Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I like to wear a suit for business, I enjoy wearing a dinner suit for black tie functions as it brings out the Al Pacino in me and I love wearing a charcoal grey linen suit that was hand-made for me in Dubai as a gift from my darling wife, Maggie.

Suits are great and chic: Mad Men, Reservoir Dogs, The Blues Brothers, Men In Black fine examples of looking good.

I wouldn’t dream of seeing clients without wearing a suit or meet potential new ones casually dressed. I suppose it’s because I’ve always had to be smartly dressed for work – first of all in my days as a journalist when the first Chief Reporter I worked with would regularly say: ”Dress as if you were about to interview the Lord Provost” – and latterly in PR.

The reason for this sartorial discussion follows on from a BBC News website item that posed the question “Are Suits On The Way Out?” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12418046.

According to the report “a recent poll of 2,000 British workers by online bank First Direct found that only one in 10 employees wears a suit every day, more than a third of staff opt for jeans and only 18 per cent regularly wear a tie.”

It didn’t say what kind of jobs these people, men presumably, had. But, I suspect the majority would have been office workers of some kind: bankers, estate agents, financial advisers, lawyers, journalists and PR-types. Maybe not teachers, social workers or other professionals who can be more casually dressed, I would argue. And that doesn’t mean that the suits are more professional, it’s just that they operate in a different sphere, some might say a less arduous one but that’s a discussion not for this blog.

All in all, it’s down to workplace rules and regulations, or individual choice, if that’s permitted. I’m fairly relaxed about what people are wearing when they meet me, I have to say.

Doctors in jeans, no problem. Open-neck shirts for the chap behind the Post Office counter, absolutely fine. It actually reminds me of an appointment I had in London a few years ago with a PR company who were looking for some support in Scotland.

Suited and booted I headed south from a grey Glasgow into a scorching summer’s day in the capital. When I arrived at the firm’s offices near Tower Bridge, I was greeted by a young chap in a t-shirt, sandals, beach shorts and a brightly-coloured shirt. The only thing missing was the surf board.

“Crikey, Mike, are you not melting dressed like that?” he kindly asked. I was. My tie was loosened and jacket removed pronto.

When I worked in daily newspapers, Sundays were the Press’ equivalent of “dress down Friday.” Some executives turned up in hugely unappealing garb. One newsdesk man favoured tartan trousers that would have been more appropriate on a soldier on guard duty at Edinburgh Castle. Another reserved Sundays for sickeningly, garish shirts that you only wear to win a bet.

On weekdays in their suits, shirts and ties they looked more normal, though I use that term loosely.

In an earlier blog, I discussed my confusion over whether or not to wear a tie and today I mostly don’t. I put on a suit for business every day, but can’t remember the last time I wore a tie. A sharp suit and a neat shirt is a stylish combo, I reckon.

For me, wearing a suit for business is as natural as Superman with his underpants over his blue tights. Not sure about the colour co-ordination, mind you.

Any thoughts from either of the sexes on whether the suit deserves to be hung up in the wardrobe of history or if it still looks as good as I think it does?

Your views would be very welcome and interesting.


  1. Good post Mike.

    Suit without a tie is my preference (client side).

    However, would be good if you could also look at the do's and don'ts of suit jackets with jeans!

  2. Thanks for feedback, Mark.

    Suit jackets with jeans: a great big no-no for me. Horrible combination.