The DB Stare - Page 2
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It has struck me that people in Manhattan have generally dressed a bit better since the financial crisis. Less business casual, more suits, fewer odd jackets, more ties, more pocket squares, fewer truly terrible shoes. Not all of this is quality, of course, but overall the effort level seems to be higher.
But one thing I have noticed. DB seems to freak people out these days. All the ones I wear are solid gray or dark blue. I wear them maybe 5% of the time. Always with very plain everything else: either a solid shirt with a discrete tie or a patterned shirt with a solid tie, and sometimes all solids. Still, every time I do, I get stared at. A lot.
This never used to happen and I used to wear crazier DBs accessorized with much more crazy. I take it the DB's day is finally over and regular joes now see them as frock coats?
Interestingly, three piece SB does not generate the same astonished stare.
Perhaps it's the shirt/tie austerity that generates the initial glance and then calls attention to the DB.
A pinky ring might fix that.
I don't think you are either. DBs do stand out, particularly in financial services where the business uniform is pretty narrowly defined. I experienced this first hand just a couple of weeks ago, went with a number of senior guys (4 or 5 group heads) to a big pitch and one guy shows up in a charcoal DB suit. Right after the meeting, all the other guys had something to say about the DB, how they could never pull it off, etc... Two hours later at the airport, there were still mentions of the DB suit. It does get noticed.
2. I don't know about Manhattan but it's been my impression for several months that double-breasted jackets are coming back INTO style. Maybe you're just too much of an early adopter, or maybe it is that weightlifting you've been doing - you are clearly an imposing physical specimen - some might even call you Schwarzeneggerish
3. I've also noticed that Californians seem to think you are wearing a suit anytime you wear a tailored jacket with something other than jeans. I get those comments here all the time as well.
I don't think I am imagining it. At least once, in the office, the reaction was unescapable. Also, I do not notice the same stare with SB, so it can't simply be my good looks.
Last Wed I was in SF, SB blazer, OCBD, cotton pants, basically a California Tux with no tie, walking along the embarcadero to the Ferry building and a carful of people went by and several women shouted "NICE SUIT" at me. I really don't know if that was meant as hipster-ironic. I mean, it was a nice jacket, but hardly eye-catching. But a jacket of any kind is so rare there nowadays that who knows.
"it's actually a notched-gorge single breasted sportcoat ye sloven uncouth wench"
Anyway, yeah, Greg, no one has yet said anything to me yet but I have gotten some odd looks in the building. Since I don't see clients it doesn't matter but after 20 years of wearing DB, including to the White House, it's strange to me that only now is it something that people seem to notice and care about.
About a third of my suits are now DBs, and I do get stares all the time. Surprisingly, my linen 4x2 DB sportcoat is hardly ever noticed (perhaps because I wear it w/o a tie).
Pocket Squares seem far more commonplace these days (well, at least in Midtown). People would stare or comment 4-5 years ago, but now no one seems to care/notice.
Are you sure it's not just that a self-reinforcing bias i.e you see someone staring once (maybe nothing to do with the jacket) and then look out for it more, so see it more, and so on? Given that most people barely glance at other people while they're out and about, my hunch is this is probably more likely.
But if what you're noting is actually really happening, a possible explanation for the difference is that the 3pc suit was brought back into mainstream RTW (in generally terrible ways, but still...) about 5-10 years ago and maybe reached an apex a couple of years ago whereas DB's have only been coming back into mainstream RTW over maybe 1-3 years and won't peak for at least another couple of years. At least, I'd say that's the timeline here, I don't know about NYC but I suspect it's fairly similar or only a little behind. So DBs are rarer sights than 3pc at the moment. Give it a few years, and it'll flip round in favour of DBs.
Then in about 3-5 years the cycle will trend back to 3BSB suits (I'd say there are some early signs of it returning at the margins).
One can opt to dress (mostly/partly) outside the fashion cycle but it does still exist, and influences general perceptions of what's "typical" and what's not. Shrug and move on, unless you need to deal with people whose opinion on the issue matters in a significant way.