9/7/08

Social Responsibility - The Way You Look Tonight

I’m going to take the next several weeks and go through a few things that I think every leader needs to attain some level of expertise. The first level of expertise is working on your social skills. Social skills are extremely important in every aspect of life, and I’ll thus be covering several social topics that I think are extremely important to everyone…not just leaders. The first aspect that I consider to be extremely important socially is how you dress. Now, I’ve helped several guys with some tips on what to wear and what not to wear. One even got married as a result of it. But I just want to give you some credibility on my fashion background which isn’t a mile deep nor a shallow pool. A friend of mine once told me, “Fashion sometimes isn’t comfortable.” Personally this is sometimes a daily battle for me. It’s easy in the ever dress code loosing workplace to choose comfortable clothes. However, your dress says so much about you as a person. When you dress appropriately, and by appropriately, I mean a notch above or at least some level of distinction between you and your co-workers, you’ll garnish a certain level respect. I once worked in an environment that had no-rules and oftentimes people would come in wearing sweats or look as though they just rolled out of bed. Prior to changing the rules, business attire was required, and work was much more precise…once the dress code was loosened, it seems as though work standards also loosened. I wonder if the same could be said for schools with or without dress codes.* While most fashion magazines would suggest having a wardrobe for every season, I would suggest having one for the fall and winter months and another for the spring and summer months. The two most important being winter and summer as they are the most polar opposite. As a general rule, fashion changes on Memorial and Labor Day to coincide with the changing of the seasons. Here are a few basics for guys and girls: Gentlemen: a nice black suit (the equivalent of the little black dress) along with two other suits; several dress shirts that can be worn with a tie or with a pair of jeans; a black and brown belt; a good array of sweaters and vests; a few polo’s; black dress, brown dress, white casual, sandals, and several pairs of casual not running shoes; black, grey, and different styled socks; accessories like a track jacket or hats; several pairs of jeans. Now, when I say jeans, I don’t mean Gap or Old Navy. Levis have made a major comeback, but I would highly suggest a pair of designer jeans. Ladies: I don’t know much, but let me just say, when you look nice, you turn heads. If you need further help, buy a few magazines that follow the seasonal changes and trends in fashion Vogue for girls and GQ for guys. Now that you know what you need, you probably need to know where to go. For each person that differs greatly, but if you don’t live in a major city, you may need to shop online or drive to an appropriate mall. The stores that I regularly frequent are Lucky Brand Jeans, Dr. Martens, and Dillard’s. These are the stores where I can usually find everything that I need. But you need to first determine which stores are best for you.
C’mon people…don’t get caught choosing comfort over looking good, because eventually your choice in dress will bleed over into other areas!
*I looked into this after publishing and found one source that said that there was no correlation between dress codes and grades. Unfortunately I could find no other sources to either prove or disprove my theory. Obviously there have been several articles published over the past few years about work places relaxing the dress code in order to comply with the demands of a generation but none could be found on the school or workplace correlation. Nonetheless...dress for success!

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