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I recently spoke to a college intern here about clothes after I got my company into the JAB corporate discount card program.

Would you suggest that someone making around $1500 a month part time:
1. Buy a good new navy blazer and khakis and go with only that.
2. Buy 1-2 high quality suits on ebay (I was watching a semi-altered seemingly new Armani that closed at $200)
3. Buy $60 chinese 3-button suits (A friend brought one of these back from Hong Kong for me and I find it serviceable)
4. Buy 2 "mall suits." I saw a Sean John suit recently, very acceptable looking, for $140.
5. Wait for sales (JAB, Filenes, Nordstrom rack) and go without any blazer/suit until then.

The one jacket he has doesn't fit and looks like something his parents bought for him when he was about an inch shorter.

Disregard our dress code here for now. I'm more or less curious what people would suggest is the lesser of multiple evils.
 

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Dress code should be taken into account, as well as industry.

Does this person seriously want a future in the company?

$1500 a month part time is not a lot of money, if they have other bills clothes may have to take a back burner.

If they absolutely need these suits, I would give the intern all the options, as ebay and sales are never guaranteed.
 

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Ebay works if the person has the time to deal with it. Otherwise, he might wait for sales IF there is a reason that he can't just get by with a sport coat or business casual clothes during the internship.
 

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Tell him to get a navy blazer, on sale, at a place like JAB to start off with. He can get multiple pairs of trousers to go with it (khaki, grey, charcoal, etc.). As long as he has a few shirts and ties hes got himself enough looks for an intern. Depending on the level of formality that will be needed his next purchase might be a sports coat that also works with his odd trousers or a solid charcoal suit. I'd vote for the sportscoat b/c it will be more versatile than the suit - I doubt any intern would have to wear a suit anyhow.
 

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Based on your possible suggestions, I am assuming that a navy blazer and khakis would meet with the company dress code. Based on this assumption along with another assumption that money is tight for the young fellow, I suggest he start with the navy blazer and khakis, and then begin adding some wool pants. Perhaps some light grey, medium grey, tan, maybe even a light olive.

The navy blazer is versatile and works with all of them. It's very casual with the khakis and with the medium grey pants and right accessories it can rise almost to the level of a suit in many situations. Then when he gets off of work he can even pair it with a pair of jeans to take his wife/girlfriend out to the comedy club. Extemely versatile garment.

With this foundation he can then begin slowly adding a navy or charcoal suit along with some sport coats to pair with those pants that he initially acquired to wear with the navy blazer.

Cruiser
 

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I will vote for picking up an Anderson & Little blazer. This kid doesn't need to worry about meeting the trad forum's idea of a perfect blue blazer, and from everything I've heard A&L are really making an effort to please the admittedly small community here at AAAC.

I would also suggest picking up a suit sooner rather than later. When he wants to upgrade from part-time to full-time status (whether with you or another firm) he is really going to need a decent suit. For that I would say maybe a sale at JAB or even a MTM at English-American since I'm assuming he's in the DC area.
 

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You mentioned an Armani suit that was low in price. One thing I'd tell him to do is ignore brands unless they're known for quality. Armani really isn't, to be honest...
 

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Option 1.2: A blazer and medium grey trousers, plus wearing any khakis that he has that are in decent shape as an alternative, but start looking at suits on sale.

eBay is just too time consuming and "iffy" for someone on a limited-time job, especially if it appears, as your description seems to indicate, that he would need a whole lot of fashion education before he could effectively use that source.
 

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As someone who oversees several interns with a year paid a similar stipend, I would recommend:

1. Start with a dark navy suit. Look at Macy's for CK, Alfani, or RL Lauren Label. Most will be available between $150-$200 mark if on a good sale. Look in local newspaper for addition % off coupons.

2. Throw in two pairs of Dockers khakis in different colors. Again, these should be available at Macys for around $30 a pair.

3. For shirts, get 3-4 Alfani no iron in at least white, blue, and cream. These should be about $25 a shirt when on a good sale. Button downs work the best when ties are not required, but may be necessary on certain days. The slim fit shirt is a good option if it works.

4. Top it off with a pair of black lace up and a pair of brown/burgundy loafers. I would go for Bostonians if on sale as they would offer good quality and value for a good price. I have seen them available for around $60 a pair when on good sale.

5. For accessories get 1-2 conservative ties and of course a brown and black belt along with appropriate socks. Ties at Macys can get as low as $20. TJ Maxx is a good alternative for generic looking cheap ties. For the socks try TJ Maxx or even Wal Mart.

This will give the intern a lot to work with during the work week and provide a lot of mobility from business appropriate to business casual. The suit can be broken apart with the jacket being used as a blazer with the khakis and the pants being used with a shirt and tie. Shoes can also be switched to either dress up or dress down an outfit. The shirts are a generic enough color that they can be worn multiple times during a week without anyone really noticing. The ties are a good way of also dressing up/down an outfit and making the same pants and shirt combinations look slightly different.

I have directed many interns to buy pretty much what I have listed above and it works. It is certainly not an ideal business wardrobe but when you are a poor college student only making $1500 a month it provides the right amount of flexibility, value, and style within such a strict budget.

I took an intern to Macys a few months ago and pretty much got all of the above for about $500. He looked good for the duration of the internship program and even got a few compliments from the higher ups for his everyday professional appearence.
 

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A couple questions

What specifically is your dress code for interns (items and quality/sources)?

Once they have completed their internships, what happens? In other words, what will be the most likely dress code for their next position?


General items/categories
  1. Anything goes, from shorts and flip-flops to suits
  2. Khakis, sport shirts or polos.
  3. Wool trousers, dress shirts, with or without ties.
  4. Wool trousers, dress shirts, sport coats with or without ties.
  5. Suits

Quality/source
  1. Typical mall stores, JAB, Men's Warehouse, etc.
  2. Basic Brooks Brothers, decent independent clothiers (think Southwick, HSM, etc.) some better department store (think at least Nordstrom's)
  3. Top-end Brooks, independents and department stores
 

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Thrift stores, you can find a decent suit for $10-30. But it really depends if they have the time or desire to go look.

It looks like you are in DC. I could afford to buy new suits making $1500 a month, but not if I was paying DC rent. I'm pretty sure more than one $200 or more suit would cause at least some of the interns to quit!

Maybe someone else working there has some suits they could pass down?
 

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A couple questions

What specifically is your dress code for interns (items and quality/sources)?

Once they have completed their internships, what happens? In other words, what will be the most likely dress code for their next position?


General items/categories
  1. Anything goes, from shorts and flip-flops to suits
  2. Khakis, sport shirts or polos.
  3. Wool trousers, dress shirts, with or without ties.
  4. Wool trousers, dress shirts, sport coats with or without ties.
  5. Suits

Quality/source
  1. Typical mall stores, JAB, Men's Warehouse, etc.
  2. Basic Brooks Brothers, decent independent clothiers (think Southwick, HSM, etc.) some better department store (think at least Nordstrom's)
  3. Top-end Brooks, independents and department stores
This is a confusing post - please clarify? Also, FYI, most members of this forum would be quick to discourage you from ever wearing a tie w/o a coat. Simply put its very juvenille. Most would agree that its far better to go without a tie than without a coat. Wear a coat.
 

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Disclaimer: I do work for macy's but have no vested interest in what is sold at any store, or even any department outside of my own.

A few things to look for if you suggest the macy's route. Clearance shirts are great. 19.99 for shirts that sometimes have been in the store for less than a month though many are a season or two old. That includes alfani, eagle, ck and maybe some of the better brands my store doesn't have. Also suits can be had for under $100 on markdown. Check the 50% off rack and wait for a "one day" sale where they take an extra 40% off.

The one caveat when getting an alfani suit (or any sub $150 suit) for regular wear, and this I found out from my own suit is that the stitching isn't all that great. I still need to get around to repairing two seams, one on the inner thigh and the other at the front bottom of the jacket. But hey, I got it for something like $90 after employee discount.
 

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Thanks for the Plug!

Thanks for the recommendation in this thread. I agree with you but for a different reason than you might suspect--that I make the darn thing.

The reason our blazer is right as a cornerstone garment for a starter wardrobe is actually our fabric. It wears like cast iron and most young guys treat their clothes like junk.

An all wool blazer is just going to be a mess in short order. That's precisely why my Father and I selected a blended fabric.

OK that's my pitch.

Now I also must recommend (which I do not make, yet?) a grey suit rather than a dark blue.

Like a dark blue, a grey can work for both happy and somber occaisions but is not funereal as black or as common as blue. If I could only have one suit and one sport coat, I would have a blue blazer and a grey
 
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