The Working Man: Wardrobe Revolutionaries

by Andy F. | January 20th, 2011   
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By Andy Flynn

From the boardwalk to the board room, these pop culture icons define a century of workplace fashion.

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Become the Chairman of the Boardwalk with a roaring 20s mix of plaid and paisley.

Atlantic City (circa 1920)

If business got its roots from organized crime, than legendary crime boss Nucky Thompson of Boardwalk Empire sets the standard for what would become formal work dress attire as we regard it today.

Prior to the “zoot suits” of the 1930s and 40s, the post World War I era was marked by a new fashion trend: the birth of the slim and skinny suit (though still a bit heavy being made from pure wool). Impeccably tailored, Nucky’s vibrant clothing was a depiction of power and charisma in the in a society captivated by the pre-depression American Dream.

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Dress Like Draper: Many stores such as Banana Republic are selling the “Mad Men” look. All you need is a Hugo Boss or Tom Brown skinny suit and you’re set.

Madison Avenue (circa 1960)

As the creative director and junior partner of a prominent 1960’s Madison Avenue advertising agency, you have to look the part. Don Draper and the other characters of Mad Men reflect the styles of the era: narrow ties on starched white collar shirts, pleated pants and three-piece suits (which were actually lighter in weight due to the era’s adoption of synthetic wool).

Wall Street (circa 1980)

When I think of 1980s corporate fashion, Gordon Gekko always comes to mind. Simply because Gekko’s fashionable dress was one of the most important aspects that radiated the sense of power and success enabling him to dominate Wall Street.

From the colorful suspenders, shiny shoulder padded suit jackets, and dress shirts with different color collars, down to the Italian handmade dress shoes, gold & silver accented cuff links, tie pins and outrageously expensive watch to match ($10,000 min), Gekko’s choice of apparel not only made him stand out, but also added an authoritative air and promoted a dominating physical stature.

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Do It Right: Work the suspenders like Gekko by pulling your pants up just a nudge higher than your waist line, also never wear a belt with suspenders -it will make you look unprofessional.

Boston (circa 2000)

Denny Crane, egotistical founding partner of a huge law firm with offices around the world, was characterized on Boston Legal by his imported cigars, expensive scotch and high-end sense of fashion. From his hand made Pavone ties to the Ganton shirts (custom-made to perfection from  fabric and cut to collar and cuffs). While Denny’s vanity was manifested in his hand-made wardrobe, the look he achieved was one of confidence and professionalism.

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In order to dress like Denny,your tie and pocket scarf must match (color, brightness and fabric) and offset your modern fitted shirt and perfectly tailored single-breasted suit -Denny’s crisp and clean signature look.

Which fashion icons will become the definition for the 21st century?

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