Sunday, December 19, 2010
When a younger professional is building out his tailored clothing wardrobe, he often finds the transition from shirt and trouser dressing to be somewhat awkward. Simply wearing an odd jacket on more formal occasions is often the easiest step up the wardrobe ladder, but a trap may lie there for the unwary. For budgets are usually limited in those same years, and the purchase of enough odd jackets so that a different one can be worn every day of the week is likely to preclude purchases of suits that will be a considerably better choice after a few years of further career progression.
Now all but the most self confident of men are hesitant to dress more formally than their peers and this is usually an error. For so long as one does not cross the line into costume, no-one pays attention after a few days, and what attention may be paid is likely to be the thought that the suit-wearer is perhaps to be emulated.
The way to introduce suits into the workplace is to begin with less formal designs and work them in a day or two a week. Glen checks are probably the best pattern, mid-gray flannel the best solid for cool weather and tan its peer for warm. Pin stripes should be reserved for board meetings.
Further, suits worn in odd jacket milieus should also be accessorized so that they are approximately as formal as an odd jacket. Slip-on shoes, especially monk straps, work well to reduce the formality of a suit in warmer weather, for example, as do shirts with button down collars and buttoning cuffs. Knit ties are effective year-round. One might even, and I write this with great reluctance, emulate Clooney from time to time and go tieless.
But wear a suit.
Google, whose software underlies this weblog, appears to be having difficulties with its code for uploading photography lately. Today's photo was not originally intended to illustrate this post, but it was the best that could be done under the circumstances. I do not, however, recommend wearing silk pocket squares to most offices.