather. They work well for me. But again consider my personal goals combined with my personal finances/price point. Ultimately, they are build quality of $30 and not surprisingly under less than a year the outer sides of the back sole are starting to come apart.

I recommend quality, real leather boots for your son. I unfortunately have wide width feet. Therefore, purchasing shoes or boots, any I like that is, becomes a monumental task and enormous frustration. Average width foot folks have no idea how lucky they are. So, if your son has average width feet I recommend he buy boots online from the new and popular brand called Thursday Boots. For the quality of these boots you will be hard press to match its price point (low for there quality). And just nice looking--be you conservative or liberal in your dress.

He should wear the boots with jeans/denim though.


Sports coat and blazer

Eh, these two terms have become interchange today. True blazers--supposedly--had gold or bronze buttons and the color of the fabric was a navy blue.

In practical terms today a blazer is really any navy blue jacket and sometimes they're called sports coat too.

Sports coats originally had patterns to fabric I think.

Regardless, I recommend any adult male owning a navy blazer. If he has more than that and 5 or 10 sports coats too then fantastic. But I recommend at least 1 navy blazer even if you have no sports coats at all.

The navy blazer can be worn with dark blue jeans and brown or cordovan boots. By boots I mean casual style boots along the lines of what you find on the Thursday line brand.

A collard, none collard, or sweater can be worn underneath the blazer.

I don't recommend wearing a tie with the blazer, particularly if worn with jeans (but if he did then he should wear a bow tie with the jeans and blazer).

A pink, lavender, or light blue shirt will go fine. For solid colors. A collared shirt with patterns will work with the blazer, dark jeans, and boots too.




Oh, as far as brands at Men's Wearhouse, the Joseph Abboud is supposed to be good bang for your buck. They run at a slightly higher price point than I want though. But at $600 you can get a half canvas, off the rack, Joseph Abboud suit that is not glued (though some of their coat they do glue I think).

While wool (and all that 1,000s stuff type of wool) is supposed to be the best, and certainly breathes good in warmer weather, I see nothing wrong with a mixed polyester blend of suit. But to each his own.

If he does not want to deal with wrinkles he needs to shy away from cotton made sports coats and suits then.

Also, he will want to invest in an overcoat (for cooler weather).
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Old 10-25-2016, 06:26 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,494 posts, read 44,706,285 times
Reputation: 47383
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage 80 View Post
I just noticed that your son travels to Asia. If he ever goes to Hong Kong, he should definitely buy some suits there. Hong Kong tailors are world reknowned for the quality of their suits, and their prices are very low for what you get. Their suits will generally last a lifetime, with proper care.
He did a 3 year post doc in Singapore and I begged him to get some nice suits while he was there or Hong Kong. I know all about Hong Kong tailors. But he was poor and still in very informal clothing. He tells me what he has now is good enough for teaching but he needs to up his game for "the management team". There's lots of politics in academia.
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