What is the Price of Confidence?

What is the Price of Confidence?

My mother inspired this month’s subject matter with one of her Italian phrases: “L’avaro è come il culo che ha paura che gli rubano la camicia”, which means, “A miser is like the butt that’s afraid of having its shirt robbed from underneath it”. After we all had a good chuckle, we discussed the many colourful and time tested pearls of wisdom that have been passed down from generation to generation. The following day, with the previous night’s conversation fresh in my mind, I began thinking about the old fashion adage “the clothes make the man”. Although not completely accurate, there is some truth to it, namelythe fact that appearance makes a difference.

Although self-assurance comes from within and is rooted in one’s knowledge and experiences, it is expressed outwardly by the way one presents and carries oneself. Every time a confident man interacts professionally or socially, whether closing business deals or attending a friend’s dinner party, he must look the part. If he were to wear sweat pants, a golf shirt and white socks, which would only ever be considered appropriate at the gym, he would fail to communicate poise and confidence. Although clothes may not necessarily make the man, they certainly announce him.

A confident and able man should be able to identify the key indicators of clean fitting clothes. When wearing a suit or sport jacket, the lapels and collar ought to lay flat, the former against one’s chest and the latter around one’s neck. On the whole, a suitable jacket length reaches the bottom of one’s seat while sleeves should stop at the wrist, or just past it if reducing shirt cuff exposure, and a balanced jacket hangs parallel to the floor. Meanwhile, shirts and trousers should produce a flattering silhouette. Dropped shoulders, large armholes and extra fabric throughout the body makes a shirt seem oversized and sloppy while a trouser with multiple pleats, baggy thighs, a long rise and incorrect length appears boxy and unattractive. The top of a shoe’s heal is where a trouser’s length ordinarily stops, unless one is wearing a slim leg width, in which case the trouser will be shorter to avoid excessive bunching. If a man is ignorant of how his clothes should fit, he will present a poor image and make a weak first impression.

Before reaching for the typical white dress shirt, convey individuality by considering a more distinctive alternative. Mauves, grays, blues, stripes or checks take a little more effort to coordinate but definitely help one stand apart from the crowd. Whichever dress shirt one opts for, it should always be well pressed, preferably by hand for the best results. For the record, dress shirts have long sleeves, which means a tie should never be worn with a short sleeve shirt or, for that matter, any casual shirts. When sporting a tie, select a knot that reflects your personality and sense of style. There are many types of knots to choose from, including Windsor, half Windsor and four in hand, all of which can be worn with or without a dimple. Be sure to unknot your tie at day’s end, but if you are uncertain how to re-tie a specific knot, there are many helpful online references. A finely pressed, crisp dress shirt and complimentary, well knotted tie are important elements in establishing a commanding personal statement.

To convey poise, a man should ensure that every detail regarding his appearance, from head to toe, is impeccable. A dapper man never wears athletic or casual shoes in the place of traditional dress shoes. When choosing elegant footwear, be mindful of the wide variety of available styles, such as loafers, brogues, cap toes and monk straps. Avoid monopolizing your closet with black shoes but generate well rounded options by incorporating brown, wine and tan shoes into your normal and seasonal rotations. Regular care and maintenance are vital measures to keep shoes looking their best. I suggest finding a reliable cobbler and investing in quality cedar shoetrees. Key details to be mindful of when finalizing an outfit include matching socks to one’s trousers and belts to one’s shoes. Optional rudiments that add significant panache to any outfit are pocket squares, which should match one’s tie or shirt, and cuff links. By paying attention to the smallest details, one’s appearance is underwritten with self-assurance.

Those, my friends, are loosely the rules of dressing like a confident man and they work. Ask any woman!