Fascinating! Again, I wish I could see that guide. I wonder it it is posted in some far-flung corner of the internet. You have truly opened my eyes as to how much detail a company would go into in order to ensure conformity to "sumptuary" guidelines in matters of dress.Maybe it wasn't a full fifty pages, but it was quite thick. It went into all manner of detail on professional dress for both men and women. It covered such details as how to look at the seams, pleats, cuffs, and fabrics when selecting dress shirts and suits; matching shoes and belts, acceptable leathers, colors, and shoe styles; selecting (and rejecting) suits; all manner of pronouncements on ties (acceptable and unacceptable colors, maximum number of colors in striped ties, acceptable and unacceptable patterns; grooming; watches and rings; and lots more.
It covered recommended brands of everything. In addition to Brooks Brothers and Norton Ditto, TCB sent a lot of business to Church's shoes.
The typical male Texas Commerce Banker was probably wearing a medium to dark grey solid color sack suit, a starched white broadcloth shirt with a barrel cuff or a white OCBD, polished but not overly polished black cap toes with a soft calf black belt (probably the one from Brooks with the leather covered buckle), navy blue Merino OTC socks, and either a deep red foulard with a neat pattern or a repp stripe with deep red, navy, and a thin yellow stripe. He wore a stainless and gold but not over the top Rolex and his gold wedding band but left his UT class ring at home in case he had to call on an Aggie. He always had a gold Cross pen. His hair was cut without being too long or freakishly short, had no long sideburns, and had no facial hair. The guys in International, for some reason, could have mustaches. Suspenders, anything "no iron," plaids (even tasteful grey POW), bit or penny loafers, gunboats (except for the old guys in Energy), and decorative rings were frowned upon.
As the GC/Secretary I was a bit of an outlier. I often wore blue OCBDs, grey POW suits, cordovan BB tassels with dark brown belts, a non-Rolex watch with a leather strap, and a signet ring with initials. I recall that by the mid-1980s the code was evolving as the CEO was wearing a lot of Hermes ties.
This exchange reminds me of a man I met on a flight from San Antonio, Texas, to Chicago in the mid-eighties. I was heading back to Wisconsin after attending a scientific conference in San Antonio. I think I ended up sitting in first class because they messed up the seating in economy class (my university would not have supported first class travel for professors, LOL). Anyway, I was sitting next to an older gentleman in his mid-fifties, and we had a long conversation about all sorts of things. He was an upper-level executive for the Caterpillar Co., and he was wearing grey flannels, a blue blazer and a regimental tie, all very well-made, probably even custom-made, and burgundy cap-toe oxfords. I was in a Harris tweed jacket, grey flannels and a bow-tie, with burgundy penny loafers on my feet. At one point the discussion turned to clothes, and I said that I liked working at a university that had no dress code, so I could dress somewhat formally, or quite informally. I rarely wore suits at work, mostly sport coats and slacks, often sweaters. He laughed and said that if he turned up in his office wearing what he was wearing now (blazer, flannels, etc.) he would almost certainly be fired. I was astonished and asked him if they had a strict dress code and he said it was almost as strict as IBM's (navy blue suits, white shirts and dark shoes down the line, IIRC). Suits were absolutely required for executives. I wonder if Caterpillar insists on that sort of code now.