I Like Wearing Suits But I’m Not a Suit

Those closest to me know I like to wear fine tailored clothing. I like wearing things that fit as if they were made just for myself, the luxurious feel of the fabrics, and the artisanship of fine clothing. I like how tailored clothing accentuates the positives of my physique while minimizing the less than flattering. I love the earthy tones of tweed and the opportunity to pick just the right shirt and tie to go with my vintage tweed jackets. I love the dapper look of my double-breasted suit which was made with a true canvas chest piece that molds uniquely to my body and the fine, silky wool fabric with elegant stripes. When wearing my “power suit”; I feel regal, powerful, and like someone that commands respect.

I like wearing my suits with a creative flair: striped shirts, cufflinks, pocket squares, fashionable socks, and bow ties express my individuality.

While wearing tailored clothing I stand taller, sit up straight, feel more dignified, and behave in a more genteel manner. I already have good manners but I feel compelled to behave like a true gentleman when dressed up. My self-esteem improves. My attitude and perspective shifts. I could be having a bad day but’s not so bad when I have my favorite ancient madder tie paired with my Brooks Brothers oxford cloth shirt on.

Wearing your nice clothes doesn’t always mean that you have to be stiff and formal. The English country look is refined but casual and comfortable. During the cooler months, tattersall shirts, soft sweaters, and corduroys become the staple of business casual. I change out the shiny black wingtips for suede shoes or a pair of loafers.

I enjoy my clothing and have fun with it. It’s a form of self-expression.

Unfortunately I work in IT which hates suits with a passion. Wear a suit or any nice clothing to the office and you get “where’s the interview today, chief?”. Dress up just a little bit and your boss thinks that you’re either uppity or looking for a new job or kissing up for a promotion. Colleagues fell uncomfortable around you while wearing their t-shirts and track pants.

When I start a new job, I dress smartly then cave in to the peer pressure to dress like a slob while my good clothing gathers dust at home. Weekends I plan activities around cultural events so that I can wear my nice clothes. I’d like to wear my nice clothing six days a week intend of two.

I wish that colleagues can make the distinction between wearing the suit and being one. I like wearing suits but I’m still the creative, innovation-driven person that loves IT infrastructure. I don’t like corporate stuff or bureaucracy. By being pressured into wearing the uniform of IT nerds, I feel that ironically am being forced to conform within a community of people that profess to embrace non-conformity (IT and graphic design). Wearing nice clothing reminds us to be polite and treat each other with dignity which is something we sorely need in the workplace. Vintage and quirky wardrobe items still allow for some individual style.

As I grow older, I want to be more dignified and dress to my age. I feel stunted while wearing t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers at the office. I feel like I’m unable to express my own creativity by doing something contrarian to the current standards of dress for IT and creative people.

I’m struggling right now with the want to wear nicer clothing and the future of my career. I’d like to return back to web/UI design but fear that creative types won’t take me seriously or question my creativity because I’m wearing “grandpa clothes”. Sometimes my design ideas come from items in my wardrobe and would love to rock the “professor look” as it projects maturity while allowing for individual expression. I don’t want to grow a lumberjack beard and wear clothing three sizes too small out of peer pressure and need for economic security.

Could I be an artist /creative and still dress trad/preppie? Or will my creative abilities and credibility be called into question? Or is the only way to live how I want to live is to go it on my own as a consultant?