In recent years, a lot of what was considered traditional America has been set aside. One of the most glaring of traditional dressing has been literally annihilated. Just because some putz schmuck got his mug in the Times or Wall Street Journal for making a million in a dotcom stock swindles, and was wearing a baseball hat, are we to look at this guy as a tastemaker? I look at him as some proletarian who lucked out, and now is in dire need of an image consultant. It has been traditional throughout history in the last millennium important men and women, those who better society, that they have an easily identifiable look, the kind that you would like to emulate. I find a great sadness amongst my friends that a backwards baseball hat is de rigueur in the boardroom.
IBM, after exhaustive research, had their employees wear white shirts and ties. Why? Because it makes them look like good guys, the very thing lacking in society. I loved Jimmy Carter, even though he tried to bring a down market socialist look to the most powerful position in the known universe. Levi's in the White House. Personally, I have yet to meet a real "mover and shaker" in society that doesn't look the part. Certain schmucks out there would have Henry Kissinger wearing overalls. Now that I am wheel chair bound, it really makes me feel bad that I can't put on my new Oxford suit, Patek Philippe watch, and a good pair of crocodile shoes. I don't want to look like someone from the beat generation.
It has been my experience in society that those with the clout, look the look. Looking good is never a flaw. No one ever gets ridiculed for dressing well. Should we look up to a T-Shirt wearing geek in the bowels of Silicon Valley? I don't think so. My role models will always be Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Sinatra, and other people that care about the way they look.
What is money good for? My new Oxford suit is conservatively cut and will last longer than me! Clothes do make the man, don't you ever forget it. No one is ever called out for looking good. I am not talking about being a slave to fashion, I am talking about never being out of fashion. Many of our clients look at watches as clothing, and for formal wear, will look for a Cartier or Patek, and a Baume and Mercier strap watch for the everyday. The sad thing is that many men are judged by how they look, and what kind of watch they wear. Flip thought the Rob Report, the socially accepted manual for the nouveau riche and you will see. How you look, dress, and live represents how you look and how you act. It speaks to your character in the world, and the marketplace.
The skeptic would say that this treatise only promotes the things Capetown sells. Of course it does. But it supports several truisms as well. That looking good is as important as anything in a world where appearance truly matters. What is the matter with elegance? Do you really want Wal-Mart taking over the world?
I recently bought a small collection of hand painted oils showing thoroughbred dogs and cats wearing late 19th century attire. Click here to see. Don't these dogs look elegant, that is what these clothes will do.
We know what a policeman and fireman are from their attire, as people will know a good man by his dress.
The notion that one should dress for comfort instead of dressing for business is another idea from the demented nouveau riche in Silicon Valley. Tradition dictates that an elegant gentleman should dress well still exists. It has been smothered though, by dress down Friday's and casual Mondays. It should be the prerogative of the boss. And it is about as sensible as the recent stock market has been. I would not allow mindless, penniless, oafs to reset societies principles. Go to your local unemployment office, you will meet plenty of people in ill-fitting jeans and baseball hats. The fact of the matter is that other than mindless geeks, successful people look the part. If you want success, you must dress for it. If you are so secure that it matters not that the host at a fine restaurant is dressed better than you, then do whatever you want. Buy if you really want to score a position or a lady, you should dress properly. Long before I became a millionaire, I looked like one.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Dress for success. You will feel better, and be treated with respect.
The other day a gentleman came into my office from the Midwest, well dressed, wearing a Turnbill and Asser shirt. They are easy to recognize, with three buttons on the cuff. He was so flattered that I recognized his shirt, we became instant friends. Hey guys and gals, if you are one of those lucky schmucks that don't need anything to enhance your image, this message is not directed to you. If you are in a profession or work environment where image really counts, do some self analysis. Step out of your body and figure out if what you are wearing is getting the job done. I'll grant you that clothes don't make the man, but proper attire can get you ahead in life.
If you are strapped for cash, and feel like buying expensive clothes would be frivolous, look at it from this perspective. I generally buy conservative, very well made clothes. They will last me years. Oxford has been in business forever, their clothes are purchased by some of the most important people in the world. Because of the longevity built into an Oxford suit, it is a good investment. Like a fine Patek Philippe watch, they never go out of style, and you can wear them forever. There about 100 great clothiers in America that can explain to you what constitutes a well made suit. Once you understand it, you will know that a classically tailored garment has a lot going into it, much like a Patek Philippe watch. If you are in an office with a sea of geeks, and you feel that wearing a suit is too ostentatious, get a pair of custom-fitted Levi's and wrap the whole look with an Oxford sport coat.
If only once in your business career a person recognizes the cut of your clothes, it is worth the cost of the clothes twenty times over. Start looking like you are employed, not unemployed. If anyone is interested in a fine suit of clothes, give me a call. I may be able to point you towards some significant discounts.