I was on an overseas trip back when I was twenty-five. I had a brown suit (which is not surprising) that was from Jil Sander (which is somewhat surprising). I brought the suit for New Year’s dinner and it had narrow lapels and fairly narrow, almost peg-legged, trousers. It’s not really something I would wear today, but it was nice, like something the Beatles wore in A Hard Day’s Night.
The weather was colder than I expected and the suit was the warmest thing I had. So I wore it a few days in a row with a white shirt. And, honestly, I was self-conscious. I never worn a suit in a casual way before. Somebody asked What are you dressed up for? And I did feel over-dressed. Who just wore a suit around like that? This was before I knew people who wore suits for pleasure every day. After a few days—the weather didn’t warm up—I felt more natural. No more questions from other people, or if there were, I didn’t care.
That’s a lesson about how many things you wear seem normal very quickly. But it’s a particular lesson about a suit. Not the default blue suit or something rarefied. This is what I call Suit Number 2 or a Suit you to lay down in. It’s one of the easiest ways to dress but most men remain reluctant.
So here are some well-tailored principles that are not that formal and can be useful in our everyday lives.