Professional in a new field, want to upgrade my look to a more sleek, professional, demeanor.

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    Hello MFA,

    I’ve entered a new field in which I must present professionally. Until now, I’ve always loved sweaters, button downs, etc.

    Now I’m ready to spend a little extra and upgrade my wardrobe from the H&M business “slacks” (that are just disguised casual pants) to something that will hold a crease, has some more formal materials, etc. Looking to change the everyday dark sweater (often times wearing the same sweater multiple times a week), to something nicer. Even if it’s just a nicer sweater.

    About my profession: I am an American Sign Language Interpreter. Often my clients are understanding that I show up to a freelance assignment with a semi professional look (typically because in freelance work you are travelling from job to job. I use public transit to travel so there needs to be some comfort to the outfit, eg, Black Tom’s generic shoes).

    Many of the interpreters that have been working in the field for years appear just as financial employees or business people. This is not something I’ve ever had to do in my working career so far.

    I dont want to wear a suit everyday, but I want to know the pants I’m wearing aren’t clashing with the sweater, cardigan, button down, whatever that im wearing. Color is simple enough for me to decipher on my own, but I’m more concerned about materials, light absorption, etc especially if im buying online.

    Im not opposed to spending a few hundred dollars here as I know im making an investment into my career, but I would like some brand advice and perhaps some outfit advice. Making outfits easy to setup is also key. I cant be the only person that wants their daily routine to be quick and easy.

    Please, point me in a direction at least of some styles of pant, shirt/tops to consider, and (because of the harshness of our winters) layers. The winter also is cause for concern for shoes and I am not willing to invest a lot in a pair of shoes that cannot weather heavy snow.

    Thank you so much.



    Depending on age, the Producer pants and 1MX shirts from Express were my go-to slacks/shirts while in my 20’s. Definitely watch for the sales (will typically go 50% off) on those though as the regular price makes them not really worth it. In my 30’s, I shifted to the Joseph Abboud line from Men’s Wearhouse for my office garb. Nice, modern cuts and fabrics, and pricing is decent (still try to wait for sales or go clearance, as pricing can be a little steep sometimes). And when you stick within the brand line, the fabrics go well with each other and there good consistency in the sizing. I can confidentially order online and not have fit issues. Have found them to be a little better than your typical department store brands like CK, RL, etc. And if something happens while working (especially if your public transit all day), you’re not out too much of an investment.

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