26 August 2010

Non-Compulsory Suits

I like to dress well, but my life doesn't require it. Maybe it never will again, except for special occasions, but even that's up to fate. The way things are going, it's not inconceivable that when I die my Mass will be said by a priest in cut-off jeans and a t-shirt that says "I'm with stupid", or something. I likely won't ever have a job that calls for suits, given the fact that those that do, don't, not anymore. Now I could, and often do, bemoan our loss of what is becoming an antiquated manner of personal comportment. But today, I'll look to the bright side of the situation, because when a guy wears a suit because he wants to, not because he has to, he can do all sorts of fun and unconventional things to bring the stuffiness right out of it.
We had some dreary weather these last few days, and many people around these parts got to acting like Summer was closed for business. Then today it got all warm and sunny. I decided to trot out the old tan gabardine suit, realizing that this might be it's last run of the year. Paired here with a very conservative striped tie and foulard print square, but punched way up with a shirt in navy and white gingham. In the old days, when lots of jobs required suits, tan would have been pushing it, and the shirt would have been asking for it. But I'm only doing this for me, so have at it.
Every now and then I wear the blades of my ties slightly apart, like all them Italian cats on the Sartorialist, then hold them down with a tie clip. (that tie clip will have a solo post soon...it's a good one...). It's supposed to be all non-chalant, but of course it's totally on purpose. People say "do you know your tie is..." "Yes, I do. Don't worry about it." Affected? Damn right! But we peacocks and Italians are known for that, no?

And speaking of affected, how about bare ankles and tassels?...with a suit? Absolutely, if you want to, when you're wearing a suit for fun and not for rules. And yes, I know those shoes have been getting more than their fair share of play in the rotation, but they are comfortable. Best $3.49 I ever spent.

An English made tie, from the Andover Shop, $1,99

And would somebody please tell Brooks Brothers that well made shirts in "sports" patterns that are made in USA and come in a neck and sleeve length are the jam? Seriously, whens the last time you saw a shirt like this that wasn't sized S/M/L? Recently acquired on our vacation in Maine at thrift shop for $4.99.

My point is, those nice clothes you have that you never wear because you never have to? They ain't doing you or anybody else any good hanging in the closet all the time.
Wear 'em!
Because you want to...because you can. Together, we can make the Well Appointed Gentleman less of a "freak", and more of a role model. Who's with me?


Adam said...

"[W]hen a guy wears a suit because he wants to, not because he has to, he can do all sorts of fun and unconventional things to bring the stuffiness right out of it."

Yay and amen!

This is exactly how I feel.

While we bemoan the paucity of well-dressed men, such paucity does offer up a lot of freedom, as you point out.

Yet, there are some of the Olds who insist on looking askance at my (our) reinterpretations and appropriations. But who cares about them, I'll wear my ties how I please!

spoozyliciouzz said...

Amen, i am an absolute follower of the Church of Guiseppe. Master, you have spoken wisdom and the majesty of your words are like a healing to my wounded soul.

Fun apart, you´re absolutely right in saying that we gentlemen need to improve on the way men are dressing nowadays. Serving as role models will surely do us good.

Anonymous said...

I'm in my dear! The smart gentleman is coming back for sure and not any more as a freak! Confidence is key. If you have enough of it to do what you feel (in this case to dress well, not just by economic/professional obligation) you are liberting yourself, and automaticaly get intresting and attractive.
Go on like that Gioseppe. Warm regards from Lake Geneva. Matylee

David M. said...

I'm with you, but only if you give me that awesome tie clip first.

mistermidwester said...

I've heard, "so, do you have an interview or something?" more times than I can count, but it's not going to stop me from trying to have a little style.

Great post.

Simon said...


KWCooley said...

Maybe suits have fallen out of style because men don't know how to wear them, create their own style, or find a proper fit. I know I personally still have a lot to learn.

Young Fogey said...

First of all, your description of what the priest-dude might be wearing at your funeral is hilarious, but in a scary way, because it isn't as ridiculous as it seems at first glance. One can only hope that the Catholic Church can refrain from further loss of its grand traditions.

Second, while I love your outfit and your take on the casual suit, I must take exception to the notion that a suit is necessarily "stuffy." Now, I know you don't think it is; it is society at large that has demonized the one article of clothing that flatters every man. Sure, it can be worn stuffily, but for most men, a properly-worn suit is not stuffy but grand. The suit gives men authority without making them authoritarian; it imparts dignity without dullness; it commands respect without fear. Men have been chased out of their suits for precisely because of those effects. Also, there is no corresponding article of clothing for women; a pants suit is no more than a caricature of a real suit. In order that both men and women could lack everything a suit imparts--so we could have true "equality" of schlepishness--the suit was vilified.

The summer/casual suit should be a little more relaxed than a normal business suit. The gingham shirt kicks it up a notch, but because it's mostly hidden by the jacket, and because it's paired with such a traditional tie, the whole outfit retains the dignity befitting a suit.

Except the socklessness. But that's OK, because that's How Giuseppe Wears It. (Can I call you a dandy now? ;-)

P.S.: I wore a light gray suit yesterday, with a shirt made of a solid-tone dressy textured stripe material. However, the formality of the shirt was toned down by its button-down collar, and the whole ensemble was summered up by a lively cotton plaid tie. And black kiltie tassel loafers! It was the Fogey's take on the summer suit.

Matthew Brunson said...

Amen! I work at a job where not only is it not required to dress up, t-shirts seem to be a prerequisite. I've always gone with trousers and button downs, maybe a polo from time to time, but recently I decided to at least wear a tie every day and I break out the suits from time to time.

For starters it just makes you feel more like a man going to work on his career, rather than a boy going to a summer job. It sets you apart from the crowd. It says there's a man who has some respect for what he does.

It took the people I work with some time to get use to. I got a lot of questions and some ragging from the guys at work, but I got a lot more compliments from the ladies in the office. At first I got ask if I had a job interview, but since I've been rocking this look for a while now they wont know when I actually do have an interview.

Anonymous said...

dear g: you often say you get your suits for very little money. but as a fellow thrift shopper, i do often come across nice vintage suits, but i invariably need to get them tailored, which comes to well over 50$. how much does it cost you?

James said...

With you to the bitter end.

Anonymous said...

Well executed Giuseppe, in the modern days when the suit has begun to be a costume it's guys like you that slap some sense back into the masses and away from the kitschy feel of most designer suits.

Young Fogey has it right on here as well. Frankly, that second paragraph should be quoted by everyone who is ever asked "if they have an interview".

I often feel a bit odd when I'm around town, dressed in a coat and tie, and I see older folks, who clearly were apart of the suit and tie generation, wearing tennis shoes or those weird strappy leather sandals, cargo shorts and a t-shirt from the hotel from their recent vacation. I've often wondered what they think when they see a young guy in a suit.

To add my take on the stuffiness of a suit, wearing a suit is stuffy to society because any man wearing one will make his peers feel outclassed and inadequate. They may jest and jeer, but they too know they wish they could don such manly apparel. Yet, because of the amount of time and understanding such dress requires, our instantly gratified culture will continue to patronize highly branded and logo-laden psuedo-athletic wear out of the simple lack of patience and fear of non-uniformity.

NCJack said...

Interesting that, though poles apart on the $$$amount, you and Brother Will of "A Suitable Wardrobe" have the same philosophy.

It is tiresome, though, to keep hearing "Where ya preachin' today?", or "You goin' to court?", etc.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Rules are meant to be obeyed. The rule against going sockless with a suit falls firmly into that category, as much as I want to disagree.

Anonymous said...

Ciao Beppino!

Vorrei tanto sapere cosa mai hai deciso di fare con quel cotone cerato che Barbour ti ha spedito oltreoceano.

Sei riuscito a riparare le maniche della giacca Barbour? Sarebbe molto interessante vedere come sono venute.

Ti seguo con molto interesse.

Cari saluti


P.S Molto bella quella camicia a quadretti.

Surly said...

Picked up a navy striped oxford, and a vintage chambray shirt(s) for under eight bucks. I'm with you all the way.

Jean Laplante said...

One of your better post and a call to action Gentlemen!

Wear 'em!

Because you want to...because you can.

Ryan Dunphy said...

My point is, those nice clothes you have that you never wear because you never have to? They ain't doing you or anybody else any good hanging in the closet all the time. Wear 'em!
Because you want to...because you can. BRAVO! I love the feel of a suit anytime of the year. I am right at home in one. Take pride in our looks guys, there is absolutely nothing wrong with dressing like a gentlemen and extending the respect thereof to those around us. As for the feeling of stuffiness, that comes from those around us, they may feel threatened, uncomfortable, and some (as David says in his comments) outclassed. Are they really threatened or just jealous? When a man wears a suit he should exemplify style, respect, and courtesy to society. The people that jeer at us for dressing so well and taking respect in our appearance, simply may not know how to do so themselves, or simply may wish to. I too, like the poster of this blog, don't have a job the actually requires a suit, however, my boss appreciates the fact that I take time to dress effectively for the company and to show that I respect the company that I work for and its clients. So mister Gioseppe (our poster of blog) I am with you 100% on the statement of wear them. I too would like to say thank you for sharing your blog with us and that I have enjoyed your blog for the past few months. If I may also? Wear do you shop? I can't seem to find any of the fantastic bargains you seem to, although once in a while I can, but not such good quantities as yourself. Thank you again. Respectfully, Ryan.

Young Fogey said...

I never get any nonsense over what I wear, but if I were to, the conversations would probably go like this:

Random Idiot: Hey, you got an interview today?
Young Fogey: I just bought this tie a few days ago. Thanks for noticing!

Callous Jerk: Goin' to a funeral?
Young Fogey (bad mood): Yes.
Young Fogey (good mood): The weather has been nice/funny lately, hasn't it?

Clueless Boob: Whatcha all dressed up for?
Young Fogey: I'm not.

I wear a tie to work every day, even when our "clients" are absent. Strangely enough, most of my immediate co-workers have started to wear ties more often, even if they don't wear them every day. Hey, it's a start!

Toad said...

I was kissed last evening by a woman I hadn't yet met just for wearing a suit.

Anonymous said...

Perfect look from head to toe!

Susie Q said...

Hey G - I just found a lined Izod-Lacoste linen-blend, oatmealish-colored 2-button front w/flap pockets sport coat at thrift....for a mere $2! Really nice and looks like it's never been worn! I'm a female - but I bought it cause you were in my subconscious telling me to get it! ;-)

WSTKS-FM Worldwide said...

I'm coming to this particular discussion about a year late, but I concur wholeheartedly. Let's dress up because we WANT to, something I discovered once I began buying my sartorial gear. By the way, you've made me want to try the slight;y askance Italian way of wearing neckties once school begins again in August. Can't wait to try the look on for size!

Best Regards,