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Haute Stuff: The importance of suiting up

It’s been proven time and time again that people are judged by how much they dress up, and if you want to be taken seriously in today’s world, it’s time to learn the importance of wearing a suit.

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By Alexei Summers (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: June 6, 2012

Dressing well is not something that you can force yourself to do, and lots of people do not like dressing up. They’re perfectly comfortable going to a job interview in a t-shirt and a pair of jeans, while the next fella who comes along might be donning a nice pair of khakis and a simple sweater with a collared shirt. Who do you think is going to get the job?

It’s been proven time and time again that people are judged by how much they dress up, and if you want to be taken seriously in today’s world, it’s time to learn the importance of wearing a suit. If you want people to take notice of you, you must dress noticeably, and a suit screams confidence and exudes class. A man must go everywhere with confidence, taking pride in one’s appearance and appearing to be brimming with pride.

I used to work in a suit store. It was one of the most entertaining jobs I’ve ever had. But oftentimes, when customers would come into the store, they had no idea what they wanted to buy. They just knew they wanted a suit. My advice to these people is to think things over. My other advice to these people is to start with the basics. A good conservative blue suit is a very important thing to have, as well as black and grey. You can never go wrong with a simple, elegant style. These conservative styles have been around for a century – and they always will be. Don’t spend money on a flashy trendy suit that will go out of fashion. And whatever you do, do not make the mistake of buying one of those shiny silver suits that you can see your face in. You’ll just embarrass yourself and it will fall apart because it’s cheap.

This year has seen a return to both 1920s and 1960s themed fashion in the suit world. Banana Republic recently just released a Mad Men themed line and Ralph Lauren earlier in the year released a line inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby. As such, linen suits have been very popular this year. I myself started this year wearing a ’20s themed closet of suits and have since swayed a little over towards the ’60s themes. This is probably because AMC’s Mad Men has replaced HBO’s Boardwalk Empire as my television obsession. I combine these fashions with a nice pair of black leather dress shoes and some dress shirts with vintage cuff links. Cuff links are important – every man needs a pair of cuff links.

However, with all this talk of dressing up, I feel it should be mentioned that wearing a suit is not always appropriate and no one really expects you to do it. In fact, if you study the wearing of suits throughout history, it never has been. There are always occasions where one must dress down to fit in. Because the suit is the wealthy gentleman’s garb of choice, he must dress properly for all occasions – and most of all he must never out-dress the others he is with. It is a gentleman’s role to make others as comfortable as he can. So, if you ever feel like you must stand out when you’re going to a social engagement, a sweater and a blazer accompanied by a  simple, pressed white dress shirt and some slacks will never do you wrong. People will resent you if you are overdressed around them. It will come off as arrogant. Do your best to fit in.

A suit is a very personal thing and its wearer must love and respect it. It must be like no other suit, and by that I mean it must be yours and yours alone. It must be tailored. This is perhaps just as important as buying the suit itself. A good tailor is hard to find. It’s a pursuit much like finding that perfect hairdresser who knows just what you want. You have to describe how you want this new suit you purchased to fit on you, if you want it looser in one place and snugger in another – there is a bond between a man and his tailor, a certain communicative understanding of the goal in mind. After the suit is finished at the tailor’s it will come out customized. And then you’re free to wear to your heart’s content, turn heads, looking suave and, most of all, successful.

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