Everyone loves a sharply dressed man: Classic fashions from JC Penney

If you are looking to buy something for the well dressed man, JC Penney might be an unexpected surprise.
Photo: Dressing sharp from JC Penney

FLORIDA, December 18, 2012 — The holiday season is here yet again, and with it comes the inevitable rush to buy the gent in your life the perfect gift, or get him out of the t-shirt and jeans for a holiday event.

While I believe that striving for perfection is much like counting trees in a dense forest, there can be no denying that finding the perfect gift of clothing for a man can be difficult at best.  After all, we want those who we care about to receive something that they won’t wish they had a return receipt for.

In theory, it is difficult to go wrong by purchasing clothing. Everyone wears it in one way or another. The reality is, however, that everyone has a unique fashion sense and not always for better and sometimes for worse.

It may be best to turn to the classic styles that do have a way of finding at least some measure of popularity with no small number.

The holiday fiesta, or a post New Year fresh start on the job market, requires formal or semi-formalwear. Before anyone mentions that this might not be the most practical of ideas in post-casual Friday America, hear me out.

A sport coat should not be thought of as part of a workplace only attire. It can be donned with a golf shirt and jeans to create a casual, yet refined look for a relaxed night out. The typical button-down shirt, meanwhile, can be utilized in so many different situations that it would take an entire article to list them. 

Of course, one could always use separates to create a distinctive, elegant alternative to the typical  monochromatic suit.

Seeking a wide range of options at a moderate price, the quest was to find the perfect ensemble at the local JC Penney.

Entering the store, the goal is to select a set of clothes, which could conceivably make any man among the most dapper in his crowd. I was surprised to find that my area’s store had such a wide variety of formalwear. Florida, let alone my native central region, is not exactly renowned its for sharp dressers.

Thankfully, the Ocala staff — from the store manager to the sales associates — were all very helpful and attentive. A major plus during the overwhelming holiday season.

The first thing that I looked for was a quality sport coat. Rather than seek out an unusual or daring design, I figured that classic and understated was the way to go. Luckily, it did not take long to find a handsome black jacket with gray metallic buttons.

I then set out for a none-too-contrasting pair of dress pants. Finding the right shade of gray in the right size did take some time, but my search ultimately ended in success. 

Next up the shirt proved a bit less difficult opting, once again for the classic, a blue-striped oxford with long sleeves and a button-down collar. After that, I selected a necktie and pocket square. Both were solid blue and complimented the shirt very well.

All that was left, then, was locating a belt — no problem — and shoes — there was no shortage of these, but finding a pair in my size was somewhat difficult.

So, what brands did I wear? Furthermore, how much did all of this cost?

I have arranged a list below. The prices, I felt, were quite reasonable in some cases, and downright bargains in others. Armed with this list, you should be able to dress yourself, or the man in your life, in a style to suit the holidays.

Stafford Essentials Black Sports Coat, $40.00

Izod Medium Grey Dress Pants, $30.00

Stafford Essentials Blue Stripe Oxford Dress Shirt, $17.00

Stafford Performance Blue Satin Necktie, $30.00

JC Penney Blush Blue Pocket Square, $15.00

Stafford Essentials Reversible Belt, $20.00

J. Ferrar Black Slip-On Shoes Men’s Dash, $40.00

For a grand total under $200, before taxes, the entire outfit is assembled. Wanting to notch the look up, there was a collection of blazers, that while a bit more expensive, added to the look.

Judging from my experience, JC Penney is a fine destination for your men’s formalwear holiday shopping. It must be said, though, that products available near you will almost definitely vary from those in my neck of the woods.

In any case, best of luck finding that perfect-as-possible gift.  


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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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