Tips on dressing to get ahead in the workplace, from the men who did it their way.
It’s a new year, and for many men success at work is a major resolution. But we all know just working hard isn’t going to cut it, and a mere suit and tie only makes you part of the wallpaper. Here are a few suggestions to give you that edge in the workplace, direct from some of history’s most successful men.
The original Fascist – or should that be ‘Fashionist’? No. ‘Il Duce’ led the way in 20th century power dressing. A medal-studded military coat will certainly command the attention of your superiors but a simple black shirt and grey tie says “I want what’s best for us and I’m not above invading Ethiopia to prove it!” Also, if you have a head not dissimilar to a bleached soccer ball why not make it your most commanding feature with a big felt hat? Or, for those all-or-nothing meetings with the executives, a fez.
Best worn: in winter, preferably whilst standing on a Jeep.
Want to make an impression the world will notice? This will have them talking about you for a thousand years! It may not be the first thing you think of for power-dressing but don’t underestimate the strength of leather shorts with a hint of testicular camel toe. This is a look that asks, “What? Something funny? I amuse you? Go on, say something!” And nothing says superior Aryan super-businessman like knee-high white socks and shiny school shoes. A severe, no-nonsense haircut is a must, but if you are worried about coming across as too serious the hair can be offset by a slightly playful toothbrush moustache – just to show you have a sense of humour too.
Best worn: in summer. Or at a book burning.
Shoulder pads are back! Part “Dubya” swagger, part Meg Ryan when people still gave a crap, Putin is always immaculate, very much the man in control. But let’s be honest, his tailored suits are not what you think of when you hear the name. You think of those publicity shots of him topless in a forest, right? Just as you did, your boss looked at those photos and thought, “Now there’s a fella that can placate the shareholders AND kill hisself a bear!” The strategically placed photo on the desk of you holding in your gut in a creek bed will get those tongues wagging. You need to be seen as a man of action. And getting the whole office instinctively humming “Ra! Ra! Rasputin!” every time you enter the room can only be a good thing.
Best worn: all year round. Real men don’t get cold.
A red shirt is not only slimming where it desperately needs to be, but also says you are a leader amongst equals. And you can’t look past a matching beret to distract from a pinched, sphincter-like face. This look says you don’t care about public opinion, and not just because you appropriated all the media and intimidated the opposition. You’re too busy working towards a utopian society to worry what the plebs think of you. You have BIG plans for the future, and everyone better get on board before you leave them in the dust. The beauty of this is when your plans fall through due to bad management and ludicrous expectations you can just blame the Yankee conspirators. This doesn’t make you inept, it makes you the underdog fighting the imperialist scum – by doing nothing at all! You’re not just a man of ideas, you’re a man of words. Yes, a red shirt and beret can go a long way.
Best worn: with a parrot.
Kim Jong Un
If you happen to be a grown man with an infant girl’s face, and not lucky enough to inherit the title of Unquestionable Deity, life can be tricky. But don’t worry, perfectly manicured eyebrows and an intimidating haircut that borders on being a lesbian stereotype can give you that edge. The hair is the key. Shaved sides say you are a man of authority and action, not to be trifled with. But the center-parted mop says you can be the fun-type crazy guy everyone wants at their table at the Christmas party. Sick of being overlooked by your boss because of that smug co-worker with a chin? Drop the suit and tie and wear your black pajamas. Think power, for God’s sake, you’re a god! Wear what you want!
Best worn: on a balcony.
Don’t be fooled, it’s not just bed sheets and hippie sandals. Drape yourself in purple for that imperial look of ‘the die is cast, bitch!’ An especially good look for the gentleman with thinning hair as a laurel wreath not only distracts from a bald patch but also gives that noble/Gaul-conquering/executive look. This is a look guaranteed to win you victory after impossible victory. Just don’t forget who your friends are when you get to the top. Seriously.
Best worn: most times of the year depending on the weather, however avoid during mid-March.
Part Prussian military powerhouse/part magician, this look will lull your boss and co-workers into complacency by virtue of those old favourites of the dictator – the comedy moustache and fluffy skull hat. Who would possibly suspect you are planning a hostile corporate takeover while sporting such a tash? Your hair means business but your upper lip says “the Milky Bars are on me! Here, pick a card…” Admittedly not every man can pull off the fluffy skull hat. If you can find the Kaiser’s other classic, the spiked helmet, go with that. It emphasizes authority, height, and a certain je ne sais quoi. Plus your superiors will stop demanding you bow to them.
Best worn: on Dia de los Muertos, Veterans Day, or during the mating season.