Corporate Confidence feat. Gabe Schulman

December 21st, 2010

This one goes out to my corporate, full-suit-and-tie-every-day readers.

In a conservative place of business with a strict dress code (which is often accompanied by an interesting “clothing hierarchy” among its employees – those of a large investment bank for example), it can be a fine line between fitting-in (as you need to) and subtly standing-out (as you want to).

For a young guy in a big corporation, it can be tricky to look stylish and “cool” without raising question or concern among the more “traditional” (i.e. “older”) partners.

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who walks that fine line better than my good friend Gabe Schulman.

“Working in sales, I handle my own book of clients, although I do work for a larger firm. I think that is reflected in my office style – my clothing choices walk the line between being my own man, and reporting to a superior.”

We shot Gabe going about his business every day for a week, Monday-Friday

    1. Monday

    Nothing says business like a solid navy suit – it’s the one that every man should own. It is the most versatile of suiting fabrics. It’s appropriate in every season, works in any weather, looks great with black leathers or brown leathers and works with just about any shirt & tie combination. Not to mention it makes perfect separates as well – the jacket can easily be worn as a blazer, say with jeans or khakis, and the pants look great under just about any other jacket.

    Get it in a three-piece, and you’re really maximizing versatility. “I like the 3-piece because it keeps me warm enough during the Fall that I don’t need an overcoat; just gloves and maybe a scarf…I also like to mix-and-match waistcoats which is something that alot of guys don’t do”.

    On the balancing act:

    “This is one of my favorite pairs of shoes – but they’re a little flashy. I usually pair them with a solid, more conservative suit – it helps anchor down the outfit and keeps it from being too “loud”…while at the same time it also helps show off these bad-ass shoes”.

    1. Tuesday

    Gabe keeps the suit solid again on Tuesday, but this time introduces a little pattern with the shirt using an unexpected color combination: green with grey. “I think ginghams and plaids are okay in Fall/Winter, as long as they are the right color. Forest green, for example, fits nicely with a cool Fall morning”.

    A navy overcoat, similar to a navy suit, works well over just about any color (maybe not black, but you shouldn’t be wearing black suits to the office anyway). Similar to the way he pulls out the white and green of the gingham shirt with his tipped pocket square, Gabe also accentuates the overcoat with a little dash of blue on his “classic with a twist” penny loafers.

    About not keeping it too perfect:

    “When a look might be leaning towards a little too ‘pristine’, I throw on a vintage accessory – like this tie bar to add some character.”

    3. Wednesday

    “The middle of the week is a good time to try a slightly edgier look”. Wide peak lapels, one button jacket, mismatched vest, pink shirt, purple plaid wool tie, gold cufflinks, unfastened colored buttonholes, suede wingtips, purple shades – yea, I consider that “edgy” in the corporate kingdom. But even with all that going on, Gabe has the poise – and more importantly, the personality – to pull this off comfortably.

    “With edgier styling – like the one-button peak lapel jacket paired with the mismatched vest – I usually stick with classic fabrics like this flannel chalkstripe, grey glenplaid and pale pink broadcloth”.

    On texturizing; “The light color and nap of the shoes and gloves really add a level of “warmth” to the look”.

    4. Thursday

    “Thursday is usually my biggest day and when we close deals. It’s all business. So I usually go with something strong. Something that makes me feel at my most confident. The black gloves, black briefcase and black loafers combination has a slight ‘assassin’ feel to it, and that’s sort of the point”.

    This is the one look that Gabe is not mixing high-end with low-end, as he usually does. “Sometimes – only sometimes – you need to walk into the boardroom like you’re going to war…and if you were going to war, wouldn’t you want all your best soldiers with you?”

    Gabe has a number of bespoke suits, but “this one is my game time suit. It’s the finest fabric of any of my bespoke suits, but that doesn’t mean it’s flashy. It’s dark and conservative from a distance but has just enough pattern and sheen when you get closer to it”.

    A contrasting club collar and a gold collar pin (to match the gold watch) are nice subtle touches for an extra little style kick.

    5. Friday

    “Because I’m a bigger guy [Gabe is 6’2″ 210 lbs] it’s often difficult to find off-the-rack suits that fit me properly. The classic American stuff [think Brooks Brothers, Hickey Freeman] is usually too full-cut, and the European fashion houses [think Prada, Gucci] usually cut their stuff too slim. Occasionally, though, some designers will carry separates, so I can buy the jacket in a 44 and the pants in a 35. I still need to take both pieces to my tailor, though”.

    Bonus Tip: When it starts to get cold but still isn’t freezing, most men will throw a heavy winter-weight overcoat on top of the “4-season” suit they’ve been wearing all year. Other, more stylish men (like Gabe here), will break out a winter-weight suit and throw a lightweight jacket over it instead.

    On casual as a state of mind: “Friday is a good loafer & textured sock day. It’s a nice way to have “Casual Friday” for those of us who don’t actually get to have casual friday”.

    Thanks for reading.

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier

    • http://undefined Jeanscuffed

      Last picture,

      Gabe: “You got the files?”
      Dan: “…yea”

      great post as always

    • sameer

      Hi I liked the styles.

    • Seth

      Gabe might consider a higher collar since he tends towards being a long-necked gentleman. When doing so he would be wise to consider ensuring that the width of his tie is appropriate to his collar length.

    • PV

      Great article, he looks really sharp, but the light tan shoes and gloves look terrible with the dark pinstripe suit / grey vest look. It makes it look like he is wearing sneakers and just ruins an otherwise sharp ensemble in my opinion.

      Love the navy 3 piece by the way!

    • Avid Reader

      I know Gabe and he doesn’t work in an investment bank, he works for an insurance company…. what gives?

      • SB

        Sorry for the confusion, but I don’t think I wrote that he was an investment banker…

        Thanks for reading.


    • S.

      Sorry for the double post but as I read further on here, I realize this is starting to look more and more like a forum and less of a comment section…. any possibility you could create a ‘forum-like’ sort of section. Maybe a place to post some questions for you that we have so others can put their input in. It seems like most people here have questions that dont directly relate to the main article and it may be easier for you to keep track. Regardless of what you do thanks for the style advice. Being only 16 and living in suburban Ohio I have very little style influences (my poor old dad is still wearing is 1990s 40/60 poly-cotton button up T-shirts to work so not much help there), so I thank you for making such thorough posts that deeply analyze the outfit so we can learn why each outfit is good. A lot of blogs out there just throw outfits at you (no offense Prepidemic)but your analysis (plus telling the brand) helps out guys like me quite a bit. I asked a question further up so if you you could answer it in a reply to this if thats easier.

      Best wishes,

    • not a chance

      If THAT is treading the line at an investment bank (or any other corporate type job for that matter), then I’m Lloyd Blankfein, and I am definitely doing God’s work.

      • SB

        Not quite sure what you are trying to say here, but I have doubts that you, or the CEO of any major investment bank, ware hired by God to takeover His work. Thanks for reading. Best, Dan

    • Gucci Mane

      They were all I cared for.

      Their happiness

      Their comfort

      Their supreme quality of life

      Were store fronts of my well-being.

      If a day, even an hour, went by


      Their touch

      Their scent

      Their warmth

      It was a day I cried.

      Their strength was my strength.

      Their authenticity, their health

      A product of my undivided attention.

      They are like children to me

      My Gucci loafers.

      • dyke101

        urrgh no

    • Bryan

      Hey Sb I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, it is doing rather well in my opinion, but I just have one question. I want to get a pair of wingtips to wear with like jeans, on a casual day or just any other day. Do you know anywhere I can get a pair of nice, and (Cheap) ones?

    • Jerome

      I must say that I have been following your blog for the last month or so faithfully. I am really learning a lot from you. I started wearing bow ties based off you site and have been getting some good compliments. I even tried the braces with bow tie the following week to an outdoor wedding in Miami. I do have one question/suggestion. I am a more husky fella, lol. I liked how you had another person for this blog i.e. Gabe to give their perspective on style especially being a taller person. Think you could do one for the more huskier guys? Just a question. Loving the site, and please keep up the good work of showing us guys how to dress proper. Thanks much.

      • SB

        Hey Jerome. Thanks alot for your comment. It’s comments like this that make it all worth it. A nice christmas gift.

        I have already begun drafting posts on tips for dressing certain body types (“husky” guys, tall and skinny guys, shorter guys, etc). Coming in the new year (along with several other exciting additions to the ever-expanding bsite)…stay tuned!

        Happy Holidays,

        • Jerome

          Sweet! Thanks. Will be on the look out!

        • S.

          Hi SB, don’t want to steal Jerome’s thunder but while we’re throwing in requests figured I’d add my two-cents. I’m not sure the demographic of your readers age-wise but for me at least, I’m relatively young. Being currently 16, I don’t get to wear suits often (only twice a month for debate competitions) so naturally I only own one suit and one blazer. Past that though, do you have any advice for how to dress better at a younger age? Do you think you could do some pieces on that?

          Many thanks and best wishes in the new year,

    • Matthew Mejias

      Merry Christmas Dan!!! Have an awesome Christmas and a prosperous new year….

      • SB

        Thanks Matthew! Same to you. Happy Holidays, Dan

    • JMRouse

      Your friend has a nice sense of style. Love Tuesday. Wed, i’m not 100% sold on, but overall a solid week’s showing.

      Glad you mentioned suit separates. Any recommendations of good designers/brans that offer them? I know JCrew does, but their suits seem overpriced for what you are getting. I’m 6’6″ and 215 so it helps me to be able to shop separates too.

      Also, do you have an opinion on any of the online Made to Measure shops?

      Thanks! Keep up the good work, SB.


      • SB

        The problem is, high-end brands rarely offer suit separates because inevitably they will not sell certain sizes of certain pieces. Offering sepearates is risky business, especially in luxury retail, because unless you are really, really good at predicting the market/your customer, who will suffer from high inventory risk.

        Ironically, in my opinon, JCrew probably has the best value for consistent suit separates that are in line with modern styling and decent seasonal fabrics. Calvin Klein also sels most of their suits in separates, but I think JCrew makes a better fit and uses slightly higher quality fabrics.

        As far as online Made-to-Measure, I have no personal experience with them, but know a number of “hard to fit” friends who have tried it.
        One of the main problems (other than the cheap fabric they use to cut cost and no personal styling advice) is the self-measuring process; the lack of precision/consistency, not understanding the “ease” to allow in measurements, not understanding how much ease in which places are appropriate for your body type, and they don’t allow for posture or shoulder slope evaluations (the tools for which cost $500+ at a traditional bespoke shop).

        If you are a “hard to fit” guy, there’s a good chance you can walk away with a suit that fits better than anything off-the-rack, albeit in cheap fabric and still with loads of fit issues. With no returns, I actually have a friend who had to remake his suit two times to get it close to “right”…essentialy paying for three cheap suits what he could have paid for one great one.

        My view on this is similar to my view on healthcare. A bespoke tailor is a trained expert, just like a doctor. Therefore, while sometimes you can try to handle it yourself, it’s always a better idea to have someone who knows what they are doing take care of it correctly.

        As always, thanks for reading JMRouse.

        Happy Holidays,

        • JMRouse

          Thanks for the insight Dan. I actually like JCrew a lot, overall. Just feel their suits get a little pricey for what you are getting once you add the cost of the pants and the jacket together.

          I almost went online MTM recently, but stayed away for many of the same reasons you listed after doing a lot of research. I did find a really nice, deeply discounted, designer suit that managed to fit me well. Luckily I’m not so awkward a fit I can’t find any OTR suits that fit. It’s just a lot more challenging for me then others.

          One of my goals over the next year will be to put some money aside and do my first bespoke suits. I love the idea of working with someone to get a suit designed how I want it.

    • James

      Audemars Piaget, how much is too much to spend on a watch? I mean I would not go with the Paiget if I could afford it, I would stick with Rolex or Omega. I actually own a Rolex Air King.

      • SB

        I’m not sure, but I think your comment speaks to exactly why Gabe went with the Piguet.

        Prices are all relative. 30K might seem like alot to spend on a watch to the average guy…but might not seem like much to the guy who drives a Bentley and flies private. One of the clients I style lives this kind of lifestyle – his watch is easily six figures and had more fittings than a bespoke suit.

        Thanks for reading.

    • Arlequin

      That guy Gabe has a great sense of style, the Audemars Piquet watch is sick! (very costly though, I don’t think the average reader could afford it!)
      I like all the outfits, besides wednesday, I don’t think the suede Bass wingtips were a good choice because of their silhouette…(then again it’s my preference…)
      On the other hand the mismatch color for the vest is different! Nice!

      • SB

        Hey Arlequin, thanks for reading, and for sharing. The Bass shoes (which I also own) probably would not have been my first choice for that fabric (which I also own), but that is Gabe’s choice…and he has great style.


    • Matt

      I just like the shoes in the second picture!

      • SB

        Thanks for reading Matt. Nobody is disagreeing with you on that one.


    • Dave

      This is pretty bad. The buttoning point on all of the jackets is way too high. The pants are too short. the slanted pockets don’t work for his body type.

      Those shoes are gorgeous though.

      • SB

        I disagree.

        The button stance on Gabe’s jackets hit at his natural waist (where the torso has the smallest diameter). This offers the most suppression, which in turn is most slimming, accentuating the chest & shoulders. Also, a lower button stance on a large chest is a recipe for lapel’s “popping” and not sitting flat whenever there is movement in the torso.

        A shorter inseam is slimming and lengthening, and ideal for gabe’s body type. I’m curious as to what flattering effect you think extra fabric billowing at his ankles would be?

        Slanted pockets are designed to be flattering to the midsection. The slant, in theory, draws the eyes away from the hips and adds to the “hour glass” effect and waist suppression. A straight-across line at the midsection can cut a bigger guy in half, and widen him out visually.

        Thanks for sharing Dave. Everyone is open to sharing their opinions, usually better received when backed by evidence or factual arguments.

        Happy Holidays.

        • Dave

          SB – I understand your perspective on the high buttoning point, but i honestly think he’d be much better off with a lower buttoning point.

          A lower buttoning point would lengthen the lapels and accentuate the shoulders and chest much more – think Tom Ford cuts as opposed to Thom Browne. The lengthened lapels create a much nicer V.

          High buttoning points look great if you’re tall and skinny. Gabe looks like neither.

          As for pant length, it’s one of those things that is different in photography than real life. Any pant break looks bad in photos. However, when moving a bit of break is nice and allows the fabric to drape properly. The pant length gabe is wearing does draw attention to his shoes by cutting off above them, but all this achieves in doing is dividing up the lower half of his body much more than necessary: IMO it is better to lengthen the legs with a bit of break.

          Of course, everyone above appears to disagree, so it’s just my opinion.

          • SB

            Thanks for sharing your opinions Dave. Everyone is open to do so.

            Happy Holidays,

    • Anonymous

      $30,000 watch and $90 Bass loafers? Something seems off lol…

      • SB

        Hit ’em high, hit ’em low. That’s kind of the point, and what I love about Gabe’s style.

    • chris

      check out the gq blog: the gq eye, there’s a picture of you on the first post of today

      • SB

        Thanks for the heads-up Chris. Can a brother get a credit though?

    • Anonymous

      check out the gq blog: the gq eye, there’s a picture of you on the first post of today

    • Rob.

      This is all really new to me. I think it must be different down here in Sydney where there aren’t such extremes of temperature. When I worked in the city center I wore suits, but never paid this much attention to detail. I just had 3 colours and never wore or saw anyone in a vest. SInce I’ve been working for myself, the clients I consult in the outer city nearly always are in jeans or cargo pants and a casual shirt. I found I was over-dressing, so Now I do the same :-) Rob. male mannequin

      • SB

        You don’t have to dress to fit-in, but you also don’t want to make your clients feel incomfortable. There is a middle ground somewhere…post on “business casual” coming soon.


    • Jay Frais

      Love alot of the looks, just Wed does seem a little off. Those Tom Fords are CLEAN though !!! my god.

    • ralph hilfiger

      I wear a 3-piece quit often and wear the vest without the jacket around the office which works great. I also will wear a sweater in the winter instead of the vest and was wondering your take since I don’t see him in any here. Great post Dan. Thanks

      • SB

        Absolutely. A sweater with a 2-piece suit is a great look, from v-neck, to crewneck, to cardigan, to turtleneck, etc.

        Post on this coming in the new year.


    • AAJR

      Sorry Dan, you look great, but don’t like you friends look that much. Love those Monday shoes though.

      • SB

        No worries. We are all open to share our opinions. Thanks for sharing, in a polite manner. Best, Dan

    • Anonymous

      BEST thing about Wednesday is the cufflinks!!!

      • SB

        Agreed. Real boss-like.

    • MD (Sydney)

      Some very good looks, but somehow I have a set against pinstripe/ chalkstripe, unless it’s really subtle. Maybe you could show some examples of where it does look great? For me, Wednesday reinforces my dislike for that look.

    • Phil

      Really cool style. Does he ever try to mix it up in terms of tie width? How about mixing up tie knots .

      • SB

        If you look closely, yes he does. For example, the tie on Monday looks like a half-windsor on a tie that is at least 3″ wide. On Wednesday, though, he ties a four-in-hand for the band of outsiders tie which is only about 2 1/2 inches wide (although he covers it with a vest).

        On a guy as broad in the chest and shoulders as Gabe (44″ chest) a tie 3″ or wider is most appropriate/flattering.

        Thanks for reading. -SB

    • Alex

      I forgot to ask this when I was the corduroy posts, but how long can you wear corduroy? What time do you start putting it away? February? March? Later?

      • SB

        Don’t dress for the calendar, dress for the weather. If it’s going to be cool enough for corduroy all day, wear corduroy. Sometimes I’ll wear the jacket with jeans even on a cool summer night. I usually leave my entire wardrobe out all year – because you never know!


    • Brian

      On days where you wear heavy winter fabric suit but no coat, where do you store gloves when not using them? Or do you always keep them on?

    • TO

      The Tom Ford shoes are outstanding- as it this gent’s style. I never thought to look for gloves when I was in Uniqlo, ’tis a shame– those shearling numbers are great Mr. Schulman!

      • SB

        Uniqlo is one of my favorite places to get inexpensive gloves (neck-and-neck with street fairs). At $10 a pop, it’s hard to have buyer’s regret. -SB

    • NK

      Damn that last pic is Poppin!

      • SB

        One of my favorites as well.

        Ladies and Gentlemen, the great Jenilee.

    • B.Mondo SwagNYC

      This is def up my alley. I’m in finance and although my particular office is not too stuffy the combinations I come through with daily raise more than a few eyebrows (among other things I’m sure). It’s almost a game at this point…keeps the “Dockers and button down with a tie (M-Th)/Dockers and a polo (Fri) guys” constantly agitated and confused. Makes for alot of funny comments.

      Anyhow….good work fellas…nice shoot.


      • SB

        Hah, I know alot of guys who can certainly relate. If you do it with some charm and the right swagger (judging by your username, this shouldn’t be a problem), you may be able to slowly change the office dress culture…but don’t push too hard, you don’t want to be resented. Thanks for reading, and sharing. -SB

    • The Shoe Snob

      I love mon & tues!! The shoes are spot on. Although I would never get a pair of Tom Ford shoes, because you can buy bespoke at that price, I can’t deny that they are killer! I love that you wore the Gucci loafers in a corporate environment. All those old folks were probably judging you hardcore. Way to stick it to the man! I wish that the idea of “corporate” would disappear so that people could dress more daringly i.e. two toned shoes, more colorful outfits etc. While it looks sharp to be corporate, it can also be so boring and monotone! Compliments to Mr. Schulman for his daring pieces!!

      • SB

        Thanks for sharing. European men generally are a little more daring at the office than Americans. About the gucci loafers, though; the classic Gucci loafer with the horse bit is actually a “Wall Street” staple – which is what I love and hate about them.


    • Mike

      I bought a similar pair of sunglasses from

    • SP

      Great way to mix it up with an example of how someone can be versatile in their clothing options, but still dress within the confines of the roles imposed by their job. Although I wish I had the flexibility to dress like a stylist, I’m in the same boat as Gabe. I found this inspiring because I could relate to him day to day.

      • SB

        Great comment SP – that was exactly the idea. Thx for reading -Dan

    • jen smith

      I LOVE the shoes from Monday’s outfit….you guys look so handsome….I rarely get to see a man in a suit, my job has a very casual dress code so a suit is usually only seen when someone is interviewing. :)


      • SB

        That’s too bad, ladies love a good suit :) Thanks for sharing Jen. -Dan

    • Ryan Womack

      I love this post!!
      Please do more with this gentleman. I’m a larger guy myself, and some of the guys I hang out with (all 200lbs+) would love to get more ideas about styling for our size and stature. Especially since we have to dress up more to compensate for the rounder midsection. Great job mang!!

      • Ryan Womack

        Also, finally 1st on post!!

        • SB

          Haha. Not quite 1st! I’m always surprised how quickly the first comments roll in…literally a couple minutes after I click “publish”.

          I will try to fit Gabe in on more features going forward. I am also working on a series of posts on “how to dress for your body type” (one on tall skinny frames, one on muscualar guys, one on shorter guys, etc).

          Stay tuned, and thanks for reading. -SB

    • Donny

      I like everything except Wednesday; the shoes don’t look quite right to me and the suit doesn’t compliment Gabe’s body type. My favorite has got to be Friday though, I work in my own company where the dress code is almost non existent and it is mostly my fault. Can you recommend some looks that isn’t too dressy like Gabe’s but also not too casual that I can set an example to my employees. Its really starting to fall apart here. Also where I am its never winter nor cold just Hot, really Hot or rainy.

      • SB

        Hi Donny. The beauty of owning your own company is that you can make the rules! We’re currently working on a similar post with “business casual” looks. Coming in the new year. Thanks for reading. -Dan

    • dre

      Excellent looks gabe. Notes taken when i make my firm job. Those Tom Ford shoes are killer. I saw a pair similar on the Gucci line-up; makes sense since its ford… Those make a serious statement. Nice ending shot.

      • SB

        Thx for reading dre -SB

    • Jason

      How would you buy similar clothing like this because all these are all top brand names – do you have any alternative stores that you can recommend – thanks

      • SB

        Hi Jason. You can try stores like JCrew, Club Monaco, Topman, H&M, Uniqlo, Banana Republic, etc. It’s hard for me to say what your availability to stores is however, that is why I give general tips and guides as to waht to look for, it’s up to you to do your own shopping. Good luck, and thanks for reading. -Dan