Dressing for failure
Recently someone sent me an anonymous letter along with an article titled “How To Dress for Success.” I have no idea who sent me the story as it could have been anyone who has ever seen me. I’ll admit I don’t know how to dress for success but if you ever want to emulate someone who dresses for failure, well then, I’m your guy.
The article talked about midriffs, French cuffs, arm holes (I think you should have at least two), how to talk to your tailor and single breasted versus double breasted jackets. I don’t know about you but all this talk about breasts in men’s suits makes me a little uncomfortable…but not as uncomfortable as the thought of some guy with pins in his mouth measuring my inseam.
According to the advice article, the cuffs on your jacket should come to the middle of your hands with your arms hanging loose. Listen, I get most of my jackets for free from livestock auction markets and vaccine makers and I can’t be that picky.
The article also placed a great deal of emphasis on lapels and “vents” in your jacket. I have no idea what these vents are but it said that they “can slim your body and allow a suit to stretch, reducing unsightly lumps and bumps.” In that case, I definitely think you should have some. And if these vents also allow bad body odors to escape I recommend having more vents in your jacket than you do in your house.
Most ranchers I know should probably have narrow lapels on their Carhartt jackets because I read that they make a person look slimmer and more successful. On a related matter, if you want your jacket to show how successful you are the back of it should stop at the top of your rear end, which is good because it might take several yards of expensive cloth to actually go around and over it.
To impress people try not to look like you spent the night before sleeping under a bridge. While frilly cuffs might look stupid on a sweatshirt, the least you can do is wear a well-ironed shirt. I don’t know about you but my wife hasn’t ironed one of my shirts since the Reagan administration, and yet my shirts always look sharp. I know you’ve all hung your shirts near the shower for the steam to remove the wrinkles but that’s so out of style. What I do is use two hangers and hang my shirts upside down with a log chain or a full feed sack attached to the bottom hanger. I guarantee this will stretch all the wrinkles out. But don’t use my trick on any shirt you don’t tuck in because your shirt will probably hang down to your ankles. And don’t press your pants this way or you’re going to be walking on the cuffs.
Speaking of cuffs, the article said cuffs are back in style but my experience with cuffs is that they fill up with dirt, which falls out on the carpet when you take your pants off. Then your wife is gonna kill you. The anonymous missive also said that the bottom of your pants should reach the top of your footwear but that’s baloney. You’ll look like a dude if your pants stop at the top of your boots. A final word about pants: avoid fancy pants where the pocket is real deep. I had my pocket knife in one of those pockets once and my knee was black and blue by the end of the day.
The successful man also wears cuff links, an accouterment I thought went out of style with avocado colored refrigerators. The only pair of cuff links I own are a pair of red dice and I hardly see how that’s going to impress anyone, especially the banker. After all, what message am I sending? That I like to shoot craps?
Other subtleties of success include the width of your tie, fabric of your suit and number of jewels in your watch. Really successful people, it seems, don’t even carry a watch because they have servants to tell them what time it is. That’s how I feel and it’s also why I don’t wear a tie. If I ask my wife more than ten times in one day what time it is the potential to use my tie as a choke strap would simply be too great.
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