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?”