The Black Suit without tie - Courtesy of Esquire 1993
Small and invisible
Dressy and low key
Spitalsfield pattern from Polo
Trad pinch ensures a dimple
Hard to associate anything negative
Another boring Macclesfield
The perfect interview tie
Rich but simple
Just keep the label hidden
Not just for weddings
Under the stated
Is this blog about holding onto tradition or am I'm just indulging in my own incomprehension of the last 20 years? You tell me.
It's no coincidence the black suit showed up in the early '90s and was touted by that arbiter of men's style, Donna Karan, "If designer Donna Karan had her way, black would be the third basic suit color in every man's wardrobe, after blue and gray." (Esquire Gentleman Magazine S/S 1993) That blue and gray have to be mentioned... Well, it's telling of the early '90s.
It took Esquire 20 years to figure the black suit is dead (recently reported). I guess that means if you bought a Donna Karan black suit in 1993 you're a chump or -- you work in insurance and I bailed you out of jail in Aventura, FL by cashing an expense check I forgot I had in my wallet... you lucky S.O.B.
It's no secret my profession is considered the little yellow school bus of financial services. 'Rate x Exposure ='s Premium' ain't hard to pick up although a liability policy can be. Anyway, I've decided to prepare a short primer on business dress in a sales organization. Should you desire, I am available to speak at your next conference for a small fee - provided it isn't at a Marriott Courtyard.
First (or last, as the post order will be) is the tie. I'm not talking that Asian place with coconut curry or the Chevy Chase character in Caddy Shack. Which, by the way, 92.7% of men over 40 can quote word for word. No, Danny. I'm talking a 58" long piece of silk, wool, cashmere or cotton that you'll have to learn to tie.
And don't tell me about that 'suit without tie look' you saw in Esquire. Today or in 1993. You are not an agent in Hollywood (I have screenplays if you are). You can't be the president of Iran and if you wanna take your tie off after work in Bennigans-- knock yourself out. When you are in a place of business, working with grown ups, you will wear a tie.
I will not tell you what tie to wear in your office. That's between you and your office. Frankly, if you have really bad taste, I wanna see you coming for a country mile and a bad tie will do just that. I will tell you what tie to wear when you are meeting a client, a prospect, a bank, an employer or anyone else you want money from.
It should be silk and it must be understated. Small patterns work best because they disappear. The tie will look rich, have depth and it should bore people to death. Allow your competitor to beat people over the head with the unsubtle: (1) Hermes or Ferragamo Tie (charges too much). (2) Donald Duck or Nascar Tie (charges too little). (3) Rep Tie (born with too much).
Strangers, and especially women, will make petty conclusions about you based on your tie. And a sales call is no time to let the 'real you' hang out. By the way, this is a good time to mention wearing bow ties. Don't. Not on a sales call and I don't care what you sell. You like bow ties? So do I. Wear 'em when you're in the office cold calling. It's fun. Kinda like talking to someone on the phone when you're naked.
Next is shirting or, as I like to call them... shirts. This isn't complicated and I refuse to make it so. Unless someone starts paying me. In which case my Power Point presentation is standing by.