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Q Fifteen years ago I was required to dress rather formally for business. Then I went to a business casual office (polos and chinos), and that is what I have worn for the last decade. But now I'm starting a position in a new firm and will return to the more traditional wardrobe. I still own a lot of those suits, shirts and ties. If I wear them, do I risk looking dated and out of style?

A Men's styles change only slightly over the years; still, they do change. You don't want (especially in a new job) to look as though you are not as up-to-date as the younger guys.

These are some of the subtle, and not so subtle, differences that could mark you as clueless:

• Too-wide ties are the most noticeable item that says "out-of-style." Very thin ties also are not in style, but they weren't 15 years ago either.

Second only to too-wide ties, are trousers with pleats. Not only are pleats definitely dated, so are full-cut trousers. Slim is in. If you are not thin, and think pleats will hide that, know they won't and they'll look outdated.

• Suit jackets, blazers and sports coats are also cut slightly slimmer these days and also very slightly shorter (about ½ to ¾ of an inch).

• And, further, jacket lapels are narrower (about 2½ inches) and shoulders are less padded.

• The jackets should be two-button single-breasted rather than double-breasted or three-button closures. And, today, shiny brass anchor buttons on blazers are not as popular. Dark suit buttons are a better choice.

• Topcoats and raincoats should be knee-length or cropped shorter, not calf length or below the knee.

• Shirts, too, should be cut trimmer (not skin-tight, but not the old Brooks Brothers full "gentleman's" cut). They can be button-down, point collared, or spread, but the points should not be too long.

• Most shirts are still fine; the only ones we don't see these days are those with a colored body and a white contrast collar.

• Returning to the neckties, Windsor knots are too large and bulky. Either tie a half-Windsor or a four-in-hand-knot.

• Tie clasps that were out of style for about 10 years are back, not required, but a nice fashion touch.

Some of these are changes that can easily be made to your existing wardrobe; some are not. As an example, a tailor can trim or shorten a jacket; he cannot (or should not) adjust the shoulders.

Get rid of anything that is not in good condition or does not say good things about you. But do not shy away from upgrading flattering garments that only need skillful alterations. They will rejuvenate your wardrobe at far less cost than new purchases.

The least expensive way to give your closet a lift and make two or three suits look like a whole new wardrobe is to buy three different shirts for each suit and two or more ties for each shirt. This gives you six different looks for each suit you own.

Your emphasis should be on a perfect fit as well as meticulous grooming. Nothing says "success" more than a man with a good haircut, short clean nails, a perfectly ironed shirt, and polished shoes.

Please send your men's dress and grooming questions to MALE CALL:

Lois.Fenton@prodigy.net

High Profile on 06/02/2019

Print Headline: Some easy clothes changes make a man look up to date

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