Monday, 26 November 2012

Business dress Yellow Stockings Pink Shirts or a Kingsman ?

With any  written advice on the subject of dress and how it will affect our potential to ascend in society , earn more money or be more attatctive to the opposite sex , it is wise just to check the veracity of the data and the motivations of the author or commissioner of the information.

Pink Shirt was centre place in this
 Jermyn Street shop window in 2012
Stephanie Thiers-Ratcliffe, International Marketing Manager for Cotton USA, has recently commissioned  a  study  this year into shirt colour and fabric :

'You can tell a lot about someone by the colour they wear.’

 Such opinions were as prevalent in the first Elizabethan period as well as  in our own.

In retro die ( back in the day)    [scroll down to 2012 if history is not your thing]

The colour of dress mattered both in the costumes of the theatre players as the colour and fabrics of the audiences in Shakespeare’s day.

 ‘Twelfth Night’ is being played this Autumn 2012 with an all-male cast at London’s Apollo theatre has Stephen Fry playing the role of Malvolio.

 Malvolio is the very ambitious steward whose excessive social climbing aspirations get the better of him. His adversaries set a trap by dropping a  letter  supposedly written by the Countess Olivia.
Malvolio is tricked into wearing yellow stocking and cross gartering which he thinks will help him climb further up the social ladder – but these are fashions that the lady Olivia actually hates.

Dress and fashion in Shakespeare’s day was ‘regulated’

Only people of a certain class were allowed to wear silk.

The Government of England and Wales 1571 issued a  statute that every male of six years and above who was not a gentleman would wear a woolen cap. It had to be  worn on Sundays and holidays.

Indeed there a records of Shakespeare's Uncle being fined for refusing to wear his cap. This was probably as much to do with a protest against the enclosure of farmland as a revolt against wearing the cap.

The Elizabethan government had an investment in what people wore. These laws would usuually tell you what you should not wear.

In 1597, for example, Queen Elizabeth issued a proclamation ordering people of lower social orders not to wear various kinds of clothing or trim limited to those above their social station. This was a way of visibly creating, or reinforcing, social divisions.

Such laws were meant to ensure that when you walked down the street you knew who was your social superior and who your inferior.

Statute Cap Typical woolen had that the Groundlings
at the Globe might have worn

In specifying what you should wear, instead of what you shouldn’t or couldn’t, the ‘statute cap’ is an exception to that.

The cap is the only sumptuary law we know in which the government said you are going to wear this on Sundays and holidays – and obviously not everybody liked that.

It help the wool industry that had experienced a drop in sales by forcing poorer people by statute to wear a woollen cap. The Groundlings  who stood in the pit of the Globe theatre would  wear woollen caps.  
Such a cap was displayed at the BP sponsored Shakespeare Staging the world exhibition at the British Museum this summer part of the Culture Olympics .

In later times many street sellers adopted to wearing a kerchief around their necks as much as a provocation to the officers of the law (the Kingsmen) as well as denoting their status street sellers.. The word "kingsman" is  a slang term for the large kerchief worn by costermongers or street sales people used to wear ( origin  of costermonger  coster = a type of apple  monger =seller  therefore Apple seller BSJ before Steve Jobs!)

Old 20th Century advertsing poster and slogan to promote hats

I wonder whether hats will make a  comeback in business. Certainly the hat is making the news of late

Gary Oldman is besporting a hat in the O2 ads for its Priority Moments Ads,   X factor’s  Olly Murs  is often seen in a hat  and F1’s Lewis Hamilton in a Pirelli labelled Stetson after winning a Grand Prix in the USA.
Although the Stetson was worn with more style by the sadly missed Larry Hagman as JR !
Christmas 2012 Window of  Bates of Jemyn Street
Can you identify the Homburg, Bruand, Faena,
Gatsby, Tall Top Hat, Jermyn, Poet and Bowler?

Back to 2012 and the power of pink shirts

'Pink is a colour more men have been embracing recently and it's encouraging that they are not afraid to experiment with brighter colours”  says Stephanie Thiers-Ratcliffe, International Marketing Manager for Cotton USA,

'We spend most of our days at work and it's good for company standards, our own confidence and work ethic to remain smart, but that doesn't mean you have to be boring.”

 A typical pink shirt wearer earns £1,000 more a year than those who opt for other colours, the poll of 1,500 male office workers found.

The power of pink

Men who wear shirts of that are pink earn £1,000 a year more than those who don’t.

 Men who wear pink also tend to be confident and get more compliments from female colleagues.

 Pink shirt wairers are better qualified than those who favour traditional colours such as white or blue, it has emerged.

25%  of men feels more attractive in a pink shirt

One in ten male  pink shirt wearers having a PHD.

Men who wear pink are also twice as likely to have a Master's degree than those who favour white shirts

Pink shirt wearers on the other hand are more likely to have a low carbon footprint as half of them insist on taking public transport to work.

White shirt

Punctual: Men who opt to wear white shirts to work tend to be the most punctual, research suggests

Men who favour shirts with green tones are the most likely to be late for work,


those in blue have the least work romances

 Purple Shirts

 those who frequently wear purple or lilac have the most office romances. And if you are trying for a promotion then it's best to dress in a purple shirt, it emerged.

In the last five years men who are likely to wear purple shirts have had the most pay rises, so it's no wonder that one in twenty of them drive a car that's worth £20,000 or more.

'Men appear loyal to cotton when it comes to fabrics, but with colours and styles of shirts, men can experiment just as much as women can.

'Colour aside, clothing material is also an important factor for what you wear to work.'

(N.B. Remember who commissioned the research !)

5%One in twenty of those polled said there was rivalry between the  male members of staff over who looks the best and well over half said they like to make an effort with their image.


 42 % of men said they ironed their own shirts but

 one in 20 pays someone to do it for them.

Over a quarter have their shirts ironed for them by their wife or girlfriend,

 13 % still rely on mum to press their clothes.

More than half of men polled said ironing shirts was an irritating job, with the average man spending 24 minutes every week on making their shirts crease free.

Stephanie Thiers-Ratclifee added “ A crease free shirt is crucial to looking smart and professional, ironing can be a laborious task – making easy iron 100% cotton items increasingly popular.

 N.B. Remember who commissioned the research and avoid yellow stocking  cross gartered.

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