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    But is the suit dead?

    I liked Joe's post today, and reread his article about the suit not being dead. I'm sure when I read it back in September, I was fist pumping the air and yelling "hell, yeah!" But now I'm not so sure. I started a new job about a month ago. Believe me, I'm super grateful to have gainful employment and a fair wage to support my family in such a time. The entire hiring process was on e-mail and phone. I've talked to the VP who hired me several times (and she's really nice, BTW), but the only time I even saw her face was reading her bio on the company website. She is working from home in a completely different state from where I am. I do come into the office now, due the nature of the work, but I'm sitting at my desk and social distancing the entire time. No meetings. No lunches. No talking up the boss up in the hall. None of that. Just virtual communications. I guess what I'm driving at is that I can't do the very things that everyone says a suit is for. I don't deny that suits make you look good. They do. But without interviews, meetings, general physical interactions with humans, looking good just isn't as important as it used to be. When am I supposed to wear my power suit and big red tie to impress everyone?! I know this is just my personal experience, but I think its fairly typical of white collar work these days. Yeah, I know there's enclothed cognition. Maybe I should wear a white doctor's coat or academic robes instead of a suit. Something that makes me feel smarter, but I can spill coffee on and not worry about it.

    So I don't' know... Will things go back to the pre-COVID ways? I think some yes, but also now that companies have put in the network infrastructure for virtual work and more people are enjoying not commuting (or having to dress up for work) that a lot of organizational cultures are changing permanently to the detriment of the traditional need to dress up. On the other hand, people will still get married, go to funerals, become politicians or lawyers or TV news anchors, etc. Maybe some men will still need to wear suits like other men still wear steel-toed boots and hard hats. Maybe we'll have "heritage" suits in 50 years the way we have "heritage" work boots now. I guess time will tell. I'm not burning my suit just yet, but I don't know when I'm going to wear it next either.

    #2
    Just means we can wear them when we go out for fæncy dinner and not feel like we're back in the ol work uniform. Makes it more special and fun.
    https://www.professorhorseyhead.com

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      #3
      Originally posted by armedferret View Post
      Just means we can wear them when we go out for fæncy dinner and not feel like we're back in the ol work uniform. Makes it more special and fun.
      Nicely put, you dress for whatever the "event" is.

      I think part of the reason for wearing a suit or jacket is the impression it makes on other people, part of the reason is the enclothed cognition boost, part of the reason I read on another website is that you wear nice clothes for the group (not for other individuals): You're not just wearing nice clothes to make a personal impression on someone, you're wearing a suit to dinner or a tux to an event so that everyone has a nice time. Dressing appropriately to the spoken/unspoken dress code of an event or place is a signal that you value the "rules" of that group, event, or place. It's a signal that you're part of the group. I also wear a jacket to work (even when I'm not wearing a tie, even virtually) because it emphasizes my shoulders and de-emphasizes the holiday cookies I ate.

      I'm not saying that it's value signaling, I'm not saying that it's a way to say "I have a good job."

      I am saying that there are many reasons people wear suits (including: I know that this is a site ostensibly focused on men's clothing, and many women and people of other genders purposefully wear this clothing). Part of the reason is wearing it for other people, part is for yourself, part is a uniform, etc.

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        #4
        Today, I had to head in to the office. Partly to get a few things done, and party to give our senior dog, Stella a break from our rambunctious puppy, Penny. I'm in medium grey trousers, navy sport coat, tie, pocket square and freshly polished Strands. No one else is or will be here (but my dog, who cares not) and I feel better working in this environment dressed for work.

        That said, when I'm home, I never wear a tie for Zoom meeting (other than our religious services) and rarely wear a jacket. It feels silly to be obviously sitting in my home dressed like I'm out of the house. So, I opt for jeans/chinos and a button up and maybe a v neck or waistcoat if I'm feeling fancy.

        I do agree that this will accelerate the demise of men owning multiple suits, and that many, many people will like continue to work from home.

        However, there is something to be said for having a grown up evening with your spouse, where you both look nice, and maybe listen to records or play a game together (Scrabble, anybody?) over a nice meal that feels special. Other than a few necessary times (occasional trips to the office for me) we haven't been out since last April. The dressed up night in is needed, and dare I say, it may just continue after things open up in 202x?

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          #5
          Not dead, but definitely in the ICU on a ventilator.

          I'm a corporate attorney, and I wear a suit for two things--to church each week, and to the firm's annual Christmas party. And this year, there was no Christmas party, and no church for about half the year. I know there are still people who wear suits--for example, the litigators at our firm when they go to court--but the number of people who wear them and the places to wear them gets smaller each year.

          I like suits and I'm sad to see them go. But I figure by the end of most of our lives, suits will occupy a role similar to that of the tuxedo today.

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            #6
            Originally posted by facelessghost View Post
            I like suits and I'm sad to see them go. But I figure by the end of most of our lives, suits will occupy a role similar to that of the tuxedo today.
            oof, that's depressing

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              #7
              Not so sure about the suit--but maybe the tie is dead or on life support. As far as suits, recall that the Spanish Flu pandemic late in the second decade of the 20th century was followed by what we now call the roaring 20's. (unfortunately, that was followed by the depression--but that is still a few years away)

              I don't know about other people, and although I need to back off from the substance abuse of my 50's, when this thing is over--I will be ready to go out and freakin' PARTY my ass off despite my age--and also stay home and host big parties on the fancy new house we bought and a remodeling into an entertainer's delight.

              During much of this time, I will be wearing my fancy suits, sans ties, that I invested in right before the pandemic--three Brooks Brothers and a Suit Supply suit. The nicest suits I've ever owned. And after ballooning up to about 212 or more pounds, I am down to within about five pounds of these things fitting me again!

              We've been saving our nickels, dimes, and pennies, and will be ready to have some FUN!

              Imma gonna be wearing my fancy suits and my best shoes! At least once or twice a week!



              WHY ARE THE GUYS IN SUITS HERE? HAS SOMETHING GONE WRONG?

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                #8

                Originally posted by facelessghost View Post
                the number of people who wear them and the places to wear them gets smaller each year.

                I like suits and I'm sad to see them go. But I figure by the end of most of our lives, suits will occupy a role similar to that of the tuxedo today.
                Good point about the number of people who wear them. I see a lot of people around town wearing them. I live in DC, so mostly they're politicians, lobbyists, etc, all wearing black or very dark suits. I'm a school teacher, so it's not totally common to wear a suit or jacket, but I'd never see someone at my job wearing a suit like the ones they wear. Same around downtown (the business part, not the congressional part), lighter colors, closer cuts, etc. I feel like the *somber suit* is like a calling card, or a badge, or something. The other types of suits are more often a choice rather than an expectation.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by andrewrg View Post


                  Good point about the number of people who wear them. I see a lot of people around town wearing them. I live in DC, so mostly they're politicians, lobbyists, etc, all wearing black or very dark suits. I'm a school teacher, so it's not totally common to wear a suit or jacket, but I'd never see someone at my job wearing a suit like the ones they wear. Same around downtown (the business part, not the congressional part), lighter colors, closer cuts, etc. I feel like the *somber suit* is like a calling card, or a badge, or something. The other types of suits are more often a choice rather than an expectation.
                  Yeah I live in the DC area too. The suit is definitely not dead here, or at least wasn't before the pandemic, by any means. I think bold predictions about it dying forever because of the pandemic...who knows what will happen when things return to something resembling a post-pandemic new normal? I work for a Federal agency and wore a jacket (sometimes a full suit, sometimes a sportcoat and cords/chinos/trousers) most days when I was in the office. Usually not during the summer because it's too hot here but fall through spring. I'm hoping our telework policy gets a little more liberal than it was pre-pandemic but expect to be in the office for 2-3 days a week (as opposed to the 3-4 days I was in rather than teleworking before), and when in the office will probably dress as I did before. I don't think jeans and a T shirt or polo is going to be an acceptable look except maybe on casual Fridays.
                  “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

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                    #10
                    People are definitely using COVID as an excuse to be lazy and/or dress like crap, no doubt. I won't stop dressing well, probably ever.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by facelessghost View Post
                      I like suits and I'm sad to see them go. But I figure by the end of most of our lives, suits will occupy a role similar to that of the tuxedo today.
                      Maybe.

                      I've worn a suit just once since February - for an online wedding. It actually was nice to get dressed up.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by facelessghost View Post
                        But I figure by the end of most of our lives, suits will occupy a role similar to that of the tuxedo today.
                        I like that reference. Its almost comical to think that the tuxedo was invented as a way to dress DOWN for dinner and originally only considered appropriate in one's own home when not dining with guests. Now we are at the point where a dark suit is generally considered an appropriate alternative to a tux in most social situations and most fashionable celebrities have dispensed with both.

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                          #13
                          From a functionality point? No. But my want to wear one around the house just because? No.

                          suits would be excessive overkill for my zoom calls and I need to relate to my clients and not put them off. A gs15 director was wearing a hoodie on our last call.

                          My wife and I aren’t one for fancy dinners necessitating dressing up even outside covid. So I just don’t know when mine will see action. So to me it’s dead for now but not forever.

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                            #14
                            I tell my wife this all the time - just because other people do it doesn't mean we have to. Clothing is personal, the extent to which you choose to dress up or dress down is up to you. I always feel better when I look nice, so why the hell should I care if another dude is wearing a tank top? Obviously, there are limits (if you wear a tux to Chuck-E-Cheese you're going to look like an asshole) but I think worrying about what everyone else is doing is a fruitless exercise - people were dressing poorly before the pandemic and they will continue to dress poorly afterwards, if thats not what you want to do, wear what you like.

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by patelsd View Post
                              I tell my wife this all the time - just because other people do it doesn't mean we have to. Clothing is personal, the extent to which you choose to dress up or dress down is up to you. I always feel better when I look nice, so why the hell should I care if another dude is wearing a tank top? Obviously, there are limits (if you wear a tux to Chuck-E-Cheese you're going to look like an asshole) but I think worrying about what everyone else is doing is a fruitless exercise - people were dressing poorly before the pandemic and they will continue to dress poorly afterwards, if thats not what you want to do, wear what you like.
                              This. Within limits - I do like compliments.

                              And part of the "new world" is figuring out what works well in this context - making me feel good, maybe impressing a little but not worrying too much and not looking out of context. So actually I'm spending a fair bit of mental energy since things are new. This is interesting.

                              The one time I really could wear a suit (since February) I jumped into the opportunity. A wedding! Yeah! Can suit up without feeling way out there! Even though it was online. Some people were in t-shirts, whereas I don't think they would have dared for an in-person wedding.

                              More recently I was interviewed online for a YouTube show. So I wore a scarf and sport shirt with a sort of fleece top - it felt dressy but very informal. I like it and got some good feedback on social media.

                              And I think this look may spillover in the office eventually if we go back.


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