Today I was in a taxi on the way to the John Varvatos store to pick up some clothes for one of my clients and as per usual found style inspiration in the most unlikely place…my taxi cab driver. He was impeccably dressed and I mean impeccably!!! He was wearing a beautiful safari-type jacket in a rich winter khaki, which he paired with a tonal zip front, mock-neck cardigan and perfect tweed pants. I could only see him through the window so I have no idea what his shirt or shoes looked like, but after chatting with him, I can only imagine they were also carefully selected and sophisticated. I complimented him on his dashing appearance which led to him sharing a bit of his style philosophy and yes, some of his private fashion fetishes.
He told me that he believes that regardless of what one does, one should always take pride in one’s appearance and that those who do are treated differently, better. I agree! He then shared that he has been having his suits custom tailored in Bangkok for many years and that he owns at least 100 and close to that many pairs of dress shoes…pretty amazing!!! Sadly my ride ended at that moment, but his charm and persona stayed with me all day and got me thinking about how men should be dressing in these more difficult times. I have already written about the return of power dressing (my very first blog ever) and have featured custom shirt resources and bespoke ties, but I just feel compelled to reinforce my view that now more than ever men to need to take more pride in their appearance and always dress the part. If you want to be successful and be taken seriously, then look successful and be serious...about your style that it!
European men are historically known for being extraordinarily well-dressed, but I just recently learned that white, collared shirts or more accurately detachable collar shirts, a pervasive symbol of success and power were born in the good ole US of A in 1827. By the turn of the century, anybody who was anybody proudly donned these detachable white collars (the white collar class was born), which were most popularly paired with bold patterns and colors. In recent years, they have come in an out of favor, but have always remained a brash Wall Street signature. So, you are probably wondering with our financial system in turmoil, why I would want to resurrect this “big-swinging-dick” badge. Well, here is how I see it… If my fashion-adoring taxi cab driver can feel optimistic and believe that if he puts his best self forward that it will attract success, then shouldn’t we all.
So here is a simple tip to help you look and feel more success-ready, visit one of my new favorite stores, La Camiceria Italiana, at 509 Madison Avenue. Founded in Rome in the 1980s and recently transported to NYC, this phenomenal shirt store carries over 400 variations of fabrics, silhouettes and collar styles…artisan quality, made-in-Italy, yet perhaps a reminder of American nattiness of yore. La Camiceria Italiana offers off-the-rack and custom-made at extremely competitive prices ($165-$295) and unparalleled service and expertise…the ultimate price/value go-to!
So guys, the way I see it, you can keep dressing like you just don’t care, like you just don’t believe or you can turn your style up a notch and learn something from my chic cabbie. Invest in some beautifully tailored, artisan-quality “white collar” shirts and become the ultimate “success symbol”!!!