The Secretary (
) is an anonymous blogger and tweeter living and working somewhere here in NYC. Her Unelegant Businessman tracks the etiquette and fashion foibles of the corporate set, dishing out hard truths about what women really think, but rarely say. I contacted The Secretary via email to keep her required anonymity intact.
GG asked @SecretaryFiles for the most common and egregious fashion misstep made by Manhattan’s suit and tie guy.
The Secretary: Only one? Really? I guess the most common mistake men make—one I see every day—is wearing a suit that is WAY too big for them. Jackets hang off shoulders, float around midsections and are sooooo long. A man shouldn’t be able to belt his suit jacket and wear it like a dress. The “too big suit” is something I truly don’t understand and the issue transcends position in the company. I’ve seen it on everyone from Analysts to VPs to Managing Directors. I know for a fact they go to tailors and wear custom suits and shirts. How they can pay (a lot) for a tailor-made suit and still look like they’re dressed in daddy’s clothes is beyond me. I’ve even seen men with piles of fabric draped around their shoes like they didn’t hem them before wearing.
GG: Do they ever ask for a woman’s prospective? Or, might you offer some?
The Secretary: I’ve never offered unrequested advice except through TUB and it’s an extremely rare day for one of the uppers to ask for fashion advice. Once an Associate asked me if I liked his new suit. I pointed out that his jacket was a little long. He disagreed and showed that the bottom of the jacket hit his thumb knuckle.
GG: That sounds like a traditional length for a suit jacket. A more contemporary cut may fall a few inches higher.
The Secretary: Traditional or not it made him look short. It’s easier for the shorter or rounder men to fall prey to the “too big suit.” The smaller men think that broadening their shoulders with a larger jacket will make them look bigger or give them more of the classic V-shape, but a woman knows padding when she sees it. Instead a jacket that doesn’t fit just makes them look shorter or pudgier than they are. Every day thousands of men are wearing, basically, the same thing: dark suit, white shirt, colored tie. When a suit fits right it isn’t hiding something or distracting, it’s accentuating the best of each man. A suit is the sexiest outfit for a man, when it looks just right.
GG: Then what would make a gentleman stand out in that crowd?
The Secretary: Women want their men to look good, but they don’t want to dress their men. The business world is filled with men whose wives pick out their clothing, laying out their ties every morning, so the guy who picks out his own really stands out. As long as he has taste.
GG: Thank you, always good to hear a feminine prospective on our most masculine of outfit. I would also like to hear your opinion on backpacks, briefcases, and baseball hats. But, we can save that for a later installment of Masculine/Feminine.
The Secretary: Thanks, would love to do it again sometime.