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Two World of 'Corporate Suit'

East Coast Versus West Coast Corporate Suit

We are in a strange place in corporate fashion, more so with ‘corporate suit’.  We have two basic trends. The first is the traditional where those in executive positions dress in typical navy blue, dark grey, and black suits, either with pinstripes or without. The entire atmosphere breathes seriousness, maturity, and gravitas. This can be considered as the spirit of the Wall Street set. And then we have the extreme opposite where CEOs and CFOs are found in blue jeans, crew neck shirts and hoodies. We can look at this trend as the Silicon Valley set. And each is a necessity. It is just as important to dress in this casual almost apathetic way of hoodies in Silicon Valley as it is to wear a three piece suit in the boardroom of General Electric. For clothes are codes, codes of both speech and behavior. To walk into a San Jose startup wearing peak lapels and pleated slacks is to make the same error as to take an interview at a brokerage firm in a t shirt and shorts.

This Silicon Valley trend of casual wear is not an issue of laziness however, but rather a strategic affront to the traditional ways of doing business.  The digital revolution in technology and commerce changed so much of how the analog world worked, the world of nine to five and the factory floor model of society that one of the ways owners of these companies set themselves apart was to shun the corporate model. They did this visually through an extremely casual reaction. By adopting the garb of the California stoner, companies like Google and Facebook, were making a statement of intent every bit as much as of fashion. “We will now do things our way, and we will look how we want to look.”

How one wants to dress in the executive suit then depends very much on where one wants to go and what one wants to be doing. For traditional finance and Fortune 500 companies, the business suit is a must, and the darker and richer the fabric, the better.   For the wild world of the startup, a studied casualness is preferred, so their corporate suit isn’t really suit by any means rather casual attire. There are no rules outside of a revolving mixture of blazers and hoodies and sneakers. This may be a great affront to Italian tailors, but we must take trends as they come and learn from them. By breaking down these at times stringent walls of dress in the corporate world, by running successful billion dollar companies, the Silicon Valley set has shown that clothes do not necessarily make the man. The man then makes whatever clothes he wants and profits by them.

Here at GvS Clothier, we won’t judge you for what you wear. We just say, whatever you wear, wear it with grace. And don’t forget to check out our collection of exquisite fashion.

Michael Snell

Loving father and husband