Joe Herring offers advice:
I was speaking to a young man with a bright future the other night at an event. He asked me if I had any suggestions for him regarding clothing, demeanor, etc, telling me he thought I always looked well-dressed and “elegant,” every time he saw me.
After my laughter died down (about the elegant remark) I told him there are just a few things to remember in terms of male appearance…the same advice my father gave me, and his father gave to him.
It occurred to me, thinking about that encounter, that young men today have very few resources available for this sort of thing. To them, suits and blazers are items for funerals and weddings, not for making an impression at a job interview or attending an evening event.
While I am gratified to see a young man making the effort by wearing a suit, I still cringe when they wear it wrong; feeling embarrassment for them when their lack of knowledge in sartorial subjects is obvious in their dress.
1) Buy an Iron and learn to use it. You won’t die if you get the wrinkles out of everything you wear, not just the dress clothes.
2) If you’re wearing a tie, you better also wear highly polished dress shoes; the casual styles are for open collar with or without blazer.
3) Find a good dry cleaner and send them your dress shirts as well as suits and slacks. It costs less than a cup of coffee to have a shirt professionally laundered, starched and pressed, but the boost to your appearance is priceless.
4) Look to classic styles when building a wardrobe. They’re classic styles for a reason, and will remain relevant and fashionable for years to come, AND they will be appropriate for any event.
5) Don’t be the first into a fashion, nor the last out of one. While “trendy” makes a statement, it isn’t always good to be a walking statement. Likewise, wearing MC Hammer pants doesn’t say “hip,” it says “out of touch.”
Learn how to TIE a tie.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly…WalMart does not sell dress clothes despite what the tag may say. Do not buy dress clothes at WalMart. Ever.
On the other side of the coin, you don’t have to spend 800-1200 on a higher end suit, or 3000 for one custom made for you, in order to look great. A good brand, known for quality, can be bought off the rack at many Men’s wear departments in mid-level department stores, and then tailored to you for a couple hundred dollars total (if you watch for a sale) and with proper care will last you for a decade of occasional wear.
INVEST in a wardrobe. Just as a Chevy is not a Lexus, a generic suit suffers in quality and will need to be replaced more often than good quality.
I know this is different from my usual posts, but the most talented individual will find doors closed to them if they look like a rag bag.
Feel free to share this with any young men you know who might not have been taught these things.
Always a recommendation:
Dress for the NEXT LEVEL of the business you’re in, while being appropriately dressed for the job you have to do. Don’t hesitate to put on a suit for events, job interviews, and any other event that calls for you to look professional, and successful.