I understand my two posts on fashion might appear to be some elitest take on what we should be doing (ie. supporting status quo, as per the comment in yesterday’s post here). I am not writing this stuff to show I’m going along with status quo, or bitter or envious, or ignorantly American… and I certainly don’t write it to “remove all joy and personality from dressing for work.”
The Dress for Failure posts (for men and for women) are not a list of *my* rules. When I hire someone for JibberJobber, I won’t care if they wear flip flops or pajamas – as I’m in my PJ’s or shorts all the time. Even after I shower, I get back into snuggly, comfy clothes (because I can). Sometimes I dress up a little more, from jeans to suit, depending on what I’m doing (today’s a suit day, as I’m presenting to 125 advertising professionals in Salt Lake City).
The main reason I wrote the post on Monday was because I am fashion-challenged, and I’m guessing others are too. Some people just haven’t ever heard that you should align your shirt line and pants zipper (gig line), and I’m surprised that people still wear white socks with suit pants (except for the creative types, who do it on purpose, but their outfit somehow seems to look good).
Is that lady I didn’t hire better off somewhere else, considering I judged her based on her miniskirt? I’m sure she is – I don’t deny that. My point in even bringing her up was this:
People Judge Us. All The Time.
If they judge us for who we are, and don’t want to be around us, then screw them. Judging sucks. Stereotyping and bigotry and all that other stuff plain sucks.
If you don’t like me because I’m Mexican-American, sorry, that ain’t changing and I’m not ashamed. If you don’t like me because I live in Utah and you assume I’m Mormon, too bad – I’m not moving just yet. Believe it or not, I’ve been introduced as “The Mormon” (as opposed to “Jason”)in business settings, even by people who don’t ask what my religion is, but assume everyone who gets on a plane in Utah is Mormon. And recently I had a phone call with a Baptist who made it very clear that even though Mormons are completely wrong, even farced, we could still talk business. Wasn’t it big of him to put aside my religious beliefs so he could pick my brain about career stuff?
Bigotry. Stereotyping. Judging.
It’s all around us.
And if I dress like a dork, or completely backwards, and it affects my interview results, or my networking ability, and I’m desparately trying to figure out how to get the paycheck started again, maybe I do need someone to give me a list of 10 things that I may be doing wrong… 10 things that my friends don’t know how to tell me.
These posts weren’t about status quo, and creating a society of me-too dressers. It was a light-hearted attempt to throw out some ideas to help people who wanted to be helped. If it rubs you the wrong way, that’s okay. Go out and dress the way you want… I’m not hoping to take that away at all.
But it *might* have an impact on who you work with, or how you work with them. If you don’t get a job, or an opportunity, because of how you dress, then it probably is better for you and them. Especially if you intentionally dressed the way you did (as opposed to me, who would have done it cluelessly).