(and what to expect when you do…)
How we dress is important. See the picture below:
I’d like to tell you that this isn’t my everyday dress code. But, as a “freelancer” and “social critic in my own mind” blogger, my social visibility factor is currently not high enough to warrant dressing in nice slacks and a full button-down shirt. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I know I will be face-to-face with others (i.e. The Bank, The Store, Happy Hour – all places where the “Woman of Means and My Dreams” might show up) on which I will dress appropriately. It’s a quality instilled in me by my mother, who noticed that in my summers off from college, I was devolving into a George Costanza, sweatpants-wearing lazy ass dresser WAY before Jerry Seinfeld was a comedian of any fame. With a roll of the eyes and a voice familiar to any extended member of the Barley clan, she would say to me, “You’re going out dressed like THAT? What if you were to run into the President?”
The funny thing is, to this day I NEVER have run into the President, of anything. But, the idea is sound. The way that we dress IS a big factor in how we are perceived and how we perceive others in society.
I’ll try to list a few clothing options and what they say to society, or at least to me because on THIS page, I am society. 🙂
Appropriate for: the gym, staying at home on a rainy day, MAYBE a quick trip for take out.
Not appropriate for: dining out, or a first, second, third, fourth, or fifth date
Sweats come in many categories. If you’re like me, you have your sweat pants and shirts that are for working out or for being lazy INDOORS on a rainy day. You probably also have a hooded sweatshirt or two which you can wear if the beach has gotten chilly and you’re just walking over to your best friend’s house to feast on the new concoction that his wife just whipped up. Then you have your “designer” sweat pants that come with names like “Juicy,” “D&G,” and “Hollister.” Sometimes, they come with the name right on the ass, bedazzled in shiny sequins or faux diamonds. If you’re wearing your designer Juicy sweats to the gym and you get pissed off that I just checked out your ass, you’re more of a bitch than you realize. Crossing your arms and giving me “a look” only amplifies this personality trait. And if you’re taking the kids out wearing your matching Juicy top and bottoms as if you “dressed up” for the day, then congratulations to your husband. He got exactly the kind of woman he was looking for…
If you’re a guy wearing a matching sweat combo, you had BETTER be a fucking rap star. Period.
Appropriate for: the gym, general “around the house wear,” the beach, when you’re not trying to impress anyone* (unless the design on it is really, really funny or articulate)
Not appropriate (especially if offensive): meeting the parents, going to a restaurant where the servers are wearing ties.
T-shirts were traditionally white with no sleeves and meant to be worn under other shirts to keep you from sweating into your good shirt, thereby keeping the yellow sweat-stained pits to shirts that could be replaced by your parents every Christmas. But, today t-shirts with logos and phrases are another good option for the gym or just to wear around. I have two drawers of them, sorted anal retentively into lights and darks. They’ve been collected from friends coming back from vacations I couldn’t attend and purchased by me to show my allegiance to the University of Wisconsin. (By the way, this is a GREAT networking tool as Badger fans are EVERYWHERE and always say hello to one another.) T-shirts are a great way to brand yourself, but never, under any circumstances should you wear an Ed Hardy t-shirt. Just fuck off if you do. Seriously, fuck off.
Appropriate for: just about everything, other than your wedding or a business job interview.
Not appropriate for: unless your Canadian, you’re wedding; a funeral, job interview (unless “creative” is in the title, but match with a sport coat)
Jeans are probably the most popular style of pants in the world, if not the universe. I am sure that there are galaxies of advanced humanoids wearing jeans right now! You can just about wear jeans anywhere and they will be acceptable clothing. Here, it’s not the style of the clothing that’s in question, it’s the condition. If you are wearing jeans that have holes in the buttocks or strategically placed throughout your jeans by the manufacturer, you’re out an out of touch re-tard or you are shooting a retro hair band video. And, yes, I do own a pair of jeans with holes in them, but they resulted from a drunken first date night that 1. I fondly remember and 2. am just too cheap right now to replace them. Besides, they fit really nicely.
A few other clothing options before we get to suits:
White Pants – special props to girls who wear white pants. If it wasn’t for the Kevin and Bean show throughout the years, I would have never understood the idea behind white pants… If you wear white pants, you have a special place in my heart and knowledgeable people will be nice to you. If you’re dating me, I’ll love you forever…
Cut off shorts – NnnnO! NnnnO! In-a-pro-pri-ate. Never wear these. As always, there is an exception: ladies, if you’re IN shape and wearing a small two piece suit and at the beach, then by all means, please wear them! Fellas: guys shouldn’t wear cutoffs at all under any circumstances. There is no appropriate place for a guy to wear cut offs.
Tank tops – I probably have something against tank tops because I have never had the shoulders to wear a tank top. But, that still doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to wear them to restaurants with a foreign language in the restaurant’s name or has no outdoor seating and carpet on the floor…
Appropriate for: everything.
Inappropriate for: nowhere, just don’t ruin it by going sailing in it or playing sports
Suits, their cool, pot-smoking cousin the sport coat and their super rich, austere Uncle, The Tux, are appropriate for everything. But, logically, you shouldn’t wear them to places like the beach or the gym as dry cleaning can get expensive. If you wear a suit, then you’re saying something to those that see you. And you’re saying something to yourself: I. Fucking. Rule. When you put on a great fitting and expensive suit, you can just feel a new you from that shorts/hoodie combo you’ve been wearing all day… Or so I’ve heard. My one black suit and lighter colored suits cost about $750 COMBINED. But, you can mix and match the jacket and suit with parts of what we’ve discussed above.
Suit and t-shirt combo = you’re a silicon valley entrepenuer, a rich European wannabe, or a refuge from the set of “Miami Vice.” All I’m saying is be careful here.
Suit jacket and jeans combo = you’re a creative director other type of creative exec and you’re just out for the night with you buddies looking for that woman who wears whit pants but wants to be wearing her Juicy Couture sweats while driving your Range Rover.
Tux jacket and jeans combo = you’re a mid level movie exec in direct competition with “suit jacked and jeans combo guy.”
I highly suggest having fun with your wardrobe. If you are an office drone, I highly suggest wearing your tux to work someday. I’ve done it several times before and had fun telling people that I had an interview as a movie usher that night. If they require you to wear a tie to work, throw on your jacket, shirt and tie, but pair it up with shorts and celebrate Angus Young! Remember, it’s about how you feel!
Now, I’m off to remove the hoodie and shorts. I may have to go outside…