FTIL 16 – Bhambi Laws

bhambiOnce you’ve had a set of threads custom tailored, it’s hard to go back to the off-the-rack routine.  WSJ recently published an article on the finer points of alpha dressing where a banker had the inner pocket of his jacket precisely dimensioned to fit his choice of smart phone brand.  Little over the top if you ask me but you get the point…

One of the more respected establishments in North America for custom tailoring is Bhambi’s located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.  For almost half a century, they’ve been dressing celebrities, CEOs and politicians.  When Watch! Published an article on the operations that a father and son team runs, I had to write about so called The 22 Bhambi Laws of men’s couture.

  1. Know yourself.  Then get dressed.
  2. Quality is just important as the fit.
  3. A cheap suit fits no one.
  4. Every man alive is too young to smoke a pipe.
  5. A man looks better in a suit than anything else in his wardrobe.
  6. Even Ned Beatty looks good in a black turtleneck sweater.
  7. Act your age, not your collar size (not sure if I get this one).
  8. Jacket sleeves are tailored so that half an inch of the shirt cuff shows when your arms are at your sides (I think this rule is somewhat regional).
  9. Pants are cuffed so that no sock shows while you walk.

10. Your collar should complement your face.

11. Black shoes, black belt.  Brown shoes, brown belt (for extra style points, match belt buckle with band on your watch).

12. On jewelry: one ring.  One wristwatch.  You are done (cannot agree more).

13. One pair of top quality shoes is better than 10 cheap pairs.

14. Denim is for weekends.

15. That said, with a good white shirt, navy blazer and sharp pair of jeans, you can go just about anywhere.

16. Gray flannel pants are the navy blazer of cold weather.

17. A Crisp white dress shirt is the gray flannel pants of shirts.

18. The cheap suit is fused; the strong suit is stitched.

19. Just as important as the clothes; fresh haircut.

20. Your exterior side pockets remain sewn shut.

21. Unless you’re being financially compensated for it, wear no visible logos.

22. Business casual is no longer about Khakis.

There are lots of wisdom in these words…   Here’s to finer things in life.

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About Richard Lee
Experienced finance and operations professional. Currently partner in five companies, adjunct professor of economics at Columbia College and executive contributor to a small business blog (www.SMBmatters.com); following corporate finance, M&A and management consulting tenures with Orbitz and Diamond Technology Partners; and six years of service with the United States Army.

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