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Dressing for success

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Before I ask this question that has been lingering in my mind, I would first like to say that everyone here has given a depth of knowledge I could have never attained if I was to do it on my own.  As with any learning, there is never a point where one can say I have learned enough.  Thus, I say, keep on doing what each of you are doing, sharing knowledge and personal beliefs.. Now on to the question.  Every article I have read pertaining to dressing well and becoming successful always mentions in some form or another the importance of dressing for the position one wants to attain and not the position on currently has.  Now this all made perfect sense to me till I started thinking about it and reading some comments on this board.  Primarily in the thread, Understanding Fashion in America[i] and in those articles that Manton posted a while back, it has really given me a second thought in the idea of dressing well.  If we were in a country like England, this question would probably be laughed at.  Here in the states, I find that one can't dress too well and not be called in terms of shallow, materialistic, etc.  If one dresses better then someone higher then you, it's not a good thing.  If one dresses better, sometimes it can be misconstrued as pretentious, arrogant, elitist, pompous, etc... We all like to dress well on this forum, otherwise we wouldn't be here.  So my question is, did anyone one of you encounter such feelings, do u feel the need sometimes to "dress down", meaning mismatching stuff on purpose and how does one balance one's own desires to look presentable with the level that commonly accepted in our society? As always debates and comments is the whole motive for the question.... -HitMan009
post #2 of 13
Quote:
If we were in a country like England, this question would probably be laughed at.
No, it wouldn't be. There is always a thin line between taking pride in your appearance and being vain and shallow, regardless of where you are. In England, those who fall in commonly referred to as "wankers." There is an easy way to avoid being a wanker. Take pride in your appearance but do not judge your own worth of that of others by the cloth of their suit or the make of their shoes.
post #3 of 13
Good question. Im not sure if this is the response you were looking for, but I'll have at it. As with everything, balance is key.   More importantly, and something we can all control, is our hygiene. Being well-groomed, nails trimmed, clean shaven, etc...are all things even the poorest of folks can maintain.  It doesnt take much.  I mention this because sometimes, though not everyone can dress as well as the members on this forum, they are key in looking well and the overall presentation of an individual. On the other hand, not everyone can control the clothes they wear.  Everyone's income is different.  (Im not saying its ONLY income that distinguishes the well-dressed from the normal population, but its a pretty big factor.)  And though one can tell that our style of dress intimidates/influences people, I feel bad in taking advantage of that.  You're right, we're often looked upon as arrogant, elitest or even materialistic.  My solution to that is to sometimes throw them off by (as you called it) dressing down.  Im not saying wearing cut-up ripped jeans with an old t-shirt and beat-up sneakers...but rather how the 'normal' (read: not folks like us) population would look. I won't do the unmatching thing, but every now and then you might catch me wearing a pair of not-so-sharp slacks with a polo, or say a pair of jeans with said polo and my Nike Shox.  At work, or at least where I work, it's as easy as not wearing the suit and simply opening up the collar.  Of course, in all of this I feel comfortable and look presentable, meaning I can just as easily talk to my significant others' parents as easily as I could conversate with my boss upstairs.   But sometimes, I just feel like telling everyone to shut the hex up and let me dress how I feel best. I would like to tell them we all decide what to wear and how... and it's not my problem if I chose to step things up a notch.    
post #4 of 13
When this happens to me, I tell people I dress the way I do (professionally) to show respect to them -- ie., they are worth getting dressed up for. This usually shuts them up because they obviously aren't dressing to show respect to me and they feel guilty for making such a silly statement about my clothes.
post #5 of 13
it's a matter of dressing for the occasion, not for the people you will be with. i would wear the same thing playing tennis with my friends or playing tennis with the queen of england. if i go to a good restaurant, i dress up, regardless of who i'm with. but really, one should dress however one thinks they look/feel best without regard to socio-economic status. ideally, your clothes are a reflection of  YOUR pesonality, not that of those around you. btw, i've always thought that if you're unsure about what to wear, it's better to be overdressed than underdressed. you may have to learn this the hard way. if you are not arrogant or elitist, don't worry about being thought of that way. people will know you as that humble guy who dresses well, that's it. mrprlover: i believe the word is 'converse', not 'conversate'. you're listening to too much gangsta rap. [b]
post #6 of 13
There is a big difference between taking pride in your wardrobe and appearance and being a vain and shallow character. If one is well groomed, well dressed, but carries on in a business, professional manner, he will be seen as such. However, if the same individual is found boasting about his labels, his suit's thread count or his new hairstyle then.... you can guess what comes next. Be well dressed, be well groomed, be even better dressed than your superiors, just let them take notice, instead letting them know by your own words, actions. Bragging about own appearance is only fishing for compliments, and only conceded, vain people tend to indulge in such actions. Carry on like you are equal and indifferent to other's in your field, and believe me, they will themselves notice that you are a notch above the rest. However, this way you will be someone to look up to, not a threat of dandyism.
post #7 of 13
Dang...that Snoop Dee-Oh-Double-Gizzle got me all confused-ed...my nizzle. =]
post #8 of 13
Nice topic idea. Two things spring to mind. 1. Heard here in DC: "Dress for the job you want to have." 2. Remembered from elsewhere: "Manners maketh Man."
post #9 of 13
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post #10 of 13
The problems of dressing well has to do with the particular job enviroment. For example if you dressed in a foppish manner at some type of corporate enviroment it might not be so wise. However if one worked in the certain fashion or art circles you would actually be expected to dress rather dandified.
post #11 of 13
If you do good work, are considerate to fellow employess people will resent you anyway. There will always be insecure people out to get you no matter what you wear. Besides, who would want to work for someone who holds you back because of the way you dress? What if you have the wrong haircut? What if you use the wrong type-set on your memos? Is your car to flashy, or not flashy enough? This kind of thinking will drive you crazy. Dress for yourself. Wear whatever makes you feel best about yourself. -Foster "Follow your bliss, and don't be afraid." - Joseph Campbell
post #12 of 13
One thing to keep in mind is that a well cut suit worn with a shirt that fits properly, a tie that is tied properly and good shoes combines for a real visual imapact. This is true if it is as plain as a navy suit, white shirt, black shoes and tie. I live in a smallish city where NOBODY wears suits short of a few lawyers. Without elaborating I must say that I am frequently in situations where I must wear a suit or sportcoat/slacks but at the same time I want to make a low-key approach in which what I'm wearing is presentable but doesn't draw any attention to itself at all. In those instances I deliberately dress down - I wear very conservatively cut clothes, I don't show any shirt cuff, I tie my tie loosely etc. In fact I keep a few suits and shirts and ties and shoes around just for that purpose. So you may find yourself in a position where it may be advantageous to dress down, especially in very rural areas. But the majority of the time you should be able to wear clothes that you are comfortable in - even if you are outdressing everyone else. If you don't doubt your ability to wear something (within reason of course) then it is unlikely anyone else will either.
post #13 of 13
One of the things that has kept me lurking around this forum is illustrated in the previous response, very perceptive and honest assistance. As a junior engineer working for a company in the American southwest I was busily making the transition from Naval uniform to golf shirts and polyester (yes, polyester suits.) Even the Navy had made me dress better as an enlisted man. I was then transferred as their representative to an old-line company in the very conservative Southeast. Patterned socks and slightly oddball ties were as crazy as anyone got, because the customer base included the man who owns Harrods and a lot of folks who shop there. On any given day I would come to work, be summoned to the boardroom; and my next task was on the manufacturing floor. I ruined more clothes... One of my rewards for dressing in what I felt to be an appropriate fashion was that I only had one superior at the home company who outdressed me. The customer loved me. When I eventually parted company with the first company to work for my customer, my attire had a great deal to do with the very generous offer they made me. They assumed I made much more than I did, and I put my entire wardrobe together from discount shops (Men's Warehouse) and mail order (Mason shoes and a great shirt company I wish I remembered out of France) because I was dead poor. But I found an excellent tailor, and had a great many examples to follow in my vicinity. The downside was being graded poorly on my reviews for "overdressing", and being a "clothes horse", and having an entirely different wardrobe for social occasions outside my circle of co-workers; because the town didn't dress to the standards of the company. Now I am years into being a "knowledge worker" and my working wardrobe has again returned to golf shirts and blue jeans (501s aren't what they used to be, but they still rule) and it is time to make the leap into a higher plane. Time to crank up the wardrobe to match. But geography and environment mean everything. Are you dressing for a gallery opening in New York or church in L.A.? So I listen hard (the classics haven't changed for men), sniff for deals and try to understand spending $4,000.00 for a suit; must be those blue collar roots ; ) Watch your pennys, spend where it is necessary (good shirts, good ties, good shoes) watch what you are buying not who, and go start tracking down that tailor.
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