I love a good blazer.
Its smart/casual appearance is apt for a range of venues and occasions: pubs, bars, trendy business meetings. In nearly all settings, the trusty blazer will impress.
It seems that the elite world of London's Private Members Clubs not only enjoy the sartorial smartness of a blazer - they love it. In fact, it's compulsory.
On my first, and possibly last, occasion that I recently found myself in the comfortable lounge of a famous Private Members Club (lets keep it nameless shall we?), under invitation from a well-connected friend, I found myself confronted on my clothes.
"Excuse me sir, your jacket..." a club manager says, interrupting our group, a hint of an elegant french accent.
"Oh, you're closing the cloakroom? You want me to collect my coat?" I offer politely, trying to finish the man's sentence.
"No..." he replied, "You're not wearing a blazer jacket... you need to come with me."
Nicked by the Fashion Police, during London Fashion Week. Awkward.
As I am led away, I find myself blurting excuses like a child on his way to the Headmaster's office, "I didn't know I'd be coming until the last minute, otherwise, well, I'd be wearing a jacket you see..."
"It's ok Sir, we'll see what we can do..."
At reception, the staff root through their cloakroom and fetch me a pinstripe suit jacket. It seems my options are to accept the offered fashion remedy, or head for the door.
"How does it look?" I ask cheerfully, trying it on.
"Well ... it's better than before..." comes the withering reply. Wow - the full Private Members Club experience.
If I had wandered in off the street, wearing ripped jeans, a stained fleece and a baseball cap, I would fully expect a bouncer, clad in designer labels, to hoist me by my collarless neck and 'escort' me out.
But it seems dark blue chino trousers, a smart v-neck jumper with a collar (albeit sewn in, but no one would guess), is tantamount to fashion crime.
Was this a wake up call to update my wardrobe, or is elite stuffiness all that's at fault here? Do clothes maketh the man?
According to the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, they do.
One of their studies discovered that if you wear a white coat that you believe belongs to a doctor, you'll be a more focused person. Wear a white coat that you think belongs to a painter, then you wont see any improvement in focus.
A limiting discovery, but it supports the idea that you can actually dress for success - that we think not only with our brains, but with our physical experiences.
I spent five years of my secondary education in a sharp black blazer, a gold eagle embroidered on the breast pocket. The school was an ex-grammar comprehensive, clinging on to its public school uniform and high standards, or so it hoped.
And yes, wearing that blazer and tie every day made me feel neat, tidy, empowered and focused. To be honest, I rather miss it... So perhaps a blazer permanently glued to my back is the route to success, and membership of a Private Members Club.
What lofty brand was the loaned jacket from the club, I hear you ask? Savile Row? Ted Baker?
No, it was good old M&S - thank goodness, an affordable name I can aspire to.
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