Where to find respectable attire of rebellion?
November 13, 2008 2:30 PM   Subscribe

After 3 years of coming to work in black jeans, boots and studded jackets I've been told I now need to wear collared shirts and slacks, somethings I've omitted from my wardrobe. What are some good recommendations in the "arty yet tasteful, rebellious yet conforming" fashion range?

As loath as I am to say it, I guess I'm asking where I can find 'trendy but tidy punk clothes', I managed to get away with having a mohawk at work and once came to Xmas lunch in a gorilla costume, however it seems the new CS manager lacks that same sense of humor, and my hours have changed so that I'm now around more often during the daylight hours.

I'm familiar with labels like Illicit but even find their stuff to be getting progressively more tame. I'm not opposed to ties and the like, but probably not into stuff which has too many bondage elements.

Top marks for recommendations which sell online, since I reside in NZ :-)

Bonus question: Are suspenders/braces acceptable now days, or would I just get weird looks?
posted by chrisbucks to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I would just get some dark (black or gray) khakis or chinos from J Crew or something, and pair with plain white or black dress shirts from Target or whatever the equivalent might be.

There's nothing more punk rock that not being ostentatious.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:39 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I suppose stuff like that which appears on SlashnBurn are decent examples of what I'm into currently...
I'm not really one to wear 'plain' clothes.
posted by chrisbucks at 2:51 PM on November 13, 2008

how do you feel about vintage clothes? Go to a second hand store, get some old suit pants in a dark pinstripe, take them in a bit at the ankle, wear them with cool shoes and a black collared shirt, and you've got a nice low-key punk outfit. cheap, too.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:02 PM on November 13, 2008

I'm sort of with Potomac Avenue above on the point about being non-ostentatious. Though if I were you I'd opt for more of a blue collar, though still alterno, grown-up-punk look - dickies plain front work pants (cheap and come in many different colors) and some Red Kap industrial work shirts - also cheap and in plenty of colors, though I'm not sure if they ship to NZ. Mix that up with some Ben Sherman shirts, some red doc martens and you've got yourself some good, understated, somewhat punkish (to those in the know) work clothes. Go for the braces - I've not taken that plunge but have been tempted. I think it's a good look. Unless there happens to be a lively neo-nazi movement down there - then maybe not.
posted by nomad73 at 3:02 PM on November 13, 2008

How old are you? Under about 25, those sorts of shirts you linked can be worn in a kind of ironic way, where you are in on the joke ("yes, I know it looks silly, that's the whole point!") and are wearing it with a big wink.

Once you pass maybe 25, and definitely past 30, those sorts of shirts scream "trying too hard," to my eyes at least. Sort of like the guy in high school who wore suspenders and a fedora, you know? Just a bit too precious.

I would argue that it is better to go understated -- I really like nomad73's suggestions (and would suggest also seeing if Carhartt clothes are imported to NZ), or think of the really sharp clothes worn by guys in rockabilly bands. You take that 1950's blue-collar sharpness, and leaven it with a big piece of punk-rock attitude, with the big bonus of not looking like an overaged escapee from "fetish night" at the local goth club.

If you are young and you can honestly claim that you have zero signs of the beginnings of balding, ignore this and go hog wild on the vinyl pants and goofy shirts. But if you need to look dignified, then you need to dress dignified, and those links are not going to get you there.
posted by Forktine at 3:13 PM on November 13, 2008

Response by poster: I'm one month shy of 23, no intention of looking "dignified", only not ready to quit this job just yet. It's not like I'm attending a funeral, I'm selling insurance to kids with too many driving convictions ;)
posted by chrisbucks at 3:32 PM on November 13, 2008

the look you're describing is fully mainstreamed here.

Hear, hear. What drives me nuts is that everyone around me tries so hard to be "different" that they all end up "different" in exactly the same way. The next hipster I see will be eating lead.

I'll bet that if you go for the classic formal look, you will be the one that stands out uniquely. That's certainly the case around my parts.
posted by randomstriker at 3:58 PM on November 13, 2008

Well, here are some ties that don't suck.
posted by idiotfactory at 4:01 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Paul Smith.
posted by Zambrano at 6:06 PM on November 13, 2008

chrisbucks: Don't take this the wrong way please, I'm not trying to uselessly snark, but the style that you are advocating is not punk rock. You are young and can wear whatever you want and not look terrible, but being a punk means more than just looking like you shop at Hot Topic. Punk Fashion does exist, despite what Sid said, but it doesn't consist of wacky silk bowling shirt designs and spiky haircuts.

I'm not saying you have to dress conservatively the way we're recommending, just to be creative with your outlandishness. Go to a thrift store or a consignment shop, or buy old people's clothes from garage sales. Learn to sew or find someone who makes shit in your town. Check out Etsy or some other craft sites to find people online that make odd and interesting clothing.

Obviously I take this way too seriously, but I've been a punk for 20 years and long ago it was ingrained in me to dispute whatever the common and current image of that was supposed to be. It's not something you can buy off from a chain store so you can look like the guys in a music video, you have to earn it. Good luck.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:09 AM on November 14, 2008

And here I was thinking that all Kiwis wore Ugg boots and shorts to work :-) (sorry, as an Aussie, we have to start with an opening like that.)

But there comes a time and age where you have to let it go. If you have to join them you may as well look stylish rather than dress like some guy who just came from stacking shelves at the local supermarket.

Get a well fitted suit (off the rack and altered,) tapered Shirt with no pocket (T M Lewin 4 for £100,) cuff links (no novelty) and smart shoes (they are in NZ) with leather soles (go for boots.) Don't wear a tie, don't ever wear a novelty tie.

I just don't think there is any way of doing corporate while being rebellious without looking stupid. Think of it as a uniform you have to wear.
posted by lamby at 6:08 AM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Call me old fashioned (I'm only a few years older than you, mind you) but what's wrong with just wearing normal clothing and not trying to make going to work some sort of unique statement about yourself? You're there to get a paycheck, not show your coworkers and boss how interesting and unique you (they don't care.)
posted by JFitzpatrick at 11:09 AM on November 14, 2008

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