I saw on Twitter that my friend Joe Brusuelas was going to do some damage on Savile Row in England. I was a bit jealous. He got some shoes made in Florence too. I love clothes but never buy them. One of the nice developments recently is the availability of tailored clothes at affordable prices.
Recently, I saw the lining of one of my sportcoats was loose. Two of my suits didn’t fit quite right. I took them to the factory where they were made to get fixed. I am lucky. In 2007 I bought some Oxxford Suits as a gift to myself after graduating from MBA school. I had never ever had a really high-quality suit. I always bought off the rack stuff at places like Bigsby and Kruthers or Karolls. It was dissatisfying because I just don’t have an off the rack size.
I tried on a bunch of European brands of suits but they didn’t fit right either. I discovered Oxxford. I bought a couple plus a blue blazer and sportcoat.
Funny thing is as soon as I did the only time I wore suits was at weddings and funerals! America has gotten a lot more casual in the ensuing years. Men just don’t wear formal clothes anymore. Most of the time I wear jeans and a t-shirt with a sweater if it’s cold. In the summer, a t-shirt or polo and shorts. My Allen Edmonds shoes sit spit shined with shoe trees in them inside flannel bags so they don’t scratch while my feet enjoy All Birds, Nikes or Pumas or Adidas. My Hermes ties and tailored shirts collect a lot of dust.
When we were trading on the floor, we would wear polo shirts with the same tie every day. I’d roll it up in my trading jacket pocket. High tops and khakis. When I was on CME’s board, I had to trade in nicer more formal clothes because for meetings we had to wear them. Board meetings were suit days. Wearing a suit in a trading pit wasn’t super comfortable. You’d sweat through it then have to go to a board meeting and the outside board member that might be a banker would wonder what they were smelling.
One thing that I have learned by being exposed to startups is that people get really creative when there are constraints. People do better with constraints. They have to discipline themselves. A suit is a type of constraint. It used to be a social construct. It’s what you wore to work if you were male.
If we find ourselves objecting to behavior that is legal, then there must be a source of morality other than the law, and there must be a language — permissible and accessible — to describe it.
What is considered “moral” can and does change. That is not necessarily catastrophic. What is, is the lack of common language and ethos of morality. Without those, all we have are arbitrary incidents of outrage, untethered to anything explicable or consistent.
That is a prescription for collapse.
In a different way, but in the same vein Joy Pullman wonders if we have lost the intellectual tradition in America. Social media has made us all knee-jerk. Knee-jerk lacks critical thought. She says,
For several generations now, he says, this broad and deep knowledge that is key to America’s survival as a singular nation that preserves citizens’ natural liberties has been eroded. Western civilization’s centuries of dialogue between Athens and Jerusalem — two historic cities that represent reason and faith, respectively — establish universals about human nature that Americans once again need to draw upon to make key decisions about our future. This is why the college has put this lecture series, and many others, online.
“There’s a truth to by found by reason for every human being and a truth to be found by faith for every human being,” Arnn says. “…There are things to know that are lovely and ennobling to know.”
I wonder, would men treat women differently if they had suits on? If women were dressed more formally in the workplace? Would it bring a sense of decorum back to society? Would we speak differently and treat each other differently? What would we think about the role of government in our lives? What would we think about privacy?
The left is constantly pre-occupied with distrust of corporations. That’s not a bad thing. The right is constantly pre-occupied with distrust of government. That’s not a bad thing either. The problem is with the government, we never seem to get less of it once established. At least corporations can go out of business or get bought out. The left seems to twist and turn all kinds of social issues to try and make them normal. The right tries to keep them in a box.
I am all for everyone drumming to their own drummer, but we need some sort of guardrails that are informally enforced by society. Otherwise, there is anarchy. Anarchy leads not to more freedom, but less. Totalitarians thrive on anarchy. Totalitarians don’t like suits and ties. They like uniforms.
thanks for the link Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit