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11. May 2018

Dressing is like Music


Maximilian Mogg

Dressing is like music. To make good music you need to have a clear concept. The same applies to dressing well. As the dressman, you are the composer. In music, it must be clear to the listener what you want to communicate. In dressing, it is no different for those who see you. As anyone who has seen how my translator dresses can attest, the result is, more often than not, just a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Many a composer would like to blame their audience. However, I think that’s a bit too easy. Introspection should always be the first step.


Your first chord (much like the first impression you leave) should tell your audience a story. If, for example, you walk into a room dressed in a black suit and a black tie, I might be inclined to think of you as a bank robber. However, if you were wearing a yellow suit and an orange tie, my first thought would likely be (mother, forgive me) that you are a comedian. This is why it is important to dress appropriately and to know what one is communicating. For those asking: Yes, I am aware that I preach this almost daily. I’d rather say it one hundred times too often than even one time too few. So, where were we before your so rude interruption? Ah, yes, you were walking into a room. What if the room is where your job interview is supposed to take place? Yellow suit? Or black? Congratuwelldone, you are correct. Neither! A dark blue or dark grey suit is what you’re looking for, most often paired with a white or light blue shirt. Now that you know the rules, feel free to start breaking them. However, do not come crying to me if you go for the yellow suit and Adrian Veidt throws you out of a window. Sometimes, you need to be more dressman than Watchman!

Bryan Ferry with his back to the wall.


The overture was a rousing success. Unfortunately, (record-scratch, abrupt silence) this is a job interview. You need to dress appropriately (some might say boringly) in a dark blue or grey suit. How can you communicate that you are in love with a dark blue or dark grey suit (especially if teddy bears with hearts that say ‘I’m in love’ are perhaps a bit too gaudy for your prospective employer)? My suggestion would be to play with your accessories. You could pair an eggshell shirt with a subtly red tie, a lilac pocket square, and a mischievous smile. This is the essence of subtle non-verbal communication.

Timeless aesthetics and mastery of non-verbal communication: Fred Astaire.


Wouldn’t it be nice if things were simple? For you at least, they never seem to be. You could never express your love in a blue or grey suit. No matter what, whenever you wear blue or grey, you feel melancholy; even colourful accents can’t help. But, you cry, the world needs to know! Well, I think I might have a solution… Okay, I’m going to stop now, my dear reader. You know that I get carried away sometimes. The point is: clothing is about communication. And there are so many possibilities. This is where subtle elements separate the best from the good. Anyone can put on clothing – fun fact, if you don’t, you could be fined up to € 1,000 (and I can think of one or two better things you could do with that money. A new made-to-measure suit perhaps? wink) – but only the best can make you weep.

Helmut Berger in his best.

Additional information

Firstly, this concept can be applied to various subjects, perfume being the first to come to my mind. Think head, heart, base tones. Secondly, Prince Charles used to say that when he meets someone, it should be clear to them what he is going to say. That’s the key to communication. MM/DC