View Full Version : Dressing for gentlemen

09-18-2015, 08:26 AM
OK guys Im NOT saying theres no place for T shirts and jeans; but Ive reached that stage in my life where slacks and a dress shirt just seems better, and yeah maybe Ive just been watching too many episodes of The Transporter on DVD; but Im sorta tired of what "casual" has come to mean. Im looking at my clothes AND what I see others wearing, its got me thinking. "Casual" used to mean something less than a suit; but still looking reasonably "correct". Now we have to specifically tell our officers when they go to in-service or schools, "casual" DOES NOT MEAN shorts and flip flops....

I remember doing a pre visit security check, back in the 80s, we were in jeans etc, to blend in and our credentials were in the vehicle with the hardware, when we went to the local PD to check in, we got treated like youd expect, so I called one of the "bosses" (actually I out ranked him; but he was in a suit), as soon as he came in the lobby we got attention. The local guys insisted on addressing our "suit", even though I was the one doing most of the talking. I learned from that, when the mission called for "dressing down", everybody else could wear jeans; but I at least wore khakis, so I could quickly put on a sport coat for a quick "upgrade" if necessary.

Years ago there was a cover on one of the survival magazines with a guy in a business suit, white shirt and tie, (minus the coat) with cammo facepaint and a rifle. They were joking about always being prepared; but I think its just as good an example that not all battles are fought in 5.11s and frankly wars are "won" by Brooks Bros not BDUs. Now this doesnt mean Im tossing my "urban safari" gear, neither does it mean I wont be "carrying"; on the contrary a suit jacket is a great cover garment. Plus suspenders are an amazing asset when strapping on a couple SMG "Happy Sticks".

I thought we might discuss this further with "gear" selection??? Shoes, jackets and slacks vs suits, shirts, ties (sometimes), etc? Where to buy? Fitted vs off the rack? What to wear and when to wear it?


Greg Nichols
09-18-2015, 08:53 AM
Being dressed and pressed always yields better treatment. You gotta' look the part. As an example, at class last weekend we went to a nice joint and I wore designer jeans, designer shirt, and a ball cap with boots. One of the wait staff asked Tom C. if I was a drummer in some band I've never heard of. Of course, as she was a cute little thing, Tom advised that I was indeed a drummer (I used to be) but didn't think of the band she had mentioned. I, of course began getting special attention even tho Gabe was clearly "The Man" of the show.

09-18-2015, 10:59 AM
I have been in big ticket sales most of my professional life. The old paradigm was always dress as well or better than the customer. If the customer wore french cuff shirts with a tie and a jacket, so would I. About 10 years ago that all changed. When I was at a company that IBM purchased and then IBM itself, "business casual" became the norm. Business casual was a pretty darned loose term that could mean an open collar dress shirt with nice slacks and a jacket or even a nice golf/polo shirt with a jacket and slacks. It would appear that things are starting to get a little more formal among working professionals.

If you want good clothes that run the range from nice casual to suits take a look at Joseph Banks. Their clothes are well made, stylish, and affordable.

Having said all this, some days a nice t-shirt and shorts works just fine in the home office. :-)

09-18-2015, 01:22 PM
I am glad I don't run in circles that require dressing up. My normal attire is Carhart carpenter jeans and a pocket t (when cold throw on a flannel shirt over that). If I were to wear a suit or dress clothes I would stick out like a sore thumb! I do have some but they come out very seldom and I hate the way they feel.

09-18-2015, 02:46 PM
Indeed. I'm a contractor. Not the kewl guy operator kind, I mean I build new homes. Jeans or shorts and a t-shirt (with my company logo) every day. I gotta meet customers, but I get dirty every day too.

I'll still dress up on date night, but that means nice jeans and a nice button-up shirt (that my wife probably bought both of). Fact is, I just don't run in circles that require dressing up. But I don't wear ratty pants and Metallica shirts with holes in them either. And I don't tuck my shirt in at church either, because nobody really cares and it makes it a lot easier to hide the staggering (to some, not Tribe members) amount of weapons and ammo that can fit on a 32" waist.

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09-18-2015, 03:47 PM
So when dressed to the point of a tucked in shirt where does one tuck their blaster for quick access?

Do we just tuck it in the waistband as usual and keep the suit jacket on?

Stuff it in a pocket?

09-18-2015, 03:49 PM
Guys Im a patrol cop, which means I wear a uniform every day, sure there are days I come home and slip on jeans or even sweats. Heck I love to roam the woods, and that's an excuse to break out the 5.11s or Carharts or maybe even Rhodie cammo; but I no longer want to go to the movies dressed like that. When we have even a casual dinner or barbeque with the future in laws or neighbors, I feel more "comfortable" or perhaps "correct" in at least khakis and a golf shirt.

Now that's me, so of course wear what you like and its also location dependent. When I was in Wyoming and Montana, I would have looked out of place in wingtips and a pin strip suit. Here on Merry Land a suit "fits" and casual could be slacks (even the Sears Work type pants) and a collared "dress shirt". With that, I can go shopping or on a date or paraphrase the commercial, "to the bank to ask for a loan". It goes back to the EP detail I mentioned in the original post. When dressed in slacks and a "dress" shirt, I can speak with business executives and prospective clients and in laws, and do it as an "equal"

I get that you should be able to dress however the F you want, especially if you are the one with the money; but when you want "their" money, its best to dress like you don't need it. Back when I did P.I. and E.P. work, I couldn't afford much more than a tie from Brooks Bros. Still I was pretty happy with suits and jackets from JC Penny's or similar. Standing next to a Brooks Bros ensemble in a JCP suit in a fashion show was like a Ferrari next to a Hyundai; but as a door opener or point/tail agent, it was fine. Shoes didn't have to be handmade Italian loafers; but they did have to have a basic polish. Oh and they had to be comfortable....

Paper Shredder
09-19-2015, 05:19 AM
I probably can't give a dissertation on what it's like to kick in doors, but this is one area I can opine a bit on.

Suits: no one needs a $5,000 Zegna suit, but like other things in life, if you can swing it, do it. One thing that is attainable is tailoring. I buy mid grade off rack and have it tailored. That is what makes a difference in a suit. Even a cheap suit from Nordstrom rack tailored looks like a $3,000 suit. If you also have the means, get in good with a bespoke tailor. I fortunately have had a lot of travel to Asia and have some preferred tailors there. They turn suits in 48 hours and keep your measurements for future suits that they will Fedex. I have suits that use Zegna wool but cost $500, look $5,000. I'll bet you could even have them make some "fortifications" for a tactical situation!

I do traditional 2 button but 3 button may fit some body types a bit better but 2 button jackets are a classic, which if you stick to classics, you can wear them for years without being out of style. Definitely under no circumstances do the pleated slacks. But that's just me.


Actually Jos A Bank does have decent shirts that are off rack that is some what fitted. Unique sleeve length with neck size is a good thing. My personal style nowadays is spread collar but I'm a wallstreet wannabe when I'm in the monkey suit. I still do the traditional double Windsor knot and none of that gay skinny tie nonesense.

Shoes: this is an area that a lot of people will vary greatly on. I'm a certain style guy that wears classic oxfords. Some with brogues. Buy once cry once I think applies to shoes. I bought 2 pairs of plain black and a brown Gucci Oxfords that I've had for 12 years. I bought them when I was an uber city slicker and thought I needed such expensive shoes, but I've had them resoled 3x and maintained them. Good leather uppers and soles make the difference. Bostonian, Stacey Adams and the like make great shoes as well. I am intrigued by the Colehan series with the Nike air soles that look like oxfords, but are like sneakers, but I'd say not a "dress" shoe.

I do suits for dinners, meetings, occasions, etc. to be frank, the business world has dropped in decorum quite a bit outside of fortune 100 and the banking industry. I'm in mid cap PE arena and I wear jeans and a button up everyday to work with a blazer on , which once I'm in my office, it goes on the back of my chair. I do however bring the suit for perception's sake with board meetings and meeting PE guys since they are filthy rich and need to know I can be "one of them" and I am trustworthy until I get some gray hair in the management seat.

I think everyone should have a select range of suit attire whether you kick in doors, pound nails, or sit at a desk. Being savagely dangerous and having a veneer of civility is super cool... And satisfies my James Bond fantasy.

09-19-2015, 08:46 AM
An older friend of mine (in his 60's now) grew up in the Palm Beach/Jupiter Island society. It's always amusing to get insight into that rarefied world filled with elites (and those who think they are). As long as I've known him he has preached "Perception Is Reality" to me and every young person he talks to. As much as the idealist in me doesn't want to accept it, the truth is that is how people operate by default. You can try to get people to change, or you can just work within the context of human nature to get what you want. I think that fits into the pirate mindset pretty well.

Many people dress based on what they want to see when they look in the mirror--they dress for themselves. Whether to project a certain image, make a certain statement, look like the kind of person they think they are (or wish they were), they dress to make themselves happy. A modern pirate thinks about how to get what he wants, which is what makes him TRULY happy! So if you are around people who know you, or you couldn't care less what they think of you, then dress however you want. But if you want something from other people, dress in such a way that you maximize the desired impression you want make on them in the first 10 seconds they see you.

That usually means dressing better than everybody else. Steve Jobs may have gotten away with jeans and turtlenecks when he became the Big Dog, but I bet you'll find 98% of the rest of big-time CEOs still wearing suits and ties daily. When you've made it you can be the renegade, but dressing like a renegade usually isn't the easiest path to success!

09-19-2015, 10:50 AM
Two points: Where you live has much to do with the answer, and it appears what you're looking for is "business casual" (khaki cotton or wool slacks, laced or slip on leather shoes or laced low cut boots, and either a polo or button down tucked with a sport coat or untucked without depending on time of year and local custom).

The OP and I live on the East Coast where Nichols' nice jeans and boots would mark him as either a tourist or a redneck. This same look anywhere out West is not only totally acceptable, but actually fashionable.

09-19-2015, 12:53 PM
This: http://www.warriortalk.com/showthread.php?123178-Bringing-Back-the-Vest-for-Gentlemen&highlight=vest

09-19-2015, 06:34 PM
In those years that I was in the Brooks Brothers world I would never have dreamed of being near any associates, clients, prospects, or anyone else that I needed to potentially impress in anything less than slacks, dress shirts, jacket - all tailored. Usually two button suits - tailored. One can really upgrade your look with the help of a good tailor. Now that I don't need to "dress for success" my grey man outfits are blue jeans/dockers, colored t-shirts and Hawaiian cover shirts. I also dress for the environment. No jeans in "nice" restaurants, etc. Weapons are always concealed and never mentioned.

09-19-2015, 07:10 PM
You look good, you feel good, you are BAD!

09-20-2015, 04:11 AM
I am 75 and only wore a suit on Sundays and when I got married. I wear jeans and a polo shirt, in the summer wear shorts. If I cant go somewhere in jeans and polo, I dont go. I like to be comfortable.