Lay of the Land

There is going to be a decrease in pictures of me in ties, blazers, and sport coats. I hope that this temporary, but only time will tell. Wondering why? Well the reason is that I started a new job last week.


I have written about this before, but it’s worth revisiting. Ties, blazers, and sport coats are tricky in the modern office. This is especially true when you are not upper management. There are all kinds of connotations and associations that go along with these items and while that is not necessarily your problem you may feel the consequences.

My advice is to play it safe. Take stock of who wears what and try to understand the office norms. If ties are the standard you are golden. If no one wears ties including all of the directors and VPs it may be best to hold off until you have established yourself. Of course you can always throw caution to the wind, but you may end up keeping your tie and losing your job.

So for the meantime I will be in my basic uniform of blue OCBD, plain-front khaki chinos, penny loafers, and olive surcingle. Luckily for me I am okay with that. In a couple of weeks I might wear a blazer with no tie as outerwear to the office just to ease into it. Oh, and the office runs cold so lots of Shetlands ;).

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

24 Comments on "Lay of the Land"

  1. Tom says:

    Welcome to Columbus!

  2. Robert says:

    Congrats on the new job! What line of work are you in?

  3. oxford cloth button down says:

    Robert – I work in advertising. Specifically digital advertising. I used to work for an agency, but I am now client side doing it in-house.

    Tom – Thanks! I have worked in Columbus a lot, but will now be relocating there as well. I am excited about that

  4. Joel Vau says:

    Congrats,hopefullly, Jerrod. Super advice for the young hoping to fit in. There were many opposite opinions to a guy on Ivy Style last week and I was very glad when someone wrote in and offered just what you did. Most were like, ‘who cares, wear what you want’. But that can be a detriment even to a senior executive these days. Veyr sad but a true result along with many other very sad but true things in culture these days.

  5. Pat says:

    Good news. Sound reasonable, plus it’s August. You may want to vary the belt and go wild with a
    striped shirt once and awhile. Don’t want people to think you have no access to a washing machine or haven’t found a drycleaner yet. Great Art Museum in Columbus.Enjoy.

  6. Pat says:

    Columbus. Here’s a link to a house that I think deserves a traditional owner. Maybe more space and
    budget than you need or want, but a man can live vicariously.

    • Andrew says:

      Perfect “Storybook” house for a trad. Prices in Columbus are almost unbelievable by California standards. A garage in SF costs more than this whole house.

      Other good trad choices would be Stockbroker Tudor of the 1920s, or an earlier Arts & Crafts, or what in San Francisco is called Edwardian or Italianate (1900-1920) meaning formal boxy neoclassical.

      In any case, good luck in your new job.

    • oxford cloth button down says:

      Pat, that is a great house!!

  7. oxford cloth button down says:

    Pat – I do have a few Uni stripes and surcingles in my small repertoire which is my version of mixing it up! I also have some burgundy penny loafers in addition to the brown pair.

    Joel – Thanks! The world of work is not an easy place to navigate.

    • Joel Vau says:

      I am in the C suite and the other 4 eschew ties and even jackets most times. I rarely if ever feel complete w/out a tie. Making it worse, I am the HR officer who must enforce our attire policy.

  8. Old School says:

    Best of luck in your new job, Jerrod.
    A small repertoire is the essence of Trad.

  9. Another Robert says:

    Do you have a preference for brand of surcingle belt?

  10. oxford cloth button down says:

    Another Robert – I like Leatherman Surcingles. You can find a link in the post below this one.

  11. Tweeds says:

    OX Looks like you bought a new briefcase. Which one did you buy? The new look is great. Good luck on your new job.

  12. Lennart says:

    Congratulations to the new job and all the best of luck.

  13. Jon DiBenedetto says:


  14. George says:

    Just went to a class reunion – out of the 20 or 25 guys who showed up I was the only one who wore a jacket and tie. In 1988 we had one, same class, every man had on a suit or jacket and tie – says a lot about what has happened in 30 years.

  15. paper clip says:

    Congratulations on the new job! I hope it works out for you. I just recently went in-house and decided to stick with the tie even though no one else wears one, including executives. Now, it is just part of who I am at work. I would think in advertising you have the ability to have your own clothing personality, especially where you dress so well. Even though you wore a tie, you looked smart business casual with khakis, as opposed to wool pants. Of course, you know you best and should rely on your sense of the mores of your new workplace. Perhaps when you have a few more years under your belt, you’ll feel more free to be you and you’ll find out that people will accept you if you are a good guy and teammate.

  16. Steve L. says:

    Hope you enjoy these many life changes. If you’re moving then I guess we’ve seen the last of that old brick building in the background of your photos. That was practically your trademark!

  17. Andrew Friedman says:

    I met a friend (we’re lawyers at different firms, we sometimes work together or cross-refer business) at the Palm for lunch today. We’re normally casual on Fridays, but I figured that the networking aspect of the lunch and the choice of restaurant suggested a slightly better-dressed approach. I wore plain-front wool trousers, which are my standard uniform all week unless i’m going to court; a button down oxford (happens it’s a plain white Michael Spencer), color 8 loafers and a matching belt, blue blazer with nickel-colored buttons from Brooks, no tie. I was overdressed, or maybe my friend was underdressed – he wore seersucker trousers and a polo shirt, interesting combination. sign of the less-formal times.

  18. roman totale XVII says:

    Late posting this, but I’ve enjoyed catching up with the last few months-worth of posts. Good luck in the new job and congrats on moving it to Columbus. May you one day graduate fully and make it to Cleveland! 😉

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