Don’t be a Grungy Bum.
Readership: All; Men;
The Battle for Dignity and Class
Recently this year, I’ve seen authentic style begin to make a comeback. Men are wearing dress shirts, belts, and shiny leather shoes. Women are letting their hair grow, and they are wearing dresses and high heels.
I’m as pleased as spiked punch!
Formality comes and goes in waves, according to social trends. In the U.S., formality has been out of style since 1990, and since then, it has been dated with X’ers like myself. I was in college during the Grunge era of the 90’s, and I always felt ashamed of (what I considered to be) the low-class attire that was in vogue at the time. I know Millennials don’t reflect on the 90’s with such distaste, but I didn’t like it at all — not because it was tasteless and drab, but because it did nothing to showcase one’s personality, nor one’s tastes in style. Simply put, it was not inspiring at all! Anybody and everybody could pull on a black T and a pair of stone washed, acid scourged Levi’s and blend into the tattered gray masses. The mark of individuality was in showing your baggy boxers!
True to the style of my generation, I always prided myself for wearing a black leather belt, Johnson and Murphy captoes, and a blue, Italian hand-stitched tie — only and always silk, which has a smooth, refined texture.
The reason I was so adamant about my personal presentation is because I always recognized that maintaining a sharp appearance is a show of self-respect, a display of masculine power, and a gift of inspiration to those around me. Why should I become common just to avoid being rejected by those opprobrious rejects of decorum?
A lot of people scolded me for being too formal, and told me to “loosen up”. But I dismissed such taunting as juvenile attention from those suffering from a peculiarly acute allergy to class.
Even after I became a professor at a National University, some other professors told me not to wear a tie to the department meetings. After pondering upon the possible reasons for this request, I realized that I was making them look bad, and that they were too lazy to up their game enough to look like a professional. I stopped wearing a tie to the meetings out of deference to my seniors, but I still wore ties to my class lectures and speeches. I also started giving away ties to graduating Ph.D. students as a graduation gift, and I told them to wear it whenever they needed a boost of confidence. They were ecstatic!
Recently, my mother-in-law gave me a bow tie that belonged to my wife’s father, who was also a professor before he retired. I’ve realized that I can wear a bow tie and still look professional without making my colleagues feel insecure. I’ve also discovered that women find it absolutely adorable, adding to my delight and the chagrin of my wife!
Why Be Formal?
One of the most basic qualities of human nature is the fact that we are full of desires. We desire money, we desire relationships, we desire political freedoms, we desire success, we desire attention, love, honor, respect, and so on.
Desire cannot be separated from the human experience.
But the conflict of our desires is a significant source of disparity, dissonance, and desperation, which makes us resemble brute animals competing for resources and opportunities!
Simultaneously, human beings need a sense of self-worth, dignity, and respect, so we have invented “formality” as a way to glorify our innate human quality of desire with a sense of honor.
Logical reasonability, organization, passion, and order henceforth become valuable in the art of self-expression. Thus, it becomes necessary to display consideration, to observe rules of etiquette, and to discuss topics such as goals, purposes, and processes in a non-subjective manner.
This is the essence of formality.
Those who have a mature view of formality, recognize it as a venue in which their deepest heart-felt desires may be charismatically expressed with honor and determination in a social setting.
Formality glorifies God and inspires your fellow man! Jesus himself wore a garment “without hem”.
Formal dress allows one to display the liveliness of one’s personality and desire. You would be amazed at how much impact you can achieve, and how much people would love to receive your attention, just by wearing a tie with a bit of flair.
Don’t be a common bum. Be a man who creates an impression, who is memorable, who gives life to others. Dressing the part is the first step in developing charisma.
Do what I did. Dedicate $1,000 to buy a high quality wardrobe that fits your style and persona. Choose colors wisely. Pay a tailor to make it fit right. High quality clothing will last for 20 years (for a man). You won’t regret it. You may even find it was the best decision you ever made.
- Adam Piggott: 17th trait – The modern man buys the best clothes that he can afford. (2016 March 14)
- Adam Piggott: A good grooming guide for men – part 1 (2020 October 4)
- Dark Brightness: Notes for myself. (2020 October 20)