For as long as I can remember I always wanted to have a job that paid well but I didn’t necessarily have to dress up for. Maybe it was going to Catholic school for 12 years, but a suit and tie was not on my list of things I wanted to wear five days out of the week. When I finally got into the music industry I was relieved that I could collect a decent check while wearing whatever I wanted. For the most part, that included jeans, T-shirts and Timbs. Yeah, on occasion I’d throw on a button-up, but the chances of it being tucked in were slim to none.
I walked through all of my 20s and the early part of my 30s in this baggy uniform and saw nothing wrong. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I took a gig at a business publication that I was forced to change my wardrobe. The company’s strict dress code included shirt, tie, pants and hard bottom shoes.
To keep it real, at that point in my life, I owned two oversized suits and a pair of lame square-toed dress shoes. Needless to say I needed to do a complete closet makeover and while I initially went into it as something I had to do, it quickly became an extension of my outward expression that I actually enjoyed.
With age came an openness to adjust and sacrifice a few of my clothing preferences—but on my on terms. Over the course of a few months, I went from a connoisseur of casual attire to a fashion-forward metrosexual. Yeah, I was forced to abide by a dress code, but I added my own personal flair. I developed an appreciation of bold colors and accents that spread from my shoes and pants to my tie clips and socks. Before I knew it, I had more work clothes than casual wear and I wasn’t mad at it.
Now that I’ve moved on to a new gig where the dress code is more lax, I’ve found myself growing into my own personal style. On any given day I could be in a three-piece suit with a shirt and tie just as easily as a pair of jeans with a sweatshirt. I go with the flow, but more times than not I lean towards the shirt and tie look. And I’ve heard very few complaints.
Nowadays it isn’t uncommon for me to get compliments for my personal style. But it’s hard to believe that just over three years ago I had none. Looking back at old pictures I can’t believe I wore shirts three sizes too big and actually walked around in pants that I was literally swimming in. Now, slim-fit is par for the course and I’ve become known for my preppy chic with the occasional hint of New York swag.
It’s funny; a big part of why I was so opposed to having to dress up for work was comfort and not having a choice in the matter, but now that I’ve learned about how clothes should fit I’ve found myself most comfortable in choosing style.
Ladies, how important is it for your man to know how to dress? Do you prefer a guy to be clean-cut or more hood with his fashion sense? Or, do you prefer someone who knows how to dress to the occasion and can adapt accordingly? Or are you on the other end of the spectrum and think that a man shouldn’t be more into fashion than a woman? Would you not date someone because of their inability to dress up?
Speak your piece…
BONUS: “Suit & Tie” by Justin Timberlake feat. Jay-Z