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195: Suits

suits tell stories


People wear suits. People love suits. People hate suits. There’s a popular TV series called Suits. Suits tell stories.

They tell stories, and we buy into them. Sometimes, the stories are innocent. Sometimes, they’re not.

This episode explores the history of suits in Western culture. It looks at how styles have changed as well as the symbolic stories that accompany those styles.

You’ll learn about how you see others and yourself as we travel through time with changing fashions. These are some of the stops we’ll make along the way:

  • Regency period – early 19th century – the age of Beau Brummell, a British dandy and fashion setter.
  • Victorian period – mid 19th century – the age of the morning coat and the introduction of the dinner jacket for men.
  • Edwardian period – early 20th century – the morning coat becomes standard business dress in town and country.
  • Post World War I into the 1920s – short suits become popular and the dinner jacket dominates.
  • Post World War II – emergence of the grey flannel suit – it comes to represent drab middle class conformity.
  • Late 20th century and early 21st – rise of the individualistic entrepreneur – the gradual demise of corporate culture

Today, the suit does not tell the story of influence, respectability, and authority as strongly as it used to.  We see the rise of new icons like Gary Vee, slightly disheveled, rough around the edges, and highly influential. A new look with a new story.

The story of suits is the story of power and influence.

What stories do your clothes tell, and how do they affect your happiness and success?