Updated: Ghosts of National Sales Meetings Past…Men in Suits (hint lanyards never match)
Packing tips below:
In my former life as a surgical device rep more often than not I wore scrubs to work and suits were reserved for hospital CEO meetings, corporate ride-alongs (this sounds way more fun than it is, it’s just someone bored in the home office wanting to ride with a rep and get a mini vacation on the company dime) and of course, the National Sales Meetings. A typical day was running to 3+ different hospitals and supporting surgeons in cases and I’d have to ‘dress out’ (put on scrubs specific to that hospital) before entering the OR.
It was like wearing pajamas to work. The only downside was putting on ‘real people clothes’ during the weekend and finding out the trajectory of the button that just popped off of my pants missed slicing someone’s jugular by mere millimeters which prompted the self-imposed rule of wearing ‘real people clothes’ at least once a week. This tactic ensured the daily French fry intake to real pants ratio was correct and helped prevent any unnecessary involuntary manslaughter charges. And most importantly it prevented having to replace my entire wardrobe because I could not say ‘no’ to a French fry.
Some Paleozoic managers felt a rep needed to wear a suit every day or else they weren’t working. Clearly that’s the kind of logic that really creates great leaders within an organization. I know every industry thinks their managers are more out of touch than any others; and, the fact is we’re all probably correct. Managers tend to be out of touch and strangely entrenched in some sort of weird time warp. I’ve never been able to crack this code exactly. Was this ‘suit thing’ something from their glory days as a successful rep (like a baseball player not shaving during playoffs?), or was it just some ego driven micro-manager rule just for the sake of making a rule? I also live in Phoenix and wearing a suit in 117 degrees makes you 1. Look like a tourist 2. Strongly suggests you have masochistic tendencies. My one girlfriend and I used to get play a game at meetings to guess/name how many unnatural fibers had to die in order to make one suit. (“I think his suit is 90% ASSetate and 10% Naglon*.” )
The part about this that’s always amazed me is that if managers were going to make a rule that everyone needed to wear suits, didn’t they think theirs should 1. Fit properly 2. And have been updated since the 1970’s? Men in that industry (who will think nothing of spending $6,000 on a Rolex or Breitling watch) tried to recycle their suit from senior prom-fascinating and yet tragic at the same time. If Jane Goodall were watching these men in their natural environment she might note that men this ego driven (remember I suggested to one that he iron his W-2 on the front of his suit and his net worth on the back) were not following their natural anthropological pattern with the departure of this cheap suit thing.
Here are some tips for men:
Always let a woman select your ties.
It was explained to me very early on in my career when I was working at Saks, that men don’t care and if you’re sitting across from a woman she likely will care. If she has to be stuck staring at a tie during dinner or a meeting it shouldn’t trigger the need for a motion sickness bag.
I know this makes men’s testicles retract inside their bodies, but taking five minutes to put a look together will not negate your man card. And if you’re not sure ask a female. I cannot tell you the number of suits I have helped male friends buy over the last 20 years. Or the number of suits I’ve vetoed via email or text. And if it’s a trip longer than a week, FedEx all your stuff on hangers inside a garment bag and boxed. Saves on baggage fees and you don’t have to hope your luggage made it.
Fineness is referring to the individual fibers.
The higher the number the thinner the fabric and smoother and silkier the cloth (this is a good thing). The higher the number the more expensive (think thread count on sheets-fuck I forgot my audience for a second, most men would sleep on sandpaper). Shine on a suit means all the polys have revolted and are demanding to be retired.
Natural fibers only.
Wool/wool cashmere blend/or linen (it wrinkles a lot, and I don’t care if it’s Armani or Gap-all linen wrinkles). Travel size Downy Wrinkle Release (also amazing for scrubs) and a quick steam solve most of life’s, travel-wrinkle problems.
Lanyards never match any suit, ever.
Here’s a thought, we could always walk up and introduce ourselves to each other at meetings. Although it does make it easy for the prostitutes to identify future ‘clients’ at meetings, it also screams to everyone else that you’re a complete idiot. Remove lanyards as quickly as humanly possible.
And here’s a visual guide to matching suits to dress shoes (this is advanced so make sure you have down how to select a suit first). And pay attention when the salesperson explains things or your best female friend does so eventually you can dress yourself, like a big boy but look like a real man.
*Male decoder ring portion: the synthetic fabrics are really called acetate and nylon (see what we did there by calling it ASSectate and Naglon?)
UPDATED: Business Insiders
Retailers are starting to push a new trend in menswear: the short suit.
The ensemble looks like a regular suit from the waist up, with a sport coat over a button-down shirt and sometimes a tie or bowtie. Instead of trousers, however, the suit’s bottoms are cropped at the knee.
J. Crew, Topman, Asos, and Barneys are among the retailers selling the short suit this season. They may be taking cues from fashion icon Pharrell Williams, who donned tuxedo shorts to the Academy Awards earlier this year.
Again, this is not for beginners: great legs with security need apply.
Here’s another great list (with infographics): Here are a few highlights but head over to Buzzfeed for the full list 25 Life-Changing Style Charts Every Guy Needs Right Now
I disagree with this one: Always button top two and never the bottom
(look how sloppy the middle image is-nope!)
If you’re man can tie a scarf better than you-that’s a problem.
The Ivy League is a safe bet for most men.