The Clothes Don't Make the Man

So I'm on a plane and I'm reading this magazine about today's fashion must-haves for the newly minted rich man.

Turns out Rolexes are out — practically scream, "Look what I did with my first five-figure bonus."

Collector watches with leather bands are in. Scream "money," I'm told, without screaming at all.

Then shirts: Made to measure always. Try the guys Prince Charles uses — only 350 bucks a pop.

Or shoes — be prepared to spend at least 5,000 bucks. And I'm thinking, that's 500 bucks a toe! But the writer assures the reader, they'll last 10 years. Man, for that dough, they should last a lifetime.

I'm chuckling out loud as I'm reading this and the guy next to me — an older gent, I suspect in his late 60s or so — wants to know what I find so funny.

I point out some of the pricey bobbles. He chuckles too.

He, in his off-the-rack but very nice blue pinstripe suit, with the button-down collar, who tells me he is not a snazzy dresser — not one bit.

Tells me he's lived in the same house 40 years.

Raised five kids in that house.

Friends tell him he could live in a much nicer house.

You see, he runs a hedge fund syndicate now — so without saying so, I got a pretty good hunch he's doing very well.

But he doesn't act like it, dress like it or even talk like it.

He is warm and affable, self-effacing and, when they come to take our order, quite literally meat and potato.

He knows who he is. And a $2,000 pair of cufflinks he is not.

As he put it, "Then I'd have to get that $350 shirt to go with 'em."

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