Our friends at Grantland have called NFL coaches to restore sartorial sanity to the sidelines. Wesley Morris laments how NFL coaches dress these days in “Sportstorialist: The NFL Coach Style Disaster,” arguing that the decline in football coaches’ dress is rooted in things like exclusive contracts with Reebok and society’s search for a fountain of youth. We see a shift from formal to function, as synthetic fabrics and an outdoor sport allow men to dress merely for the weather and to be one of the guys.
I couldn’t agree with Morris more. Football had such a good tradition of sharp-dressers, from Tom Landry to George Halas to Vince Lombardi. Let’s just focus on the simple, blue-collar chic of Hall of Famer Hank Stram. Nothing fancy here, just a dark blazer and gray slacks with dark tie. This is an everyman look because every man should have a navy blazer. It can get dressed up with a tie or dressed down with jeans and boots. The blazer allows for maximum versatility for the man who needs to be dressed for any number of occasions. (Corporate crest not needed, though pocket squares always add a nice flourish).
Clothes are not merely functional – they are powerful symbols. Good clothes inspire confidence: both other people’s confidence in you and your own self-confidence. Gentlemen, you don’t need to dress with the panache of Gordon Gekko doppelganger Pat Riley or with the Gatsby charm of Connie Mack. Good clothes – which is not code for “expensive,” but ones that match, that fit, are clean and neat – add beauty to the world, something that can’t be reduced down to just keeping warm or being comfortable.