By Richmond Truex
Why can’t men dress well? Women have wondered this for decades. And when offered every opportunity to learn, take interest and change these habits, they scoff and revert back to their uniform. Why can’t they show up properly dressed for a job interview, family barbeque or a dinner with a client? These questions do apply to men even when they think they don’t. Ask a woman and she says men lack imagination. We want to push men from their comfort zone, try new things and wake up their imagination to what is possible in dressing.
Men do lack a sartorial imagination. And if a man cares to show any interest or imagination they are quickly branded as something other than a man. During sweeping cultural changes, men dressing well has taken last place to him assuming new work roles and family roles. Men have thus given up and want to be comfortable in their new roles. And with the new economy, men have been pushed into the role of 24 hour employee where public and private barriers are collapsing. And when men have to dress for all occasions- work, play, and in between- the clothes suffer to what is easiest to wear.
The new economy should have pushed men to become more creative and experiment with clothes. You didn’t see principles emerge that men could learn and follow. No new normal meant a lack of color and imagination. And with the sense of freedom, men are stuck in this melancholy of the sameness. But there are a few men that are choosing to dress and are taking it seriously. These are the ones taking advantage of this vast repertoire available toady and embracing sporty chic. This is the new balance between casual and business dress. Sportcoats with a shirt & ties with jeans or a great looking sweater with cotton trousers and sneakers are becoming the new uniforms of sporty chic.
As a means of self expression, the clothes a man wears and the car he drives both point to the masculine impulse to show off. So why do men know more about their car than the clothes they wear? Both are expressions of who you are and clothes really are a better expression of your individuality. But men learn in school, and dads, how cool cars are as compared to learning thread count and haberdashery. To care about the way you look appears to be a more shameful vice then having problems with drugs and alcohol. Let’s get these skeletons and demons out of men’s closets so they aren’t so afraid of dressing well.
And now, men have no excuse. With the variety of colorful sportswear, dress shirts, ties, and pocket squares, these would easily complete and fill out the wardrobe of a cultivated, successful man. With some instructed imagination and experimentation, men would gain experience in how to dress and can grow in matters of style. I encourage men not to shy from the risks of dressing differently. People notice the difference and appreciate someone making a statement. Men need a mentor, or guide, to encourage them on how to express themselves through their clothes.
And this is the major reason of why we look to Cary Grant for sartorial wisdom. His understated elegance exemplified his personal and public lives. His timeless look is tried and true because there’s really nothing tailors and designers haven’t already tried once or twice. His style took him anywhere and everywhere. Cary Grant was as comfortable on a movie set as in his office wearing these timeless clothes. And Hollywood exuded the modern norm where the workplace, business and social life are completely intertwined.
Style is not about dressing the right way. Clothes express character and intelligence. And when choosing the right wardrobe and mastering this habit, he can apply it around town, at work or out on the town. So come in with your questions or email us. We want to be a beacon of sartorial knowledge for men stuck in the wasteland of dismal dress. Often, I have advised men to try this or that combination, they have received positive feedback and compliments. This in turn gives them confidence in dressing well and a willingness to try new things – and trying new things gives one a comfort level of seeing what looks good together, what doesn’t, and what looks amazing!