The discussion of black tie attire earlier started me thinking (always dangerous): for a majority of men in present day America, it is likely equally true that, as with black tie, they have no occasion day-to-day, week-to-week, or maybe even month-to-month to wear most of what we put on our well-dressed lists. The best personal example I have of this sad phenomenon is my friend who, at his father’s funeral, wore a seen-better-days sport coat, too tight trousers, and casual shoes because that was the best he could do on short notice. This gentleman, and he is a gentleman in every meaningful sense of the word, is a senior level Ph.D. scientist who, among other thngs, travels the world making presentations on behalf of the government of this country. He has a good income, as does his wife who also holds a post-graduate professional degree, a lovely home, two fine European automobiles and an envirobox, and insignificant debt. His wardrobe circumstances, he told me, were attributable to the fact that “scientists just don’t dress up.” In light of his funeral experience, however, he decided that he wanted some wardrobe basics and asked me to help. It was sale time at Brooks Brothers, and he said he liked their shirts, so I arranged to meet him there. I went early and picked out, with his personality and life in mind, the following from the upper end of the offerings on hand: -one navy suit, 10 oz. worsted -one medium-dark gray suit, 10 oz. worsted -one navy blazer, 9 oz. tight weave hopsack -one wool sportcoat, brown/black/gray check 10/11 oz. open weave -two pair medium gray trousers, 9/10 oz. worsted -one pair black calf punch cap oxfords -one pair brown grain calf, split toe bluchers The total cost, with sale discounts where applicable, allowing for the inclusion of several shirts and ties, would have been less that $5,000. I told my friend, and I submit to you, that with this “wardrobe” he could travel anywhere and do anything he might need/want to do, short of black tie, and always be well and properly attired. I gave him examples of life events that most every man in his position faces and explained the options he would have from the clothing I suggested. He understood everything and did not dispute anything I was saying. He expressed admiration for each of the items I had picked out, though I made clear that there were other choices available within the same guidelines. He then bought the sportcoat, two pair of trousers (one of the gray I had suggested and one pair of brown), and the black oxfords. He said that was more than he had ever spent on clothing but that he understood the gaps he was leaving and would think about the other items. That was about a year ago, and he’s still thinking. And he is still a gentleman. And I am still crying.