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Glenn O'Brien on wearing suits

Posted on September 30 2013

"I love suits. In my family, the men wore suits to work and often off duty too. Getting your first suit was sort of a casual nondenominational bar mitzvah. You were a man. But unlike the rest of my family, I have never had a job where I had to wear a suit. Ive always worn them because I like the way they look and theyre practical.

Which is why, perhaps, I never understood the casual movement. Well, I did understand. People dont want to do what they have to do. But I never saw the casual workplace as a liberation. I thought it was a way for the rich to hide. A guy in jeans and a turtleneck doesnt look like a billionaire.

In creative offices, suits often mean the suits. The account guys. I used to get this when Id freelance as a creative director in big ad agencies. The writers and art directors usually wore rock-and-roll T-shirts, jeans, camouflage, sneakers, hoodies, flip-flops, stuff like that. Youre a writer? Why the suit? I never actually said, So I dont look like a slob. But the custom suit did make me feel like the rebels these creatives were desperate to be, and I had twice as many pockets. Nobody ever mistook me for a messenger."