As a proud member of generation X, I spent the better part of my youth sporting flannel shirts, long hair and faded jeans. It worked for me — at least I had no reason to think otherwise — but when it was time to get serious about my career, I had to clean up my act. I got a haircut, bought a couple of suits and a handful of ties, and headed out into the world none the wiser.
It was not long before I found myself at an industry conference, where I met a group of very nice, extremely well dressed colleagues at a social event. After I struck up a quick conversation, one of the women boldly told me that it was obvious that I was “new.” I acted coy, figuring it was my boyish looks. I asked why she thought so.
“Because your suit is too big, and you are wearing an Iron Man Triathlon watch to formal event,” she said.
Turns out that I was committing a fashion no-no. Who knew?
Maybe this was a little pretentious, and it certainly did not kill my enthusiasm, but she was right. I never paid attention to what I wore nor ever thought it mattered that much. Her words stuck with me, however, as did the lesson I learned: In business, what you wear is important.
Of course, fashion is as fickle as the weather, and style is highly dependent on your industry and company culture. So, for men at least, how do we stay stylish and contemporary when stylish and contemporary is not our regular focus?
One way is to leave it to people whose day job is style, such as the experts at Trunk Club, a clothing subscription service for the busy professional man. Subscribers are paired with one of hundreds of trained professional stylists who each month send a box (“trunk”) of clothes, shoes and accessories. These selections are made by matching your preferences and profile with over 80 well known brands to meet your personal style.
You get stylish wear selected by people who are much more stylish than you.
Trunk Club is incredibly convenient, and the selections are awesome, but they are not cheap. If you are operating on a budget and care to go at it yourself, Tom Ballentine, a senior stylist with Trunk Club, offers these tips as we head into the summer.
Patterns always look great on guys, however, it is time to break away from the plaids and into the florals. You can still look masculine while rocking bold floral prints in deep solid colors, but stay away from lighter pastels. To tone your floral print down, pair it with an unconstructed hopsack blazer and denim or a lightweight summer twill pant.