Law School Discussion

Men: Buying a suit...

Re: Men: Buying a suit...
« Reply #50 on: April 25, 2008, 02:49:26 PM »
Diet Sunkist, is the suit the reason he is your ex?

Ex: Look what I bought

D.S.: Been nice knowing you.

I generally think if a place is business casual and people actually dress that way, you should generally dress that way too. there was a guy at my firm (business casual) that wore a jacket tie to work every day, and he looked kind of ridiculous.


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Re: Men: Buying a suit...
« Reply #51 on: April 25, 2008, 02:49:42 PM »
Double-breasted seersucker for 2L OCI, got it...

(this senetence intentionally left blank).

Talk Is Cheap

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Re: Men: Buying a suit...
« Reply #52 on: April 25, 2008, 03:03:31 PM »
People are really in their 20s and have never bought/had any experience with a suit?

Re: Men: Buying a suit...
« Reply #53 on: April 25, 2008, 03:07:48 PM »
So "cordovan" shoes w/ navy, what style of shoes are the most conventional?  I guess black shoes w/ navy is bad?

Also, the ties one could choose are endless.  In general what are the most conformist looks and colors to go w/ a navy and charcoal suit?

black shoes with a navy suit are fine.  However, don't wear light brown shoes with a navy suit.  Dark Brown shoes are also perfectly acceptable.

If you have the money to go ahead and invest in a great shoe.  here is one I really like.

Re: Men: Buying a suit...
« Reply #54 on: April 25, 2008, 03:10:09 PM »
If you have a Brooks Brothers outlet near you they have suits that are deeply discounted from normal price... I once got one for $350 + tax.


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Re: Men: Buying a suit...
« Reply #55 on: April 25, 2008, 07:00:07 PM »
charcoal is not light, Slate is pushing it, but probably acceptable (I feel like people refer to a lot of different things as slate. Men do not really wear black suits, and if you can tell black apart from navy on a law firm website picture, you have better eyes than me.

Charcoal is eminently acceptable

Re: Men: Buying a suit...
« Reply #56 on: April 25, 2008, 07:02:55 PM »
right thats what I said, Slate is the one I thought was borderline.

Re: Men: Buying a suit...
« Reply #57 on: April 25, 2008, 07:57:14 PM »
Sadly, I've learned a great deal about this in the last few years. Some excellent advice and some terrible advice in this thread. I'll add a few observations:

1) Unfortunately, at most law firms in most places in the country, appearance is extremely important on a day-to-day basis. This can be a hard adjustment coming from an undergraduate (and then law school) environment. If you're an idealistic / down-to-earth / judge-me-on-what-I-produce type, coming to grips with this will not be easy, but it is critical if you want to work in the legal profession. Apperance, image, projection, and personality all matter - the more you figure this out, the better you'll do. The harsh reality is that (particularly with the economy as it is, but really, at all times given the glut of lawyers) there are enough people competing for choice spots that a firm can find someone just as skilled / effective / productive as you who can ALSO walk into the office looking professional everyday. Guess who they'll select.

2) Unless you want to broadcast a message of "Look at me! I'm a Big Boy! I Bought My First Suit!" do not not not wear, purchase, or buy a black suit as a first, second, or even third suit. They scream inexperience and lack of knowledge regarding legal (or even more generally sartorial) culture. Do not think because your friends wore black suits to interviews as undergrads that a black suit is somehow acceptable. It isn't. Black is to be worn on formal or somber occasions - evening dinner parties, funerals, galas, etc. You will do yourself no favor to go out and buy a black suit for interviews or firm work.

3) Navy blue is a great first color. It is extremely versatile - if done properly, you can wear it in almost any season - even summer if it is an evening event. Charcoal is also considered a good 'first pick' although it is pretty much the most conservative option you can go for. In general, I've found that the lighter your skin complexion, the better it is to go with Navy. The dark grays will make you look pale / drained. On the other hand, if you have darker skin (more tan, or olive, or brown) then charcoal is a nice complementary color.

4) I wouldn't go so far as some of the posters and say that a summer-color is never permissible. While I'm not advocating a 1970s-style polyester-brown number, an interesting off-color brown (particularly if it has a very faint contrasting pin) is a great summer and fall option. A beautiful birdseye light gray is a fine spring and summer option. However, these should NOT be worn for interviews. Stick with a navy-blue or charcoal for those first impression days.

5) About the single best piece of advice I could ever give to anyone looking for a suit? Have it tailored by a good tailor. More than anything else - anything - tailoring makes the difference between a terrible or okay suit vs. a great suit. Tailoring is just about the most important thing you can have done. It should be almost axiomatic: buy a suit, have it tailored. A $300 suit that has been expertly tailored after purchase will outshine a $3000 off-the-rack suit any day of the week. I kid you not.

6) Shoes matter. If the shoes you are wearing with your suit are described by a purchase price with 2 digits, throw them out. (Or save them for ... painting or something of that sort). $100 should be a MINIMUM level of expenditure on shoes. Absolute MINIMUM. Importantly, this isn't just an off-the-wall fashion tip. It's actually a good way to be smart with your money. For a lot of the clothing we buy, price isn't that well correlated with quality. With shoes, it almost always IS well correlated with quality. Spend good money on shoes and you'll be amazed how long they last and how good they keep looking. It pays off.

7) Shoes pt. 2: Here are some ground rules. Love them or hate them, they will count: 1. do NOT wear a shoe with a rubber sole. This isn't gym class. Partial rubber ... ehh, okay I guess. Slipping and falling on the street isn't a fun experience. But ideally, there should be 0 rubber in the sole. 2. do NOT wear a shoe with a square toe. I love square toed shoes. I have a bunch of them. I do not wear them with suits. This (like a black suit outside of a dining room or funeral parlor) is a surefire way to identify yourself, and not in a way that you would want to be identified.

8) Shoes pt. 3: Just to harp on this for one more point: your shoes & your watch are the two biggest silent signals in terms of your mode of dress. They are a walking advertisement and partners (as well as clients, investors, and, to an amazing extent, women) will notice.

9) If you are in your 20s or 30s, (or, honestly, even older than that) do not select a double-breasted suit jacket or a double-breasted blazer/sport-coat. This is insane. It is a look reserved for much much older men and it cancels all the positives that younger, fitter, trimmer, more athletic bodies have. (Whereas a single-breasted jacket brings them to the fore). To be blunt: it is an older-man's look. The one universally accepted exception: if you are significantly overweight, you can (and should) pull off a double-breasted - far more flattering.

10) Regarding particular manufacturers - my best advice would be to go to a bookstore (or start googling) and browse through various designers' websites. See what you like. See what appeals to you. If you want, clip out a few things here and there from the Sunday paper. Build a sense of what fits your personality and sense of style. I will say, I've never been 'up' on Brooks Brothers and think it gets far too much positive spin on boards for pre-laws. I think this is largely a result of people not wanting to go to a men's warehouse type place and being at least distantly familiar with "Brooks Brothers", associated with a somewhat better quality. No doubt, it is a better quality. however, I think that it is also an older-men's brand. Not 'double breasted jacket and walking cane' old, but 'my successful middle-aged Dad' sort of old. The cuts of their suits (which matters before tailoring takes place) aren't really designed for younger men; the quality of their suits has declined in the last decade due to manufacturing $ pressures. If you like what you see, go for it, but I personally am never impressed.

Re: Men: Buying a suit...
« Reply #58 on: April 25, 2008, 07:58:19 PM »
11) A few misc. tips

* Do not wear a button-collar shirt. This is a strictly casual look.

* Buttons pt. 1: There is no such thing as a single-button jacket. There is no such thing as a 4-button jacket (unless you are over 7-feet tall). These cannot exist in a world that is good, just, and fashionable. Two buttons is conservative. Three buttons is a bit more modern. A 1-button jacket is the equivalent of a 2-door sedan. A 4-button jacket is the equivalent of a 4-dour coupe. Let us not speak of them.

* Buttons pt. 2: The middle button of a 3-button suit (or, on a two button, the top) button is always buttoned. Always. The only exception is when you are sitting down. Then, you UNBUTTON your jacket.

* Buttons pt. 3: On a three-button, you can (and many men, especially in the US, do chose this) button the top button as well. Technically - as in England 19th century technically - this is improper. However, now adays, it is acceptable. (So too is only the middle button being buttoned, of course).

* Buttons pt. 4: If you button the bottom button of a suit jacket, please remove the suit jacket entirely. Better yet, remove the entire suit. Stand naked in the cold night air and think upon the folly that lead you to this error. You no longer deserve to wear a suit.

* People go back and forth on whether pinstripes are acceptable in a suit. What I think everyone (who is in the know) would agree upon is that, if you are going to do a pin, make sure it is a LIGHT (meaning intensity, not color) pinstripe. You do not want to look like you're wearing a prison outfit. [Personally, I'm all for a pin, particularly if it is in a complementary, muted color)

* Color coordination is extremely important (and would take up another huge post, so I'm not going to do it here). A good starting place for determining color-match with suiting can be found by searching "Ask Andy Fashion Forum" on google. It's a great website. The members are a bit ... too sartorial / stuck in the mud for my taste. But they also have a ton of information and a great color wheel chart.

* Either ditch the cologne entirely or restrict yourself to 1 (one) single spray of a pleasing fragrance. Ask women for advice on this if you can.

* Do not wear a backpack to a meeting, interview, luncheon, gathering, etc. I'm not kiding - this happens. A mess. bag is a good compromise. Portfolio works great. Unless you want to be labelled 'Mr. Tool' do not use a briefcase as a summer associate.

* Hopefully this isn't news to anyone, but do not wear white socks. A fun 'extra' can be to throw in a pair of colorful socks. It's interesting without being overly bold.

* Your shirt should fit you such that you aren't swallowed in a billowy cloud of material. Depending on who you ask, one-two finger spaces between a closed collar and the most prominent point in your neck is the rule of thumb (or finger as it were).

* A well-tailored shirt/suit combo will have the shirt peek slightly beyond the length of the suit arm. Not critical, but, if this is happening for you, it means you've done things well. (And hopefully listened to my advice and had your suit tailored)!

* Often, when people have their first pair of suit pants tailored, they'll have a sense that the length is too short. Unlikely. A proper-length pant should never descend below the top of the heel on your shoe. When you are standing perfectly straight, it should be (depending on what fashion wave you are following) anywhere between 1/4 and 3/4 down the length of your back-shoe surface. The front of the pant should show a slight inversion/kink.

* Wear a decent watch. If you don't have a decent watch, better to go without than to put on your seiko / gi joe / timex. It doesn't have to be a patek philippe guys. Simple things like a polished metal band watch will do wonders.

* Keep the jewelry to an absolute minimum. No chains. No 'beach' bracelets. No 'men necklaces'. No earrings. A watch. Maybe maybe maybe a nice pair of cufflinks. And that's it.

* ties: I don't want to get too far into this, as you'll find a lot of ink is spilled on this issue. Don't wear a bow tie. Don't wear no tie. Don't wear a knit tie or a 'too-cool-for-school' ultra-thin tie, at least if it's an interview or client meeting. (Whether they'll be acceptable once you are working at a firm will depend on individual culture). Don't wear a tie that says 'I'm an a-hole' or 'I never dressed myself before' e.g. looney toons, mickey mouse, star wars, etc. I'm not kidding - they've all walked into the door. Personally, I'm a big fan of Ferragamo. They're a bit expensive, but they are excellent quality and intersting designs and prints. (Just don't buy anything too wacky or out there for the interview - elephants are awesome when you're a litigating partner but might be looked on with slightly less approval when you're a 24-year-old potential hire). If in doubt? Complementary color, solid pattern, and you're good.

* Of course, be clean shaven. Shower. Keep your hair trim. Nails clean. Wear deodorant. Wipe your nose. Don't chew gum. Don't hcack to clear your throat. Avoid excessive yawning. These are common sense things that no 25-year-old should have to be told. Guess how many 25-year-olds will be told this in the upcoming interview season? too many.

* A good suit should be dry-cleaned as little as possible. Having it steamed once in a while is great to get wrinkles out (a very hot shower will work in a pinch if you can't get to a dry cleaner) But actual dry cleaning? Ideally, no more than once or twice a year. This may be unrealistic if you only have a few suits - don't wear them to the point of being disgusting. But, certainly, try to minimize the number of trips to the dry cleaners. It distorts the fabric and ages the garment.

* My final piece of advice: attitude matters TREMENDOUSLY when you are dressing for these environments. Particularly as you get used to the idea of constantly (or even more than occasionally) wearing a suit to work / party / interview / gather. If you project confidence and comfort in your clothing - that it is a natural extension of who you are rather than a torture-filled venture in not-wearing-my-oh-so-comfortable jeans for the day - it will reflect on you in a great way.

Hope this helps. Yes, I know - I've become a sellout. But not really. Don't look at having to dress formally as a chore or a burden. Look at it as an opportunity to learn a new (nonverbal) language of skill, power, and confidence. It is a threshold test - it will get you into many many doors. Once in, your character, quality, and effort will matter more than anything else. But, in a client-based business, they don't let you in if you don't have the 'dress' pass.

Especially if you are wearing square-toed shoes! ;)



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Re: Men: Buying a suit...
« Reply #59 on: April 25, 2008, 08:35:40 PM »
*snaps* AK, *snaps*