When I was growing up (still am in many ways), I used to watch with pride as my dad walked out to go to work in his suit, perfectly pressed shirt and tie, newly polished shoes and matching belt. He epitomized the successful professional and took great pride in how he looked. He didn’t even work for a service company, where one has frequent communication with clients; he simply believed in setting an example for others with whom he worked. This was an example instilled in me that I follow to this day.
It may just be me and my “old fashioned” ways, but while sitting outside the other day at one of the nicest office buildings in our fair city, I watched working professionals walk by who were dressed like they were in high school or on their way to a heavy metal concert—OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. I observed dress shirts hanging out (I guess that is “cool”), jeans (including those with fashionable holes), t-shirts, tattoos, flip-flops, and multiple visible body piercings. These did not appear to be uneducated, unemployed individuals. They were young professionals working for companies in one of the most prestigious areas in Dallas.
What happened to the standard of dress in the business world? What happened to people taking pride in how they look? I sat there shaking my head, pondering the answers to this question. I don’t necessarily enjoy putting on a suit and tie every day, but do so because of my belief that how one presents himself or herself affects other aspects of your life—personal and professional.
There was a book once given to me called Dress for Success. I didn’t read the entire book because, thanks to my father, I already followed its guidelines. I think I may buy some copies and start handing them out. Based on my recent observations I hope the recipients read the entire book and then pass it on—but only after they tuck in their shirt.