Have you ever noticed that one of the little foibles of many rich and successful men is to discreetly add an eccentric splash of colour to their wardrobe, something perhaps hidden, and yet when shown really stands out.
Peter Jones stripey socks
In the case of Dragons’ Den multi-millionaire corporate raider Peter Jones, there are those unmissable trademark stripey socks. But it could be Gordon Gekko style stripey banker braces – every wannabe city slicker who saw Michael Douglas wear them in Wall Street started to use them in the 1980s to the point of nausea. Or just a flamboyant handkerchief tucked into a jacket pocket
It’s unlikely these are inventions of the wearer’s own, it is usually the woman behind the man that decides he needs something to stop looking so grey and corporate.
Whatever the case, so proud is Mr. Jones of his stripey socks, that he actually sells them online for £9.50 a pair, along with a range of ties, shirts and cufflinks, each of which, socks aside, faithfully mirror his own taste in sober power dressing.
A highly successful advertising executive in the 1980s would wear sombre dark suits in new business pitches, and then at the appropriate moment sit down, cross his legs and reveal a pair of bright red socks. Everyone’s eyes were inevitably drawn to the glaring splash of colour against a sea of black, and later, when comparing notes on the different presentations, clients would always remember the man with the red socks.
The strap that collectors call “NATO” (not to be confused with the Rhino, Waterborne, or Maratec Zulu straps) is based upon the standard watch strap issued by the British Ministry of Defense (MOD). Called the “G10″ by members of the British military because of the form used to requisition the strap (and other items) from inventory, the reason it got its “NATO” name is because the strap has a NSN or NATO Stock Number which identifies this type of strap. The Nato strap was originally worn by the men of the armed forces to secure watches which could come loose or fall off during the rigours of combat.
When the battlefield is the boardroom, the striking ‘red socks’ effect can be accomplished with a Nato strap. You don’t even need an expensive watch, as long as it has fixed lugs you can attach a colourful Nato strap to it to give it an entirely new look.
Of course the Watch Snob will tell you that Nato straps don’t belong on any watch to which a decent leather strap can be fitted. But that’s the whole point. It’s a little breaking of the normal bounds of convention in order to draw the eye and get remembered and remarked upon.
Absolute corporate no-no’s
If you think your wardrobe could do with a splash of subtle colour to get you noticed, a Nato strap is one of the most economical ways to achieve it. As long as you don’t wear a Mickey Mouse tie or Homer Simpson socks, you should be able to pull it off.