I’ve been back in the office for about three weeks now and it already feels like I never left. But after over two months at home, wearing trackpants and lying on the couch watching Netflix, the work wardrobe is feeling ‘more than a bit tight'. An afternoon shopping at Albany Mega Centre, exploring their big selection of menswear stores, has me sorted for my winter wardrobe.
Lockdown was supposed to be the time to get more exercise and lose some weight. I started off strongly. In the first week, I ran on the treadmill every day and we went for a family walk most days. As the weeks went by and the pressure and anxiety of the situation grew, the exercise fell away to be replaced by constant home cooking and slouching around with the family watching mini-series and movies.
I’m pleased to be back in the office but quickly realised, as I attended my first client meeting, that I needed a new winter wardrobe for work. Clothes that actually fit my new proportions, don’t feel uncomfortable or make me feel so self-conscious. I’m not a big fan of the crowds at malls and definitely not a keen clothes shopper. I prefer to just get in and out and get the job done. That’s what I love most about the Albany Mega Centre – everything I need is in one place but there also lots of open outdoor spaces between stores!
First stop is Hallenstein Brothers. Still one of my favourite brands after all these years. I think they balance quality and price really well. After trying on five different suits - all in various shades of grey - I decide on the Le Mans Marino suit. It has a classic feel and the metal grey colour goes with just about anything. They have a ‘bundle’ deal which gives me a free shirt and tie. I go for a crispy white fitted shirt, set off by a bold red patterned tie.
The accounting profession has been slow to adopt the smart-casual look for client meetings, still feeling that a power suit is the only way to say professional and quality. Fortunately, this is changing and I am intent on helping accelerate the change by encouraging my team to dress more casually. To do so, I must lead by example, balancing my suits with other outfits.
I check out North Beach, and while most of their huge range is too young and cool for a middle-aged overweight guy like me (and for the accounting profession in general) I do find a couple of gems. First, it’s a pair of classic Dickies work pants, in a dark tan colour. These can be worn with a t-shirt but would look just as smart with a shirt and blazer. I also find a Volcom Burnward Jacket in black. It’s a classic ‘boomer jacket’ style that again has that formal and casual versatility.
Next stop is Cotton On. I love the feel and freedom of cotton shirts and often buy my shirts from here. I’m not disappointed, finding a great loose-fitting, long sleeve shirt in a french vanilla off-white colour. It’s the sort of thing you could wear loose over jeans but also tucked into dress pants. They have a big selection of knitwear on sale so I buy a natural, browny-grey coloured, crew neck jersey. Just as well jumpers are fashionable again because they are big in the accounting profession, favoured by both the ‘old-school partners’ and the latest graduates.
I think I’m done shopping and start heading back to the car. As I walk past EziBuy I see they have a sale on. I don’t know why but this isn’t a brand I associate with menswear but I decide to pop in and have a look. To my surprise they have a big range of menswear, good quality and great prices. Had I started here, I would have purchased a whole lot more. As it happens, I still manage to walk away with two items: a pair of Jimmy and James chino pants, in navy blue, and a wool-blend sport blazer in a dark charcoal colour.
All week in the office I get compliments from the team about my new wardrobe. And it couldn’t have been any easier to achieve this. The Albany Mega Centre has at least six stores offering winter menswear, from sports gears, jeans and tees right through to formal suit and ties. Everything a man could need.