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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, here’s my story. I used to be the guy who walked into a room and got noticed for looking good, the clothes that is. Then I got married, had a job that being fashionable wasn’t that important, and that thing called “life” distracted me. Now I’m divorced and got a job a few weeks ago where image is very important. Not that image isn’t important in every job, but some more so than others. Part of my career now is projecting an image that is confident and important. Hence, my revived interest in looking fashionable / great!

My new position requires wearing a suit on a daily basis, which I haven’t had to do in 15 years. I had two suits in the closet, one was a Hugo Boss I bout a year or so ago from Nordstrom, and the other was a cheap Bachrach suit I bought online because it was on “sale” for $125. I only wore suits for weddings and funerals. When I got this new job, my first thought was, “Time to head over to Men’s Wearhouse and get in on one of those buy one, get a dozen for free” sales. However, something in my head said, “You know, that just sounds a little too good to be true, there must be a catch.” So, I hopped online and did a few searches and found this awesome site, thank (insert your deity here) I did. Instead of heading over to Wal-Mart, I mean Men’s Wearhouse, I headed to the outlet mall. I live in the burbs of Chicago and we have a large outlet mall in the West burbs that has some pretty good stores. I got a Hugo Boss suit for $320 and three Sarar suites for $235 each. Thanks to these forums, I know that Hugo Boss isn’t as good as most people think, but I felt for the price, it was still better than a Men’s Wearhouse or Jos A. Banks suit. Sarar has mixed reviews as an entry level suit, but I couldn’t afford to spend $5k right off the bat. Plus, I still need to get a few more suits as my “starter” set. I need quantity at the moment and plan to mix in quality over time. I have read great reviews about Balani on this site, which is in Chicago, and my thought is to get a Balani custom suit every other month. I figure, over time, I’ll get a nice selection of quality suits. Decent plan? Any suggestions or changes you would make?

Now that I feel I have a decent plan for the suits, I am focusing on the shoes and shirts. Currently, I have about a half dozen or so decent Saks and Hugo Boss dress shirts (until discovering this site, I thought Hugo Boss was really high end stuff). For dress shoes, I have all cheap Kenneth Cole or other brands that I can’t remember. So here are my questions for the shirts and shoes:

- What would be a good brand/line(s)of shirt to get me started? (Mid level quality & middle of the road price) About how much should I expect to spend? $40 - $70?
- What would be a good brand/line(s) of shirt for the long term? (High quality & higher price) About how much should I expect to spend? $90 - $150?

I think spending a little more on each pair of shoes as I accumulate them slowly and getting by with my current shoes until I can afford to round out the wardrobe with the “good stuff” is my best strategy. I’m thinking one good pair of black and one good pair of brown shoes is my starting point. That being said:

- What style is the most versatile for business? Oxford?
- What brand/line(s) are considered the entry level of a quality shoe?

I know this was long winded, but thanks for reading through. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!!
 

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For inexpensive shirts, it is hard to beat Lands End. I have also had good luck with Eagle brand shirts. Both can be had for $35-50 if you look for discounts.

For nicer shirts, I like Brooks Brothers or the dress lines from Vineyard Vines. BB can be had for $45 on sale on up the price range, VV for $125 and rarely on sale.
 

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For everyday wearing Charles Thirwhytt shirts are very ok, especially Black Label, from about 40 usd to 100 usd. Mark please that Boss shirts are very durable and fashionnable. I don`t know how much its cost in USA, we can have it for 100-120 usd on sale, and Boss Selection shirts are perfect, but dramatically more expensive.

For shoes I can strongly recommend to choose classic Goodyear construction, welted - with proper care they can last for years in perfect condition, please avoid any glued shoes.
 

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There is a newer custom shirt maker called Natty Shirts that has been getting decent reviews on here. I just ordered from them so I can't tell you much more than they have a special that ends in 2 days (been running for the month of FebruAry). Any of their shirts are 19.99 each plus $15 shipping per order. From what I can see, there is no limit. Once you have configured whatever you want to order, you use the promo code ANDYG and you get the correct price. There are 3 or 4 threads on this site with info, pictures and reviews, just search for "natty". Good luck!
 

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So, here's my story. I used to be the guy who walked into a room and got noticed for looking good, the clothes that is. Then I got married, had a job that being fashionable wasn't that important, and that thing called "life" distracted me. Now I'm divorced and got a job a few weeks ago where image is very important. Not that image isn't important in every job, but some more so than others. Part of my career now is projecting an image that is confident and important. Hence, my revived interest in looking fashionable / great!

My new position requires wearing a suit on a daily basis, which I haven't had to do in 15 years. I had two suits in the closet, one was a Hugo Boss I bout a year or so ago from Nordstrom, and the other was a cheap Bachrach suit I bought online because it was on "sale" for $125. I only wore suits for weddings and funerals. When I got this new job, my first thought was, "Time to head over to Men's Wearhouse and get in on one of those buy one, get a dozen for free" sales. However, something in my head said, "You know, that just sounds a little too good to be true, there must be a catch." So, I hopped online and did a few searches and found this awesome site, thank (insert your deity here) I did. Instead of heading over to Wal-Mart, I mean Men's Wearhouse, I headed to the outlet mall. I live in the burbs of Chicago and we have a large outlet mall in the West burbs that has some pretty good stores. I got a Hugo Boss suit for $320 and three Sarar suites for $235 each. Thanks to these forums, I know that Hugo Boss isn't as good as most people think, but I felt for the price, it was still better than a Men's Wearhouse or Jos A. Banks suit. Sarar has mixed reviews as an entry level suit, but I couldn't afford to spend $5k right off the bat. Plus, I still need to get a few more suits as my "starter" set. I need quantity at the moment and plan to mix in quality over time. I have read great reviews about Balani on this site, which is in Chicago, and my thought is to get a Balani custom suit every other month. I figure, over time, I'll get a nice selection of quality suits. Decent plan? Any suggestions or changes you would make?

Now that I feel I have a decent plan for the suits, I am focusing on the shoes and shirts. Currently, I have about a half dozen or so decent Saks and Hugo Boss dress shirts (until discovering this site, I thought Hugo Boss was really high end stuff). For dress shoes, I have all cheap Kenneth Cole or other brands that I can't remember. So here are my questions for the shirts and shoes:

- What would be a good brand/line(s)of shirt to get me started? (Mid level quality & middle of the road price) About how much should I expect to spend? $40 - $70?
- What would be a good brand/line(s) of shirt for the long term? (High quality & higher price) About how much should I expect to spend? $90 - $150?

I think spending a little more on each pair of shoes as I accumulate them slowly and getting by with my current shoes until I can afford to round out the wardrobe with the "good stuff" is my best strategy. I'm thinking one good pair of black and one good pair of brown shoes is my starting point. That being said:

- What style is the most versatile for business? Oxford?
- What brand/line(s) are considered the entry level of a quality shoe?

I know this was long winded, but thanks for reading through. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!!
Since you have passable shoes I would only buy good business shoes from now on, which in my book is black and dark brown oxford cap toes, maybe burgundy, with and without broguing. No bluchers/derbys. Your baseline for quality should be Loake 1880-series/Allen Edmonds or Carmina. Would suggest buying Alden or preferable Crockett & Jones or Church's if you can afford them. Keep your shoes darker than your suits. Keep your suits dark.

Long term shirting would be OTR at that price point. Check out BB, or New & Lingwood, Harvie & Hudson (both baseline long term), or maybe Turnbull & Asser, (expensive).

Short term cheap shirts are TM Lewin or Charles Tyrwhytt.

If projecting an image is important, stick to light blue solid shirts.

I think you need to describe your business setting to get good advice.
 

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Since you have passable shoes I would only buy good business shoes from now on, which in my book is black and dark brown oxford cap toes, maybe burgundy, with and without broguing. No bluchers/derbys. Your baseline for quality should be Loake 1880-series/Allen Edmonds or Carmina. Would suggest buying Alden or preferable Crockett & Jones or Church's if you can afford them. Keep your shoes darker than your suits. Keep your suits dark.

Long term shirting would be OTR at that price point. Check out BB, or New & Lingwood, Harvie & Hudson (both baseline long term), or maybe Turnbull & Asser, (expensive).

Short term cheap shirts are TM Lewin or Charles Tyrwhytt.

If projecting an image is important, stick to light blue solid shirts.

I think you need to describe your business setting to get good advice.
Bjorn's advice is spot on.
 

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For shirts, here's what I would do if I were in your situation. This may be a little edgy, but bear with me. Ideally, you need a minimum of 10-12 dress shirts. That way, 5-6 are at the cleaners (or in your laundry bin) every other week. You have 6 shirts now. Go to TJ Maxx / Marshalls / etc. and buy 6 non-buttondown collar shirts in solid white or blue broadcloth or pinpoint cotton. The collar is your choice, but it should flatter your face. The price point for each shirt should be in the $15-35 range. This could be a short-term or long-term solution for you. I say long term, because since you have to wear a suit every day, I'm of the opinion that the shirt is a commodity. It should be plain and simple since folks won't be looking at your shirt...they'll be looking at your suit and tie. There's no reason to spend dearly on shirts in the short-term...and as I mentioned possibly for the long-term as well. If you want to go higher quality for shirts, then others have mentioned good options.

For shoes, if you're in a corporate setting, I would suggest that your first good shoe (to be worn with a business suit) must be something like an Allen Edmond Park Avenue in black. Your second good shoe should also be in black along the same conservative lines. After that, you can buy something a little more daring. If you're in sales or something creative, you might have more lattitude to skip the conservative shoes and go more daring, like the AE Strands in (depending on suit color) walnut.

For panache, like ties, pocket squares, cuff links, and watch, others are more in tune than I am about such matters. However, these are things you should consider to round out the look.
 

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For inexpensive shirts, it is hard to beat Lands End. I have also had good luck with Eagle brand shirts. Both can be had for $35-50 if you look for discounts.

For nicer shirts, I like Brooks Brothers or the dress lines from Vineyard Vines. BB can be had for $45 on sale on up the price range, VV for $125 and rarely on sale.
+1 on LE as a source for everyday shirts. Depending on how hard you are to fit, you may have to fuss with them a bit to find the right size and style. But, once that is done, I found their size and quality consistent over the ten or so years I bought them. You may, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Since you have passable shoes I would only buy good business shoes from now on, which in my book is black and dark brown oxford cap toes, maybe burgundy, with and without broguing. No bluchers/derbys. Your baseline for quality should be Loake 1880-series/Allen Edmonds or Carmina. Would suggest buying Alden or preferable Crockett & Jones or Church's if you can afford them. Keep your shoes darker than your suits. Keep your suits dark.

Long term shirting would be OTR at that price point. Check out BB, or New & Lingwood, Harvie & Hudson (both baseline long term), or maybe Turnbull & Asser, (expensive).

Short term cheap shirts are TM Lewin or Charles Tyrwhytt.

If projecting an image is important, stick to light blue solid shirts.

I think you need to describe your business setting to get good advice.
I'm in sales, so not only is it important for me to look good within my organization, but I visit customers often and am meeting with Director level and above. I sell IT services.

Thanks for all the great tips already!
 

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For not a whole lot more than LE, you can get MTM from MyTailor.com, a well-reviewed online tailoring firm, or Hiras. Both companies come to Chicago several times a year. Bjorn's comments on shoes are to be heeded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Since you have passable shoes I would only buy good business shoes from now on, which in my book is black and dark brown oxford cap toes, maybe burgundy, with and without broguing. No bluchers/derbys. Your baseline for quality should be Loake 1880-series/Allen Edmonds or Carmina. Would suggest buying Alden or preferable Crockett & Jones or Church's if you can afford them. Keep your shoes darker than your suits. Keep your suits dark.
Thanks Bjorn for taking the time to share your knowledge. I found a couple of pairs of shoes on eBay that I think fit your description:

Is this along the lines of what you are suggesting?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
For everyday wearing Charles Thirwhytt shirts are very ok, especially Black Label, from about 40 usd to 100 usd. Mark please that Boss shirts are very durable and fashionnable. I don`t know how much its cost in USA, we can have it for 100-120 usd on sale, and Boss Selection shirts are perfect, but dramatically more expensive.
Thanks for the advice. I like the Boss shirts I have. I can get them at Nordstrom Rack or Off 5th for $70-90 pretty regularly. I'm also going to look into Brooks Brothers shirts recommended by another poster and see how they fit me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
For not a whole lot more than LE, you can get MTM from MyTailor.com, a well-reviewed online tailoring firm, or Hiras. Both companies come to Chicago several times a year. Bjorn's comments on shoes are to be heeded.
I like this idea. The only negative is they don't have a fitting in Chicago anytime soon. I might try getting my tailor to do the measurements for me and get one shirt to see how well that works out. Anybody have good or bad luck with this strategy?
 

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I'm lucky to live twenty minutes from the MyTailor HQ so I just have Joe take my measurements but I have seen here that some have had much better luck having someone else measure them than trying to do it themselves. Your local tailor would probably do an even better job than any significant other.
 

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Thanks Bjorn for taking the time to share your knowledge. I found a couple of pairs of shoes on eBay that I think fit your description:

Is this along the lines of what you are suggesting?
What little there is to share, sure :)

Those AE:s are not balmorals/oxfords but bluchers/derbys. The Carminas would maybe be a little light with darker suits though I'm not sure.

Typical balmoral/oxford cap toes:

Church's consul, in calf (not polished)

Church's diplomat

Any level of broguing between those two should be alright.

Loake 1880 buckingham in chestnut

Loake Aldwych in dark brown

All above from herring shoes

Crockett and Jones Belgrave

From pediwear uk

Carmina 010051-001, rain last

From carmina

Alden 920 straight tip bal

Alden 974 color 8 shell cordovan

AE Park Avenue 5845 dark brown calf

AE 6105 Strand in dark brown calf

AE 6925 Cordovan shell Strands, brown

AE 8605 Cordovan shell Cambridge, black
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks so much for the pics! Very helpful to get such specific recommendations. I saw one guy at the office with shoes similar to the black AE 8605 Cordovan shell Cambridge, and they looked sharp! I think it will take sometime to find exactly what I'm looking for used on eBay. So, should I expect $300-400 per pair for a pair of shoes of this caliber?

 

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You might go read up on the many threads on cordovan that are on both this forum and on the Trad forum. Cordovan is not only very expensive, it's heavy and isn't the most durable sort of thing around. And taking care of it has its own quirks. Not to discourage you, just to make you aware of what you'd getting into. For many it's worth it. For others, not so much.
 

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You might go read up on the many threads on cordovan that are on both this forum and on the Trad forum. Cordovan is not only very expensive, it's heavy and isn't the most durable sort of thing around. And taking care of it has its own quirks. Not to discourage you, just to make you aware of what you'd getting into. For many it's worth it. For others, not so much.
Au contraire, it definitely is the most durable thing around. Apart from DuPont nylon that is. But way stronger and longer lasting than calf.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Au contraire, it definitely is the most durable thing around. Apart from DuPont nylon that is. But way stronger and longer lasting than calf.
Turns out there is an AE store on my way home from work. I checked out the Cordovan shoes there. The sales guy said they aren't technically leather, it is a layer that comes off the animal right below the leather. They are supposed to be far more durable than leather and have little to no creasing where the shoe bends at the top of the toe area. I think I'm going to get a pair of those. It sounds like I'll have those until they lower me down six feet.
 
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