You’ll hear the famous quote often enough: “Clothes make the man” — a statement made by mothers, stylists … and salesmen. Surprisingly, it’s only a partial quote from legendary Mark Twain. Twain’s actual complete quote is:
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.“
Twain’s sharp wit is undeniable, and humorous as he was, Twain’s words are substantive. To take his complete quote, for its deeper meaning, one can posit that not only is Twain commenting on the superficial nature of man in general, i.e. that people judge others by the way they dress (it is, indeed, a truth), but, further, the “man” being judged by his clothes actually has the power to dress to impress, to choose a look, a style, a fashion that sends a message.
Additionally, Twain’s full quote can also be interpreted as (and using another worn adage) “don’t show your cards too soon,” meaning, if you expose your true self without editing or pause, society is unlikely to take you seriously, or apply your words or actions to any real benefit.
In other words, if you’re starting a potentially high-powered job, the way you dress is no small issue. Review and research corporate clothing UK to find the best quality workwear that won’t drain your bank account, before you’ve even made your first fortune.
A hard-and-fast rule to dress for a corporate job: always wear clean clothes, in impeccable condition. Everything should be fresh and pressed (in fact, that’s a great mantra for the up-and-comer: “fresh and pressed”). Always be well groomed, too.
There is truth to oft-repeated saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Business Insider, on Sylvie di Giusto’s book, The Image of Leadership, provides guidelines based on image consultant di Giusto’s client rules. She has five levels of business attire, starting with Level 5, which she calls “Baseline Casual.” She defines with the “+1/-1 Rule,” which is, you can always dress “one level higher” (often, to your benefit) for the job you currently have, but if you try to dress “two levels higher” you’ll look “overdressed,” which can also mean trying too hard. Level 4 is “Mainstream Casual,” Level 3 is “Executive Casual,” Level 2 is “Traditional Business Attire,” and Level 1 is “Boardroom Attire.”
Unsurprisingly, quality goes up with the level. The theory, one assumes, is that as you make more money, your salary rises, and you’re able to invest in finer, bespoke clothing.
Standards for men’s Boardroom Attire are:
• Crisp white dress shirts, modest ties
• High-quality accessories (i.e., “dream” watch and cufflinks)
• Dark charcoal gray or navy blue two- or three-piece suits
• Shoes: Only black oxfords or derbys
Di Giusto may merely be setting standards to differentiate between levels, but for Traditional Business Attire:
• Traditionally patterned shirts and ties, more brightly colored
• Dark and subtly patterned suits
• Dark brown or navy blue oxfords
It seems obvious, but subtlety is key in the corporate world. It may be a dramatic and sweeping statement, but until you rise so high in the ranks there’s no one “above” you, you’ll have to be satisfied with keeping your whimsical side – that wildly patterned and coloredJerry Garcia tie, for example – at home, or reserved for non-work events.
It’s important to have the basics. Start with affordable classics and you can build your way up to more expensive choices.
• Dress Pants: Three pairs of well-fitting pants in neutral gray, black, navy or tan
• Two blazers – neutral colors that work with your slacks; lighter fabrics can be worn year ‘round; avoid trendy corduroy and velvet.
• White shirts: three or four solid white dress shirts
• Ties: two to three quality ties; the brighter the color, the simpler the pattern. Solids are a good choice, too
• Black dress shoes: splurge here. For daily wear, choose durable and comfortable. Buy lace-up to start.
• Suit: Even if not a daily requirement, you need one. Opt for gray, navy or black. If it is a daily requirement, youneed two or three.
• Dress socks: start with simple black, build to patterns later
• Black leather belt: choose a quality belt to match shoes
Images above from DSCENE Magazine #01 issue, photo Igor Cvoro style Emily Lee – full story here.