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Hello friends,

I am new to this forum, but have been lurking for a few months. I would humbly like to consult the collective wisdom of this community for assistance.

I am a 31 year old writer and have recently moved to Los Angeles. Like many in my field, I kick it casual in t-shirts and jeans with a pair of sneakers to round out the slacker uniform.

Recently I suited up for a meeting to accept a new job. The suit was OTR, but fit well and I splurged on a MTM shirt.

As far as shirts go, there is no going back. A garment made to fit my measurements not only makes sense, but paying a craftsman is a rewarding experience. The difference in comfort was also incredible.

What surprised me most however was how differently people treated me. Not that they are rude to me when I am not dressed up, but by me doing so, it actually seemed to brighten the mood of those I walked by.

Which led me to ask the question. If I feel more comfortable, look better, and have greater power to please - why am I still dressing like a man child?

So here I am, about to build a wardrobe for the first time, and I am wondering where to start.

I am thinking of starting with MTM/Bespoke shirts, OTR slacks and a few good pairs of dress/casual shoes. (Like the Alden Cordovan Wingtip High Lace Boot #8)

After I ease everyone into my more manly way of dressing - I think I will start to throw in dress shoes, bespoke blazers and a few suits.

I figure I will fill out my wardrobe and slowly, over time start to rotate in more suits.

I am not a wealthy man, so I will have to buy a few pieces at a time but have no problem spending money on quality goods that last.

Any advice and strategy from this hall of manly elders would be greatly appreciated. I would also welcome any reccomends on local tailors near the Hollywood/Beverly Hills area. I am willing to pay 150 for a shirt (give or take), and would appreciate the contacts of any craftsmen that you hold in high regard.

Once again, any advice would be greatly appreciated and I thank you for your time.
 

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Your approach sounds perfect to me (although I'm not a big wingtip guy, but that is likely just personal preference). You touched on what I would consider great advice to follow: Take your time. Try out different things and see what you like best, and don't hesitate to re-order different colours of things you really like. I think MTM makes good sense for shirts, but beyond that, I think OTR is the way to go if you are trying to keep costs down.

And to answer your question: You are still dressing "like a man child" because a lot of other people are. If you start dressing better, that is one way you can differentiate yourself from the crowd in a positive manner.
 

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OTR then MTM then bespoke

I suggest starting out with off-the-rack in classic styles from traditional vendors. You want to get a sense of what works and what doesn't for your particular occupation at your specific locality and this only comes with experience. It's cheaper to do this with OTR, maybe with an occasional made-to-measure. Once you get an idea of what you want, replace items that wear out with made-to-measure or bespoke. The latter is for when you really know what you want and have sufficient funds because even at this level, you might still, on occasion, have buyer's remorse. The best dressed guys are almost always the older ones who've learned from experience.

MinnMD
 

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I agree with the above poster except that MTM shirts can be a nice luxury and are not THAT expensive if you shop. (Although one benefit of my weight loss is that a lot of OTR shirts fit me now.

The other side of it is though that I just bought an OTR business casual shirt in an XL size (that is usually right when buying polo shirts) that is clearly a little too big and will be baggy if I lose another 20 to 25 pounds. With MTM, I could have avoided this, although the thought of giving MTM shirts to the thrift store as I lose weight is not a sensible one.

Now that I have inanely bloviated, my point is that if you are an in-between size, etc. the MTM shirts might be the best way to go as long as you will not be dieting in the near future.

I do agree that OTR is probably the best way to buy other garments as you learn about clothes. Pants (and to a lesser extent, suits and sport coats) can be tailored to fit you. I have never had a good experience trying to do that with a shirt (although I use a very inexpensive "mass production" tailor).
 

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I find odd sportcoats and trousers very versatile and and a good bang for the buck. Since your job does not require you to wear a suit everyday, I would stock up on sportcoats and odd trousers in classic colors and materials and mix and match them to create different outfits and get the most mileage out of your wardrobe. Always choose quality over quantity- better to have fewer timeless, high-quality pieces than a wardrobe full of cheap trendy crap.
 

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Not too long ago, I also took the first steps towards dressing like a gentleman after many years in the standard engineer's garb of t-shirts and jeans.

Before you plunge into the word of bespoke/MTM shirts, you might want to investigate if an OTR shirt that is subsequently altered by a tailor might meet your needs, at least in the beginning. For about $15, you should be able to modify an OTR shirt to put in a greater taper, narrow the armhole, etc. I did this for several shirts of mine and have been very satisfied with the outcome.
 

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I find odd sportcoats and trousers very versatile and and a good bang for the buck. Since your job does not require you to wear a suit everyday, I would stock up on sportcoats and odd trousers in classic colors and materials and mix and match them to create different outfits and get the most mileage out of your wardrobe. Always choose quality over quantity- better to have fewer timeless, high-quality pieces than a wardrobe full of cheap trendy crap.
That's very good minimal advice Sam. I would start with 3 or 4 quality single breasted blazers/sports coat for each season. Sports coat/blazers are seasonal items. Tweed in classic color for winter, solid navy blue wool or black wool (non-tweed and non-houndstooth) for fall/spring and khaki cotton or blue cotton or if you want to be really fancy seersucker for summer. A linen/cotton blend for summer is ok too. I personally shy away from 100% linen in sports coats for various good reasons. A few pairs of khaki pants and some year round wool pants in grey and maybe olive too. 3 blue shirts and 3 white shirts preferably 100% cotton. A selection of ties. Most of your ties should be 100% silk except for maybe a few special seasonal wool or linen ties. Two good pairs of shoes : laceup oxford shoes in black and merlot/burgundy from Allen Edmonds or Alden with shell cordovan being the best from both makers. Then get one or two suits in grey or blue in 'year round wool weight'. Also, get some hats and pocket squares/handkerchiefs. Hats, ties and pocket squares are the tricks one uses to look 'different' from day to day while wearing a sports coat day in and out. Also, one should prefer 'natural fibers' instead of 'synthetic fibers'.That's a good basic 'core' wardrobe. If you are on a strict budget most of these things can be found in a thrift store. Just because it's in a thrift store doesn't mean it isn't quality. One should be able to discern the junk from the quality items in such places. Retail is a ripoff. Suits are tricky and hard to find in thrift stores compared to the other items mentioned. Although, once I did find a Saville Row suit that fit me basically at a thrift store. I just had to have a tailor take in the sleeves a little bit. You can get quality suits off Ebay for relatively cheap as well. The worst thing you can do is buy a cheap $200 suit from places like JC Penneys. If you do buy a suit retail prepare to spend alot of money but it's worth it. If OTR suits fit you rather well allready (as the OP stated) you might just need some additional minor tailoring for the perfect suit. Also, you might want some v-neck and button down cardigan sweaters to wear with your tweed sports coat in the winter time in wool or cashmere. One can easily wear a tie with these type of sweaters without looking like a jackass.

For hats I would get a classic panama handmade straw hat for summer(always in style and definitely 'elite') and another kangol summer/spring weight cap. Some kangol winter wool caps etc.. I don't know if you want some homburgs or fedoras but I think they might be out of style currently. They have been out of style since JFK right ? Instead of a fedora or homburg one should think about getting an 'akubra walking hat' and 'borsalino casual' hat as well. These hats are currently in style.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all for the advice, I am excited to get this going but your caution of rushing into MTM/Bespoke garments at this stage makes sense. Having buyers remorse on such a costly item would be unfortunate for financial and strategic reasons.

I will soon be heading to Canada for 2 months, but in the new year - you may find yourself the recipient of one delicious lunch Andy.

Are Brooks Brothers outlets worth checking out, or is the online "specials area" of superior value?
 

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Thank you all for the advice, I am excited to get this going but your caution of rushing into MTM/Bespoke garments at this stage makes sense. Having buyers remorse on such a costly item would be unfortunate for financial and strategic reasons.

I will soon be heading to Canada for 2 months, but in the new year - you may find yourself the recipient of one delicious lunch Andy.

Are Brooks Brothers outlets worth checking out, or is the online "specials area" of superior value?
I dunno what part of Canada you are going to be in but some parts of Canada are close to New York. There is a very good Brooks Brothers outlet store at Woodbury Commons in Monroe New York. The outlet stores are so nice and cheap at Woodbury Commons that people fly in from all over Asia and Europe just to shop there.
_
 

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I am located in Niagara's wine country. If the shopping is that good - I could make a day of it. It's only a 6 hour trek by car.
The shopping is that good because there is not only a Brooks Brothers outlet but Saks Fifth avenue, Zegna, Ralph Lauren, Jones New York (they make suits), Armani, Neiman Marcus, Jos A. Bank, Dolce & Gabanna, Burberry (good overcoats ) etc.. etc.. there are too many outlets to mention although I don't think the Zegna outlet there is too great personally but the other outlets are fine. I think you should make a trip of it if you can.
 

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Recently I suited up for a meeting to accept a new job. The suit was OTR, but fit well and I splurged on a MTM shirt.

What surprised me most however was how differently people treated me. Not that they are rude to me when I am not dressed up, but by me doing so, it actually seemed to brighten the mood of those I walked by.

Which led me to ask the question. If I feel more comfortable, look better, and have greater power to please - why am I still dressing like a man child?
Thank you for sharing that with us! What a wonderful insight into life you have gained. I doubt that you will ever look at life the same way again. And to think if it weren't for that accidental discovery you could have gone your whole life experiencing your interactions with other people differently.

Also remember: "Good clothes open all doors" (Thomas Fuller)
 

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