Life & Family

Men’s Business Clothes Shopping

For the past several years my husband has been employed by companies where the need to dress professional has not been the standard. He has been able to wear jeans, work shirts or polos as the staple from day to day. He has moved to a company that is much larger and there is definitely more potential for growth. With this comes the need to “look/dress the part” if you want to advance and climb the ladder.


He has been potentially slated for one or two next level positions with his work. He has been fortunate to have made a good impression on a few higher ups and one person in particular is doing their best to guide and assist him in getting where he strives to be. One of the suggestions that was made to him was to “dress the part”. Not necessarily a suit and tie every day, but certainly nice business/meeting attire when such meetings take place. These types of things get noticed at this company. Not all companies look for these things, but his does.


As we dress more on the casual side on a regular basis, we needed to get some nice work attire going to get him set up. He does have a few slacks and nice shirts but more on the casual khaki side. He also wears nicer jeans with either a polo or button down shirt but we needed to take it up a notch.


I thought since we have been out of the fashion trend for men’s attire for quite some time, I do a little research. Here are a few things I learned along with a few tips…


  1. Shoes are the place to start. If you have nice dress shoes, you should bring them along when you are trying on pants to see where and how they lay on the shoe. Black shoes are classic and works well with crisp white shirts and is easy to pair with most pants. Browns work well with other neutral colors such as tans and beiges. Having one of each to start would make a great staple for sharpening your look. We were in need of an update on dress shoes, so this is where we started. He ended up with a nice pair of black shoes that have a gel insert in the heel for added comfort. We will be going back at another time to purchase a brown pair as well.


  1. There is a term in the menswear world called break. The “break” is the fold or creasing of the fabric above the bottom of the front of the pant leg where it meets your shoe. As I read up on this the suggestion is to wear a full or medium break length pant if you are concerned with being taken seriously. A full break looks to be a longer cut pant and cover more of the shoe. A medium break looks like the pant hangs just at the top of the shoe and would show some of the sock when walking, sitting, etc.


  1. There is a difference between Chinos and Khakis. I truly thought that “Chinos” was a spanish word for pants. I did not know that there was a definition for them as a certain type of pant, material and cut. Chinos are lightweight & tapered so that they narrow as they go lower on the leg and can be either cuffed or uncuffed. They are also generally flat-fronted. Khakis are thick, straight-legged, and typically pleated and have cuffs at the bottom hems. Khaki was originally the name of the color of material but is now often referred to as a type of pant. Both styles are made from cotton twill. The theory is that khakis are more toward the sturdy work-wear style while chinos are lighter and a bit dressier.


We did not end up with chinos or khakis on our shopping trip. I just thought that was interesting and wanted to share for added knowledge.


As we were in need of business attire, we opted for 3 pair of slacks in the basic colors of black, dark/navy blue & gray. Any of these 3 colors will pair nicely with the black shoes we purchased. We also noticed a big difference on how the pleated front vs the non-pleated front looked. For my husbands build, the pleated look was not appealing in the least. He had a cleaner slim lined look without pleats, which certainly looked more put together and classy.


  1. As for shirts – We ran out of time on our trip as we started shopping too late in the evening. However, we will opt for the wrinkle free type material without a doubt. The other night I ironed a cotton long sleeve button down shirt 2 times and then starched the darn thing just to have it wrinkle back up…so frustrating! And yes I do know how to iron, quite well actually – this material is just made to wrinkle. This is not conducive for a professional well put together look in my opinion.


Also, we will look for a collared shirt with the small buttons that hold the collar down. These are apparently called “button down shirts”. Apparently a button-down shirt refers to the collar of a button up shirt. If the collar can be fastened to the shirt via buttons, then it is a button down shirt. A button up shirt refers to any shirt that buttons up the front. Another little fact I never knew or have ever heard of.


  1. Here are a few tips I picked up from Style Caster on which clothes to hang and which ones to fold. Trousers and dress pants – use clips to hang at the waist or the hem so they hang vertically in your closet. Or fold them along the crease and drape them over the bar of the hanger. Blazers and casual jackets can be hung on a regular grip hanger. Heavy coats will work best on a curved suit hanger, which will handle the weight and help keep the shape. You can read more at ( No affiliation, just useful information.


I am curious, how do you hang your pants? I find that the clipped hangers take up a lot of useful closet space, yet they keep pants less wrinkled and you don’t collect a line along the middle of your pant if you don’t wear them for a while.


I also read that wooden hangers keep the shape of your jackets and shirts better. I do have heavier duty wooden hangers for all our jackets. I find the plastic ones leave the little peaks in the shoulders and tend to warp the hanger as the jacket seems to be too heavy a load for the plastic to keep its shape. I have tried the felt covered hangers and really didn’t see a significant difference. In fact I felt that they were more of a pain and the felt was rubbing off my my clothes.


I did not know that there was a Stitch Fix for men… I have been toying with the idea of trying it for myself. Anyone ever tried it out? Let me know in the comments what your experience was like or what you think.


I hope this information can be somewhat helpful if you ever have the need to take your husband, father, or son shopping for nicer clothing. Good luck to you and leave and helpful tips and tricks you have picked up along the way to help others.

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