Although there are pockets of sharply dressed environments, the average South African doesn’t seem too obsessed with dressing up for our daily routines. Pretorians seem particularly in love with a look so casual it doesn’t even require shoes.
Or is that just me??
One reason we dress like this is that a large part of our identity as men is caught up in our jobs. Men are the providers, the workers of society. Though we might do very little physical labour, the notion of ‘my job’ and exertion are so intertwined in our psyche that we dress for laying bricks, even though we’re typing in an office.
Our casual dress is also a form of virtue signalling, as if to say ‘my standard of work is so excellent that it can outshine even this sloppy outfit’. And in an economic environment where many skilled people can’t afford good clothes, this sentiment has its benefits.
Men also have, in far disproportionate numbers to women, a broad spectrum of highly successful male role models who choose informal dress. And we mimic their explanations in our own justifications for casual attire.
I don’t have the time or energy to think about fashion
I’m a working man, I don’t just lounge around in suits all day
The greatest obstacle I encounter with gents who’d like to dress better, is that we’ve been socialized in this mode of thinking, and the distance between where we are style-wise and these guys on instagram,
Is so vast it may as well be interstellar…Though it needn’t be
Since I myself am a complete hippy on the inside, I know it’s actually really easy to up your style game without suddenly alienating you from yourself ;)
The first step is realizing your aversion to suits is a cultural bias, and that dressing better is not going to reduce your capacity to make decisions or turn you into someone with better shoes than work ethic.
Personally it took the realization that I was dressing specifically to be unnoticed, and why I was doing that, for me to begin addressing my dress sense.
The second step is to bond with your tailor, who’s writing these posts to help you on this fabulous journey ;)
Comment how you describe your personal style below, and head over to
TGT – Untucked
for a discussion on the virtues of tucking in one’s shirt