What do you wear?

I’m guessing it depends on what’s going on. As in, are you going to do yard work or homework? Are you going to cook or go running? Is there a funeral to attend or a meeting at a coffee shop?

If you are what you wear, what are you?  If you are what you wear, then, what do you wear? How is what you wear who you are?

Sometimes the items in my closet stare me down. Hmmm….I find myself wondering…hmmmm…what will go out and about with me today? Or – what will stay in at with me at the office today? Or – what will hit the traveling mode with me today?

The ensuing responses to qualifying and deciding what to wear isn’t a matter so much of vanity for me. Of course I want to feel good in what I wear, though I’m not a vain person. What we look like does matter though to the world at large. Our immediate reaction, so thoughtfully and thoroughly examined in Malcolm’s book, is a matter of being human.

Like it or not, we judge viscerally on appearance. So if I’m in the business of business, then I must be thoughtful and aware of what I wear. If I’m a student I should be aware of what I wear.

I’d agree with this author – It’s astounding how little some people seem to care about their appearance. We’re not talking about being totally trendy or up to date. We’re talking being sloppy, careless, and with no cognizance of who might they positively or negatively impress – and just where they may cross paths again (work anyone? school? date? grocery store?). Cool isn’t slop. Cool is style and thoughtfulness and respect.

Julia, BA, always looks professional and approachable

Julia, BA, always looks professional and approachable

The same goes for the beer business. It’s really disconcerting to see so much over the edge casual, so much garb that’s seemingly unsafe (shorts in the brew house), and so much that says “I don’t care, this is all about me.” I’m most impressed by beer people who give damn about how they look. Distributors are pretty darn good about looking professional, whether at a conference or casually out and about. Breweries are all over the map with some looking like hobos and some looking like pros.

When in doubt, dress like a pro. It isn’t about being stuffy or formal; it’s about respect for yourself and the profession.

Being clean and tidy, even with tired or worn or out of date clothing, will always make more of a positive impression to me than someone wearing flip-flops and baggy pajama pants in the airport. Someone wearing a glib tee-shirt, perhaps tattered or with an off-color slogan or image. Pants that fall below the waist should be illegal too.

Airports and festivals are fascinating places to see what people are by what they wear. Sometimes you see the same person on different days wearing entirely different sorts of garb. It makes me wonder why. There are no doubt lots of interesting conversations to be had, done appropriately with people about what they wear.

I bet you’d find out pretty quickly who they are.

No matter what you do in life as we know it, have some respect for the others around you to give a darn. Put some forethought into what you put on. If you are what you wear, then be a good example of yourself.

Thinking about how you look to yourself and to others is important, however much we want to believe in individual expression. Go ahead – please dress how you like. Simply know that others are also individually free to look and decide what and who you are based on what they see.

Now, where are those Nocona’s…..I think I’ll wear them today.

Categories: Assumptions & Myth Busting, Something To Think About
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