It seems that lately a lot of folks who normally sell clothing are taking a crack at formal wear. Places like those big-box, big-chain menswear stores do a perfectly fine job selling perfectly nice clothing. Why not formal wear, too?
Well, as you might guess, here at Formalwear Ltd, we've spent a fair share of time around formal wear (30 years, to be specific). And among the many lessons we've learned during that 30-year stretch, we've learned one of particular importance: formal wear is not clothing.
Clothing goes with you to the corner store. Nice clothing might go with you to work. A good deal of clothing retires gently as scraps and rags, humbly shining up your hubcaps in its twilight years.
Formal wear does none of these things.
Formal wear goes with you when special things happen at fancy places. It joins you when your life is changing in big ways, and to celebrate other peoples' lives changing. Formal wear lives its own life of leisure and celebration.
Therein lies the appeal, of course. When good times are forthcoming, formal wear gets the call. Understandably, the folks that normally sell good old dependable clothing; well, they want a taste of the formal wear action. Honestly, we can't blame them.
But while those chain stores are fine for most things, there's a good deal they don't know about formal wear. Behind all of the high-society merriment and festive revelry that makes formal wear so deliciously appealing, is an equally great share of hard-earned expertise, and meticulous construction.
Unlike regular clothing, formal wear is invested with centuries of history and meaning. It's an art form realized in precision and subtlety, expression and personality, and perfected through a keen eye for the shifting tides of style.
A basic understanding of these things can make it look nice, sure. But it takes deeper understanding to make it look really nice—the sort of understanding that comes only with time.