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Because there have been so many changes in business attire over the years, many people have come to forget why proper business attire is important. Instead, they would rather dress comfortably or dress in the latest styles. There are several reasons why doing so is unacceptable. The main reason why dressing in proper business attire is important for every business professional is because it gives the message that you are dedicated to your position. Although this may sound cliché, it is true. If you were to walk into an office and see one person in torn jeans and a stained t-shirt and another person in a sleek business suit, you would assume that the one in the jeans does not care about their job. It is true that first impressions are everything.
You could be the most dedicated employee, but if it does not show in your business attire, then you should look into changing your image. It would be a shame to be overlooked for a promotion simply because of the way you dress. Unfortunately, this actually does happen quite often. Although you might want to wear clothes that are trendy, it always is a better idea to go for a more conservative look. Obviously, you also do not want to show too much skin at the office – not only is this unprofessional, it may give people at work the wrong impression of you.
Another reason why dressing in proper business attire is important in the business world is because you never know when you will be required to have a meeting with someone from outside the company. The way in which you present yourself will be the image that this outsider has of your company. Anytime you have a meeting with someone who is not from your company, you have to realize that you are representing the company. Most managers and owners would want this message to be professional. It actually could indirectly mean the difference between landing a new deal and being passed up for it.
You also have to take the company for which you work into consideration when you are planning your business wardrobe. There are many companies that are using business casual these days, so look around and see what the majority of your coworkers are wearing. Business casual is a term that can vary greatly from company to company. To some it could mean dress shirt with tie for men while at another company it could mean wearing a polo shirt. You do not have to wear a suit to work if no one else at your workplace does. Although dressing professionally is important, it also is important to dress relative to your coworkers. What is acceptable at one company could be looked down upon at another
Sometimes. Always. Never. It’s really that simple.
The big secret about being a well-suited man is that it’s dead simple—provided you follow a few simple rules. Buy pieces that fit, always consult a good tailor, and button the right buttons on your jacket.
Thomas Middleditch must think two out of three isn’t that bad.
The hilarious Silicon Valley star—who’s modeled in GQ twice already—wore a truly beautiful gray two-button suit to a taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Tuesday. It fit him almost as though it were bespoke and, in a mark of how truly well made it is, he could even ride a scooter in it.
But the thing that brought the whole look tumbling down is how he buttoned it. Any guy who’s ever worn a suit should be able to tell you that you don’t button the last button. (Not that this stops men of all stripes, including Academy Award winner Leonardo DiCaprio, of all people, from breaking this vital rule.) With three-button suits, you sometimes button the top button, you always button the second button, and you never button the third button. It’s where the shorthand “Sometimes, always, never” comes from, and the same logic applies to two-button suits: Always button the top button, never button the second one. (If you’re trying to dress like Christian Grey and all of your suits are one-button, always button that button.)
Most menswear is functional, but the last button on a suit jacket or blazer is, at this point, purely decorative. Some historians will tell you that Western men stopped fastening the last button on their jackets in deference to a French king (one story says it’s Louis XIV, another says it’s Napoleon) who got too fat for his jackets to close all the way when he sat down.
Whatever the origin of this sartorial convention, it’s now a rule so widely accepted that it should be common knowledge for any man who’s ever worn a suit. Actors and comedians included.
Stripes are also making a comeback, with John Varvatos going so far as to cover the catwalk in striped fabric. Tom Ford has also welcomed back pinstripes, Prince of Wales checks, and waistcoats with fob chains. And Gucci decided we’ll all be wearing ‘botanical’ suits.
The latest looks
Robin McGowan, co-founder of made-to-measure tailor Institchu, says the super-slim look is no longer in fashion. “This year we’re already seeing a move away from this cut as men begin to embrace a more relaxed suit,” he says. “They will still be slim fitted, but certainly not skin tight. And in line with the slightly looser fit, we’ll also be seeing wider lapels and longer jackets and pants.”
McGowan also says a more subdued colour palette will be evident this year. “In 2015 there were a lot of bright blue fabrics around. It was the year of the bright navy suit. That is on the way out as we move towards greyer colours, especially charcoal, and I think men will start to look towards various shades of olive green as well.”
Mix and match
Mixing it up could also be on the cards, as men experiment with different fabrics and textures, often at the same time. “Why stick to a suit of just one fabric or colour?” McGowan says. “Pair a navy blazer with grey or charcoal trousers for a more individual look. It’s all about finding your own individual style. Stripes, patterns, subtle weaves; it’s all possible.”
Popular menswear store retailer M.J. Bale has recently opened a bespoke suit tailoring service in Melbourne’s beautiful Emporium building. Speaking toExecutive Style by phone from Italy, founder Matt Jensen says he has noticed a resurgence in double-breasted suits and jackets, along with a wider notch lapel on single breasts. “Trousers with pleats are also seeing a surprising return,” he adds.
Jensen agrees suits will remain slim, but not skinny, as people look towards comfort and a more conservative aesthetic. Shades of emerald and khaki green are going to be popular, he says, as well as earthy tones (think sand), monochromatic greys and muted blues.
“As for fabrics, I’m seeing bold windowpanes and vintage-inspired checks for suits, and wool/silk blends for jacketing.”
Seven year itch
Bespoke tailor John Cutler of J.H. Cutler has been around long enough to see trends come and go, and come back again. He has been dressing Australia’s movers and shakers (including five prime ministers and the Packers) since 1971.
“Suit fashion is a seven-year cycle,” he says. “I believe it’s driven by the big manufacturers to keep people buying their products. The general public suddenly believes that the tight-fitting jacket they are wearing just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore, and so they feel the need to buy something else.
“The tight-fitting suit with its slim, short trousers has been on trend for a while now, and so we’ll see things getting wider again. On the catwalks in Europe we’re even seeing bell bottoms. I don’t think we’ll quite get to that here, but suits will definitely get easier; lapels wider, and more room across the back and shoulders.”
Cutler says if you want to get off the fashion merry-go-round, your only answer is to buy a well-made suit in a classic cut that will span time. What does such a suit look like? Take a look at Cary Grant in the 1930s and 40s.
“Jackets are fitted but with more room in the chest and across the back,” he says. “And they are of a sufficient length that you can just cup your hands under the skirt of the coat. Lapels should be around 10cm wide and trousers are easier around the front, with one or two pleats, and little wider in the knee. The cuff should be around 17.5 inches.”
Cutler advises to steer clear of so-called trendy colours and patterns and opt instead for a classic navy blue and a mid-grey in a bird’s eye or flannel fabric.
“In Australia’s climate you can keep the material quite lightweight, no more than 280 grams per metre. Choose a wool that is soft and light, but durable, and the suit should last you up to 20 years.”
The Low Down on Suits and Dresses
Luohu Commercial City is like if you condensed Dongmen into one five story building, took away all the hardcore techno shrieking from fizzling stereos, public lectures on cucumber slicing, ethically disgraceful street barbecue and consumerist filth – you know, the character – then added a lot of legit tailors and positioned it so you could toss a frisbee from the roof to Hong Kong.
It’s a self-contained China shopping mecca whose greatest asset, besides location, are those tailors, which we’ll focus on today. As soon as you leave the escalator on the 5th (or 4th) floor you’ll be met with the slew of fabrics. Take in the warren of textiles, get lost in the silk, and slide out only to slip in to linen. This well known secret is also well worth the trek.
What you put into this place, you get out of it. Most conceivable apparels can be made here. And if the tailor is honest, they’ll tell you their limitations. Stay away from the ones that don’t. The mainstays here are suits and dresses, so those are the prices we honed in on. Start haggling at half or less what you expect to pay.
They vary widely – by fabric, style, tailor, time, how you look, whether you’re alone, how much you’re buying, the cut of your jib, your Chinese level, Cantonese, etc. Point being, these numbers are researched, but they’re not gospel. Are the shops all the same? No and yes. The best way to go about this is the long way: plan to spend a while shopping around and comparing. The longer you explore, the more you’ll realize that some of these shops do specialize in certain apparel. Patiently inquire and bargain at multiple places, find the price you like, and go for it. Either way, tailored clothes are cheaper than pre-fab H&M here. Revel in it.
For suits, the starting price for cotton seems to hover around 750. With a plain shirt, after a haggle, you’re looking at somewhere between 500 and 650 for a single order. You’ll pay less if you buy more than one. If you’ve never purchased a tailored suit before, be prepared to select every detail from cuff to collar. They have books of styles to choose from. And for dress shirts, the starting price is about 150, which can be worked down to 100. Again, less if you’re buying more.
Dresses get complicated. There are qipaos (Chinese dresses) starting at 400-500. Bargain and you can make that a few hundred. Pre-fabricated ones go for 80-150, to give you an idea of the real value. Styles like the ones below go for 500 to 800, I’m told, but another tailor quoted 180 to 380 for similar designs. Pre-fabs run as low as 50 for simplistic looks. There more options than suits, so the more frills (literally) the more funds.
Standard dress options
This mammoth edifice is known for being spitting distance from Hong Kong with a reputation for all the usual suspects of a fake market – watches, handbags, shoes, sunglasses. It’s certainly meandering, but not quite as difficult to fathom as the other places where these are available. Shop around.
How to Get There
If you go out Luohu Station Exit A, take the first escalator up, then veer left before the second one, you’ll be at the underground entrance. Jam into the escalator and head for the 5th or 4th floors. Coming from Hong Kong? Take one escalator down to Exit A and go right. Coming in a car? It’s the big building across from the train station. Show the cabbie the address below.
Underground entrance near Exit A, one of a few ways to get there