Monday, July 12, 2010

DRESS FOR SUCCESS OR DRESS FOR A MESS?

We don’t mean to be the sob story sisters, but growing up there were difficult times. However, you’d never know it by the way we were dressed. Our clothes were clean and pressed, and our shoes were shined or polished. (Sneakers, tennis shoes were worn only in the gym and on weekends.) That’s the only way our mother would let us leave the house.

We’re grown up now and that’s still the way we leave the house. Not so with many people these days. Any old thing seems to go. Wrinkled shirts, pajama pants coordinated with t-shirts and of course, jeans, jeans everywhere and flip-flops too. They used to be footwear for a day at the beach -seems like now they’re worn everywhere but on the beach.

We understand an outfit that can take you from the office to a cocktail party but not the outfit that never stops giving all day and any day - from the laundry to the supermarket to the office, to parties, to nice restaurants and even to the opera. You’d think you’re in the middle of La Boheme.

It’s becoming more difficult to differentiate weekdays from weekends; it’s all rolled into one because people look as though they’ve rolled out of the bed, threw on something and out the door they go. Maybe casual everyday had its beginning with Casual Fridays.

“It’s a reflection of a general breakdown of society,” a friend pointed out. “How people dress is yet another example of a culture without boundaries.”

“A candidate showed up in a pair of jeans,” a director of human resources said. “I couldn’t believe it. He also arrived with his coffee in hand.” Dressing inappropriately professionally cuts both ways. Yvette was interviewed by an HR manager who sported a shirt that he must’ve snatched out of the dryer that morning and was clearly not a permanent press.

We’ve been upgraded on flights, no doubt because we showed up at the ticket counter dressed comfortably but well. We don’t understand fellow travelers who come to the airport dressed as though they just left the gym with their luggage.

Shoes should be shined. Slacks should be hemmed, shirts ironed and whatever happened to creases? We crave creases. Not sure about the dress code for an event? Call and ask.

What we’re talking about isn’t a question of style or designer labels, it’s about presentation and a show of self respect and respect for where you are and for others whether in the office or someone’s home.

The next time you leave your house, stop by the mirror and ask yourself, “Is this how I want the world to see me today and where will it get me?”

10 comments:

Divamom-Act II said...

It's simply another sign in the decay of a civil society. Growing up I remember a muggy morning and wanting to wear a roller (pink sponge)in my bang until I got to school. ARE YOU KIDDING-You know I didn't make it out the house. Thank God for mothers who know better than we do. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Anonymous said...

It's simply another sign in the decay of a civil society. Growing up I remember a muggy morning and wanting to wear a roller (pink sponge)in my bang until I got to school. ARE YOU KIDDING-You know I didn't make it out the house. Thank God for mothers who know better than we do. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Anonymous said...

yes, seems like pride in one's appearance has reached a new low with many folks. and sadly, they have no idea how low.

Anonymous said...

So well said

your_friend_Alice said...

Thank you. Well said. When it's OK to wear sloppy to all occasions, then nothing is special. Going to the ballet is the same as playing basketball in the park. I haven't worked yet on my 500 words on the subject for the New York Times complaint column.

Anonymous said...

great!

Anonymous said...

In Europe (for men for sure) a pair of jeans, a blue blazer, nice shoes and shirt have been the standard for years. So I think jeans work if you dress them up a little. I'm not talking hung so low your butt crack shows or with holes at the knees but unwashed denim (you know $ 200+ jeans). This outfit is also commonplace in the art world and accepted. For me there's always a comfort and fit issue. I don't not ever wear ties because I'm very uncomfortable with them and awkward and don't like to feel that way in professional settings. Obviously for black tie or where business dress is suggested I don't wear jeans, but in almost every other instance I do. I'd also rather wear a great fitting pair of jeans any day over some off the rack ill-fitting slacks. OK that's my 2 cents!

Richard D

Anonymous said...

When I was young I had a little pocket paperback about style that I purchased from the supermarket. In it the author described how on a vacation to Italy she had observed the same young woman going to work each day in the same simple, black dress. The author said the woman always looked stunning. The dress was obviously washed each night, pressed, and the woman was neat, chic, and styled. The story made such an impression on me because I realized then that it wasn't about money. It was about fit, cleanliness, accessories, and style.

We Shall Overcome.....In Couture! said...

My mom and I were having this same conversation the other day. In her day, women dressed to the nines, even if they were going to the supermarket. They always wore hats, gloves, dresses and heels.

Now, I'm not saying that one has to be that formal, but basic grooming is important.

Miss H said...

Yvonne, I KNOW you are talking about me, almost always a little rumpled and frayed and with a big ink stain somewhere on my person. Perhaps you've forgotten though, or it may be that when we were running around NY together I tried a little harder to be pulled together under your influence. For some of us, life is too insanely busy and on the run to always look good, or even presentable. I wouldn't go to the opera in sweatpants, or anything less than a lovely outfit, but count me among those who show up in the airport looking like I "just left the gym with my luggage." If I have to stand on all those long lines, sit in uncomfortable plastic airport seating, get crammed on to a plane for 8 hours only to face more long lines etc., I want to be comfortable. By the way, is just-out-bed hair still fashionable? I hope it lasts forever....