Suit urself bub
Monday, April 27th, 2009
On a recent trip to New York, we stopped through Brooks Brothers on 44th and Madison, where I bought suits while I worked on Wall Street in the 80s.
Brooks Brothers, once Wall Street’s bustling official dressing room, was a silk-strewn and worsted-wool-festooned desert.
Of course, two seconds of thinking made it obvious that no sane banker is today spending $80 on a hank of silk to wrap around his neck when in doubt about his job prospects. A simple rope will do.
And who wants to spend $1600 on a suit, below, and then find himself only wearing said suit to Starbucks to sip coffee and browse TheLadders? A track suit will suffice.
Suits are useless as anything other than social devices traditionally deployed to signal that the wearer is not a manual laborer, that the wearer is a cut or three above the hoi polloi. White collar and all that, don’t ya know.
But now, of course, a suit is worn predominantly by folks who made a bunch of lousy bets with other people’s money or who are now living large on the public dole.
When the economy comes back, will the suit return too? Not if banking loses its aura as an esteemed dynamo of capitalist innovation. You don’t find a soul wearing a suit at SXSW, where the creative class — programmers, designers, writers and ad execs — gather to hobnob every March. Suits may soon the way of the top hat, the cummerbund and 3% ten year US T-notes.