All The Rage

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Your Stylist: To climb the corporate ladder, think fit first

May 22, 2012 | 10:14 am

Steve Carell in "Crazy, Stupid, Love"
All The Rage recently received the following e-mail from reader Sabrina Nicole Hurt asking for some style advice:

“I read your 2011 article “Clothes Make the Man,” (yes, I know I'm a little late, but it's what popped up on my Google search when I started this makeover a week ago) and I was wondering if you have any tips for dressing a slightly bigger guy for a more casual job. I'm engaged to a man who is working as a mechanic, but wants to move up in the corporate world. I have a few tips in mind, but could use some help getting him up and running. Help would be greatly appreciated.”

We figured it would be most appropriate to seek the professional advice of costume designer Dayna Pink since she was the one who used an extreme wardrobe makeover to help transform Steve Carell's character in “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” and offered men some sage sartorial advice in the aforementioned article. But first we needed to get a little clarification from Sabrina: Does “slightly bigger guy” refer to height, weight or both? And, what does the subject of her makeover efforts currently wear when he does dress up? She responded:

"He is bigger in weight, [it is] concentrated in his shoulders and belly. He wants to start his own business as the owner of a garage. He's a mechanic.

He loves rock music and is a vintage kind of man, so when he dresses up, he wears a black button-down [shirt] and jeans. That's about as dressy as it gets.”

Pink, whose recent movie credits include “The Lucky One,” and the recently wrapped movie about Las Vegas magicians titled “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” (starring Jim Carrey and Steve Carell, and due out in 2013) offers the following tips:

“I may sound like a broken record when I say 'It's all in the fit,' but it's all in the fit!

I think everyone looks better when their clothes are well-tailored, but I find it particularly true with people who are overweight. For some reason, [those with] larger body types can have a tendency to purchase clothes even bigger than they need to, which adds bulk and gives [a person] the appearance of being larger than they actually are. So, the first rule is: Make sure it fits.

Secondly, if corporate is the goal, then vintage doesn't necessarily apply. I think there is a place for vintage but not in the boardroom or in a corporate situation. I would try a well-tailored pant -- in a dark color -- and a shirt with a dark blazer for meetings. A good fitting blazer can do a guy a huge favor! It can cover some issues and read ‘professional’ all in one quick glance.

I know the look sounds basic, but a great jacket and pants can be the sexiest thing when it's the right fit. And don't forget to make sure that the shirt underneath is tailored as well. When he takes the jacket off, the shoulders of the shirt shouldn't be oversized.

Since he is hoping to be a business owner and the shop is more casual, he will likely just be in a shirt and pants most of the time, so a dark chino and tucked-in shirt with a belt will never go out of style and it reads professional.

Wearing well-fitted clothes will make him look and feel better, which just may help him climb that corporate ladder!”


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-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Steve Carell wears ill-fitting khakis and jacket as a pre-makeover Cal in Warner Bros. "Crazy, Stupid, Love." The movie's costume designer says fit is foremost for any man trying to climb the corporate ladder. Credit: Ben Glass / Warner Bros.