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Author Topic: Dress Shirts  (Read 1775 times)

marcus-aurelius

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Dress Shirts
« on: December 16, 2010, 04:25:32 PM »
So I am increasing my wardobe due to holiday specials.  I am curious on everyone's opinions.

The shirts I plan on getting will be straight collar or Euro straight collar.  I plan on buying four (max allowed in the deal).

My questions involve button v. french cuff and monograms.  I want to look professional and be dressed to impress without seeming pretentious when I interview for jobs/internships.  So what do you guys think.  Which cuff and should I get a monogram on the shirts (either left cuff or on pocket)?


louiebstef

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Re: Dress Shirts
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2010, 06:22:55 PM »
Marcus,

You may want a shirt or two with french cuffs, but they are a bit overdone sometimes.  I'd skip the monograms, personally.  Spend your money
on quality accoutrements such as elegant cuff links, really good dress shoes (Florsheim/Bostonian), etc.  Tailoring is extremely important.  Most men are painfully unaware when they are walking around in an ill-fitting suit.  What you are looking for is understated elegance.  Fine tailoring goes a long way toward that end. 



 
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marcus-aurelius

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Re: Dress Shirts
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2010, 08:42:09 PM »
Thank you.  Now if the monograms are free, does that change your view?

And thanks for the shoe names.  When I looked them up and found them to be not too expensive and looking nice, made my life a little easier.

I have a tailor in my town who has been around forever.  I am gonna miss him when he retires within the next 2 years.  Hopefully I can find one in DC :)

Thane Messinger

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Re: Dress Shirts
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2010, 02:15:47 AM »
Marcus,

You may want a shirt or two with french cuffs, but they are a bit overdone sometimes.  I'd skip the monograms, personally.  Spend your money
on quality accoutrements such as elegant cuff links, really good dress shoes (Florsheim/Bostonian), etc.  Tailoring is extremely important.  Most men are painfully unaware when they are walking around in an ill-fitting suit.  What you are looking for is understated elegance.  Fine tailoring goes a long way toward that end. 

Marcus -

As always, louiebstef is dead on.  What interviewers are looking for is someone who is comfortable in their own skin.  They assume you've got the brains.  (You'd be amazed at how many applicants put this issue back on the table.)  There's an excellent excerpt from a hiring partner in the Insider's Guide to Getting a Big Firm Job, by Erika Finn and Jessica Olmon.  In his retelling, it's not monograms but pocket squares during his own interviews, many moons before. 

To follow louieb, anything you're not already wearing to important events (once in a while at least, yes?) is likely a bad idea.  If you never go anywhere needing to dress up, well, you really should--for practice and comfort if nothing else.  Tailoring, while less and less common, is a huge plus.   

Understated + elegance.  Check.

Thane.

marcus-aurelius

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Re: Dress Shirts
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2010, 01:45:13 PM »
I feel my best when I am dressed in a suit.  Anytime I had doubts about heading to law school (doubts as in can I succeed) by placing a suit on me, my confidence increased and I knew I could.

So Thane, are you saying a monogram can set me apart from the crowd?  I have dress shirts, which I get tailored as well as my suit due to my wide back and narrow waist (44v33) that do not contain monogram.  So would it behoove me to get a few shirts with a monogram?  IF so, button or french cuff?

Sorry for all the questions.  I prefer to stand out among the crowd, and I always appreciate knowledge from those such as yourself and Louiebstef/

Thane Messinger

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Re: Dress Shirts
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2010, 02:43:39 PM »
I feel my best when I am dressed in a suit.  Anytime I had doubts about heading to law school (doubts as in can I succeed) by placing a suit on me, my confidence increased and I knew I could.

So Thane, are you saying a monogram can set me apart from the crowd?  I have dress shirts, which I get tailored as well as my suit due to my wide back and narrow waist (44v33) that do not contain monogram.  So would it behoove me to get a few shirts with a monogram?  IF so, button or french cuff?

Sorry for all the questions.  I prefer to stand out among the crowd, and I always appreciate knowledge from those such as yourself and Louiebstef/

Marcus -

Yes, and not necessarily in a good way.

I would tend to agree with louieb:  In general, both French cuffs and monograms are probably overdone, possibly fatally so. 

One point is, of course, your feeling as the interviewee. So if you feel naked without cuff links or monogram, that's certainly on the plus side. 

The other side of the equation, however, is how you would be perceived.  My guess is that, with most interviewers, both would be seen as out-of-place.  It's entirely fine (but not required) to wear cuff links on the job; ditto for monograms.  Both are, however, a bit affected, depending upon the crowd.  (Secretaries will make fun of you until you're at least a senior associate; do not wear either as a summer or new associate.) In an interview room, among students (most of whom are obviously playing dress up because they have to) . . . chances are the effect would be negative, not positive. 

A third point:  interviewers should focus on personality.  Positive personality.  Something that tells them, "Gosh, I sure wish we had more colleagues like [fill in your name here] at the office!"  Clothing should be invisible.  Well, not literally.  Clothing should NOT be an issue, in any sense.  Thus, on balance, I would likely agree that both French cuffs and monograms are probably more risky than they're worth.  Monograms can be fine if you leave your jacket on, as you should, but even there it's still chancy if it's seen and if the interviewer's response is some mental version of a raised eyebrow, as it might well be.  See point on "Gosh...," above.  Better to wear a super quality conventional shirt that makes you feel grand all the same.  = :   )

Thane.


louiebstef

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Re: Dress Shirts
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2010, 05:51:29 PM »
I feel my best when I am dressed in a suit.  Anytime I had doubts about heading to law school (doubts as in can I succeed) by placing a suit on me, my confidence increased and I knew I could.

So Thane, are you saying a monogram can set me apart from the crowd?  I have dress shirts, which I get tailored as well as my suit due to my wide back and narrow waist (44v33) that do not contain monogram.  So would it behoove me to get a few shirts with a monogram?  IF so, button or french cuff?

Sorry for all the questions.  I prefer to stand out among the crowd, and I always appreciate knowledge from those such as yourself and Louiebstef/

Marcus -

Yes, and not necessarily in a good way.

I would tend to agree with louieb:  In general, both French cuffs and monograms are probably overdone, possibly fatally so. 

One point is, of course, your feeling as the interviewee. So if you feel naked without cuff links or monogram, that's certainly on the plus side. 

The other side of the equation, however, is how you would be perceived.  My guess is that, with most interviewers, both would be seen as out-of-place.  It's entirely fine (but not required) to wear cuff links on the job; ditto for monograms.  Both are, however, a bit affected, depending upon the crowd.  (Secretaries will make fun of you until you're at least a senior associate; do not wear either as a summer or new associate.) In an interview room, among students (most of whom are obviously playing dress up because they have to) . . . chances are the effect would be negative, not positive. 

A third point:  interviewers should focus on personality.  Positive personality.  Something that tells them, "Gosh, I sure wish we had more colleagues like [fill in your name here] at the office!"  Clothing should be invisible.  Well, not literally.  Clothing should NOT be an issue, in any sense.  Thus, on balance, I would likely agree that both French cuffs and monograms are probably more risky than they're worth.  Monograms can be fine if you leave your jacket on, as you should, but even there it's still chancy if it's seen and if the interviewer's response is some mental version of a raised eyebrow, as it might well be.  See point on "Gosh...," above.  Better to wear a super quality conventional shirt that makes you feel grand all the same.  = :   )

Thane.

Marcus,

Thane, as usual, eloquently framed what I was reaching to express.  The net sum gain of the risk of seeming a bit pretentious is just not worth it.  Funny enough, I mentioned our posts to my wife, and told her exactly what Thane expressed-you want your dress to be very subtly received.  You want the focus to be on you.  Any distraction from that is not a good thing.  Being either slightly over or under dressed can be a distraction.
"Why be a lawyer? I'm already an ass.  Might as well go professional!"

marcus-aurelius

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Re: Dress Shirts
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2010, 06:40:03 PM »
So no monogram or french cuff.  I'll play it safe.

Now the tailor I does creates bespoke suits.  Is it worth buying one, (not sure of cost but I know it is around 900) to where for interviews?  Being a muscular guy, I have issues with buying suits (5-9 205lbs at about 10%bodyfat).  It is nearly impossible for me to find a suit.  The holes where I place my arms into the sleeves are always very large.  And when I do find a suit, it has to be tailored in several different aspects. 

louiebstef

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Re: Dress Shirts
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2010, 10:21:15 PM »
Marcus,

Being probably 20 years (or more) older than you, you'll be surprised to know I am built pretty similarly, about 5'9", very wide shoulders, about 225, and 20% bodyfat.  I indeed always have trouble with anything off the rack.  Anything wide enough in the shoulders is too wide in the girth.  "I feel ya," as they say.

I am not in a position to be able to afford true bespoke suits (yet!).  If you do have the money, I would go ahead and invest in one good interview suit.  You can go one step below bespoke (what I do), and go "made to measure."  The cut and material are a bit less expensive than bespoke (maybe $400-$600), yet still better than "off the rack" for us hard to fit folks.    Sure, I'd love to snag a bargain suit off the rack for $175, but with my fitting challenges, it just doesn't happen.

I always think that the "suit mafia" is against us stocky muscled guys......

"Why be a lawyer? I'm already an ass.  Might as well go professional!"

marcus-aurelius

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Re: Dress Shirts
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2010, 09:55:48 AM »
I think clothing companies are against muscular guys period!!  Pants are my worst enenmy.  With jeans, I have to buy them a size big in the waist so my things so the legs aren't choked. 

I'll have to ask my tailor about made to measure suits.  Saving money is always a good thing.