Corporate style doesn’t have to be an oxymoron
Corporate and style are two words you might not expect to see together. In fact, to some, the term “corporate style” might seem like something of an oxymoron. There is definitely a style to corporate attire, but you might argue that its style is devoid of style with a capital ‘s’. In that type of environment, it’s all about fitting in and not rocking the boat. So how do you stand out while still blending in? Here are five things to consider.
Make the investment in yourself. To be sure, investing in yourself certainly has a monetary component. You have to be willing to funnel some resources and throw a bit of cash at your project, which is yourself. However, in addition to money, there is also an investment in time. Time spent reflecting on what you hope to achieve. And time spent researching and learning about a variety of things related to clothing and style. We live in a fast-paced world filled with instant gratification. Aim to be the guy who makes considered and informed decisions rather than the one who is overeager and shows no regard for knowledge or quality. In other words, be a man of substance, not a man of superfluousness.
Have a suit made. Having a suit made is a perfect illustration of the idea expressed above. Number one, it takes time. And number two, you can almost guarantee that nobody will have the same exact suit. Sure, you could get that Ludlow suit from J.Crew tomorrow. You could go to SuitSupply. But so could everyone else. And a lot of people do because they need/want a new suit, and stat. Hunting for sartorial instant gratification will almost certainly lead to you awkwardly bumping into a coworker (or someone on the sidewalk) and being like, “Hey, um, we’ve got the same SuitSupply blazer…cool…”
Not being impulsive when it comes to developing your wardrobe will not only save you from a potentially embarrassing situation, but it will also give you complete control over your vision. When you have a suit made you have authority over your fabric as well as details like lapel style, pocket style, buttons, whether your trousers are cuffed, and lining. Not only that, but if you’ve gone to a company that knows their craft, you’re going to get a superior fit. And there’s nothing better than that.
Carry an enviable briefcase. Just say no to the ubiquitous black Targus briefcase and look for a high-quality leather example. Not only will it get better as it ages, but chances are you’ll be able to hand it down someday. Walk in with a Frank Clegg briefcase in shrunken leather and I’ll wager your boss will ask you where you bought it.
Consider your watch game. Here’s where a lot of time will be spent researching and considering. Now, if you want to be like everyone else, go ahead and buy that damn Daniel Wellington watch. If you detect my disdain for DW, it has nothing to do with price. I wouldn’t tell you that a Seiko 5 would be an infinitely better choice–which it most certainly is–if price were my only criteria. Rather, it’s its ubiquitousness and the FOMO that it induces.
If you hope to climb the corporate ladder, you’re going to have to follow the herd and play by the rules to some extent. Think of your clothing and accessories, especially your choice of watch, as a subtle way to be unique and intriguing. The most astute and perceptive of your colleagues will likely take note of these things and that will go a long way in their positive perception of you.
Buckles instead of laces. Anchor your suit with a pair of double monk straps instead of oxfords or derbies. (Here’s the difference between oxfords and derbies, if you were wondering.) A little Italian flair down there will certainly garner some positive feedback. Just be sure to skip the funky socks to avoid being “that guy”.
Thanks for reading.
He Spoke Style