At a wedding this fall, I noticed a strange generational divide. All the young men — the friends of the bride and groom — were impeccably dressed, crisp from head to toe in well-fitting suits, jackets, and shiny shoes. The older guys? Dapper enough, but their collective style paled in comparison.
To me, this seemed indicative of the kind of care young men are taking these days to look and act the part — even if they’re not yet sure exactly what that part is.
Much ink has been spilled on the plight of today’s youth, those ill-fated so-called “millennials” who can’t hold down jobs, buy houses, or keep their eyes off their phones long enough to watch two people say “I do.” There is a lot of ugly truth to that bad luck, or bad timing. Talk to anyone amongst this demographic (includ- ing me, if you happen to see me at a wedding reception), and you’ll get a sense of what they’re up against. I won’t dwell on it here, but I will say that, if presentation is any indication, the young guys are definitely going down swinging.
And why shouldn’t they? Dressing well is such an easy way to take a stand — to stand out in a crowd or to stand stoic against a world not of your own making. A tailored suit and a polished pair of oxfords will always be a good platform.
But what’s more, the guys at this wedding all seemed to have found their own sartorial voices. This was not a sea of pale grey suits, nor was it an expensive designer showcase. Instead, these men showed individuality in their own burgeoning senses of style. There were daring jacket-trouser combos, ties of all patterns and widths, and carefully groomed hair and beards of varying lengths. The groom himself wore an unconventional (but excellent) plaid three-piece. Unlike the older men, who had filled out their careers and lives as easily as they had their well-worn suits, the younger guys looked ready to take chances, take action, and take on the world. It was almost like they were vowing to. And what’s more powerful than that?