Do clothes still make the man? Is today’s attire too casual?

My mother used to tell me that you could always tell a well dressed man by his watch and his shoes. That left a big impression on me and I still think about that frequently. For many years earlier in my professional career I wore a suit to work every day but it’s been quite a while since I wore a suit regularly. The world and in particular the United States has become a much more casually dressed place. I am not convinced this is a positive trend.

I am not suggesting in any way that I am planning to go back to wearing a suit and tie (or even a suit without a tie which is a trend that has been popular for a decade already) particularly during the long hot summer. However I know that when I do dress more formally – that is no jeans, nice shirt, nice shoes and no tie it does add to my overall sense of self-confidence.

When I travel (frequently) I always bring a sport coat if I am not wearing a suit. It’s always been my opinion that you get better treatment on an airline if you put a little effort into your appearance. Have you found this to be true? So many people seem to prefer to travel in stretch pants and loose fitting clothing so as to be as comfortable as possible. While this makes sense to me I believe you can wear comfortable clothes that do not make you appear like you are on your way to a gym class.

Let’s face it, the world and especially the United States has become a more casually dressed place. Now, trends come and go and it is possible, even likely, that there will be a shift back to more formal dressing at some point in the future. But I feel for the moment the pendulum has swung a bit too far.

Dressing for work has changed as has dressing to go out for dinner. I wonder if there is any association between the increasingly casually dressed world and being taken seriously. When a man shows up at my office in a suit and tie I take notice – first because it is so rare, and second I appreciate that there was some effort put in to look smart and professional.

I don’t mean to come off as sounding like a tightly wound prude. Around my house a t-shirt and shorts is standard attire when I am not working. And for those that work out of their homes I am not suggesting they dress if they are going out (although I imagine it would make a home office denizen feel different). However a little more effort would go a long way as far as I am concerned.

My mother also used to say if you can’t play good – look good. I smile when I think about that as well – whether on the tennis court, golf course or whatever sport I might be playing I try to put a little more effort into my appearance because it makes me feel like I have a better chance to play well. Yes it’s all in my head. And that’s the point.

What do you think? Are things ok just the way they are or could people try a little harder when it comes to their appearance?

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
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