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Dressing down a suit. . . What??!!

Dressing down a suit like this strikes me as a little too much on the trendy hipster side of things for good measure.

It's fine when you occasionally opt for a more casual approach to your attire.  But the whole notion of dressing down a suit -- Read more about casual suits in today's post at Put This On -- seems, if you'll pardon me, asinine.  Suits by their very nature are more formal items.  Especially in the second decade of the 21st century.  

Sure, I know the basic history and evolution of menswear during the last 150 years or so, and that modern lounge suits are nowhere near as formal as, say, black tie or white tie.  By and large, though, they strike most people in 2014 as very formal, especially given that the vast majority of average guys are not required to wear suits more than two-three times a year (the odd wedding or funeral), and few people seem to aspire to look better than they do.  Still, the whole idea of trying to deformalize the suit makes absolutely no sense.  It is and should remain a much more formal item than the ubiquitous three-button, pique fabric golf shirt featuring a company logo, and relaxed-fit jeans or khakis that masquerade as acceptable workwear in the eight-to-five world more often than not.  Even within many offices as amazing as that still seems. 

Anyway, if a guy is uncomfortable with the idea of wearing a suit, then he ought  to skip it all together.  Unless the workplace dress code, or perhaps that all-too-rare semi-formal dinner or wedding invitation, calls specifically for it, just wear more casual clothes, for example jeans or creased chinos/wool dress pants with a button-down collar shirt and an odd sports jacket with leather loafers on your feet.  For a bit of added pizazz, you might also add an understated tie to complete the picture.  

When it comes to the more staid business suit, however, for average guys who want to kick up their everyday style several notches, steer clear of any and all misguided attempts to dress down your suit.  Regardless of what the various men's and lad mags insist is cutting edge.   The only thing that all of those silly, silly boys achieve with things like an ironic t-shirt worn with their suits, or no necktie on purpose, is in coming across like they don't know any better.  At best, guys who indulge in things like this look like their luggage was lost by the airline, and they were forced to buy some stupid souvenir t-shirt in the hotel lobby to get by until their suitcases catch up.  

Permit me to make another pronouncement on the subject.   A guy concerned with kicking up his everyday style ought to have a least one clean and pressed suit -- charcoal gray or navy blue, please -- that has been altered to fit him, hanging at the ready in his closet.  Adult males with grooming and sophistication realize and accept this facet of stylish life and are comfortable with the idea of suits.  In short, they know when, where, and how to wear suits.  And they don't do it in a half-assed, incomplete, or ironically "clever" way.  

And here is one last bit of related male attire dogma for today.  Unless we are talking about suits that feature more casual patterns, or are made from less formal fabrics, like those discussed at Put This On, dressing down a suit ain't in keeping with classic masculine style.  It's far better for you to wear a suit like it is meant to be worn.  End of story.

-- Heinz-Ulrich


  1. Actually, I think Put This On nailed it and would agree with you: better to buy a more relaxed suit for a more relaxed look, rather than pair truly casual stuff with what I call a "high informal" suit, the typical navy or charcoal, and end up with a weird mismatch of formality. I like this "relaxed suit" look for church in the summertime or Saturday outtings to the big city.

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Richard! "High Informal." I like that concept a lot.

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich von B.


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All opinions are welcome here. Even those that differ from mine. But let's keep it clean and civil, please.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

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