An introduction to professional fashion (continued)
Speaking of ties, if you are someone who loves ties like I do, I would suggest getting some to wear. I would start with knit ties (Pictured below); striped repp ties, not to be confused with the solid repp tie which is made of stripes (Pictured below); and patterned ties, with the pattern being small as well as somewhat uniform (An example of which is pictured below). Having at least one makes for a great jumping off point to pair them with your OCBDs and create different looks.
Something you can consider, but isn’t actually necessary, are sweaters. In terms of styles, I would recommend looking into v-neck sweaters, crew-neck sweaters, sweater vests, sleeveless cardigans, cardigans and shawl collar cardigans. Crew-neck, v-neck and cardigan sweaters all work as mid-layers between your shirt and tie or shirt and your jacket. Sleeveless cardigans and sweater vests work like a waistcoat. As for shawl collar cardigans, these work as a replacement for a jacket. In terms of colors, navy and gray work well to work with everything else. If you want other colors afterwards, I would recommend straying more towards darker colors to not make it stand out too much. Lastly, I wouldn’t recommend getting anything with a logo in order to keep your sweaters both timeless and give you plausible deniability if you wear the sweater often.
You’ve got jackets, shirts, sweaters and ties but now, you’re missing pants and shoes. I think that a pair of dark jeans are wonderful if your company doesn't ban it. Like the blazer and OCBD, this can be dressed up and down. You can get raw which is unwashed, selvedge which is a self finished edge that keeps the material from unraveling or fraying or pre-washed denim depending on what kind of work you want in order to take care of them and how much potential fading you want.
Another option you can wear are chinos, which are cotton pants with slanted pockets and no pleats. Like jeans, you can get raw, selvedge or pre-washed chinos. These pants come in many colors, and work wonderfully to dress up with a blazer as well as dress down. I personally would tend to stay away from navy or black to keep away from trying to wear a suit but there are plenty of other colors that work within the ground rules.
Lastly, for pants, gray dress pants. A navy jacket and gray dress pants create a very classic combination that has remained a good look. This can be in either a light gray, medium gray or charcoal gray. In terms of details, I merely recommend that the front pockets be slanted pockets like chinos and be in wool.
A few honorable mentions when it comes to pants are corduroy, linen and moleskin. I don’t see them as an absolute necessity in any means but if you want to change up your look, I would recommend looking into these as a start.
Shoes complete your outfits so picking the right pair can make or break that outfit. I would start by looking at less formal dress shoes such as loafers and derbies as well as boots like chukka boots and chelsea boots, all of which I would recommend looking at the same companies that were recommended for the dress shoes. Another possibility, if allowed, is a pair of low top white sneakers whose cleanliness you maintain (A few examples found below).
When it comes to accessories, you can absolutely wear the same accessories you pair with your suit. You can also look at less formal accessories so long as it follows the ground rules set at the beginning of this part of the article.
If you’re interested in doing some research on your own, here are a few good sites:
Gentleman gazette - Good for checking what that dress code really means and talking about history along with vintage items
Permanent style - Good for outfit ideas, some interesting interviews and some articles about theory
Put this on - Good all round site with plenty of advice, reviews and outfit ideas
Menswear musings - Good for reviews of more affordable clothing and giving company recommendations that are more affordable as well as some articles about theory
By Kyle Chabot- 5th year Industrial Engineering Student