While dress does not determine a man’s character, it certainly reflects upon him and his employer, showcases his evaluation of the activity he is engaged in, and visibly displays his attitude to others. Here are five tips for regaining a proper balance in men’s attire.
The new year is a chance for reflection and intentional change. Among the resolutions men should make this year is to restore a sense of occasion to the seasons of life. This will require the recognition that sometimes life requires seriousness and formality. These qualities in turn cannot be properly achieved in the modern world without a dark worsted suit, classic tie, and black oxford shoes.
There are several troubling trends that will complicate this effort to restore a sense of occasion through male attire. First, living in a Zoom world has eroded the separation between the personal and professional and has drastically reduced the demand for professional business attire. Second, most men prove unable to endure slight discomfort in order to look professional, while the corporate dress code continues to become ever more lax. Third, unlike the 1930s, there is a great dearth of well-dressed men who can serve as an example to emulate.
The root of this sloppiness in men’s attire is a failure to distinguish the public and private, and a loss of all sense of occasion.
The casualization of dress has destroyed all sense of occasion in today’s youth. Previously a man would dress for the activities he was engaged in, but now the only thought is comfort. This failure to recognize the rituals and seasons of life reflects the prevalent view that everything should be treated the same, and that how one dresses should not influence how people view him or his organization and has no impact on our own perception of the seriousness of a situation. The result is that men are uncertain of what to wear because expectations are vague, the options limitless, and role models nonexistent.
A man’s dress should be appropriate to the activity he is engaged in. While dress does not determine a man’s character, it certainly reflects upon him and his employer, showcases his evaluation of the activity he is engaged in, and visibly displays his attitude to others. Here are five tips for regaining a proper balance in men’s attire.
First, individuals should revive the sense of occasion. One may wear a suit to a wedding, gym shorts to the gym, and a polo and slacks to the golf course. One ought to recognize that not all activities are the same and to dress appropriately.
Second, understand the difference between the public and private realms. Men should dress one way for the public (as the occasion demands) and another at home among their intimate friends and family (as comfortable as decency allows).
Third, wearing fine, fitted, and neat clothes as befits the occasion is appropriate to the rituals of life—church, weddings, business meetings, etc. Dressing appropriately for these events reminds everyone that they are unique occasions.
Fourth, suits and ties flatter the figure of men and provide opportunities to set oneself apart. A well-fitted suit will hide the irregularities of a man that reflect his human frailties. It is also a chance to display one’s individual style—those who understand the rules know when and how to break them. Let us avoid the staid formality of the 1950s and instead imitate the 1930s, the pinnacle of men’s fashion.
Finally, remember the benefits gained from a proper suit. It is orderly, projects an air of professionalism, and minimizes our quirks and faults. When hiring managers are reaching decisions about you in the first minutes of the interview, why jeopardize things dressing like a slob?
Men’s attire is both important and slightly trivial. It is important in that it conveys to the world a message about us as individuals, reflects upon our associations, and helps set the tone for the various seasons of life—the serious as well as the relaxed. It is trivial in that the content of a man’s character is what matters and there are larger issues in the world that need to be dealt with than pants that shiver on the shoe, a tie that precisely ends at the belt, and displaying a half-inch of shirt sleeve beneath the jacket. These two caveats aside, men will benefit from dressing for the occasion and understanding the numerous advantages that stem from the inclusion of a proper suit in one’s wardrobe.
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The featured image is courtesy of Pixabay.