The great awakening of 2008 saw men caring about how they looked in clothes. Perhaps it was the advent and growth of social media or the fact that the economy was in the tank and men needed to dress well to get noticed for a new job. Whatever the real cause, it happened - men started to care. And with that caring about appearance menswear peaked with a crescendo of gingham, pocket squares and tailored suiting. With this new consciousness came adherence to the traditional rules of dressing well - e.g., proper inseam lengths, proportional lapels, showing a bit of shirt cuff, and everything in between. And yours truly opined on these rules and how to bend or break them in a way to create one’s own personal style - hence the advent of this column.
Then came the great pandemic pause and work from home (“WFH”). No one was going out. No one went to work. We all lounged around in sweats and binged Netflix. It became seemingly OK to take Zoom calls without pants on.
What a world.
A new set of work standards was adopted - the hybrid work culture - of working from home a few days and into the office a few days, but an office that most likely had relaxed their dress codes even more just to entice employees into the cities and into their once well-visited cubicles. With this paradigm shift of work dress codes, menswear as a whole has unfortunately slid backwards by a decade or more. No one gives a shit. It almost feels like any semblance of caring what you look like is gone, forever.
I believe there is a glimmer of hope. That men will one day rise up and care again. It’s not all Dystopian.
Less formal does not have to equate with bad fits. No. There is a bright spot to all this, an emerging story, a phoenix rising from the ashes. And that’s a new type of wardrobe for men in 2022, one that takes into account the New World Order. It’s a confusing one for sure, but I - and all of us at CMMP - have the answers.
No matter your job and its dress code, every man still needs at least two great-fitting, high quality suits. That’s because life still requires you to dress up for weddings, funerals, job interviews, swanky bachelor parties, black tie events, award ceremonies, and the list goes on and on. These events have not gone the way of the Dodo.
We still suggest owning a great-fitting navy and charcoal suit. Take stock of what’s in your closet, try on your suits and make sure they fit well. What’s a good fit you ask? While the skinny suit saw its hey-day pre-pandemic, going forward, as we’ve always counseled, a proper fit is one that conveys ease and elegance of comfort while complementing one’s silhouette. It’s a gentle balance for sure, but that’s why we have big mirrors and great tailors and plenty of whiskey to relax you into making the right clothing decisions, for you. Come to one of our shops for an assessment, or we'll come to you. You’ll surely thank us later.
Get yourself a “knock-around” blazer or two, preferably with patch pockets to carry life’s accouterments - keys, wallet, phone, etc. These types of blazers are utilitarian, functional masterpieces of clothing that are always appropriate. Get one in a dark solid color and one with a little more character - subtle patterns with a hint of color. There’s no limit to how many of these you can have in your closet as you could conceivably use one every day, even on the weekend. Consider them the male analog to a woman’s purse - they are useful and every occasion could benefit from one.
Pairing great pants with a blazer is perhaps the pinnacle of dressing well. We suggest getting a half dozen solid, tailored pants in navy, black, charcoal, light grey, and tan. These are great foundations. Add seasonal lightweight or heavier fabrics with appropriate colors for the climate. These can be a bit more adventurous as they’ll be worn less frequently. Think light-colored stripes for summer and dark plaids/herringbone for winter.
Denim is always a great casual look, we suggest four colors - blue, indigo, dark grey and black - with a slight amount of stretch (2-3%). We are officially launching our new SuperPrime Denim in the fall, but you can buy it now at one of our showrooms.
The traditional collared dress shirt has been in decline for some time. While we still offer a great selection of them - and they still can look sophisticated and appropriate - we have similarly evolved to offering alternatives, including polo shirts, BBQ shirts, T-shirts, hoodies, sweaters and cardigans. All of which can play well under a suit jacket and blazer.
Every man needs a raincoat, winter overcoat, sporty spring coat, and a few overshirts / light jackets. We have options in all of these categories.
As you can glean from the above list, every piece in your closet should have a purpose. A place in your life to be worn, or otherwise it is a superfluous, unnecessary waste of closet space and money. Also, rest-assured that we continuously source performance and technical fabrics to keep our classic tailoring current and cool. Think waterproof, bacteria-proof, stretch, UV-stop, breathable, etc. This is a life-long pursuit and our contemporary clothing options reflect it.
In sum, dressing well isn’t dead, it has just changed. If you need help changing with the times, we have you covered.
- Tags: LOTG