'It isn't only money that determines how well a man dresses - it's personal taste. Because of the demands of my work,
I've purchased dozens of suits over the years and they all have one attribute in common: they are in the middle of
fashion. By that I mean they're not self-consciously fashionable or far out, nor are they overly conservative or
dated. In other words, the lapels are neither too wide nor too narrow, the trousers neither too tight nor too loose,
the coats neither too short nor too long. I've worn clothes of extreme style, but only in order to dress
appropriately for the type of character I played in particular films. Otherwise, simplicity, to me, has always been
the essence of good taste.
'I believe men's clothes - like women's - should attract attention to the best lines of a man's figure and distract
from the worst. In all cases, the most reliable style is in the middle of the road - a thoughtful sensible position
in any human behaviour. Except perhaps on the freeway - but, even then, the middle lane, providing of course, it's
on your side of the road, usually gets you where you're going more easily, comfortably, and less disturbingly. And
so it should be with clothes. They should be undisturbing, easy and comfortable.'
Insofar as colours go, Grant says 'if a man's budget restricts him to only one suit, then I would choose something
unobtrusive. A dark blue, almost black, of lightweight cloth, serviceable for both day and evening wear. I suggest
lightweight because nowadays most restaurants, offices, shops and theatres are well heated during fall and winter.
What about a second suit? Well, I think a grey worsted or flannel would be most serviceable. Not too light in
colour, not too dark. And, this time, of medium weight but not more than what is known as ten-ounce cloth.'
During the summer months, Grant says, 'I've taken to wearing light beige, washable poplin suits. They're inexpensive
and, if kept crisp and clean, acceptable almost anywhere at any time, even in the evening. Also, the coat can be
worn with grey flannels at the seashore or in the country, and the trousers used separately with a sport shirt and
moccasins, or a pair of those heavy-soled white canvas shoes that are popular with young college men.'
'Poplin or seersucker suits are the mark of no special social class or income group, but are worn by all. And,
providing he is well-mannered, a young man wearing such a suit can confidently approach the other fellow's girl,
secure in knowing that his way of dress is no deterrent.'
Perhaps the key piece of advice Grant gives is, as we mentioned at the start here, to see a suit as a long-term
investment. 'How much one should pay depends on how much one has to spend. I'm reminded of a piece of advice my
father gave me regarding shoes: it has stood me in good stead whenever my own finances were low. He said it's better
to buy one good pair of shoes than four cheap ones. One pair made of fine leather could outlast four
inferior pairs, and, if well cared for, would continue to proclaim your good judgment and taste no matter how old
they become. The same applies to suits, so permit me to suggest you buy the best you can afford even though it means
buying less. Rather like the stock market: it is usually more sensible to buy just one share of blue chip than 150
shares of a one-dollar stock.'
When it comes to classic suiting, take it for Grant'ed - think long-term, spend serious cash'n'Cary, steer straight
for the middle of the road, and you'll be rollin' with the best of them for decades to come.