A word to the old hands and newcomers in menswear.
If you’re into classic menswear, chances are you’re going to be that ‘odd one out’ in one or more social groups. Having a keen interest in tailored clothes is by no means an ordinary character trait, and as such, you’ll likely find that people who share this interest are quite a rarity in everyday life.
A reputation for it can easily lean positively or negatively depending on your attitude. How you handle yourself within the role that gets ascribed to you is going to determine whether you’re embraced and deemed well dressed, or ostracised as one of those weird types that complain because men don’t wear ties to the supermarket.
I’ve come across a number of people in my life who have fallen on both sides of the line, and learning from both has formed a philosophy in my mind which I wish to share for all of us who possess a strong interest in clothing.
The golden rule, in my opinion, is to leave your ego at the door. While you may be better dressed than your peers, nobody is going to like it (or you) if you try to lord it over them. Especially if they couldn’t give two bits about clothing to begin with!
If you have peers who are those types, don’t waste your time trying to convert them. There’s no need to try and steer the conversation towards intricacies of tailoring when you’re at the pub with your mates. You’ll just come off as an insufferable fop.
On that note, never offer unsolicited advice.
If you’re well dressed, your peers know it.
If they want your advice, they’ll ask.
And most will, at some point. Be as welcoming as you can, and realise that they don’t want or need a mental overload as a result of asking the question. I wouldn’t recommend wasting your energy trying to give them a full glow up, makeover and wardrobe revamp, unless that’s exactly what they asked for. If they simply ask where to get a good suit on a budget, send them wherever you can that might work. Don’t overcook the goose.
Also, remember the distinction between well dressed and overdressed. You can be well dressed in jeans, boots or trainers, a tee and an overshirt. You’ll just look a fool if you put on a lounge suit and dress hat to hit the bars with the boys on Saturday night.
If you want to be a positive influence on your peers to help them dress better, make it welcoming and approachable.
Be gracious about it. Continue to dress as an expression of yourself, and be creative. Just work with the occasion.