Absolutely, clothes matter. It’s all about what I like to call the three Ps: Polish, Presentability and Professionalism. I know some people think I am some old fogey about this, a bit of a cheek considering I am not yet forty, but I see myself as upholding standards. Tradition, isn’t it, and if upholding tradition makes me an old fogey, well good on the old fogeys, that’s what I say. Besides, I mean, honestly, look at you. What a dog’s dinner.
You know the first advice I was given when I started? Yes, that old one ‘never wear brown in town’ and I remember being so offended that he felt the need to even tell me that. As if I hadn’t already proven that I was well past that. But I find myself saying it now. Standards are not what they were. We live in different times. There is so much casualization these days. Dress down Fridays, and that trend for people wearing suits without a tie, what an abomination. Beards, argh.
Look, say you are interviewing two candidates for a job and they have similar CVs. One of them comes in looking like he’s a tramp who’s just raided someone’s laundry bin, or looks like he’s leaving straight after the interview for a beach, or he’s wearing one of those thingies – what are they – hoodies? Is that right? And the other candidate is simply smartly dressed, has obviously made an effort, then you are going to give the job to the latter, are you not?
Well, the same holds true when I’m interviewing but it’s usually about finer margins. An off-the-peg Marks and Spencer suit does not say to me polish, presentability and professionalism. Nor does a man wearing earrings. Or hair gel. And someone in a Winnie the Pooh tie is not someone I am going to take seriously. Is anyone?
But give me a chap in a nicely-tailored suit, shirt from Gieves and Hawke or similar, shoes from Cheaneys. Now I am looking at style. What I call sheen. Show me a pair of cheap, scuffed shoes, hardly polished, no proper heel, and I’ll show you an idler. You know what it says to me? It says, I can’t be bothered. It says to me, I’d rather be a prole. But show me a man wearing a nice set of cufflinks, you know what that says to me? It says attention to detail. It says class.
(Percival Lancaster – VP – Global Finance)