LOS ANGELES, May 11, 2009 / FW/ — With unemployment reaching 11% in California, both new grads and those who are still in the workforce need to cleverly reinvent their wardrobes to what would be attractive to employers without breaking the bank.
And that means for many, designer labels might be out of the question. But don’t worry; Land’s End, one of the world’s largest retailers of causal and tailored clothing might just have what you need.
Says John Haarbauer, Lands’ End men’s designer, “One of the best career investments a man can make is to spend $200 on a few key pieces for their working wardrobe,” which by the way is also what you wear when going to interviews.
Here’s the gospel on men’s dressing according to John Haarbauer:
- Carefree Chinos –
“Stay away from khaki pants with large cargo pockets, like the ones worn in college,” comments Haarbauer. “Look for pants that are wrinkle free or no iron made from a cotton/synthetic blend, because these will keep you looking crisp and won’t need dry cleaning.” A quality pair of chinos should cost around $40 and will always be appropriate in business casual and casual settings.
- Wrinkle-free Dress Shirts –
Whether it’s a Pinpoint or Classic Oxford, finding an easy-care dress shirt will save time and give that “fresh pressed” look all day long. “Getting one solid and one striped shirt is a good start,” says Haarbauer. “Adding a check pattern shirt is a good way to stretch a wardrobe because it can be worn with or without a tie.” At around $30 to $40 a piece, buying two shirts is a great investment.
- Repp Stripe Tie –
There are many tie patterns and colors to choose from, so selecting a tie that will be versatile is important when on a budget. “I suggest buying a solid or pattern tie or a simple two-color stripe, since it’s easy to pair with solid and stripe dress shirts, said Haarbauer. “When building a wardrobe, select pieces that complement and share a common color, so all the items will coordinate.” Look for a hand-sewn tie that will last and look good for years to come.
- Short Sleeve Polos –
In today’s corporate environment, the polo shirt isn’t just for casual Fridays … many guys are wearing them Monday through Thursday too! “Polo shirts should look crisp and neat, and not baggy,” comments Haarbauer. “A bright color will work well in the office and can easily transition to the golf course.” A polo shirt can be one of the best investment pieces in a guy’s wardrobe since they are so versatile; whether worn alone or under a navy blazer. Purchasing two polo shirts is a great way to stretch the dollar for a small investment.
- Classic Leather Belt –
“Don’t forget to invest in a quality leather belt,” said Haarbauer. Adding the right belt to a pair of chinos helps turn your look from weekend casual into business casual. “A good leather belt can be found for $35, and for something you’ll wear everyday, it’s the best $35 you’ll spend,” adds Haarbauer.