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Dear All,

I have got an important question for you, I though many other people would also be interested to know so I am here with my question.

I'm a young consultant (23 years), and in my organization there's the culture of 4 days business casual with 5th being the casual dress day. 

Mostly the people just dress what they want, mostly with a trouser and shirt (I add a tie to look more professional, but no blazer) and others with jeans and shirt (no funny ones).

In my wardrobe I have plenty of shirts, trousers and ties (and tie pins of course ;) ), but this is okay when I am in the office. When I have to be on client sides (and have to travel back and forth from office every week), it is preferred to be in informal clothing (blazer n tie) which some people refer to as formal clothing (which the really formal includes bow tie and probably a tux).

I have a thing for travelling smart, and I can't carry 2-3 pieces of suit with me to the hotel every week. I was wondering if anyone could suggest, what kind of blazers should I buy, which (one per week) i can wear with different trousers and shirts combination ? What's the kind and colors that I should look for? What textures? Colors? Cloth type? I need some help here. 

Another question revolves around neck ties, I would like to ask, if anyone know about the different types of neck ties, some are broad some are narrower and some are made of thinner cloth than the other. Is there a purpose, e.g. one has to be wore with blazer the other one not etc ?

I personally like the ones, which are a little narrower, coz they are realtively easy to handle. 

I would definitely appreciate your kind responses, looking forward to it!

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi, MAK,

I am an image consultant who happened upon your question, and am happy to answer it for you.  First of all, you haven't mentioned what field you are in, but I am happy to know that you put yourself a cut above your coworkers by wearing a tie with your shirts/slacks.  And, yes, a jacket gives a more professional appearance when you are out in the field working with clients.  Business formal clothing is actually a suit and tie, perhaps with a vest - I don't think that there are many occasions during the work week to be wearing a tux, and very few men will wear a bow tie and be able to carry it off well.  However, these days, unless you are in the banking world, or the field of law, a nice sport coat with slacks, shirt and tie is quite appropriate for meeting with clients.  

So, let's start with an appropriate sport coat, or blazer.  You will want it to be in a neutral color, such as navy blue, brown, camel, charcoal, light grey, etc... your own coloring should play a roll in what color to make it ie. if you have dark hair, medium to dark complexion and darker eyes, you would look best in a darker neutral.  However, if you have light hair (or shaved head), a light complexion, and light eyes, then a lighter color would be more flattering.  Also, keep in mind, that darker colors in the business world are more commanding of attention than the lighter colors - so then you have the question of what your purpose when you meet with clients is:  are you attempting to sell them something? then lighter colors would be fine - are you attempting to placate them over mishandling of their account? then, lighter colors might be preferred (brown and navy are perceived as calming)- are you wanting to buy their company?  then you might be better off wearing dark colors.  This is just to give you an understanding of how color affects others.  In your case, as a consultant, my advice would be to base the colors on your own coloring and the colors in your wardrobe.... if you wear mostly browns and beiges, then a brown or camel coat would work - if you wear blues, pinks and greys, then a navy or charcoal or light grey color blazer would be best. The weight of the jacket should work with the time of year (there are plenty of all season fabrics available) and your body type - too much bulk can be overwhelming on a slender frame, and too lightweight of a jacket would not be a good choice from someone who is of an athletic, or heavier build.  

Now, as for ties.... the tie is how you express your personality - there is no rule as far as which tie looks best with suits, blazers, etc.... the rule has more to do with your body lines and taste preferences.  If you are a big guy, then you will want to wear a wider tie... if you are slender, or of average build, then you can wear the thinner tie.  Thinner ties are more up to date especially for the younger set, so if that it what you prefer, and your body line is suitable, then that is what you should wear.  There are, of course other things to consider such as whether the jacket is a double breasted (a wider tie), or the newer slender cut type (a thinner tie), but I am basing my answer on a simple 2 or 3 button blazer/jacket.  

If you have more questions, feel free to email me - I have a website: www.aumentestyle.com with some advice for men on it, and my business partner, Pat Henshaw, has a great book "Image Matters for Men" with great pictures and advice for men.  You can order it from Amazon, or I have copies of it as well and would be happy to send you a copy.  Watch the news to see men who are dressed professionally - many of them have great style (although, most of them wear suits), look at magazines and catalogues to guide you in your choices, and continue to put yourself in the most professional light possible.  I am sure that you will be successful!

Candace Bradfield

aumentestyle@gmail.com

Thanks for the reply Candace. That's very insightful. So you say I can wear different color blazer with a different color trouser... that's good to know because I always thought it was for old or mature people only.

And I think the idea of 2-3 colors only, applies to look good in this case as well ?

The whole idea of the "blazer" or sport coat is to be able to wear it with more than one pair of slacks.... it is a great addition to your wardrobe - my husband has half a dozen (at least!) sport coats... my suggestion is that you start off with one or two that works with your wardrobe - navy is always a good choice as it can be worn with brown, tan, grey, or black slacks.  When you wear a sport coat, you know that you will be wearing at least 2 different colors, one the color of the jacket or blazer (BTW - a "blazer" typically means a solid colored jacket with gold colored buttons - it is a specific type of jacket - and is generally navy in color), and one the color of your slacks.  There are many options as to what color your shirt and tie can be. Don't box yourself in too much by thinking you can only wear two or three different colors.  Just be sure that the colors are harmonious, and flattering to your complexion.  Again, I suggest you look for books on men's style and image to give you guidance.  The one that I mentioned in my previous reply has everything that I am discussing with you, plus pictures of what colors go best with the different coloring possibilities, and pictures of what shirt colors/slack colors/tie colors and jacket colors work well together.  The book also discusses men's different style types and what weight, texture, pattern looks best on different builds. Or, even better, make an appointment with an image consultant who can guide you using your own wardrobe. It would be well worth the cost as it is advice which will last you a lifetime!

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