Formal attire is making a comeback.

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”.

Concluding Statements

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.


About Jack

Jack is a world traveling artist, skilled in trading ideas and information, none of which are considered too holy, too nerdy, nor too profane to hijack and twist into useful fashion. Sigma Frame Mindsets and methods for building and maintaining a masculine Frame
This entry was posted in Authenticity, Determination, Inner Game. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Formal attire is making a comeback.

  1. feeriker says:

    By itself this trend is ceratainly a positive development. Looking at thimgs from a “big picture” 15,000-foot perspective, however, I can’t help but ask rhetorically if any attempt to inject class and dignity into society at this point in time isn’t akin to putting a tuxedo and cologne on a rotting corpse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jack says:

      @ Feeriker,
      Dressing well sets a man apart from society. This is an individual improvement, not a societal fix.


    • lastmod says:

      You’re actually right in the larger scope of things. Remember that quote from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” when the Gestapo agent comes to the tent in the desert when Beloch has Marion get all dressed up in that dress and shoes. He says, “We meet again fraulein / typical, you Americans are always overdressing for the wrong occasions”

      Much truth in that coming from a European. Even a Nazi in the 1930’s got that part right. The irony though was he was in a shiny leather 3/4 coat with a hat, shirt and tie….oh the irony! In the desert! I even caught that when I say that film for the first time in the theaters at age 11 or thereabouts

      Fashion has to fit you. There are times when a tie is indeed called for, even if you hate them. I suppose its how you rock it. I can rock a shirt and tie. I wear one during the whole work week….and while at IBM. It was required. Kind-of used to it. Me in faded levis, cowboy boots and a Carhardt shirt will look a bit like me “play acting” or role playing for some gay flick a la Andy Warhol…….to other men it probably looks natural, and good.

      I am glad to see the days of the graphic t-shirt coming to an end. It was a trend that went on too long. Good to see men at least wearing a polo styled shirt or a standard button down again for casual wear.

      Americans were a much better dressed people after the war, and into the end of the 1960’s. We just carried ourselves better. Had some self-respect. Even if you were poor, or were at the bottom of the food chain.

      I agree to an extent that this “trend” if it could be called that yet………….looks like putting lipstick on a pig……….but wearing a suit properly is like a suit of armor in a way (uh oh….its chivalorus now!!!!!) and worn for the right occasion still says something truly wonderful about being a man.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Lance Roberts says:

    Agree except that Jesus wore a garment without a seam, a seamless robe that was a more expensive garment to wear.


  3. lastmod says:

    Have not noticed this on women. Then again, pre-covid when I did go out (Soul Dancing / DJ-ing) high heeled shoes are not good for dancing, low heeled flats work best for men and women for fast sixties / nor soul steps and dances. I have always dressed well…though in the dark days my wardrobe became a little tattered because I was getting back on my feet.

    A decent wardrobe will cost more than a $1,000.00 but its a good baseline. A man, rich or poor….good looking or not should own one well fitting, mid level suit, with a good dress shirt with a proper tie and a decent set of dress shoes. Even the “poor” man back in the 1950’s had such a suit to wear to a wedding, funeral, or interview. Macy’s / Banana Republic and even JC Penny’s are better quality than “Mens Warehouse”

    Belt / shoes / socks all should be matching color.

    I wear only skinny rayon / silk ties that are mid-sixties vintage. They look good on me and fit my Mod sensiibilities.

    A watch should match the shoe / belt / sock color unless its a metal / steel clip band. Never wear tan or light brown shoes with a navy or lighter blue suit.


  4. Lexet Blog says:

    Haven’t noticed this in the States.


  5. Ed Hurst says:

    I grew up economically lower class and never really adopted the middle class fixation on attire. I don’t have a problem with people who want to pursue formal attire and the settings where it’s appropriate, but I’ve never been comfortable there. My mission in life makes it a waste to spend much money on clothing. So, no criticism, but we won’t be walking together on this issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ramman3000 says:

    I would have once agreed with the general premise of this post, but now I’m with Dark Brightness:

    “I know Adam says you should wear the best clothes you can afford, but that won’t cut it right now. You need to look like you don’t make what you do.”

    The rest of his advice is solid as well.

    I’m under quite a dilemma. As an Anabaptist who does not live with his cultural group, what am I to do if roving gangs come to take my stuff and hurt my family? My best defense is to not stand out, make connections in the community, quietly make myself more valuable to that community, and to pray for God’s protection for myself and my family.


  7. Adam says:

    Never wear tan or light brown shoes with a navy or lighter blue suit.

    Standard attire in Italy.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Jack says:

    There seems to be a wide chasm of opinion here. Obviously, the value of this advice depends on the individual man and the context of his life.

    Just to be clear, I’m not advocating dandyism or peacocking. I just think a man should display some self respect in his appearance.


    • ramman3000 says:

      “Just to be clear, I’m not advocating dandyism or peacocking. I just think a man should display some self respect in his appearance.”

      My wife and I tend to bias our clothing choices towards the other’s preferences. If someone else thinks I look the fool, I really don’t care what they think. My wife’s opinion trumps theirs every time.


  9. lastmod says:

    Fashion sense takes awhile to hone, and as a older guy now….I must be careful to not look silly, or wear something because it’s popular.

    If I wear a t-shirt. Plain, solid crewneck black or white. Older men should never wear a v-neck tee (very popular right now) unless you have the “pecks” and toned / defined shoulder and upper arms to back up the view you are giving. Few men at fifty have this. If you do, good for you.

    Watchband, sunglasses, and belt can be more of a current style if you are older, and appropriate for the outfit.

    When tying a tie, a man should be able to do a windsor, half-windsor, single-overhand and standard drape knot in his sleep. Though if you have a narrow wedge styled face at the chin, skinnier ties will look better on you.

    Stay away from metro-sexual tie colors….I don’t care if girls say they are digging men wearing
    soft pink or purple ties. Don’t do this.

    Pocket square should match shirt color on a suit. Not your tie. I have no opinion on them. I like them, wear them sometimes……and sometimes I don’t.

    I always wear a suit or sport coat, shirt n’ tie when I am flying. People at one time dressed-up when flying. This is a tradition I just miss, and wish more people would do. It’s sad when I get on a plane and everyone looks rumpled, frumpy and not ready for an adventure (or their funeral if the plane crashes). I still have vivid memories in the 1970’s as a boy when flying to Florida for vacation and people still dressing up to fly. Just miss it. Liked it.


    • feeriker says:

      I always wear a suit or sport coat, shirt n’ tie when I am flying. People at one time dressed-up when flying. This is a tradition I just miss, and wish more people would do. It’s sad when I get on a plane and everyone looks rumpled, frumpy and not ready for an adventure (or their funeral if the plane crashes).

      One could legitimately make the argument that “flying fashion” (or more honestly, lack thereof) today reflects what flying has become. When I was a kid in the late 60s, I also remember how much better dressed people were for the trip. Then again, flying back then, in the days before it was “deregulated and democratized,” was actually quite a pleasurable, pleasant, and relatively stress-free experience.

      Today, people dress the way the do when flying (i.e., “rumpled, frumpy, and not ready for adventure”) because flying itself, in the era of “deregulation and democratization,” has, by a series of events over the last few decades, been turned into a stressful and unpleasant chore, a necessity to be tolerated for getting from ‘Point A to Point B’ in the fastest and lowest cost way possible. It’s anything but an adventure. Even First Class passengers on U.S. domestic airlines are treated like cattle.

      I, too, wish to see a return to the days of “civilized flying,” which would no doubt in turn prompt a return to “civilized dress.” Current events and trends aren’t encouraging me to hold my breath.


      • Novaseeker says:

        When you open things up to the masses, you get mass culture, which is downmarket. It’s basically “Greyhound in the Sky” now. But that’s happened throughout the culture. One of the reasons why the internet is such a sewer is because it is mass culture, which, of necessity, is downmarket in nature. This culture always existed, but it never predominated until the last few decades when we experienced cultural democratization, and this is the result of that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lastmod says:

        I went first class on my trip to the UK on British Airways. San Francisco to Heathrow / London. Even on that flight, in that class, sandals, shorts, baseball caps, fanny packs, tee shirts. It was an excellent flight and experience though……not judging, but just thinking “come on everybody! what’s the matter?” I was the only one in a suit and tie. Flight attnedant right when I arrived in the first class cabin (it was a 747) upper deck, she immeditaly helped me off with my suit jacket. When I exited the jet, she was right there helping me put it back on.

        When I arrived at Heathrow, went to the first class lounge, gabbed a quick shower and then had a an adventure that really exceeded all expectations. I felt like Humphrey Bogart or James Bond…..dressed up…..arriving to an exciting place…….getting to the hotel, and waiting for something to happen. It was fun.

        The late 1970’s were hardly a classy time, but I do remember getting on the jet from Albany, New York to West Palm Beach Florida as a boy when we went to Florida for our yearly vaction and everyone was dressed up a bit…and this was in coach….my father was hardly a pinnacle of fashion, or class….. but even he put on a tie when flying back then.

        Liked by 1 person

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