Monday, December 8, 2014

Suit Up - but in what color?

Today's post comes from "Dad" Dan Loughin, Assistant Director of the KeyMan Conference. His post is in response to my post of last Thursday. Enjoy! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

In a recent blog post, “Dad” Anthony had mentioned that “most men only own one suit – a black one.”  At first, I simply chuckled.  The reason is that not only do I own more than one suit, since I have to wear one every day for work, not one of them is black.  I must not be like most men (and, honestly, if any of you have had the pleasure of meeting me, you’d agree wholeheartedly).

This also got me on this train of thought: why?  Why is it that men will stick with a black suit?  There are a few possibilities, but nothing stands out more than this answer: comfort and safety.  Most men stick with black because that’s what they are used to, and that’s what they believe most other men will do, so they stick with black because they know it’s safe.  I’m here to change your minds with two words: go Navy (and, no, I’m not talking about the college football team).

To understand why I’m suggesting Navy, you need to know what the colors actually mean.  Black is traditionally associated with power, elegance, formality, death, evil, and mystery.  With black, if everyone is wearing it, you lose the power, negated by everyone wearing it.  Tuxedos are black because of the elegance and formality, but we’re talking about a normal suit here.  There’s also a reason why people wear black at funerals.  And with the psychological effect of black, why would you want to portray death, evil, and mystery to those outside of DeMolay?  Blue, which is where Navy falls, on the other hand, is traditionally associated with trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.  I can attest to this fact.  After I started wearing a Navy suit to work (I’m work in sales), I started producing at a higher rate for the simple fact that people trusted what I was saying.  I don’t sell anything that people don’t want or need, but I still have to convince them as to WHY it’s a good idea to purchase.  And blue goes a long way in building that initial trust. (Disclaimer, however: just because blue builds the initial trust, you can easily ruin it with your words and actions, so please be mindful about how you speak and act.)

Another reason I’m suggesting Navy is for coordination and matching.  Black is far more inflexible than Navy.  Navy is also a softer color than black.  Let me put it this way: “Dad” Anthony mentioned that black suits only work with black shoes.  Navy, on the other hand, can handle both brown and black.  And while you’re limited in the same fashion with shirt color, striped shirts look better with a Navy suit (in fact, I only wear striped shirts with my Navy suit, and no other).  Also, because of the strength of black, you have to be careful what color tie you wear with your black suit, because you could send the wrong message unintentionally.  And the Navy and yellow DeMolay bow tie that is so popular now isn’t as over the top with a navy suit.

Finally, and possibly most important, is that you stand out.  Remember the comments that most men buy a black suit?  If you don’t wear one, you immediately stand out.  Now, while you’re young, you may be shy and want to stick to the background.  Which is fine, but when you become an adult, you’re going to want to stick out in some fashion to get what you want.  Want to get the job?  You’ll be thought of the guy that didn’t wear black, and being thought of AT ALL in the interview process is positive.  Want to impress your crush?  Navy.  You’ll stand out and catch their eye.  Even better, when you’re on your date, no one will confuse you with the wait staff at dinner.

Wrapping up here, I’ll just leave you with some pearls of wisdom.  No matter what anyone says, a suit does not make the man.  A suit is not a costume to make you appear more of a gentleman; you need to act as such all the time.  Same stuff written above applies to charcoal.  Don’t eat yellow snow (I’m just seeing if you’re paying attention).  Only wear your suit when appropriate (i.e.: don’t wear it to the gym). 

Until next time, stay classy! ~ "Dad" Loughin

P.S. - If you are ASKED to wear a black suit by the host or director of an event, you better make sure you wear black.

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