NEW HY­BRID

Men's Folio (Singapore) - - Features -

In the new mil­len­nium, the con­fi­dence to dress in­for­mally and to dis­rupt tra­di­tional busi­ness codes only grew. Zucker­berg fa­mously turned up to his Face­book IPO road­shows in his stan­dard, non­de­script uni­form, caus­ing con­ster­na­tion among Wall Street veter­ans. But what cor­po­rate con­ser­va­tives don’t seem to un­der­stand is that the “CEO Ca­sual” look is not about age (the lack thereof ) or dis­re­spect. Rather, it’s about pre­sent­ing a mod­ern, in­de­pen­dent and in­no­va­tive mes­sage. More­over, dress­ing down only show­cases how much power he com­mands; just be­cause in­vestors dis­agreed with his fash­ion choice, doesn’t mean they’re go­ing to stop fight­ing for a piece of his com­pany ( in fact, Zucker­berg’s go­ing to stick to his ca­su­als, and in­vestors are go­ing to like it).

But as waves of hoodie-wear­ing mil­len­ni­als flooded com­pa­nies, it’s hard to tell who’s truly in­no­va­tive and who’s merely pos­ing. And once ev­ery­one in the work­place is wear­ing T-shirts, sar­to­rial in­di­vid­u­al­ity is poised to stand out. Hip­ster- dandies rose to re­vive the suit, but with mav­er­ick cuts to demon­strate that they’ve got the stuff to pull it off (case in point: the abom­inable shrunken suit – which orig­i­nated from Thom Browne - worn with ex­posed an­kles). There’s also a hy­bridi­s­a­tion of dress codes of sorts, ei­ther in the ensem­ble (suits worn with sneak­ers or jog­gers) or in the gar­ments them­selves (draw­string suit trousers, or tech­ni­cal-fab­ric suits like Z Zegna’s Tech­merino). The new em­pha­sis on orig­i­nal­ity and free­dom meant that any­thing goes in the of­fice, re­ally, in­so­far as it is pol­ished and pre­sentable. At the end of the day, the trend to­wards in­for­mal­ity doesn’t ac­tu­ally get away from the tra­di­tional busi­ness em­pha­sis on ap­pear­ance and pre­sen­ta­tion. It sim­ply re­places one stan­dard with an­other that is, in its own way, just as pre­oc­cu­pied with ap­pear­ance. But at the very least, men are fi­nally able to say that they wear suits when and how they want to.

Gucci

Burberry

Dior Homme

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