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What does DS need?  We had been thinking that a few dress shirts and dress pants (and maybe a tie), and one pair of dress shoes, would be sufficient.  But now I'm wondering if he needs a suit or blazer?  He is used to living in shorts and Tshirts and pulling out a polo shirt and khaki's very occasionally.  He'll be in upstate NY, so in addition to good winter coat and boots (and warm layers), now I'm also wondering if he needs a dress coat?  TIA!

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Much depends on what types of activities he might be involved in.  Will he be in a major that would have events that require business attire?  (For example, finance majors may be invited to a special meeting of professionals and would want to wear a blazer.)  Some fraternities require members to wear dress clothes on certain days.  

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29 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

Is he going to be doing activities where a suit or blazer is needed? Interview for co op job, presentations, formal dinners, ....

Yes to probably all of those.  Should he have a full suit?  Just a blazer?  Both?  I don't really know what is required for these.

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2 minutes ago, jdahlquist said:

Much depends on what types of activities he might be involved in.  Will he be in a major that would have events that require business attire?  (For example, finance majors may be invited to a special meeting of professionals and would want to wear a blazer.)  Some fraternities require members to wear dress clothes on certain days.  

He is not planning to go Greek, but I know that he will have a few formal events related to his scholarship and research programs (engineering at Cornell).

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Often, for a freshman, a nice blazer, dress shirt, and tie will do.  Many people realize that boys that age can still be growing and may not have a full suit.  If you are buying something new, however, (especially if he is someplace where it will be difficult to shop for dress clothes on his own if he needs something in a hurry), you might consider investing in a suit just in case.

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For DS22 (econ/management majors) we bought a "good enough" suit and a sports coat that would go with the suit pants. A couple of dress shirts and ties and a decent pair of dress shoes.  Between various formal meetings, interviews and internships he more than got our money's worth out of them over his college career (and of course he/we have added to them over his college years). For DS19 (poli sci/criminal justice majors) we didn't buy anything dressy to begin with, but we did have to outfit him with some business casual clothing for his internship this summer.

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It depends quite a bit on major and whether or not he will be in any type of organization that requires business formal. My engineering ds only needed a suit for interviews.  My physics ds was part of an honors research group that did formal research presentations and he neede a suit for that group. My Dd who was majoring in international business had to wear business formal multiple times even during her first few weeks as a freshman.

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8 hours ago, rbk mama said:

Yes to probably all of those.  Should he have a full suit?  Just a blazer?  Both?  I don't really know what is required for these.

 

Both. The sports coat you may be able to pick up at a thrift store.. Also needed is a business casual outfit - he may be helping at conferences or youth outreach.

Is dress coat an overcoat?  My fellas did not need; the distance from parking lot or dorm to the venue wasn't far enough and the weather wasn't bad enough (not Ithaca but further upstate)

  A good winter coat suitable for a young business person wearing business casual is quite helpful, as is one for whatever outdoor rec he's in to.

Boots, definitely.  Leather ankle boots get a lot of use. He should know care for boots .  Also check the gym policy, they might ask for nonstreet.

Also, hair.  Its time for a young man's style.   The suit is going to be used for dinners for student organizations also.

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My ds is an accounting major. He is involved in other clubs on campus. He has frequent need for khakis, with a nice polo or button down. He has also needed to wear a blazer and tie with khakis for some things and has worn his full suit several times. He has dress shoes that he wears with suits and then more casual shoes he wears with his khakis. He goes job fairs, accounting school receptions, alumni functions, and other events he is meeting with professionals and potential employers. He has had interviews for scholarships and internships. 

He is in a fraternity now but even his freshman year, when he was not, he did get invited to sorority formals and needed his blazer. 

Ds actually has two suits. One is a more conservative style. The other one is a little "younger". He wouldn't absolutely need both but he has used them. 

My ds likes to dress up so he could likely get by with less. Will your ds have a dry cleaner he can use conveniently? 

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Generally, I think a sports coat with a couple of good pants, shirts, and a tie should cover anything. Sports teams have a surprising amount of dress-up activities. The only clothes we purchased for dd2 in her first year were dressy things.

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I would buy a dark suit, two or three dress shirts, three or four ties, and a sports coat or navy blazer and a couple of pairs of pants to go with that. Along with a pair of dress shoes. I think of khakis as being more youthful, and those would be fine for some collegiate events. But, for anything business-y, I tend to prefer gray/charcoal/black. A sports coat can also be worn with dark jeans for a more casual but pulled together look for certain types of events. I would probably hold off on an overcoat, and see if he feels he needs it.  If he decides that is something he would like, it could be a Christmas gift to take back after the break. We found a wide range of prices on suits at Men’s Wearhouse.  They are very good about fit as well.  Penney’s sometimes has nice suits as well, but if he needs fitting/alterations, I would go a bit higher end where you can get some good tailoring. 

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10 hours ago, rbk mama said:

Yes to probably all of those.  Should he have a full suit?  Just a blazer?  Both?  I don't really know what is required for these.

Fwiw, we bought our oldest son a full suit when he started college.  He has never worn it.  In every interview he has had, he has been told that wearing a suit and tie are not necessary.  He has worn dress pants and a sweater to every interview he has had.  

We went out last week and purchased the clothes he needs for his summer internship: dress shorts and collared shirts or button-downs.  He left for his internship on Monday and left his expensive suit along with his assortment of ties at home.

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Depends VERY much on the field. In physics, students do not need to wear suits to present. There will be one or two who do anyway, but the culture is very casual, and even most professors don't wear one. My DH has worn a suit three times during  the past 20 years, dress shoes maybe three times a year. Our interview candidates don't wear suits. OTOH, the engineers wear suits all the time.

DS didn't need any formal clothes his freshman year. Dd bought a suit late her senior year to wear for a  job interview. 

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All of mine have needed fairly formal clothes. My oldest had en entire wardrobe of actual formals by the end of freshman year! And she regularly wore a jacket and skirt for Honors things. Next one was covered with her Navy uniforms, as she had everything from PT gear to mess dress (white tie). Next one had Army uniforms but needed a jacket and nice slacks for other school activities. Ds took his blazer and khakis--he did not need a suit until junior year. Last one has her Norwich uniforms but they also clearly stated that she should bring business attire--she wore it several times. MAKE SURE they bring them home in the summer or they'll be stuck with their dressier clothes in the wrong state!

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I was in an engineering program and I don't think I dressed up until I interviewed for internships in year 4.  LOL.   I had no interest in Greek life. I think it depends on the kid, the major, the campus, the city of the college, clubs of interest, etc.

My kid that's looking at a  music major is probably going to need 2-3 dress up outfits at college.   I could see business majors needing some options too.   My kid still has a 28 waist and I hate to buy too much before he starts filling out!  

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If you decide to get a dress coat, we've had great luck with those at thrift shops and have never spent more than $10.  They're so expensive brand new and usually only get a handfull of wears per winter.  I actually always have a men's overcoat because they're great for long walks in the winter with long coverage and can take lots of layers.  

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FWIW, I think it very much depends on the young person's personal style and how much variety they think they need in their dress up clothes. My daughter just finished her second year at Princeton, which some consider an exceptionally preppy school. She's never actually dressed formally, though we did send her prepared to do so. There does seem to be a variety of dress styles, even for events that are considered formal. She has a particular dress in her wardrobe that she prefers, and it does seem to make a number of appearances.On occasion, she has needed to shop for something, but there are plenty of options, online or otherwise, for that.

 

She doesn't wear winter boots or an exceptionally heavy coat in New Jersey...but her home state is Alaska, so she's probably more tolerant of winter weather than most, haha.

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Wow, I had no idea that some kids dress up so much. We bought ds a suit his senior year of high school. He wore it once for a scholarship interview before starting college, but has never worn it there. It hangs in his closet here. He has worn dress pants, shirt and tie for a couple of job/internship interviews, but all have specified they were casual and he didn't need to dress up. He has never dressed up for a presentation. I don't know if the other kids in his classes do or not. I never thought to ask. 

I would have said one pair of dress pants, one dress shirt, one tie, and maybe a sports coat would be more than enough. 

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My mom wants to give him a long wool overcoat that used to be my uncle's.  DS's comment:  Great!  I'll be all set for when I make a presentation in the snow! ? I'm guessing there may be more than a few items remaining untouched at the back of his closet, but I still would rather he have them just in case.

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You never know, he may wear that overcoat for Caroling, Halloween, or even Hockey....

I recommend at less two dress shirts, in case they don't make the time to iron the first one before the next event....

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1 hour ago, HeighHo said:

You never know, he may wear that overcoat for Caroling, Halloween, or even Hockey....

I recommend at less two dress shirts, in case they don't make the time to iron the first one before the next event....

 

One of my favorite photos of Ed is the one where he's wearing a dress shirt, obviously straight out of the wrapper, folds and all. He was at HIllsdale for dd's recital, and the Midshipman had been able to be there as Navy was playing EMU. 

1917659_518033984296_131039_n.jpg

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