I’m one of the people who doesn’t really care about strangers, yet I constantly wonder what their story is, where they’re headed, where they’ve come from, I think you get the picture. One of the most fascinating internal observations I make is about someone’s profession, and I think that the way a person dresses for the office speaks volumes. Having now worked in two distinct, yet somewhat similar, neighborhoods, I’ve honed my ability to make stereotypical comments specifically regarding this matter. With that, let me share with you a variety of “guys” I’ve observed in their different habitats:
MIDTOWN EAST: Your consummate professional. Historically reserved for Mad Men types from advertising firms, obscure banks, and the publishing industry, your average gentleman walking around the east 50s is suited up and, for the most part, well dressed. While he may be found donning the omnipresent yet horrific luggage colored driving loafer, this guy is still probably well-tailored on top. This is a classic neighborhood with jobs and companies that have equally distinct pasts, so while you’ll unlikely find shlubs wandering Madison Avenue, this isn’t the funkiest bunch.
TRIBECA/CHAMBERS STREET: This is where all the cool kids get off and sometimes I disembark the 2/3 a stop early just to join in, because really, what interesting person ever exited at Park Place? No one. I’m not entirely sure what careers abound in this neighborhood, but regardless of what the guys are wearing, their very chic, but not too chic. Just like the people who live in Tribeca, the men who work near the Chambers Street stop seem to be cool and self-assured, but not overly confident or self-aware. You’ll likely see flocks of guys briskly climbing the stairs in paper denim and slim wool jackets, and if they have to be in a suit, you could bet that it’s tapered to 1960s perfection, he may even be accessorizing with a tie clip, but for ironic effect.
FIDI: Don’t even get me started. I have never seen a duller and more depressing group of guys, ever. Men have some fantastic options available to them (hello, ties!) and to not wear them is a waste. Downtown, you’ve got a lot of kids fresh out of college who never knew how to dress in the first place and who are now working with men who don’t know how to dress, and they’re all working at either generic or obscure funds, or selling insurance, or whatever else allows them to get away with such a poor display of attire. When did polar fleece, checked shirts that resemble math paper, and pleated pants become acceptable? With numerous publications and creative companies moving to World Trade Center, here’s to hoping that the culture and sensibilities from that align with Tribeca will start moving south.
DUMBO: While I only interned in DUMBO for two summers, what I observed was nothing but a miracle. It takes a special kind of person to take the F train every day, so these are men we’re talking about, not sissies who take the 2/3 for one stop and they’re at the office. Not too different from the Tribeca gentleman, your DUMBO-er most likely works in creative consulting, small print, or design itself. There’s just something about this guy that let’s you know he works–and possibly lives–in Brooklyn.