Ask Jeanne

ASK JEANNE Adding Signature

Hi Jeanne,
Last year I started a job at in financial services and wear a gorgeous suit daily. Problem is, so does everyone else. How can I add signature layer to my favourite Scandinavian two-button suit?




Dear Jeremy—


First of all, lucky you! I know some men may find it imposing, or even daunting, but the fact that you’ve got a gig for which you’re compelled to wear a “gorgeous suit daily” really is quite divine. This daily exercise is good style will keep you on your toes, and if you don’t already have a great fashion sense already, it’s bound to rub off. Call it osmosis, but looking sharp every day will make you feel sharp—I guarantee it. And that being said, it’ll do great things for your image, and undoubtedly impress those you’re doing business with. Interestingly, we’re going through a time when more and more people are feeling inspired to dress up. The old “casual Fridays” are even becoming a thing of the past. Certainly, if you work from home, there may not be a need to “dress up”, but for those of us who have to get out there and perform in the trenches, doing it in fine sartorial style is taking work to a whole other level.


Now, in terms of adding a signature layer to your favourite suit—well, that depends a lot on your particular personality and own personal preferences. But allow me to suggest that in fashion, God is often in the accessories. So let’s start with cool, classy, good quality shoes. They’re extremely important to every well-dressed man. And make sure yours are always nice and polished. Shoes say so much about a man! Perhaps ones with a bit of an edge would give you more of a distinctive flair. It’s also a no-brainer to punch things up with the right ties. Try finding a particular label you love, and start collecting some striking ones. They make great conversation pieces. Personally, I adore Hermes ties, and know several smart gents who strut them almost exclusively. Some Hermes silk prints are a little whimsical, if that’s your fancy. Or some are a tad more serious. But though a bit pricey, they’re all rather fabulous, and scream true luxury. If you’re on a budget, or just feeling more artsy, you might want to go the vintage route. There are some amazing silk vintage ties out there that are very distinctive and quite affordable. It would be wonderful to amass a collection of them, and become known for your exotic tie collection! I remember often running into the late great Ken Thompson, media baron and one of Canada’s most successful businessmen, and always being utterly charmed by each and every stupendous tie that he wore. He collected them, and that became a lovely signature style statement that he was famous for.


You might also start playing around with pocket squares. There are some fun ones out there, and if you really mixed them up, people would look forward to seeing which one you chose every day. I also know lots of style savvy men who swear by their socks! There are so many fantastic sock patterns around these days, from stripes to dots to paisley, that they’ve become amusing to collect. Socks also provide just the right amount of flash, and why not choose them according to your mood? That would make for lots of fun, and again, give co-workers a little something to look forward to every day. Of course, cufflinks also provide a great signature. Whether you want to start collecting vintage cufflinks, or splurging on some uniquely designed pairs, investing in some gorgeous shirts (to match your gorgeous suits) with French cuffs will undoubtedly inspire you to even greater sartorial heights.