Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Anti-suit and tie propaganda?

A while back this joker made quite a splash online, basically arguing that because suits (and I assume by extent, ties, dress shoes, dress shirts, etc.) serve no functional purpose, they are useless for a modern man. Well, in that case so are paintings, music, and other aesthetically pleasing things, yet no one is trying to get rid of those! If so, they are a certifiable philistine.
I vowed to never wear one again other than weddings and funerals, and only then because it wasn’t worth the hassle to deal with people asking why you didn’t wear a suit. I’m certain the people getting married dint (sic) care, and I don’t think anyone is going to be looking down at me wondering why I showed up at their funeral without a suit.
Is he serious? Besides the fact that the suit serves a (in my opinion) very functional purpose in making men look their most handsome, of course a lot of people at weddings and funerals are going to care! The entire point is that by looking your best you are showing respect for others in going through the effort to do so.

I want to point out that there's a difference between wearing tailored clothing and wearing tailored clothing. That is, if the garment is altered/custom made to fit well and you took care in choosing the style details and accoutrements to go with it. The impact this has on the confidence, posture, demeanor, and of course increased beauty of the wearer is hard to deny. Seriously. I've had friends tell me they never knew suits could look that good on them. And I tell them, "Because you never knew how to wear suits."

Recently it came to my attention that another successful businessman who abhors traditional business attire is on a one man crusade against the tie. Well... I had to share my thoughts about his misguided way of thinking.
 Thoroughly confused here, Mr. Branson. You say that we should be free from restraints to creativity such as the tie, yet you're trying to get rid of something that an increasing number of young men are adopting, willfully, to compliment their outfits! (Such as myself.) Unless your shirt collar fits poorly or you have it on way too tight, a tie should never be uncomfortable to the extent that it's distracting. Myself and many others are perfectly comfortable and have creative energy when wearing them. A tie (not to mention pocket square) can add a dash of colour and/or interest to an otherwise okay outfit composed of solid colours. Along with the "V" that a jacket creates, it helps visually elongate a man's torso in a flattering way. Don't get me wrong, you can wear open collar shirts all day long if that pleases you. But don't go on a one man crusade to take ties (tasteful, classic accessories to wit) away from everyone else just because you don't personally like them.

Come as you are, be creative and comfortable... unless you're a slave to The Man by wearing a tie. A little hypocritical, don't you think?
These "rebellious" statements come as a surprise when we have many suit-and-tie-wearing sartorial role models speaking to younger generations right now. James Bond. Neal Caffrey. Barney Stinson. Justin Timberlake. Sean Combs. Probably many more I'm not thinking of. We're also at a time where more and more businesses are adopting casual dress code standards. Where does that leave the suit and tie? In the domain of but a few white collar professions and special events that still require it. But its primary purpose is making men look attractive, which is why those situations demand it. See where I'm going with this?

Bond, James Bond, knows he looks good. And he knows everyone around him thinks so too.

Readers, it's time to throw off the shackles of society and get creative. Wear a suit and tie when the occasion permits it, when you want to look sharp, and enjoy the hell out of doing so.

5 comments:

  1. In addition to what you said, a suit and tie also helps draw onlookers' eyes upwards towards your face through contrast and proper framing. I'd say that his highly functional.

    Also, there are several studies that show perform activities better if they wear the clothing that they believe professionals wear for the same thing. For example, one study showed that if you took people, told them that a scientist wears a lab coat, then gave them one, they would perform better on math and science related quizzes. If the association is not made, the lab coat had no effect.

    Since we as a society associate suits and ties with professional activities, the simple act of wearing a suit would increase the performance and behaviour of the average person in similar situations. This seems like a functional reason to me.

    (I don't have sources off the top of my head, but they do exist, give it a search)

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  2. Exactly. Those reasons are why I reject the notion that tailored clothing and neckwear are necessarily uncomfortable, excessively restrictive in both movement and idea flow, or represent boring conformity.

    Plus, I just feel awesome when I wear tailored clothing. Like I can conquer any task that comes my way.

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  3. This is very nice that you two believe that suits and ties still have relevance in the 21st century in a business setting. But the reality is that most advanced technology companies, IT service providers, programmers and developers can stand on their SKILLS whilst wearing jeans and a tshirt, and make lots more money than the suit-wearing accountant or junior executive.

    In these environments, wearing a suit and tie is considered inappropriate, and makes creative people uncomfortable. When going to an interview at one of these companies, wearing a suit and tie will actually HURT your prospects rather than enhance them. One will be perceived as a "stuffed shirt" or the candidate simply referred to as a "suit and tie". Only in a few traditional corporate environments are suits and ties still considered appropriate (or required). This is not propaganda, this is progress.

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  4. Anonymous, you are certainly welcome to your opinions as we are ours. Thank you for your thoughts. However, my main point in writing this was saying that ties (and by extension suits) are not as irrelevant as these business owners claim they are because they make men look their best.

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  5. Not to get into the absurdity of the presupposition that, when people are wearing suits, no one cares about their skills, but, if you find menswear so wholly irrelevant, why spend your time reading a blog about it, and then spend still more time commenting?

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