ASK DAN: Budget Shopping, Indian Wedding, Career Decision
May 21st, 2015
Q: Hey Dan. Really love the site! I notice that a lot of your articles are focused on what some may consider high-end (expensive) clothes. If your intended audience is meant to be more on the wealthy side, then so be it, but I was wondering if there was any chance of displaying stylish clothing that is more reasonably priced. A lot of people with families and tight budgets do care about looking good, but simply can’t afford $200 shirts or $350 shoes…
A: Great question. The outfits and advice on Articles of Style is not meant to be copied exactly, but rather replicated to fit your own personal style and lifestyle (including your budget). With today’s landscape of accessible “fast fashion” at incredibly low prices, you should be able to re-create our general looks on just about any budget. Look at places like Zara, Asos, Topman, H&M, Joe Fresh, and of course, the thrift shop + tailor shop combo. If you look through the archives, we’ve also featured some very stylish gentlemen who work tight budgets, like this guy who tweaks his own vintage finds. As far as the team; remember that, as editors, we fancy ourselves menswear experts and connoisseurs, which is why we often invest in items of the highest possible quality. You wouldn’t trust the editor of a sportscar magazine if he drove an old Honda civic, would you? Lastly, the other thing about investing in quality menswear is that some items will actually outlast their cheaper counterparts and save you money in the long run. For example, there’s a good chance that a $300 pair of shoes from Allen Edmonds (with the proper care) will outlast three new pairs of $100 shoes from a place like Aldo who uses cheap leather and glues their shoes together in China. Good luck out there my man.
Q: Hey Dan. I am in a bit of a conundrum. I have an Indan friend that is getting married in two months and on the wedding invitation it says “Indian Black Tie Formal”. I don’t know what that means, when I asked my friend he told me a dinner jacket would be okay, when I tried to do my own research all I came up with were bedazzled bagdala and Nehru suits. I want to wear something that honors his Indian tradition and heritage but still be understated and clean, do you have any ideas? Thank you!
A: Hmmm. This is a tricky one. I think the dress code implied for non-Indians is traditional black tie, but if you are Indian, going with the traditional formal dress is encouraged. I don’t think it means that non-Indians should try to incorporate or interpret the cultural outfits. However, I do like the idea of showing a little love to the cultural norms. I would suggest a dark tailored suit with a white mandarin (band) collar shirt. This will look sharp and appropriate, with only a subtle nod to the Indian culture. Admittedly, though, I’m probably not the best guy to answer this question. Therefore I’m going to tap into the AoS network of stylish dudes, and reach out to the best-dressed Indian man I know; Ishandev Hiremath. Ishan are you listening? Can you provide this gentleman with some advice? (I’ll email Ishan to try to get him to respond…). Cheers mate, enjoy the wedding!
Q: My name is David, and I’m graduating from USC tomorrow. I have a pretty significant decision to make. I’ve got an offer on the table to go to NYC for investment banking with a big bank, and I can also stay in LA and work in finance. But my passions have always been business and fashion (the latter largely inspired by you, since 2012), and I wanted to pick your brain about both before I commit to anything… I’m at a crossroads, do you have any advice?
A: Ahh, the classic banking career versus fashion career decision. I faced a very similar dilemna when I was graduating from Columbia and interning on the trading floor of a large Wall Street bank. This is a really personal decision, and I’m not sure I feel totally comfortable swaying you in one direction or the other without knowing you better, but I’ll share my perspective for your reference. In the banking world, you know what your getting. Lots of long hours, lots of number crunching, lots of ladder climbing, and lots of money. It’s a reliable career path that leads toward a wealthy, stable future with a virtually unbreakable routine. On the other hand, your interests in “business and fashion” makes me think you’re considering exploring a more creative, entrepreneurial side driven by passion and mystery. This can be fun and exciting, but it can also be very stressful and uncertain. I’ll put it like this: my college roommate is now an investment banker. He has a lot more money than I do and knows exactly what he’ll be doing for the next few years. I have significantly less money than him but a lot more time and flexibility, and I get adrenaline just thinking about the future potential of my business. Ultimately I think it depends on what kind of guy you are, and what kind of opportunities you were given. What brings you joy and excitement, versus anxiety and stress? Do you operate better with a routine and linear lifestyle? Do you have a back-up plan if things don’t work out? Lastly, I would take a longer look at this “passion for fashion”… What do you envision yourself doing in the industry (better than others)? What are the positions you’re considering, and the career paths associated? If it’s just about buying cool clothes and looking fly, you can do that in any profession (especially if you got the $$$).
Perhaps our readers can chime in with their perspectives?! This is an interesting conversation that is very current as young men have never been more into the fashion industry, and “doing your own thing” has never been more accessible…
Thanks, as always, for reading. If you have a question, feel free to hit me on the Contact Page.
Yours in style,