Descending To The Common

As Longtime Readers know well, I am somewhat old-fashioned when it comes to pretty much everything matters of clothing and grooming, and I see with alarm that sartorial standards are falling — or being encouraged to fall — among people who should never let them do so.

I speak here of the British Royal Family — of which institution I have been a longtime fan — and of whom I, and everyone, should expect some kind of respect for good grooming.

However, it appears that of late, the younger members of said family have been dressing down to that horrible “smart casual” look.  Actually, there’s nothing “smart” about it;  a suit just looks sloppy without a tie, but apparently this makes princes George and William seem more “approachable” to the crowd (Latin: vulgus, from where we get the word “vulgar”).  So people can now relate better to these scions of a family once known as the Royal Family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and more recently as the Windsors.


So here’s how Prince William, heir to the throne, should  be dressing for his daytime engagements, compared with how “Wills” now dresses:


As for his brother, Prince Harry… well, he’s not exactly heir to the throne anymore, and he married some Hollywood harridan;  but even so:


And for both of them, I should point out that there’s a special part of Hell designated for people who wear suede shoes in the city (as opposed to out in the country, where they are perfectly acceptable).  And as a cautionary note to Harry:  blue suede shoes should remain an Elvis song and not a dress choice.

My point, in all this, is that if you’re going to have a Royal Family — i.e. one that is special and not part of the common herd, then one should strive to keep them above  said plebeians and not part of them.  And dress is as much a part of that distinction as anything.  Here’s their dad, who has always understood the thing:


…and I should point out that the second pic was taken after Prince Charles had just played a polo match, i.e. he was dressed for the occasion.

Now I must caution everyone not to go off on some anti-royal diatribe in Comments, because that isn’t the point of this post.  This is.

If you are special (in the eyes of society), you should always look special.  Here in Murka, no less a person than President Ronald Reagan (PBUH) understood this better than anyone.  He always dressed presidentially, except when working on his ranch:


The standard:  dress well at all times, except when you shouldn’t (e.g. when doing manual labor or playing a sport).  That goes for everyone, but most especially for people in high social standing.  Like the Royals.


  1. You are seeing it in the legal field as well. Suits are still required in court, but outside you will see all manner of dress. A lawyer once wisely opined to me (while we were both commiserating the situation) “If we expect clients to pay us hundreds of dollars an hour for our time, they deserve to see us look lawyerly.” Even though I’m not a lawyer, they are still paying hundreds of dollars an hour for my time, and they deserve to see me look like I’m worth it.

    My brother once paid me a high compliment. A cousin asked him, “does Phelps ever just wear a t-shirt and jeans?” My brother thought about it, and said, “Yes, when it would be inappropriate to wear anything else.”

    1. I cannot remember ever seeing a client without wearing a tie, except when we were playing golf. And even then, after-golf attire was a jacket, collared shirt, slacks and cravat.

  2. As a kid up to high school, students wore dress shoes, slacks, long sleeve shirt (white on assembly day) and tie. Then a female classmate in sophomore yr of HS got the ACLU to sue NYC to allow any dress a student wanted. It went downhill from there.

    My dad worked in a factory and still went to work dressed well in top coat and Borsalino Fedora hat.

    In my last job as a manager at a company owned by a crude uncouth family, I introduced a dress code for salesmen. I could not believe that they came to client meetings in tee shirts and blue jeans. Un- freakin believable…

  3. The world has changed, I was raised by a dad who wore a suit and tie to work every day and on Sunday when we went to church, he lived to be 92 and I never saw him wear jeans or a shirt without a collar. When I went off to college in the early 1960’s an all mens small college we had to wear a tie and jacket to dinner every night where it was a served meal, on Friday and Saturday nights coat and tie were expected on dates with the girls from the nearby girls college including basketball games. I just remembered that we also were expected to wear a white shirt with tie in the evenings and the girls dressed up for us too.

    As for the Royals, it appears the dad uses a full Windsor well tied knot while at least one son uses a half Windsor, I would expect a well knotted full Windsor from every male of the house of Windsor but what do I know?

  4. ZZ Top wasn’t just spinning moonbeams when they said:

    “Every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp-dressed man.”

  5. Reagan, in boots and jeans, cutting wood with a double-bit, still looks and acts more Presidential than someone riding a bike on Martha’s Vineyard.

  6. Prince Charles gets his bespoke suits from tailors Anderson and Sheppard in London.

    They run out at about $6000 per suit, but he wears them for years and is always impeccably dressed.

    Style and class never go out of fashion.

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