Skip to main content


Come on chaps, stop dressing like slobs

Jon Hamm in Mad Men: not a t-shirt or hoodie in sight

When I go to work on the Tube, says Ethan Croft in the Evening Standard, “I am squeezed in between t-shirts and hoodies, feeling stuffy for having bothered to put on a jacket and tie”. Around my office in Liverpool Street – “the heart of finance capitalism” – proper menswear is thin on the ground. In Whitehall, the centre of government, a “seascape of navy and charcoal suits” has transformed into a “realm of denim jeans and shortened trousers”. A friend who works at a major consultancy firm says it’s full of shorts and multi-coloured beanbags. “They wanted to look like Google and they ended up looking like a pre-school class.”

This scruffiness was pioneered by tech firms, which presented dressing badly “as the mark of an innovative company”. But another reason many of us have stopped dressing like grown-ups is “because we’re not growing up”. Although we’re physically ageing, the difficulty of finding a stable home and raising a family in the capital means that our twenties, thirties and even forties “transform into an extended adolescence” – and we dress to reflect it. The problem is, few men are handsome enough to look good in casual clothes. The beauty of the old, suited-and-booted formula is that it smartened everyone up, “no matter how podgy, lanky, short or tall”. Far from snobbish, it’s a look that’s “deeply egalitarian”.

👖💼 Not all smart dressers get it right – including Rishi Sunak. The American menswear guru Derek Guy tore into the PM this week for wearing expensively tailored suits “with sleeves and trousers two to four inches too short”. Guy dismisses the theory that the 5ft 7in leader does it to make himself look taller – he thinks Sunak just doesn’t realise that shin-exposing formalwear hasn’t been trendy for about 20 years. Whatever the explanation, says Stephen Bush in the FT, “the combined effect is to make him look like a sixth-former who has outgrown his uniform”.

Christopher Furlong/Getty