23 December 2008

Finding An Excuse

It is unfortunate that a man needs to search for an excuse to dress well these days. I do what I can to look well everyday when I leave the house, but staying at home with the children and playing housewife makes it difficult. Add a Boston winter to the mix and I'm pretty much relegated to a uniform of jeans, down vest, Barbour and Bean Boots.

Today I had to travel into the city and deliver the final bits of my semester work to school. This outfit here was my attempt at marrying the messy city sidewalks with a natty sort of Boston-by-way-of-Britain look:

What we have here is a lot of things at once: dark plaid shirt and repp tie, in the style of our man Ralph Lauren; an odd pair of narrow cut grey flannels with western pockets that I keep thinking about giving away, but don't know who to give them to; the varsity sweater from a recent post in its freshly cleaned state with new buttons; Bean boots. All this was accessorized with the Barbour and a Black Watch cap.

It all seemed to make sense while I was wearing it, but upon seeing the photos I'm not too sure. What do you all think, kindly readers?

But back to the idea of finding an excuse. Today I used the fact that I had to go "into town" as an excuse to wear a tie. In reality, this outfit was worn in my car for 2 hours, on the street and in the building for 1/2 hour, back in the car for another hour. Upon returning home I immediately changed clothes and set about the housework I had neglected all morning.

As I face a month without my trips "into town" as an excuse, i come upon this dilemma: I enjoy writing this blog and hearing from you all, dear friends. But I fear that house cleaning and trips to the supermarket are a poor excuse for trotting out the proper haberdashery, even or a foppish sort like yours truly. Sure, I'll wear red pants on Christmas day and all that, but then what? This could leave me a bit shy of subject matter.

Also, I've got an awful lot of dress clothes for a guy with no job. As I try (unsuccessfully, so far) to enter the design profession, I find that wearing a 3/2 sack suit with a button down oxford and striped tie may actually be a detriment to me. In a field where youth, innovation and a familiarity with technology are prized, who wants to hire a weirdo in his thirties who dresses like their grandfather and doesn't really like (read: "hates") computers? I keep losing out to unshaved faces and untucked shirts. How can this be?

What is a fellow to do?


Anonymous said...

Don't worry about finding the right occasion to dress a certain way. Dare to be different - you'll get what you want.

Anonymous said...

Giuseppe: This is more that about clothing and appearances. It's about the culture of an organization. You will spend A LOT of waking hours at a place of employment. Never mind aesthetic differences, are these the kinds of firms where your creativity and point of view will be appreciated? Keep positive, you will find what you are looking for.

Have a great holiday!

Charles said...

G, my friend, You touch on so many subject in one post. Blogging seems to be a compulsion. All the trad bloggers that were around when I started are stil at it in spite of many attemts to quit. Bulldog seems to have been able to quit, but I think he's extrodinary.

Enjoy your down time. Just dress like you're in New Hampshire. That Yankee tradition offers great variety.

Re: the outfit. Cardigans are tough. A just right cardigan can be made to work, but I don't think that one is just right. The color is iffy and there are too many buttons. Just my opinion, but you asked for it.

Giuseppe said...


My creativity and point of view would have been appreciated at Marcel Breuer's office in the
1970's. Many of the kids at school don't even know who that is, and yet they are gainfully employed. Sheesh. (smallest violin again)


You're right, this outfits is a little bit off, I knew it all day long. This cardigan is "just right" with cords and a blue oxford, no tie, but it was a bit fussy in this setting.

Everybody, thanks for the encouragement. If any of you are planning to put an addition on your house, hire a frim in Boston on the condition that they hire me.

dandy nihilism said...


Your experiences are shared. I'm 22 and people ask if I am supposed to be Harry Potter because of my repp tie. However I am fortunate enough to work in education, a place where tweed is wholeheartedly accepted.

Seasons greetings.

ajvphilp said...

All the best for health and happiness in 09. As others have said the only way you'll succeed is by being yourself...

alastair - Edinburgh, Scotland

Andrew M. said...

I have the same problem, and I find it sad that we have to look for an excuse to dress up. I am a college student, and I always get asked why I'm "dressed up" when wearing something as casual as, say, a white oxford tucked in to some navy cords with desert boots. I wish I could have lived and went to college in an era when college students dressed like adults, rather than like big kids.

Cheers, good health and best wishes for the new year

Anonymous said...

As a female reader, I can sympathize with many of your points, so many I don't know where to begin, so here I go, somewhat randomly - when it is snowy and icy, out come the Bean boots not the pumps. Have you ever tried walking across an icy sidewalk in heels? I recommend it only as a form of suicide. And many boots designed for women have high heels and very little traction. Regarding housework and dressing up, I would suggest organizing your day the way housewives of previous generations did - get all the heavy work done in your crappiest clothes by 10 am, then dress for the day, using a good apron (cobbler style, to cover your whole shirt and top of your pants) for anything else that remains. Women, once upon a time, always dressed before shopping. Now, most women look as though they had just woken up and decided to shop in their pajamas. Regarding personal style and employment, I think the lack of computer skills is more of a detriment. Unfortunately, ours is the computer age, no matter how much we may want to throw our clogs at the machines. Keep blogging, dear writer, you are an inspiration to this gentle reader.

Dan said...

I find your sartorial flair to be rather refreshing, including the outfit described in this post. As one who refuses to subscribe to the notion that we, as young people today, should feel no urge to dress ourselves in a "presentable" manner, I find it increasingly aesthetically disturbing that when I do things like go to class (Undergrad at NYU), I see so many people who simply put no effort into their appearance whatsoever. And this is at a University KNOWN for not dressing like slobs, nonetheless!

Point is, I feel that it is important now, more than ever, to stay true to the formalities instilled in you by the men and women that raised you - I didn't even have that and I still somehow maintain class - because it is something that sets you apart. Don't compromise anything about yourself in order to better fit in with the mainstream crowd.. once you do that, whatever dream job awaits YOU (there IS one, you just haven't found it yet) will no longer be uniquely "for you."

Keep proving me wrong that I'm the only young person that gives a sh*t man... I find it refreshing, like I said before.

Oh, and as far as employment, this may be a bit more modern than you're looking for but have you considered looking for part-time work at J.Crew?

initials CG said...

Who needs an excuse? Anonymous female above has a point. Where welding and manure transport is concerned you may want to dress a bit rough. As for the rest of the time...An apron around a tie wearing gent is quite charming. You get it messy, so what? Even better another excuse to change your outfit!

As for the rest...do you really want to work at a place where nose piercing is obligatory? Hang in there...you may have to start your own independent gig. For free at first, but better things can come your way... Merry Christmas!

Giuseppe said...

Thanks everyone for your kind words of encouragement.


Keep up the good work.

As for working at J.Crew, I'm afraid that at 32 years old/ 175 lbs. I'm a bit tubby and over the hill for thier corporate image.

I saw online last month the Ralph Lauren was hiring assistant managers at both of it's Boston locations. When I went in to apply in person, I was given quite the run around.

Youth obsessed culture is one thing, but puting people out to pasture at the age of 27 or so is downright absurd, and I fera that's waht we're up against these days.

Besides, back in June when Imy lost job disappeared, I swore to throw myself into my schoolwork and stay away from retail. This year was the first Christmas since I was 16 that I wasn't driven mad by it, and it felt good. I plan to hold of for as long as I can.

Peter said...

All good points, but if your main objective is employment, you may have to "go along to get along" as they say. Once you've established yourself as competent and trustworthy, you can show a little more "flair" in your wardrobe. Anyway, that's what I've always done, and I notice a lot of new hires at my company do the same: Everyone starts out wearing slacks/khakis/standard dress shirt, and about a year later you start to see the individuals emerge. I've been a manager for a while, and when I'm hiring, unless you're a knock 'em dead candidate, you're doing yourself no favors by standing out in your dress. Sorry. That's the way it is.