Sharp Dressed Man
George Clooney is better dressed than you. Yes, he has movie-star looks and more money than several third-world countries, but the secret to his success is the suit—the man practically sleeps in a three-piece. Aside from style, there's an air of authority and respectability associated with a suit. In essence, he's made a career out of being dapper.
What does this have to do with the promotional industry? Although many think polo shirts and baseball caps are the only options for men's promotional apparel, there's an entire realm of suppliers providing suits, jackets and other business apparel that works just as well for a night on the town as they do for a day in the office.
"A suit immediately resonates with the patron that the business will be providing a high-quality service and will attend to their needs," said Taraynn Lloyd, marketing director for Kalamazoo, Michigan-based Edwards Garment. She said there's no shortage of end-buyers in need of suits and business wear, naming hotels and casinos, financial institutions, service industries and security firms as a few lucrative options. And, lucky you, we've got a top-to-bottom selection of fashion-forward items that, like Mr. Clooney, look good both on and off the job.
Contrary to industry wisdom, jackets aren't exclusively within the province of employee uniforms. "Blazers are really one of the oldest recognition items in our industry," said Randy Isham, president of Northbrook, Illinois-based Branded Apparel. "Many companies for decades have attached an emblem or crest and awarded these for sales achievements." As a recognition piece, the jacket is without peer—nice as it is to look at, a recipient isn't going to wear that "Employee of the Month" plaque out in public for everyone to see.
"Generics or lesser brand names are fine for uniform use, but as a sales achievement award, you want to spend a few more dollars and present the recipient with a retail brand name that they recognize," Isham advised. In keeping with retail styles, keep the jacket trim, and leave the pinstripes and shoulder pads with The Sopranos. A slim, solid, dark-colored jacket, like the one pictured left, works as well over a pair of slacks as it does over denim.