The Mish-Mash of Corporate Attire - Part 1: Brave New World
I’ve been building my expertise in men’s corporate fashion for quite some time. Even before I started selling it, I wore the “uniform” every day working as a CPA. These days, I find I’m often asked to advise executives and professionals how to dress for specific events, and how to approach the broader conundrum of dressing appropriately for the business world.
Advising a corporate client used to be easy: just choose the right color “uniform” and make sure it fit properly. Today, the job of a fashion advisor is to work with the image the client needs to project and dress him to reflect it. There is no doubt that the corporate clothing landscape has gone through a metamorphosis in recent years. Not too long ago, the men’s corporate dress code was seemingly set in stone, locked away in some ivory tower; you either wore a suit and tie, or you broke the rules.
That rule book was batted out of the ball park by people like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and their contemporaries as the dot.com era charged its way through the universe. Steve Jobs wore his trademark black mock turtleneck, blue jeans, and New Balance sneakers. Zuckerberg’s brand is his grey T-shirt and sometimes a hoodie. Their achievements have propelled them into the stratosphere where they could do no wrong and wear what they please.
The Steve Jobses and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world certainly have their place in the annals of business fahsion. Does that mean everyone can pull off what they can? Not really. Their image is bigger than the individual, and they don’t operate on an interpersonal level. It works for them when they represent the brand, like at a press conference for a product launch or a just normal day in the office. That doesn’t mean it’s all they ever wear. Like the rest of us, they wear different clothes for different occasions. At the US-China Internet Industry Forum a few years ago, Mr. Zuckerberg was representing himself and the legal entity of Facebook, and donned the appropriate uniform. Here he is (left) with the CEO of JD.com (photo from GeekWire).
Most people aren’t Steve Jobs. Most of us represent a company, or a brand, or an employer, and we need to project an image to our colleagues and customers – whether we’re a lawyer arguing before a judge, or a waiter bringing you your burger. We need to nurture our corporate image and define what we represent, at least partially, through the clothes we wear.
At Boutique Jacques, we do more than simply sell clothes. We can help any man craft his image to reflect his personal brand.So, what are my clients wearing? Find out in Part 2, and check in two weeks for more style tips!
- Leo Green