Dressing Your Best: Step 1
by "Dad" Dan Loughin
So, you’ve read the several posts on here about dressing well, (if you haven't, search for the key word "dress" on the blog, and you'll find them) and you’ve decided that you want to start yourself on the right track to achieve this. However, there’s probably one question that’s crossed your mind: you’ve read so many posts here about suits, shoes, and ties that you don’t know where the heck to start. We’re here to help you with that.
The first step is to figure out what you want to do for a living. A chef will not need the same wardrobe as a banker. There really are 4 sets of wardrobes: The Constant Professional – those who choose to work in a profession that requires them to wear a suit every day to work; The Business Owner – those who are going to be in front of clients for long periods, but the nature of their industry doesn’t necessarily require them to be in a suit every day; The Uniform Man – those who work in an industry (i.e. vehicle repair) that requires a specific uniform to perform work requirements; and The Casual Creative – those who absolutely never need to wear a suit except to a wedding or funeral. There is no shame in choosing one profession over another – you just need to know, so that you know what you need as your baseline!
Once you have your baseline, you need to know the “rules.” You shouldn’t wear anything, from shoes to neck, two days in a row. This lengthens the time it takes your clothing to wear out exponentially. Making sure you have multiple items in the categories you need makes your clothing that much more comfortable, and in the long run, saves you money.
The next step is to have a conversation about what you need in your wardrobe with someone who actually works in that field. Make sure you take notes during this conversation – you don’t want to forget within a few days, and then need to have the conversation again.
The last step is to compare what you have with what you need. You also want to make sure to check the quality of your clothing, and either toss or repair anything that is damaged. If the quality of the fabric itself isn’t up to snuff, or if it is unable to be repaired due to excessive damage, you need to toss it and replace it.
With these things determined, you now have a very good idea as to what you need to purchase. You’ll notice that nothing was specifically mentioned. That’s because your needs are different from the person next to you. Once you know what you need, check out the thrift stores such as Goodwill and Salvation Army before you head to a retail store. Rumor has it that an advisor from Reading was able to obtain a full tuxedo from Goodwill for $20 - and that it was in perfect shape!