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HOT TOPIC Dressing For Success... Stop looking like a fool.

Vigilante

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Yeah, when I attend an event or dinner where I have to dress up, I do. My mom always taught me to dress exact to the occasion. Right now at my desk doing computer work, I'm naked, tonight we have to go to Dallas and I have to get dressed up and all fancy. I do hate when I think others are going to be dressed up and I get there and I'm one of the only people dressed up. There is a time and place for dressing every way, if only some people could match those times and places to the correct clothing.
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ChrisR

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Crazy timing with this thread. I recently got a new sales job that I'll be starting soon so I've really been needing to figure all of this out. I've mostly been watching youtube videos on this matter and they have helped a lot. I've already found some gems in here that I wasn't able to find elsewhere.

Thanks Kak!
 

DustinH

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I read a book a while back about how to be a "Rainmaker" in your organization (I am in real estate so this is an important concept for me personally). The book had somewhere around one hundred things rainmakers do that other people do not. The only concept that really resonated with me enough for me to remember it to this day said "the rainmaker should dress to be the best-dressed person they will see that day."

That makes total sense to me. Does that mean wear a suit and tie everywhere everyday? No. It means dress a little better than anyone else in the crowd in which you surround yourself. Just always be a little bit better dressed than everyone in the room.
 

dompie85

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I have a few suits and a few pairs of Allen Edmund shoes (the only dress shoes I buy... life time sole replacement and stiching! Well worth the price of the shoe)
@Kak My suits have a ticket pocket and functional cuffs (surgeons cuffs) are these details noticed in the higher end of the business world? Do you think it could be overkill or overlooked? Also, if I’m doing formal dinner, do I wear the shirt with cuff links? And can cuff links be “fun” in the higher end of things? I have these little F1 car cuff links and everyone seems to love them if they notice it.
 
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Kak

Kak

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I have a few suits and a few pairs of Allen Edmund shoes (the only dress shoes I buy... life time sole replacement and stiching! Well worth the price of the shoe)
@Kak My suits have a ticket pocket and functional cuffs (surgeons cuffs) are these details noticed in the higher end of the business world? Do you think it could be overkill or overlooked? Also, if I’m doing formal dinner, do I wear the shirt with cuff links? And can cuff links be “fun” in the higher end of things? I have these little F1 car cuff links and everyone seems to love them if they notice it.
I wear only french cuffs just because I like them. Those are nice details for suits, but unnecessary. To help the folks of the forum, I would say that there is ZERO reason other than your own enjoyment to go higher end than Brooks Brothers and Allen edmonds. It just needs to look good. 90 percent of people, even those that wear suits, won't be able to tell whether you're wearing a nice fitting Jos A Bank or a Brioni.

I would argue it is best NOT to try to be noticed for your clothing, but just exude professionalism. Leave no doubt in their minds. So with that said, the small details do add up and look nice but most people don't notice and that's a GOOD thing.

On one side of the spectrum, I have a Ravazzolo, on the other side I have Stafford sport coats from JC Penny that I LOVE. I have lots of Jos A Bank stuff and I also like Indochino.

I'll tell you the Ravazzolo is incredible, but I worry too much about it and almost never wear it. It has all the goodies like pick stitching, ticket pocket and functional cuffs.
 
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Kak

Kak

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I read a book a while back about how to be a "Rainmaker" in your organization (I am in real estate so this is an important concept for me personally). The book had somewhere around one hundred things rainmakers do that other people do not. The only concept that really resonated with me enough for me to remember it to this day said "the rainmaker should dress to be the best-dressed person they will see that day."

That makes total sense to me. Does that mean wear a suit and tie everywhere everyday? No. It means dress a little better than anyone else in the crowd in which you surround yourself. Just always be a little bit better dressed than everyone in the room.
Not bad. I can get behind this .
 
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Kak

Kak

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I really don't care for the current fitting style for jackets and suits -- fitted so snug that it looks like you're busting out of them. Fabric puckered and straining a bit against the buttons when you're in a relaxed neutral position, and worse if you actually move. It's like the "skinny jeans" of jackets, but it seems to be the style for young men. I'm 61 and I don't care for it. I'll stick with jackets that have enough fabric to reach the buttons, and pants with enough inseam to reach my shoes.
TOTALLY 100 percent agree. They still sell the classic business suit. The party douche suits as I like to call them have no place in the boardroom.

And by douche suits I mean:
Anything shiny
Anything super bright and colorful
Anything so slim you look like a bobblehead
Anything with tiny lapels
Anything with giant lapels
Skinny ties
Shiny shirts
Funky patterned shirts
I probably missed some this is just off the top of my head.
 

Philip Marlowe

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Great thread, @Kak

I couldn't agree more on appropriate attire. I setup an appointment to meet with a guy for some design work. When I got to his office, he was wearing an old hooded sweatshirt, smelled like cigarettes, and hadn't shaved in days. Nice guy, but I knew right then it wasn't going to work out. Maybe that's wrong, but so be it.

Not to hijack, and just my two cents, but you really just need a few quality items. Allen Edmond's can last a decade when polished and re-soled, as can Florsheim or Bostonian. Go to Jos A Bank for a nice two-button suit when they're on sale and TAILOR the suit coat, not just the trousers - don't let them give you the jacket fit off the rack. Get 2-3 decent ties with crisp, white shirts (please avoid the TJ Maxx package deals with the gray/orange/red shirts and matching tie). Add a classic, used watch (Omega is always safe) and you're good for every wedding and graduation.

If you want to go up a few levels, make the shoes Edward Green; the suit Brooks Brothers (1818 is fine); French-cuff shirts as Kak says; and the watch a Breitling or Rolex.

-PM
 

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Philip Marlowe

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How do I look?
Let's take these comments in a different direction.

First - the suit fits great. It may not be the highest quality, but you did very important things. For example, most guys have suit coat sleeves to their thumb - you have about a half-inch of dress shirt peeking-out. Perfect.

The shirt isn't my color, but it's the right kind of shirt for the look (and there's no gold chain or anything under it!).

You definitely need a watch. Nothing fancy, but a respectable Seiko would be perfect (no big Fossil watches) or a used Omega/TAG, etc.

It's also clear you take care of your appearance. People may not get your hair style, but it IS a style you've worked to have on purpose and you're clean shaven.

Standards of dress vary widely across the US. I spend a lot of time in NY/Long Island and what you're wearing would be acceptable at any function. Less so in somewhere like DC or San Diego. All depends.

Anyway, I think you're very much headed in the right direction @Ninjakid

-PM

P.S. - Can't really tell, but never button the second suit button. Just the top will do.
 

jackwilder94

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LOL i thought girls were mostly into this stuff since if a girl is dressed ugly no one will look at her. Now you’re all overthinking shit, if youre a man just have normal short hair, and dress as you want, exactly as you want , not how some smart a$$ on youtube will give you advice. And LOL at meeting with politicians, just another corrupt bunch that licks each other’s balls and just make money by shitting on people, and you have to impress them, really ? Anyone who is asking how to dress clearly wants to impress, but who cares about impressions
 
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Kak

Kak

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LOL i thought girls were mostly into this stuff since if a girl is dressed ugly no one will look at her. Now you’re all overthinking sh*t, if youre a man just have normal short hair, and dress as you want, exactly as you want , not how some smart a$$ on youtube will give you advice. And LOL at meeting with politicians, just another corrupt bunch that licks each other’s balls and just make money by shitting on people, and you have to impress them, really ? Anyone who is asking how to dress clearly wants to impress, but who cares about impressions
Not impress, or to attract attention... Just look the part.

So politicians are corrupt... So... They control a shit load of money.

People that want to actually make money can't go through life bitching about conformists, talking about the way things ”ought” to be, and expect to make anything of yourself. Like it or not, the world we live in is the way it is. If you show up to a business meeting with me and you look like you just rolled out of bed in the morning, the deal isn't happening.

Being the best, most professional version of yourself is in YOUR best interest.
 
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W0rkb3nch

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It has come to my attention that few people give this enough thought.

A common theme of my posts is thinking big and leadership. Both of these REQUIRE interaction with other people. Sure you can build some entrepreneur super outsourced company and make good money... But the VAST majority of the extremely wealthy got that way by making strategic deals, establishing influence and leading others.

Which brings me to LOOKING THE PART. It's popular, and often considered a badge of honor, in entrepreneurial circles to not own a suit, to almost intentionally dress like sh*t and not give a f*ck. To that, I ask, why? To what end?

I have learned how to dress properly when interacting with influential politicians and high-level C suite executives of very large companies. I have learned how to dress properly when I have to approach the lower offices with hourly workers. From formal meetings to business lunches, I have done it all. To say looking professional in every single interaction pertaining to your business is important would be an understatement.

Now, I'm no expert, but I am observant and have years of experience meeting people in person. There is no excuse not to look your best and present like someone who can back up the talk. It also doesn't have to be expensive.

Ask me anything.
I think it's important to dress appropriately for who it is that you're addressing. In some circumstances, looking too formal could be counter-productive to your outcome.

In others, looking too casual might result in you not being taken seriously.
 
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Kak

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I'd rather spend my energy doing something worthwhile than wear uncomfortable clothes to impress some people whose opinion I do not care about.
Once again... Not to impress, just to look the part. Impressing and standing out are not the goal. Exuding professionalism is. The more capable you come across, the better the deals you can swing.

You SHOULD ABSOLUTELY CARE about the opinions of the people you are trying to make a deal with. This notion of ”F*ck them” is ridiculous. Once again. It is in YOUR best interest. You're not doing this for them.

This is the last time I defend my position on why it's important. IT IS and those that don't agree are wrong. You cool cats that can't be bothered to look halfway decent because it's beneath you... Good luck... I hope you play the lotto because you can't make real money in a vacuum.
 
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Kak

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Like I said in the other thread... Professionalism doesn't always mean a suit. Sometimes it can just mean golf clothes. Hell I wear a sport coat and jeans 5 times to every 1 time I wear a suit. However, when I have little negotiation leverage, like lobbying, I wear a suit and tie every time. It shows respect to the position.

I'm looking at 2 new suit styles to pick up. I looked at the brooks brothers site for inspiration. They are running a deal on suits so I might do it. My suits are aging and I need to replace the lighter gray and the navy blue pin.

I like both of these suits, they are conservative, but also a slight deviation away from plain. Still classic. You'll look better than a plain solid suit, but most people won't know why. I'm not a big fan of bold pin striping or plads. I know that's the fad right now.
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I've read, and my dad (an avid suit wearer at one time) taught me, that a white collar man needs at least four suits in his closet to avoid looking like a one trick pony:

Dark grey suit.
Charcoal grey suit.
Navy blue suit.
Black herringbone (more versatile than solid black).

Once you get the four main suits out of the way, then you can start branching out into other colors. Lighter blue, khaki, different patterns, different weaves, etc.

Thoughts? It seems like a good place to start with suits since you can easily mix them up each day of the week.
 
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Kak

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I've read, and my dad (an avid suit wearer at one time) taught me, that a white collar man needs at least four suits in his closet to avoid looking like a one trick pony:

Dark grey suit.
Charcoal grey suit.
Navy blue suit.
Black herringbone (more versatile than solid black).

Once you get the four main suits out of the way, then you can start branching out into other colors. Lighter blue, khaki, different patterns, different weaves, etc.

Thoughts? It seems like a good place to start with suits since you can easily mix them up each day of the week.
Agreed. 4 suits are plenty. You don't want anyone remembering your suits though so subtle is important.

Dark gray and charcoal are basically one in the same. I like some light grays. But yes you are correct. I generally stay away from solid suits in favor of some kind of very subtle patterning, it hides wrinkles, it hides lint you may pick up and it honestly just looks better.

To that end I like subtle pin striping on dark gray and navy blue and on the lighter grays and blues I like a little depth to the fabric. Just a very very subtle patterning. Like that salt and pepper light suit I posted above.

I would argue the 4 suits, in a CEO, leadership position, to have in todays business world are...
-Dark blue subtle pin
-Dark gray subtle pin striping
-Medium Blue with some kind of subtle pattern.
-Light or medium gray with a subtle pattern for summer.

Every white collar guy also needs a blue blazer. The one with gold buttons to wear with all sorts of slacks and jeans.
 
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rollerskates

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Being the best, most professional version of yourself is in YOUR best interest.
This can't be emphasized enough. If "f*ck them" is someone's thing than that someone isn't getting money or a deal from people who can provide it.

This is a great thread, @Kak! One of my interests over the years has been style. Not fashion, but style. I know for females, the rules are different, but the same things apply--you want to be "not-noticed", which means good grooming and subtle colors. You are the background, your body of work/business is the thing you are there for.

I'm in the creative business where everyone is a big fan of "f*ck them" with their purple hair and tattoos and "I grow my own weed" t-shirts. Ick.
 

garyfritz

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Hell I wear a sport coat and jeans 5 times to every 1 time I wear a suit.
That's good to know. I have a nice silk jacket I bought at Nordstrom (kind of a dusty blue, subtle fine ~1/4" plaid? check? pattern) and had tailored. On advice of a friend I usually wear it with (nice good-fitting) jeans. Which seems weird to me -- spend $700 on a jacket and pair it with jeans!? But it seems to be the style. But I usually wear it for a nice date, not for a business meeting.
 
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Kak

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That's good to know. I have a nice silk jacket I bought at Nordstrom (kind of a dusty blue, subtle fine ~1/4" plaid? check? pattern) and had tailored. On advice of a friend I usually wear it with (nice good-fitting) jeans. Which seems weird to me -- spend $700 on a jacket and pair it with jeans!? But it seems to be the style. But I usually wear it for a nice date, not for a business meeting.
Sounds cool! Try some nice boots too like Tecovas Ropers or something of the like. Very "industry".
 

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@Kak what would you suggest for the following situation?

In downtown here the outfit for 99% of everyone is dress pants, dress shirt, dress shoes (Monday to Thursday) and jeans and dress shoes with a golf or button shirt on Fridays. Bankers wear suits, almost no one else does. Ties are also rarely worn, but they do look sharp and make one stand out when compared to the masses.

What would you suggest one wear when going to meet people for lunch and informal greetings. Also, what would you suggest to wear for actual meetings?
 
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GPM

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We also have a similar style. I hate anything flashy. I hate big bold patters or anything shiny. Skinny ties look foolish, as do giant pointy clown shoes that stick out 5" past your toes, and are so shiny they could be used as a mirror.

I am fit, bordering on what today's society calls "skinny" (man do I HATE being called that though). I like "slim fit" jackets and shirts so that they don't look like billowing sails on me. However, if it is so tight as to restrict motion, I wouldn't look at it twice. I like suits and jackets with subtle striping, nearly the same color as the clothing itself. Lends it a nice classy appearance without looking too bold or in your face.

Is there a particular type of fabric that you prefer for your suits and jackets? Does this change with the weather or the season?
 
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Kak

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@Kak what would you suggest for the following situation?

In downtown here, the outfit for 99% of everyone is dress pants, dress shirt, dress shoes (Monday to Thursday) and jeans and dress shoes with a golf or button shirt on Fridays. Bankers wear suits, almost no one else does. Ties are also rarely worn, but they do look sharp and make one stand out when compared to the masses.

What would you suggest one wear when going to meet people for lunch and informal greetings. Also, what would you suggest to wear for actual meetings?
What I would say is that it depends on who these people are. Who are the people that just wear a dress shirt and slacks? To me a dress shirt and slacks looks like an employee. The golf shirt on Friday is "casual Friday" to me that says "yay Im allowed to wear something besides my typical crummy Walmart dress shirt". I would venture that you could dress a level above them and do well.

On bankers... Around here most of them wear very dark suits mostly black. Thus my comment earlier about black suits also being emoloyees. A banker isn't the prestigious job it used to be.

One level better than these employee types, in my opinion, would be the same look with a sport coat. Make sure the shirt is nicer than average too. Believe it or not, regardless of formality, you will probably be dressed nicer than the banker in his every day cheap black suit.
 
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We also have a similar style. I hate anything flashy. I hate big bold patters or anything shiny. Skinny ties look foolish, as do giant pointy clown shoes that stick out 5" past your toes, and are so shiny they could be used as a mirror.

I am fit, bordering on what today's society calls "skinny" (man do I HATE being called that though). I like "slim fit" jackets and shirts so that they don't look like billowing sails on me. However, if it is so tight as to restrict motion, I wouldn't look at it twice. I like suits and jackets with subtle striping, nearly the same color as the clothing itself. Lends it a nice classy appearance without looking too bold or in your face.

Is there a particular type of fabric that you prefer for your suits and jackets? Does this change with the weather or the season?
I have 5 suits... All of them are a thin high quality 100% wool construction.

I have about 10 sport coats. 2 are camel hair for winter. 4 of them are 100% wool. 2 of them are blended wool and synthetic fibers. I also have linen/cotton sport coats. Nothing beats linen in the hot summer. My linen sport coats are structured nicely and still look like a classy sport coat. A lot of times the linen stuff can be really flat. Avoid those.
 

dompie85

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Vest or no vest with the suit (4 button, mid cut V, 5 button high cut V, 3 button low cut V??) I personally like wearing a vest (mid cuts) with my suit.

I currently own 2 cashmere, custom fitted suits. My wife doesn’t like me wearing the vest, I love it
 

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