Bosque wrote:Pufer, are you actually in Albuquerque right now? Because if so, I am seriously contemplating offering to pay you to go shopping with me and update my wardrobe next time I am back.
I'm in Phoenix now, unfortunately. (Back in 2007, everyone on the boards had location lines. They did away with that sometime in early 2008, but that had the effect of locking those of us who existed pre-change into what we had as our locations. My profile thing to the left has said ABQ since and there's no way I can figure out to change it (not that I very much care).)
Bosque wrote:I need to start building a wardrobe for work, I don't think my one good suit, three pairs of meh pants I got on sale at Macys and collection of passable but boring Arrow fitted shirts I picked up from Kohls on a 70% off sale are going to cut it. My firm is business casual, but I still need better clothes than that I am thinking.
Actually, I thought I remembered you having a post on what you need to start a working wardrobe (as opposed to the interview suit post), do you or anyone else remember where that is?
I have no idea where anything is now that everything's been folded into this massive topic.
Sounds like you'll probably need more clothes, even if nothing else. The issue with business casual, however, is that there's no way to tell what it actually means for any particular firm. As I've mentioned before, I've worked in a "business casual" office where dark jeans and a polo was the standard fare, but also one where slacks, a solid dress shirt, and a tie was the uniform. I've heard of "business casual" firms where the "casual" only means that you don't have to wear a tie with your full suit, but most folks still do.
What you can do is really going to depend on what everyone else is doing, and there's no real way to figure that out except through first-hand experience.
Bosque wrote:Oh, and if you have any advice on stores to go to in Albuquerque to get good quality business casual to formal clothes, you would be my new favorite person. I am not really going to have time to shop until I go home for Christmas break, so knowing where to go there would help a lot. You're the best!
ABQ sucks for shopping. You're probably going to be stuck with the after-Xmas sales at Dillard's (the one at Winrock generally has better stock during the Xmas sale than the Cottonwood one). There's a JAB at ABQ Uptown. Robert R. Bailey's Clothiers is a very nice formal men's store (in that shopping center across Louisiana from Winrock; next to Le Peep), but is viciously expensive. There's really not much else worth it (Kistler-Collister was the last proper upscale department store, but is now an Ace Hardware last time I was in ABQ).
At the Santa Fe Outlet Mall, there are Ralph Lauren, BB, Hilfiger, and Van Heusen outlet stores (or at least there were a couple years ago), amongst other things. That might be a better bet if you wanted to take the 45 minute drive.
moandersen wrote:What you wrote is outstanding and very impressive. A follow up question I have is where can I buy a decent suit for 400-600? Is my budget just in that no mans land range and will not land me a quality suit? My eyes are now open to MW, but you mention that department stores are similar. Excuse me ignorance, but where do I look for suits if not those types of places? Thanks!
$400-600 really is a bit of a dead zone, but only because most of the suits that list in that price range can be had at or under $250. There's nothing necessarily wrong with the suits at MW or the department stores, it's just that they're wildly overpriced. If you like those suits, you just need to find them at a price where you're not getting screwed. The internet is really best for this, with Sierra Trading Post and Overstock being the primary sources for MW-type brands on discount (I'd recommend Lauren suits on STP under at least $180 with one of their email list coupons).
You can also go JAB with Signature level or above during their next 3-for-1 (or better) sale if you like how they look on you (a lot of folks don't like the wider pads on the JAB shoulders, but a lot of folks don't care - hit a JAB store and try a couple on before pulling the trigger). If a BB outlet is having a sale, the 346 line is okay, just make sure you buy during a sale.
Brooks Brothers is an excellent source if you hit them during their big sales (next one will probably be around Thanksgiving).
On department stores, any store can have a sale that brings their suits into a more reasonable price range. Dillard's is probably the best among the common department stores and has occasional suit sales that are really quite good (look for Hart Schaffner Marx; avoid Ralph), and Dillards Clearance Center (if you have one nearby) is a nice source for cheap suits as well, although their staple suit selection is very fluid.
Nordstrom and Saks will have some extremely nice suits at some extremely high prices. Look for sales or hit Nordstrom Rack or Off 5th (the Rack is generally vastly superior to Off 5th).
Ultimately, most suits will do fine for OCI so long as they're nicely tailored. The issue really is how most stores try to rape the suit-buying consumer in the sub-$500 price range and trying to avoid that. Rather than deciding that you have to kill yourself trying to get the best possible suit you can with your budget, go with a Lauren from STP (which is either a $495 or $595 list price suit at MW, depending on the MW) for $155-$180 and save the rest of your cash for booze (or more suits).
A standard Lauren is basically a decent suit that would fall between an Executive and a Signature suit from JAB, only without the JAB trademark wide shoulders - it is pretty generic and should be tailorable to most folks' body types. After it's tailored at a local tailor, I guarantee that you'll look every bit as good as the vast majority of your competition (and, if your law school is anything like mine was, you'll actually look noticeably better than probably two-thirds of them).