Sunday, May 19, 2013
Dressing Well Within Your Limits
Another thing that I consider when dressing well is my physical limitations. If I buy clothes without recognizing them I’m just wasting money on something I can’t use.
I don’t have full movement of my arms and upper body. This makes putting on and taking off suit jackets and blazers a daunting task. I also have a harder time moving my arms when I am wearing a suit jacket. Whenever it’s appropriate I substitute either a sweater-vest or a dress vest (like you might find as part of a three-piece suit) for a jacket. That keeps me nice and business-like without the struggle to put a jacket on and the difficulty moving in one.
One of the most asked questions in men’s style is “how do I tie my necktie?”
There are hundreds of videos on YouTube. You can do one search and find out 10 different ways to tie your necktie in less than a minute — but most of them aren’t very helpful if you can’t move your fingers well enough to tie knots.
My solution to this problem is simple, I just buy neck ties that are already tied.
Most snappy dressers will swear that you can’t get a pre-tied tie that looks as good as one tied by hand, of course, but I’ve never had anyone complain about mine and they’re a great solution if you have trouble with knots. My favorite type is a zipper tie (not to be confused with “zip-ties,” those little plastic bindings), which come pre-tied with a zipper hidden inside the knot. They don’t have the obvious buckle-bulge you get with a cheap clip-on and I don’t have to spend half an hour fighting with a knot to go out looking good.
A pocket square really adds a special touch to an outfit. It tells everyone that you pay attention to details and care about personalizing your looks.
Unfortunately, just like the tie, I don’t have the dexterity to fold a pocket square the way I’d like. Instead I’ve developed my own little trick: I have one person help me fold the square once the way I like it, and then I sew or staple a small piece of cardboard inside the bottom of the fold.
When I want to wear a square I just slip the pocket square in, cardboard first, hiding the stitching/staples and leaving the nice fold displayed. You’ll see rental places using the same trick. Done right (and not all rental places do get it right, but I make sure I do) no one will ever know the difference. It limits the types of fold I can use a bit, but it saves a lot of time and makes putting a pocket square in an easy, solo operation.