On Getting Dressed During A Global Pandemic

There’s hardly a moment in my day when I am not wearing shoes. I’ve been to many homes requiring them to be removed upon entrance and I always respect these rules. At my home in Brooklyn, you’re allowed to wear shoes indoors. In fact, I’d prefer it. Why? I want people to be comfortable — but unlike the comfort commonly meant. Being dressed — and being dressed well — in my opinion, is a sacred, everyday act that one must follow to be happy. It’s as fundamental to one’s day as making their bed, militantly, first thing in the morning. Get up, fluff your pillow, tuck your sheets and get dressed. 

As I’m writing this, we’re in the waning days of December, 2020 — a year most prolific for COVID-19, political upheaval and less-than-ideal opposition to what it is to be a caring and model fellow citizen. The COVID-19 pandemic has fastened us to our living rooms and our kitchens. We work wherever we can. Sometimes, we work too much — something quintessentially and ghastly glorified in the United States of America. I’m not immune to it at times. 

In what’s been a well-tested dress rehearsal for the inevitable permeance of working from home, you’ll see a lot of people advocating and relishing leisurewear — soft cotton fabrics in the form of sweats. Comfort — that catch-22, unrelenting state of being. Please don’t take me for being anti-comfort! I’m certainly pro-comfort. However, this is where our subjective definition splinters. Comfort, in my opinion, is obtained in confidence. And in a modern man’s world, confidence stems from many things — career successes, an innate ability to charm, and for some, after a few Balvenie 12-years on the rocks. But one aspect outshines the others. Confidence is born in the clothing that lines a man’s wardrobe. The garments he chooses in the morning, that ultimately and with precision, outwardly define his character — his life. 

I understand that not all days are sartorial quests. Often, a faded white t-shirt can say everything. But at this point in our fragile existence, every man must ask himself, “is there someone in my life who wouldn't mind seeing me in a trouser and suit coat every once in a while? Do I really want to eat a well-labored Saturday evening dinner in a t-shirt?” It may be a pandemic and we may be sequestered to our homes more than we’d like, but since when did growing up mean we couldn’t play house? What’s the harm in pretending to be somewhere we’re not? Put on a dress shirt, tuck it in, put on a dinner coat and grill a steak. Can you think of a well-meaning reason why not?

We’re going to manage to come out of this isolation at some point. We’ll scream drink orders at a bartender from two-rows back. We’ll cease to hold our breath in elevators. We’ll get used to watching films where the actors aren’t wearing masks. We’ll learn to appreciate the small, everyday situations that have so quickly been labeled taboo. 

The silver-lining in all of this, is that we will have learned to truly appreciate these little aspects of our lives, that until now, we’ve taken for granted. It’s remarkable how much can be taken away from us. It’s remarkable how much we can lose. So, here’s to getting dressed up during a global pandemic — to pretend for a moment that we’re on our second round of gin martinis at Balthazar with a mess of oysters at the table, and friends and lovers, colleagues and family are beside us. Here’s to remotely viewing ourselves in white linen in Rome and we’ve just arrived at the hotel from an incredible lunch and we’ve had a few Negronis. Do you feel it? 

Get up. Get dressed and get dressed well. It’ll change your day. Hell, it may even change your life.