My younger son, Nick, is a Psychological Operations (PsyOp) officer in the U.S. Army. He often wears civilian clothes in his work. I am his wardrobe consultant, at least when it comes to business suits. I have lots of experience wearing business suits, gained over decades practicing law.
Nick used to be an Armor officer. He never wore business suits at work. He often wore flame-resistant ACUs and a tank commander’s helmet, like the one that ended the presidential aspirations of Michael Dukakis in 1988.
When Nick switched from Armor to PsyOp, he needed business suits. I advised him to start with Brooks Brothers basics: a dark blue suit and a dark gray suit. My advice has served him well throughout the U.S., in the Middle East and in Europe. You can’t go wrong with Brooks Brothers basics. No promotional fees were paid for this comment, but would be welcomed.
Earlier in the year, Nick was invited to a black-tie charity event in New York City. It would be attended by many machers — policymakers, politicians, pundits and philanthropists. Black-tie! Nick called me for sartorial advice. While my expertise is business suits, I did wear a tux to the senior prom sometime in the 1960s.
Don’t worry, I told Nick; wear your dark blue suit. You will not be ejected. Besides, what’s the alternative, a rental? Feh!
Can I wear my best shirt, Nick asked; it’s blue. Wear your blue shirt, I answered. This is the new millennium. People wear white after Labor Day. How about a red tie, Nick asked. Same answer. There will be others wearing dark suits and bright ties. It is a charity event, not the Oscars.
Nick texted a photo from the event, reproduced here. Nick is on the left. His dark-suited, blue-shirted, red-tied companion is eminent Harvard law professor and author Alan Dershowitz.
When it comes to dressing for success, Nick now knows I am the go-to guy. Lucky for the first President Bush that Gov. Dukakis didn’t have me on his payroll.
Stuart M. Israel Special to the Jewish News