broadsideblog

Dockers Out, Dandies In As Men Once More Dress Up

In Fashion, men on December 17, 2009 at 10:47 am
Denim jeans

No, not these...Image via Wikipedia

Younger men — in their 20s and 30s — are turning into snappy dressers, reports today’s New York Times. It’s the old farts, age-denying boomers in their leather jackets and sneakers and jeans and T-shirts, who are starting to lose the sartorial race.

Good thing? Bad thing? The one thing that struck me in this story are the prices of the clothing in the fun photos in the paper’s print version: a wool-cotton sweater for $295, a $370 cotton shirt, a Paul Stuart wool plaid blazer at $1,184 and an Omega watch for $4,450. Only young u’ns with well-paid jobs can afford this sort of stuff — their older brethern are paying for their kids’ college educations, trying to recoup their 401k losses or just trying to find another job.

I love a well-dressed man, having grown up with a Dad whose style, (as they often do for their daughters), raised the bar high for me with the men I would later choose to date: crisp tattersall shirts, cashmere sweaters, twill trousers, highly-polished shoes and boots. Not for me the boys in skinny jeans and Chuck Taylors. I still recall exactly what my sweetie wore on our first date ten years ago, classic, elegant clothing he still wears and looks great in. I’m all for a return to elegance and chic, lovely, rich colors and well-tailored clothing and a polished, tied shoe.

“Not only do I see these guys out there, but I get agitated letters from their wives,” said Mr. Smith, the advice columnist. “One of the most frequent letters I get is: ‘My husband has moved up in his career, but he’s still dressing like a kid. I am embarrassed for him whenever he leaves the house. What do I do?’ I don’t get those letters from women in their 20s and 30s.”

So, in an age of irony, here’s a whopper: Given how zealously baby boomers have clung to, or hopped on, all kinds of youth trends, no matter how age-inappropriate, why can’t they hop on this one?

What’s the worst that could happen, Pops? Someone might think you are 10 years younger?

  1. Nowhere is the dressing-down trend more prevalent than here in Silicon Valley, where folks haven’t gotten the memo that the dot-com era is over and that it might actually behoove one to dress the part of a person in a position of responsibility. No, here in tech-land, people dress like pigs but spend untold thousands on cars and 7+ figures on houses. Even the VC’s, who have as much power out here as investment bankers on Wall Street, do not deign to wear ties. It was quirky and charming when I first moved out here ten years ago from the East Coast, but I’m over it now. Even in this economy, there is still tons of money out here. If you can afford that Aston-Martin, you can afford to look like a mensch. Grow up, boys.

  2. imho, how sad is that? I think it shows a real lack of respect for the people you’re hoping to do business with (i.e. the arrogant assumption you can look like hell and still get the gig) if you’re not (more) attentive to your appearance.

    I don’t need to see a an wearing a tie, but tees and jeans, or khakis, etc. is just boring and totally lacking imagination.

    There’s no such leeway for women, as we know! If a woman schlumps around in sweats or uncolored hair or unstylish clothing, she’s not going to be taken seriously by anyone as a professional worth working with or investing in. At least not where I live, in NY, where the standards can be punishingly high.

    • I have to say, that’s the one thing I don’t miss about NYC. Despite my earlier observations about appearance, there is something to be said about being judged “on the content of one’s character” than on the size of your Marc Jacobs handbag. ;-)

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