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Ladies, HELP! I have to dress DH up for meetings w/the BIG BOYS!


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I need some help here. DH has an opportunity to possibly get onto another project which will require him to work a reasonable work week instead of the 70-80 he regularly does for no raises, bonuses, extra vacation or comp time...just a "Be thankful you have a job". He's being courted for an elite oracle dba architect group within his company. These guys represent the top 100 technical employees globally so it is a profound testament to his expertise to be invited to even interview for it. HE'D LOVE THIS POSITION!

 

The downside....these people directly report to a VERY high up vice president in the company and the VP and his cronies dress to the nines. Unfortunately, they expect a pretty amazing first impression - and it's a forgone conclusion that they have no patience for country bumpkins and their Croft and Barrow or Stafford brand clothes off the rack much less the two suits he owns that are eight years old and clearly out of style. GRRRRR.....dh's current position does not pay enough for designed brand clothing and of course, even the new position is still a global one so except for two meetings per month in Detroit, he'll be working from home in his flannel shirt and jeans. Basically, we've got to be hideously expensive clothes just to interview for the job.

 

He'll be spending four days in conferences in February, sort of "trying him on for size", before there is even a formal interview. Everybody will be seriously dressed up for this because some of the people coming to these conferences includes the CEO of GM and some other CEO, Vice President, etc. suits. We've managed to land a Nautica suit from the clearance rack of a men's store in the city and it fits him beautifully. I'm hoping that Nautica is "designer enough" for a poor country boy.

 

He doesn't have to wear a suit everyday, though he should definitely have one more suit in the closet. He'll need some really nice dress pants, shirts, ties. Thankfully, about five years ago when he had worn out his winter overcoat, we landed a Ralph Lauren black cashmere overcoat at 90% off! So, he has that....whew. I found one pair of Ralph Lauren black dress pants. I need to pick up another suit, two more pairs of dress pants, a couple of shirts (my niece's husband who is a V.P. at Ambercrombie and Fitch) just sent him a dress shirt and I think it will work if I can find navy blue pants and a tie. At least I'm hoping that this brand is good enough.

UGH!!!! I HATE THIS KIND OF STUPID, SUPERFICIAL POLITICS! That said, I'm willing to spend what we can scrape together to help dh get this position because it would mean so much for our family to have him working regular hours and a lot less stress.

 

So, tell me....what is the "in" style in suits. Who are the good designers? I'm clueless though I've heard of armani in movies. I've seen a pair of Clairborne men's dress pants on the clearance rack at Macy's and they would fit him (if they are there when I have the time to make the 1.5 hour trip back). But, I thought Liz Clairborne was a woman's designer...is Clairborne for men a knock off? What color shirts, besides white, go well with colored suits? I was looking at another Nautica suit, a medium brown color - very nice - and he has a Land's End pale blue dress shirt that I just purchased before we knew we'd need to update his wardrobe with ridiculous clothes that know one in our poor county has heard of! Can he wear light blue and brown together? I love that combo but I don't want him to go to a meeting and have people snickering behind his back. He is completely, utterly clueless when dressing himself and if it weren't for me, well.....you just don't want to know!

 

Help me out here please! I will be shopping for him on Monday. We are dipping into our property tax money because we are owed a tax refund which is already being processed and will be here before our taxes are due on February 28th. Truthfully, I'd much rather be paying down debt, taking a vacation, or buying some "wish list" extras for homeschooling. However, in the long hall, getting this position for DH is by far, the better thing for our family and since a pay raise will be accompanying, the investment should pay off. I think I will be pretty down in the dumps if we spend the money on clothing and he doesn't get it. In that case, he will be the best dressed man in a three county radius.

 

Faith

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I can't help with brands of clothing - I'd be as lost as you are. My mother was recently applying for jobs (she is a very high-level professional in her field, and dress is important). One of the tips the recruiter told her was to wear a white shirt for the interview. In his personal experience, and the kind of anecdotal records that his firm kept, the applicants most likely to land a position were the ones who wore a white shirt with their suits for the interview, regardless of whether they were men or women. I guess it just seems more "professional." In all the pre-interviewing stuff, other colors might be OK, but he said she should wear a white blouse for the actual interview.

I wish you all the best of luck.

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When DH started his job he had to wear suits. He only had 2 suits! One brown and one navy.

 

He quickly found that 95% of the time he never wore the suit jacket.

 

So, when it came time to buy more (when he got the job), we decided to see if he could get away with just dress pants, dress shirts, and ties. He did, for two years! We went to Nordstroms for shirts because he much prefers those.....they are long enough to tuck in and not ride up. I think they are called boat shirts and have a little embroidered boat on them.

 

Then we got pants from Nordstroms and Robinson-May. But any major department store or suit store will have nice pants. They will have ties too, we didn't get hung up on brand names there.

 

Thankfully, just as we were going to go buy more, his office went to office casual! So, we were able to get dockers and polo shirts for much less $$!

 

Dawn

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Hi Dawn,

 

I think I can find a Nordstroms in Detroit, maybe Sommerset mall. I'm just a little afraid of the place because apparently, its a hideously expensive mall to shop in...guess I better put my big girl panties on, put on the closest thing I have to a designer looking outfit, put my home quilted purse away so I don't look like I can't afford anything in the store, and go shopping! Ralph Lauren is about has "snobby" as our closest Macy's carried. Fortunately, the clearance racks are fantastc and since dh is tall and lean, not the most common body style, we quite often find that clothes that fit him are on the clearance racks.

 

I wish that ignoring the designer issue was an option. He's already been forewarned by the head of the group, that their executive manager is an "impress me" guy and that includes serious dress clothes. When they have meetings with this guy, no one takes their suit coats off! So, he definitely has to have at least one more suit.

 

Thanks for the advice about the dress shirts. I'll definitely look for those. Dh has a very long torso and sometimes it is a challenge to find shirts that tuck in well and do not ride up. I appreciate that heads up.

 

Faith

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I think you can relax a little. First off, I imagine that most of those men don't have a clue what brand of suit the other guy is wearing. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that most of them don't pay a lot of attention to what brand they're wearing - their wives probably buy their clothes for them.

 

Secondly, it's important to look professional so a funky suit from the 70's will not do, but I wouldn't worry too much about what brand. If you're going with dress pants, shirts, and ties just make sure they fit nice and are of decent quality. Go to the men's department at your local department store and have the sales person help you with what colours are currently "in", but make sure you're being conservative rather than being on the cutting edge of fashion.

 

My dh is a VP in a large company. He wears suits from Moore's :)

 

You don't want your dh's clothing to make him stick out, but I think you can blend in without breaking the bank. So long as he's wearing the right type of clothing I don't think anyone is going to be trying to sneak a peek at the label on it - they're going to be much more interested in whether he's a good fit for the new position.

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Nordstrom is your best bet for a rack suit that will impress. DH has had most of his suits tailor made, but we have purchased several suits at Nordstrom and have been quite pleased not only with the quality but also with the staff expertise in giving them that custom tailored look through alterations.

 

This may be a shot in the dark, but DH has many suits which he doesn't wear. If the dimensions are right, I can send a couple to you if you'd like.

Edited by Gratia271
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Hi Dawn,

 

I think I can find a Nordstroms in Detroit, maybe Sommerset mall. I'm just a little afraid of the place because apparently, its a hideously expensive mall to shop in...guess I better put my big girl panties on, put on the closest thing I have to a designer looking outfit, put my home quilted purse away so I don't look like I can't afford anything in the store, and go shopping! Ralph Lauren is about has "snobby" as our closest Macy's carried. Fortunately, the clearance racks are fantastc and since dh is tall and lean, not the most common body style, we quite often find that clothes that fit him are on the clearance racks.

 

I wish that ignoring the designer issue was an option. He's already been forewarned by the head of the group, that their executive manager is an "impress me" guy and that includes serious dress clothes. When they have meetings with this guy, no one takes their suit coats off! So, he definitely has to have at least one more suit.

 

Thanks for the advice about the dress shirts. I'll definitely look for those. Dh has a very long torso and sometimes it is a challenge to find shirts that tuck in well and do not ride up. I appreciate that heads up.

 

Faith

 

I know Nordstroms has a reputation as snobby, but honestly, the very best customer service I've ever had was at a Nordstroms. I had a ball to go to for Dh and my dress was ruined getting alterations. I went with 4 kids, in a sweatsuit and desperate for a dress the next day. They went over the top with discounts, free alterations overnight, trying on every dress in the store and entertaining my kids.

 

You might check good thrift stores in your area. St. Vincent de Paul always has super high-end clothing in their Dallas stores. Is there something similar where you are?

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Gratia, that is very, very kind of you! I appreciate the offer. Dh is a 40 long due to his lanky torso and a 34 waist, 32 inch inseam. He's a 33 inch sleeve length. Most people his height have much longer legs. But dh is just really long waisted.

 

Thanks for the advice about Nordstrom's. I appreciate that. I wish I didn't have to worry about his clothes. Unfortunately, he's been forewarned that when meeting with his particular executive, to be seriously well dressed because the guy is a snob. Thankfully, once hired into the group, the exec only meets with them once a month for an ego stroking and the rest of the time, is a hands off manager. It's the four days of conference and the two interviews that we have to worry about most.

 

Faith

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Nordstroms does have their half yearly sale twice a year and you can get those shirts for buy 2, get one or something like that. We haven't had to do it in a long time.

 

But, if he gets even just a couple of white or off-white shirts to start with he should be fine.

 

As for suits, if he HAS to wear the suit jacket, I would be far more inclined to go to one those places like Men's Warehouse and buy two or three pairs of matching pants for each suit jacket to make them last as long as possible. The pants will wear out long before the jacket and he can stretch it that way. Get a very neutral color, like navy. He can pair that with white, off-white, light blue, or even striped shirts.

 

 

Dawn

 

Hi Dawn,

 

I think I can find a Nordstroms in Detroit, maybe Sommerset mall. I'm just a little afraid of the place because apparently, its a hideously expensive mall to shop in...guess I better put my big girl panties on, put on the closest thing I have to a designer looking outfit, put my home quilted purse away so I don't look like I can't afford anything in the store, and go shopping! Ralph Lauren is about has "snobby" as our closest Macy's carried. Fortunately, the clearance racks are fantastc and since dh is tall and lean, not the most common body style, we quite often find that clothes that fit him are on the clearance racks.

 

I wish that ignoring the designer issue was an option. He's already been forewarned by the head of the group, that their executive manager is an "impress me" guy and that includes serious dress clothes. When they have meetings with this guy, no one takes their suit coats off! So, he definitely has to have at least one more suit.

 

Thanks for the advice about the dress shirts. I'll definitely look for those. Dh has a very long torso and sometimes it is a challenge to find shirts that tuck in well and do not ride up. I appreciate that heads up.

 

Faith

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My philosophy has always been to spend money on the things that people notice. I'd bite the bullet and buy a good suit and shoes at Nordstrom's or Macy's. The shirts, ties, belts, even casual slacks (dh wears Ralph Lauren), you can pick up at Marshall's or TJMaxx or whatever outlet you have near you.

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Gratia, that is very, very kind of you! I appreciate the offer. Dh is a 40 long due to his lanky torso and a 34 waist, 32 inch inseam. He's a 33 inch sleeve length. Most people his height have much longer legs. But dh is just really long waisted.

 

Thanks for the advice about Nordstrom's. I appreciate that. I wish I didn't have to worry about his clothes. Unfortunately, he's been forewarned that when meeting with his particular executive, to be seriously well dressed because the guy is a snob. Thankfully, once hired into the group, the exec only meets with them once a month for an ego stroking and the rest of the time, is a hands off manager. It's the four days of conference and the two interviews that we have to worry about most.

 

Faith

 

I will check measurements, but DH is typically 42 long with 34 inch waist and I believe 32 inseam. I know exactly what you mean about certain execs. My husband has spent most of his career working among people like that.

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TxMom of 4, I'D LOVE A THRIFT STORE WITH HIGH END CLOTHES! But, Michigan is a very, very depressed area. Sommerset mall is a two hour drive from here in the winter - fairly slow moving, snowy roads for half the trip. So, I don't normally shop in Detroit and I wouldn't know where to begin finding a thrift store that would carry these kinds of clothes. Dh doesn't want me just driving around because he'd be scared I'd end up in a bad neighborhood. I once took a bunch of my piano students to a DSO youth series concert at Orchestra Hall on Woodward Ave. and turned the wrong way leaving the parking lot, drove about one mile, and there were gangs hanging around on the street and a car being stripped in broad daylight! I ran a redlight, found somewhere empty to turn around, and FLEW back the way I'd come...running lights the whole way. So, that experience left me just a little shaken up. If anyone knew of a thrift store in Detroit that carried that kind of clothing, dh wouldn't let me go unless it was in a safe neighborhood and I had good directions to get there. I'd be willing to try it thought.

 

There's a St. Vincent DePaul in Flint which is closer for us. However, Flint is in a very depressed economic state and I can't imagine that they would have expensive clothing there. Maybe I'm wrong. Michigan is the stench, of the armpit of the economic crisis in this nation and Flint and Detroit are a combined duo of disaster! In our area, thrift stores, if we are lucky, will occasionally have something made by Geoffrey Beane or Van Heusen and it will be WELLLLLLLLLL used. Our county has a mean average income of about $33,000.00. So high end clothes in good shape aren't available in about a three county radius. I'm definitely headed to the city to shop.

 

I really appreciate everyone's input! I'm the kind of shopper that goes to the outlet center, walks into the Van Heusen store, and heads to the final clearance rack and gets allllllll excited to get a shirt for 75% off. I don't dress frumpy, but I also am not stylish and dh has gotten so used to not having to be dressed up that I think he's lost all fashion sense, well that and, he hates shopping for clothing!

 

Faith

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Yeah, don't forget the shoes!

 

Faith, this is an investment with potentially a huge payoff. So go for it and try to even HAVE FUN with your shopping! Imagine how spiffy dh will feel when he is dressed to impress.

 

You know, you can look at it from another perspective. It's not just about dressing to impress. It's about making the clothing thing a NONissue. When he's properly attired, the focus can stay on what's truly important - all the skills and abilities which make him the right man for the job.

 

I am eager to hear how it all turns out.

 

And Gratia, such a nice idea! Sorry, Faith, "business casual" has devastated my dh's wardrobe, there is nothing worthy to share here...

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Do you have a Dillard's close by? My dh shops there almost exclusively and looks very dapper. (His grandmother treats him to high dollar gift cards, which is nice for us.) He recently got some nice dress shirts there. Sweater vests are in style, with dress slacks and a nice shirt. Shades of purple and blue are in for dress shirts. I would NOT (as a man) wear a blue shirt with a brown suit personally. (That is just my opinion, though - it might be very stylish and I have no clue.) Getting some ties which are updated and stylish is VERY important. Ties seem to change style quickly. Dark suits are power colors. Don't forget appropriate dress shoes and matching socks. Good luck!

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One more thing - shop and replicate.

 

You could spend a bit of time browsing men's magazines, web sites and high end clothing stores, then go out and try to get some of the components at discount stores/prices. Some things will probably need to be the right label, but other things - shirts, accessories, casual wear - may be gotten from places like Target and Kohl's. Just pull the "look" together, kwim? Do you think that could be done for a man the way it can be done for a woman?

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Hi Texasmama,

 

I'll google Dillards and see if they have a store locator. Dh's mom used to shop for him at Dillards when she lived in Florida and it was usually the reason that he had a few nice dress shirts in his closet during the early years of our marriage when money was very tight and he literally wore out his two college suits. His first job was a suit and tie, no business casual position. She kept us going because he was only earning $19,000.00 which didn't exactly pay for nice clothes. I never thought of Dillards...thanks for planting that seed!

 

AuntieM, you are absolutely right and though I quake about the money, you are so accurate that it is an investment in seeing that he walks into the meeting and fits so well, that the focus is "What can this guy do for us?" and not, "Who is this country cowboy?" They already think it's "cute" that we live in rural America and not Rochester Hills, West Bloomfield, etc. There is a certain curiousity about his choice to reclaim and old church in the middle of no where and gasp, NOT ON CITY UTLITIES, and renovate it into the family home so we can garden and raise animals. His current manager held a meeting one time in which everyone was supposed to describe their "landscaping adventures". We don't have any landscaping except for a couple of very pretty flower beds that dd tends. So, he briefly touched on our efforts to keep the cantelope plants from taking over the entire vegetable garden and my woes in trying to coax my two apple trees to actually grow. There was snickering and then silence. Therefore, you are absolutely right that looking the part will take some of the pressure off the fitting in process. I told him to keep his mouth completely shut about the homeschooling. If absolutely necessary, say "My children are privately tutored by an expert professional." They don't have to know that the "expert" is his wife.

 

I will try to have fun shopping.

 

Faith

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Shoes are an area where the $$$ shouldbe spent.

 

So do you have a Nordstrom's rack? A Unique Boutique? What size is he? I was at a thrift shop last week getting a costume together for DD and there was a Brooks Brothers suit with the tags still on it for $19.00 It was gorgeous. My son in law bought his office wardrobe at Unique Boutique but here in nova it is easy to find high end stuff in a thrift shop.

 

Let me know how I can help.:grouphug:

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Not brown. Never brown. Brown is not a power suit color. (And not green, either. Nope. Even if it is a dignified olive green. Nope.)

 

Here is what he needs, seriously, I do know about this. (I worked for 20 years in a professional job for a very large, old firm.)

 

He needs a very dark navy blue suit, almost black. And he needs a very dark gray suit, almost black. He needs 4 white, long sleeved dress shirts, not the cufflink kind. And he needs a good black belt, pretty new, no buckle marks. And 4 ties--two red (that is THE power color) and one yellow and one blue for variety (those are background colors.) The best designs for the ties are diagonal stripes, not too loud.

 

He needs clean, polished, new dress shoes. Executives look at shoes to see whether people get sloppy where they don't think anyone will notice. Wingtips are very good. Dark socks that coordinate with the suit are good--navy for navy, and black for charcoal.

 

He needs to keep the ties tied, not loosened, and the suit jackets on. Period. Doesn't matter what others do. He is on trial here, not them.

 

And he needs to order steak and salad, blue cheese dressing is best, no pasta, nothing that will drip onto the tie, but have an extra tie in the car just in case. In these kinds of settings, perfect table manners are a given.

 

Seriously, he needs to have all this stuff in place, and he needs to be at ease and rise above it; the stance MUST be, 'this is normal and I am used to it.'

 

On the first day he should wear one of the red-background ties, for sure.

 

You really can't think of this as wasting money. It is an investment. If he gets this job, he will use these things a couple of times a month. They are classic and he will be able to use them for years. They will pay for themselves in 3 months if he gets this promotion. He will not get the promotion without them. Don't skimp here. Roll the dice and go for it.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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PS Privately tutored is just perfect.

 

For landscaping adventures, a good stance might be 'I'm learning so much from all of you!'

 

For building your own house, talk about 'finding a good designer who thinks as we do'. You don't have to add 'in a book'.

 

Mostly he should listen more than talk. This is doable. If I could do it as a woman engineer in the 70's (what an alien I was), then he can do it now. The stance is not 'I am a wannabe' nor yet 'I am lying to fit in' (never do that! I certainly didn't!), but rather, 'I have enough dignity to be a bit reserved, and enough sense to tune my wording to the company I am in'.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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OK, I read your post again, and I'm sorry, but ditch the Lands End shirt for this one.

 

The overcoat is great.

 

He would be wise to wear the suit each day even if others don't. You dress up more when you're interviewing.

 

Also, forgot to mention, see if you can buy two pair of matching pants for each of the two suits. If you can manage that, it will save you money in the long run. If not, no biggie, you only need two suits, each worn twice, for the 4 day conference.

 

He should have also one really nice, upscale but casual outfit and wear it on the plane each way in case he runs into someone from the job. It can be a back up if they change to go out at night, although probably his safest bet if they do that is to wear the suit. It should look kind of boring but expensive. Like something you would wear to an Ivy League frat party, but not jeans, a little higher level pants than that. Jeans are taboo in this setting.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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Not brown. Never brown. Brown is not a power suit color. (And not green, either. Nope. Even if it is a dignified olive green. Nope.)

 

Here is what he needs, seriously, I do know about this. (I would for 20 years in a professional job for a very large, old firm.)

 

He needs a very dark navy blue suit, almost black. And he needs a very dark gray suit, almost black. He needs 4 white, long sleeved dress shirts, not the cufflink kind. And he needs a good black belt, pretty new, no buckle marks. And 4 ties--two red (that is THE power color) and one yellow and one blue for variety (those are background colors.) The best designs for the ties are diagonal stripes, not too loud.

 

He needs clean, polished, new dress shoes. Executives look at shoes to see whether people get sloppy where they don't think anyone will notice. Wingtips are very good. Dark socks that coordinate with the suit are good--navy for navy, and black for charcoal.

 

He needs to keep the ties tied and the suit jackets on. Period.

 

And he needs to order steak and salad, blue cheese dressing is best, no pasta, nothing that will drip onto the tie, but have an extra tie in the car just in case. In these kinds of settings, perfect table manners are a given.

 

Seriously, he needs to have all this stuff in place, and he needs to be at ease and rise above it, the stance MUST be, 'this is normal and I am used to it.'

 

On the first day he should wear one of the red-background ties, for sure.

 

You really can't think of this as wasting money. It is an investment. If he gets this job, he will use these things a couple of times a month. They are classic and he will be able to use them for years. They will pay for themselves in 3 months if he gets this promotion. He will not get the promotion without them. Don't skimp here. Roll the dice and go for it.

 

:iagree::iagree: :iagree:Dh was in the interview mode in the recent past & is currently a srvp at a medium sized company. All of this advice rings so true.

 

Don't know if you have a Joseph Banks near you, but they sometimes have good sales and knowlegeable sales staff. (some stores better than others)

 

Proper fit, current correct colors, and attention to shoes are all very, very important. (and this is coming from an old, frumpy, dumpy, stay-at-home mom but dh looks his part at work & community/public activities)

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If you have one near you, Men's Wearhouse is having a big sale right now. They carry all the designer names (Lauren, Kenneth Cole etc.) and are great at helping select suits, extra pants etc. DH has to dress as you described for the big wigs and we have had great success there. We love Nordstroms too, but when there is a sale Men's Wearhouse has better prices for the same suits and their customer service is on par with Nordstrom.

 

Heed the advice of others that the shoes are important! We do go to Nordstom for those.

 

Good luck shopping.

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Not sure if you're planning to shop on your own, but hoping that your dh is going with you. I'm thinking of the experience we had at Men's Wearhouse when my mother passed away and dh had no dress clothes with us for the service. They were fantastic. An expert who does this for a living will look at how the clothing is sitting on your dh's body and know which brands are cut better for his build, whether he really should have a size 35 dress pant instead of 34 (my dh), which ties are best, etc. For something this important, I think your dh needs to be trying on the clothes and getting expert fit help.

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Okay, wow! You guys are awesome! Dh has a brand new black Nautica suit. It fits him like it was made for him. He has like new wingtips and if necessary, we'll buy another pair and make this pair a back up. The good news is that I have an outlet center within a decent driving distance where we are always able to purchase wingtips by Bass...very good shoes and wear well.

 

So, forget the brown suit and go with Navy or Charcoal. If I find a really good price, maybe splurge for both. Only white shirts, no colors...that's fine. It's easier on me than trying to match ties to shirts. He can wear the Lands End shirts to church or to a more casual event some time.

 

He does not have to fly anywhere for the interviews or the "hobnobbing". It 75 miles away so he will drive it each day and the VP is flying in for the interview since he's got business in town anyway and the team lead for the elite group lives in West Bloomfield Hills or Rochester Hills or some other upscale neighborhood around Detroit. But, there is a chance he'll be flying to California before all of this. One of his friends, on an account out there, is about to scream bloody murder and exterminate his dba group because they've screwed up their code so badly that the project is 2 months behind being deployed and the company they are contracted with is leveeing a $2000.00 per day fine! (His friend works for the same company; he's just on a different project.) He called dh this afternoon, desperate for help, and dh knows what is wrong and can fix it. He could actually get them put right just on conference calls and virtual room conferences, but heads are rolling in Cali and dh's friend thinks it's best if he makes an appearance. We are waiting to hear what management thinks should happen. At any rate, he's going to need those power suits before he even gets to the seminars.

 

All right, so to re-cap, red is the power tie - two of these, one blue, one yellow, all white shirts, no brown suit, overcoat is fine...thankfully, he doesn't have to carry a briefcase - he carries his laptop bag which is provided by the company. It's not that spiffy, but it's their fault because his boss doesn't want to replace it...the company logo is there and everyone carries the same bag....lot's of fun when you are in a conference with a lot of people around the table and all have look-alike bags and computers!

 

When I say country bumpkin, I don't mean to imply that dh is not well mannered, etc. His manners are impeccable, he's personable, and he's a good listener but he knows how to take charge when that is called for...it's one of the reasons he's survived in a company that fired about 50,000 people in a space of three years. I don't worry about that. It's just that we have chosen a lifestyle that is contrary to not only a lot of society, but certainly virtually opposite that of his co-workers and most definitely the management of the company. So, making small talk is not easy and yet not chatting comes across as unfriendly. This is not a bunch of people that is impressed that he is a 4-H youth science superintendent and mentoring a group of kids in a national model rocketry competition. Sigh...at least when it comes to me, he can just list my real profession...well...the one from which I am on hiatus...professional pianist. Most of the time, that seems to go over fairly well.

 

Wait a few weeks ladies. I may need your help again. There is a possibility I might end up being invited to an employee/spouses/significant other event that will be formal - almost praying one of the kids gets a fever! I think I have a dress that will work. However, I am not confident. I am not what one would call a trophy wife and though I am desperately trying to lose weight, my metabolism is soo hard for the doctor to regulate with any efficiency, that the process is discouraging. I'm forty pounds overweight and feel like a tub. It isn't going to be easy to gear myself up for this. It's going to take a lot of mental energy. Most of my performance clothes are packed away and all my accessories are of the type that won't bother me when I'm at the piano. I'll get my hair done up and make up too...we've got a hair stylist/cosmetologist at church that is a virtual genius. But, everything from the neck down...well...it's seen better days.

 

Faith

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This is not a bunch of people that is impressed that he is a 4-H youth science superintendent and mentoring a group of kids in a national model rocketry competition. Sigh...at least when it comes to me, he can just list my real profession...well...the one from which I am on hiatus...professional pianist. Most of the time, that seems to go over fairly well.

 

Wait a few weeks ladies. I may need your help again. There is a possibility I might end up being invited to an employee/spouses/significant other event that will be formal - almost praying one of the kids gets a fever! I think I have a dress that will work. However, I am not confident. I am not what one would call a trophy wife and though I am desperately trying to lose weight, my metabolism is soo hard for the doctor to regulate with any efficiency, that the process is discouraging. I'm forty pounds overweight and feel like a tub. It isn't going to be easy to gear myself up for this. It's going to take a lot of mental energy. Most of my performance clothes are packed away and all my accessories are of the type that won't bother me when I'm at the piano. I'll get my hair done up and make up too...we've got a hair stylist/cosmetologist at church that is a virtual genius. But, everything from the neck down...well...it's seen better days.

 

Faith

 

Well great!

Re. the kids--if he talks about his son being really interested in rockets and space, that will impress people. Maybe he can finagle a tour of one of the NASA facilities' public arms when he's in CA.

 

Don't worry about being overweight! You can still look great--I am, sadly, living proof! Hie thee to the Encore section of Nordstrom. I have found great dresses there, and they are selling off their holiday season stuff at good prices right now. They have really flattering dresses through size 3X or so, and very helpful staff. All you need is one smashing one to get through those spouse events for now. It's going to be just fine.

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My philosophy has always been to spend money on the things that people notice. I'd bite the bullet and buy a good suit and shoes at Nordstrom's or Macy's. The shirts, ties, belts, even casual slacks (dh wears Ralph Lauren), you can pick up at Marshall's or TJMaxx or whatever outlet you have near you.

 

I agree with this. A cheap suit on a man looks like....well, a cheap suit.

DH gets his tailored dress shirts, casual slacks and belts from Marshalls or TJ MAXX but does buy good suits, sport coats and shoes.

 

As for ties, he wears bow ties (always tied, never clip-on!) and gets them mostly from Beau Ties Ltd. of Vermont. He wears bow ties because when he shows our dogs, long ties flap around near the dog's head when he gaits them and is veeery tempting, especially for younger puppies to reach up and try to grab his tie, thus messing up their movement. And bugging DH.

 

Shop somewhere nice for DH. He's worth it. And the "big boys" will be dressed well.

 

astrid

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Carol, you are my life saver. There was a time in my life when I was comfortable amongst high society types. I've had master classes with Ian Hobson, Andre Watts, and a couple others. I've done concerts with smaller orchestras (never got known well enough to do any world class orchestra work), I've been a teaching assistant for a world reknowned music lecturer...believe it or not...it was fun to fetch that man's coffee, etc. So, you'd think I'd be okay with something as passe as a formal business event. It's not like I'll be on stage and should there be a piano in the hall, I will resist all temptations to "check it out." But, years of being away from it, coupled with an aging process that hasn't always been kind, spending too many uncomfortable evenings with professional women who thought giving up a prospering career to homeschool meant I was somehow mentally ill, a chest that is proof of the wear and tear of bfeeding four babies, and hips that 10" wider than when we got married plus a ripped pelvic floor muscle from a very fast birth which causes my stomach to sag and be several inches bigger than my weight would suggest, and I have to tell you....I'm feeling uneasy. But, I'll suck it up if I have to and wear the kind of girdle only the devil himself could have masterminded if I have to.

 

One more question??? If I do have to go to this thing, and truly I would embrace an attack of the plague in order to make an excuse, is a navy blue aline chiffon gown with a modest amount of beads, not low cut, empire waist, with a silver wrap be okay alongside DH's black tux? A few years ago we managed to land a Pierre Cardin black tuxedo (vest not cumberbund) that fit him perfectly for $75.00 at a wedding store going out of business. It had only been worn twice. So, he's set for a black tie event. None of my black formals for performance still fit and I am not likely to lose 40 lbs. in the next three weeks. LIPO is not an option! If I buy him a navy blue suit and it's not a black tie occasion, I could shorten the dress and put a more demur black shrug with the dress. But, navy blues don't always match. I'm just not certain what to do. Should I just decide to go crazy with the savings account and buy a black dress??? DD says to wear raspberry or burgundy because those colors are pretty complimentary for me. I think raspberry might be making too much of a statement and I don't know about burgundy...it's harder to find things that match. My shoes are black and since I have a bad bunion on my right foot, shoes are hard to find. I am likely to stick with my black, satin, pumps since they are the only pair I've ever found that fit correctly on that foot.

 

Thanks again for all of your help.

Faith

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There was a time in my life when I was comfortable amongst high society types. I've had master classes with Ian Hobson, Andre Watts, and a couple others. I've done concerts with smaller orchestras (never got known well enough to do any world class orchestra work), I've been a teaching assistant for a world reknowned music lecturer...believe it or not...it was fun to fetch that man's coffee, etc.

 

What you are doing with your life now is even cooler than all of this. Much cooler.

 

One more question??? If I do have to go to this thing, and truly I would embrace an attack of the plague in order to make an excuse, is a navy blue aline chiffon gown with a modest amount of beads, not low cut, empire waist, with a silver wrap be okay alongside DH's black tux? A few years ago we managed to land a Pierre Cardin black tuxedo (vest not cumberbund) that fit him perfectly for $75.00 at a wedding store going out of business. It had only been worn twice. So, he's set for a black tie event. None of my black formals for performance still fit and I am not likely to lose 40 lbs. in the next three weeks. LIPO is not an option! If I buy him a navy blue suit and it's not a black tie occasion, I could shorten the dress and put a more demur black shrug with the dress. But, navy blues don't always match. I'm just not certain what to do. Should I just decide to go crazy with the savings account and buy a black dress??? DD says to wear raspberry or burgundy because those colors are pretty complimentary for me. I think raspberry might be making too much of a statement and I don't know about burgundy...it's harder to find things that match. My shoes are black and since I have a bad bunion on my right foot, shoes are hard to find. I am likely to stick with my black, satin, pumps since they are the only pair I've ever found that fit correctly on that foot.

 

 

 

I don't see a problem with the dress you describe, but that varies by region more than men's fashions do. I know someone whose husband worked as an executive for Land O Lakes, and all her formal clothes involved a great deal of semi-molded cleavage and sequins in swirls--in the 'ladies who lunch who are working on the Junior League's upcoming "fundraiser" banquet' mode, more so than the 'mother of the bride' mode. So I don't know for sure about this. When I wear fancy clothes they are usually almost to the ankle but not quite, so not really quite meeting the definition of formal. I have a black velvet skirt with chiffon cut outs that is floor length, and around here that is just fine for formal if worn with a very dressy top. But in Detroit I think you might be talking about a ball gown. That you have to check with someone from out there.

 

I nosed around a bit on the Nordstrom site, and if I were shopping for an almost ball gown equivalent in a plus size, I would seriously consider one called "Alex Evenings Pleated Mesh Portrait Collar Dress (Plus)" that I found there--maybe you can google for it to see what I mean. But it's not really as dressy as a ball gown, and I'm not sure whether it would be dressy enough for your event.

 

I'm sorry I can't be more helpful on this one, but I don't really know for sure. The power suit thing is more my area of expertise, LOL!

 

Black shoes go with everything except white dresses, pretty much, especially with very sheer black hose. No worries there. I think that having a little black dress is a great idea, but a formal length black one might be a little much. Black shoes are fine with burgundy, or with raspberry.

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Faith, I can just imagine your savvy personality cutting through any appearance worries you might have.

 

That said, as my next birthday approaches and I have still have a kid in the single digits, I recently checked out two books recommended here on the boards. Both are by Charla Krupp, one is How to Not Look Old. The other is How to Never Look Fat Again (or something pretty close to that). I have picked up some tips from both but you may be able to get some reassurance about what to wear for your body features.

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