Introducing - Sales & Tonic Free Fashion/Style advice

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When we set out to create a travel and lifestyle blog for salespeople, we knew that it would have certain focuses. Business travel was a natural focus. Sales advice and tips were also a given, and we strive to make them a little bit off-centered to differentiate from the countless other sales blogs out there. We pepper in various tips relevant to the lifestyle of a sales professional on a regular basis. The final piece of the puzzle is Fashion.

Now, admittedly at the moment, our focus is on men’s advice but we have been working to find some female resources to assist as well. With that being said, we are proud to introduce free fashion/style advice. It is very straightforward. Just follow the link here and fill out the short form. Once you’ve completed it, we will receive an email and respond within 48 hours (aiming for 24) with a personalized response.

So, if you are trying to figure out what kind of tie to wear with a particular shirt, drop us a note. If you want to know what the heck cordovan is, fill out the form. If you are looking for a few key pieces to freshen up your wardrobe without breaking the bank, we will send you some recommendations.

For free style advice, please fill out the form here or simply email us at stylist@salesandtonic.com

Back Up Outfits - The Surpise Stain Contingency Plan

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Here is a true story. I had to catch a very early flight this week. As I normally do, I had everything packed and ready to go and woke up around 3:30 in the morning. I never want to wake up my wife or kids so I always try my best to make sure everything is in order. On this particular morning I took a shower, shaved, got dressed, and felt like I was making great time. When I looked in the mirror I noticed to my own personal horror that I had a massive stain of some sort on the shoulder of my shirt. Honestly, I have no clue what it is, but that’s a mystery I’ll have to solve when I get back home.

Now, my brain doesn’t exactly work as well this early in the morning (this was pre-coffee) so as I tore through my closet looking for another shirt and tie combination to wear, I found myself wasting valuable time. I like to pride myself on being prepared for any situation, but this definitely caught me off guard.

In the past, I’ve had back up outfits already laid out for situations just like this. Shame on me for not being ready in this case, but I won’t make this mistake again. It doesn’t take much to pick out a neutral combination of pants, shirt, tie, and any additional accessories. Not only should you have one at home for situations like this, but when traveling, if you have space, you should probably bring one as well.

Luckily, my closet is fairly well organized. I swapped out my stained patterned shirt for a solid blue with an orange tie. Solid shirts are perfect for this situation. I recommend always having a couple of extra white and blue shirts as they pretty much go with anything.

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What To Wear the First Day on the Job

The days of wearing a brand new suit and a freshly starched white shirt, with a wide tie and an eager smile are over. The corporate culture across the globe has changed drastically. You still have conservative bastions of tradition in financial centers such as New York, London, and Hong Kong. Some industries such as banking, law, and insurance are more likely to stick to tradition as well. With all of that said, the tech boom of the last 30 years, coupled with a focus on working comfortably rather than formally has had a profound impact on how we dress on a daily basis. More and more people work from home, at least part of the time, and the fact that many prospective buyers don’t dress as formally has changed how sellers dress.

All of these factors can make the first day on the job intimidating for a new hire. Go in overdressed, and you rest being labelled as a stuck up kiss-ass. Don’t dress formally enough and you could come across as a lazy slob. It’s really important to nail the first day, and luckily we have you covered.

The key is research. Luckily, it won’t take you long, but the effort is well worth it. There are a few places to try:

  • Company website - many websites will have pictures of employees on their first days, company events, interviews with current employees, etc. Take a look on the site to see if you can find anything of use. Another place to check is the company social media sites. Facebook has emerged as a place for employers to highlight their company culture, with the hopes of attracting new talent.

  • Talk to existing employees - this is kind of a no brainer. If you know somebody at the company, ask them.

  • Recruiter or Hiring Manager - most people have dealt with a recruiter, HR rep, or their hiring manager. This is probably the best person to ask for advice.

If all else fails, men can wear a white or blue shirt with a tie that has a splash of color. Bring a sportcoat that you can either take on or keep off, but will still work with the rest of the ensemble. Ladies can do the same, minus the tie.

Save Money by Washing your Own Dress Clothes

Staying fashionable and presentable is not cheap. We spend a lot on our clothes and therefore it goes without saying that we have to spend money to keep them looking good. But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t find some shortcuts. There are a number of ways to take care of your clothes without going to a dry cleaner.

If you have a decent washer and you use good detergent, you can wash your shirts and dress pants on a very delicate cycle. I recommend casual or delicate. Some washers have a cycle called hand wash which is also very good.

Invest in a drying rack. Normally, these fold up to take up almost no space and if used properly will cause the least wear and tear on your shirts and pants. Another option is to hang your shirts and pants on hangers. For some types of fabrics, particularly super heavy ones, you might want to toss the shirts and pants in the dryer for a few minutes. Use a light cycle and just remove some of the moisture. Most likely, you will need to touch up the air dried garments with an iron. This little touch up will go a long way.

An alternative to touching up with the iron is to them steam using your shower. Put a few garments on a hanger and hang near the shower, but of course don’t let the water hit them. Close the door, turn off the fans and run the shower as hot as you possibly can. In about 10 minutes, turn off the water. Give the garments another 10 to 20 minutes to settle. This will remove a lot of the wrinkles.

Of course, there are some garments that are going to need a dry cleaner. If you have super expensive pieces, don’t try to do this yourself. It’s not worth the risk. In addition, most suits and sport coats should probably be taken to the dry cleaner. You don’t want to risk discoloration.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Choosing a Tailor

A common mistake that people make in business fashion is to buy an overly expensive suit but to skip having it tailored. No matter how nice of a suit you’ve bought, there are very few factors that determine how good it will look more than the fit.

Depending on your fit, suit separates are an option to decrease (but not eliminate) the need for a tailor. Suit separates are sold at department stores and other clothing retailers. The idea is that you can buy each of the pieces separately, to accommodate different fit. This includes the pants, the jacket, and the vest if available. An example where this makes sense is if you have a more muscularly built chest, but a thin waist. If you were to buy an entire suit off the rack, you would need many more alterations. Especially if you have a thin or athletic build, you should be able to find a very close match in most suit separates. 

Even with suit separates, it is likely that one or more alterations will need to be made. 

 

Here is a great guide from an article in Men’s Journal from 2011. As you can see, there are a number of different considerations when deciding on alterations. It is very unlikely that something off the rack will check all of these boxes.

👔Lapels

👔Waist

👔Legs

👔Shoulders 

👔Sleeves

👔Length

👔Break

So, now that you have your suit, how do you choose a good tailor? One recommendation that I will make from personal experience is to avoid using the tailor in the store. I realize that this is a much more convenient option, but most times they don’t do a very good job and they charge you out the ass. In addition, especially if you shop at a department store, you will find that they purposely size the pants of the suit to force your hand in using their tailor. Don’t give in. Use your own.

Local is the way to go. Check Yelp and Google local search and read the reviews. In most locations you will find tailors who have been at it for over 20 or 30 years. They will almost always be less expensive than the department or retail stores. In addition to dedicated tailors, many privately owned dry cleaners keep a part time seamstress or tailor on staff. They are usually very experienced and reasonable. 

Finally, you have to know what you’re looking for. If you have a thin build, then you most likely want a fit that will fill you out. If you have more of an athletic build, then your fit will accentuate this. Finally, if you are a little larger, you will look for a more slimming fit. Any experienced tailor can assist with this.

Just like shining your shoes, this is a minor investment that will pay off in a major, major way.

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