Let’s set the record straight. There are rules in dress if you want to look smart, and they’re there for a reason. There’s no ironic cool, just ironic fool (or, sometimes, just plain fool), in not doing these things; they’re non-negotiable, and inarguable. They can’t be misconstrued or applied otherwise.
Now I’m in no doubt that you’re all a well-dressed, sartorially educated lot – but even still, some rules need to be laid out. These are the answers to the questions you were too afraid to ask.
This first one is a faux pas in the highest regard: the large contents label sewn to the outside cuff. Fortunately, you don’t see a lot of it these days, but it still exists and I have always found it hard to understand. This is an antiquated marketing ploy and it may still have an old-world charm but is definitely never to be worn outside the store. Remove immediately.
A similar faux pas is the cross-stitched vent flaps. This applies to guys and girls with centre- or double-vent jackets. The vents are stitched up for neat display and transport, but for your own sake must be undone to allow movement and what we in the game call swing. No one’s going to say congratulations, you undid your vent stitching, but they might say something if you didn’t, so take care of it.
One of my favourites is the poorly fastened jacket. This applies to any style of tailored jacket (except a one-button) and too often it’s really just lack of awareness. But there is a simple remedy, easily adopted into any wardrobe, which can be remembered with this quick mnemonic: sometimes, always, never.
- Sometimes with the top button.
- Always with the middle button.
- Never with the bottom.
Just to clarify, if that’s a two-button, go the top; if it’s four or more, tread carefully but always leave the bottom undone.
There are other rules and there is etiquette that should be adhered to, but we’ll get to them in time. The rules, like those above, should not be broken. The etiquette, though, is a little looser and with proper care can be flaunted with casual aplomb so you can at least look like you know what you’re doing. More of that later.