Casual Friday Or Sensibility Optionable?

If there’s one thing I’ve taken notice of more and more; it’s they way people now dress. I can not believe how some people (a great many I will add) are leaving their homes dressed in attire that can easily be referred to as bed wear, along with absolutely outrageously bold or cartoonist flair.

Trust me when I state this point: I’ve been called many things in my life, but no one has ever referred to me as a prude. I don’t care how people dress per se´(fashion is subjective of course) however, I’m speaking about people who walk their children through a busy mall where both the child as well as the parent are clearly wearing bed slippers. Or, the adult (If their 26 is that the correct terminology? But I digress.) where the ambient temperature outside is hovering at 0º or below, with a wind chill factor of about -20º wearing shorts, and a hoodie. At one time it was a rare event. Today, I see it daily.

My wife and I have been stunned to see (more than once!) women visibly beyond college age wearing in the winter months, when the temperature was below freezing, a bubble coat, earmuffs, scarf, jeans, gloves, and (wait for it….) beach tongs! This is no fashion statement. This is fashion idiocy plain and simple. (please save the emails)

When it comes to business attire I’m beginning to wonder if there is such a thing any longer. It’s one thing to not want to splurge for a designer suit or separates. It’s quite another to show up in a professional setting wearing a loudly printed plaid blazer paired with T-shirt, skinny styled Chino’s, and sneakers. Regardless if the labels are Ralph Lauren®, Hugo Boss®, Armani®, and Converse Chuck Taylor’s ®. Unless you’re a notable or known celebrity, actor, or rock star – you’re going to be taken as looking more like a circus clown no matter how many people told you, “But, it looks good on you.”

Another issue that seems to be entering the world of business fashion is the, “bed head” hair look. This look might go over well on the local night club or bar scene however, show up for an interview or serious business meeting sporting this look, and I’ll guarantee that look will keep you clearly where it was inspired from. Home, in bed, with nothing to do, along with nowhere to go.

And women? I’ll tread lightly here for I understand the wrath I can unleash would make the Kraken jealous. So all I’ll say here to this point is this: Heels can make a woman’s look. Heels and platforms that could be used as stilts to roofing contractors? As one of my favorite comedians would say, “Can we talk here?”

If a dress and shoes are so tight, and high, they don’t allow one to walk across a room without appearing to be animatronic or, on the verge of falling with every anticipating step. You’re thinking and dressing too much for Saturday night. Not business. Regardless of what anyone will say out loud, people will judge. Period.

If one thinks I’m picking on a subject matter that is irrelevant to today’s entrepreneurs I would ask that you think again.

Today, more and more, the stakes are growing ever higher to both hire talent, as well as sell your services to an increasingly nervous and risk avoiding customer base. Trendy, outspoken, hip, and the myriad of other fashion statements go hand in hand when times are good. When times become increasingly shaky in a clients eye, what they want first is reassurance in their decision-making processes.

People for better or worse make quick snap decisions via visual cues. Dressing for success doesn’t mean style and sensibility gets thrown out the proverbial window. Far from it. What does get amplified in challenging times is what people deem as “safe or trusted” appearances. I feel a growing trend will be away from the “casual Friday” or “anything goes look” in public or private, with a move back towards putting in place more, and more policies that seem to capture the theme of “distraction free” clothing policies.

Just remember as you’re dressing for success and taking the time to both work and appear as the professional you are. Most of your competition is not only unlikely to be dressing for success. They seem to be more aligned with not even getting out of bed in the first place.

Use the changing times and attitudes to your advantage. Your competition is more concerned with checking their “status” online instead of the business you’re making happen in the real world.

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr