TQ: Attire

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 3:56 AM

Mark provides another interesting TQ that I'm answering really late.

1. Do you think your attire effects [sic] the way you work?
Yes, and in a two-fold way. In some settings, I will probably be better off in a suit (or at least a sports jacket) — say giving a presentation or talk. I wouldn't be comfortable otherwise, so I'd probably stumble somewhat. Comfort is another matter. I won't function very well if I'm hot, so in the middle of the summer, a dark suit or trousers or anything of the sort is probably going to decrease my productivity.

Incidentally, in the realm of pants, my bottom level is khakis or other similar types of trousers, preferably with a pleat, not jeans. I don't like jeans. My shorts are similar in style to my pants, only, well, shorter. Short sleeved polo shirts are pretty much my standard shirt, unless I'm wearing a suit; I will occasionally wear a t-shirt.

2. Do you think your attire effects the way others judge your work?
I know so. I've been told by people that they appreciated that I was not dressed as casually as my colleagues in projects. (In one memorable incident, I was wearing a suit, while another fellow was wearing a polo shirt and jeans. Almost everyone around us had at least dress slacks.)

3. Do you judge others by the way they dress?
Yes, in two ways. Incidentally, can you tell I'm in a class that is studying Aquinas at the moment? On every answer I feel obliged to say, “I answer in x number of ways.” I always like Aquinas's straightforward ordering of his arguments. But, I digress.

I'd say, first, I judge people improperly in this. Sometimes, I'll look down on someone, say, at church, for not dressing up a bit more. That's wrong, I know, and its petty. I've gotten better over time, but I'm still not completely over it.

The second way is more appropriate. The way someone looks and dresses says something about them. Someone who dresses entirely inappropriately for whatever event and looks like they could care less probably isn't taking the situation seriously. There may be exceptions, especially in the case of someone who cannot afford proper attire (or doesn't typically attend things demanding proper attire), but in other cases… You don't go to a job interview wearing your 1982 World Series T-Shirt, a ratty baseball cap on backwards and jeans that should have been retired three years ago.

Probably far more meaningful is when someone dresses in a way that obviously takes a lot of work (so their appearance is not from a lack of concern or effort) yet it is disturbing. I'm dubious about goth, for example. I'm dubious about overly baggy pants. I'm dubious about overly revealing clothes. That kind of thing. Those likely speak something about the person.

4. Do you think attire as a society is overrated, underrated or just right? Explain.
Overrated in the amount of time people worry about it, underrated in that every day is super-casual Friday now.

5. Do you think pay scale should dictate your dress code?
Not really. Attire is dictated more by the job position than the amount of money tied to the job.

Note: The questions on this page written by Mark are governed by the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.5 license. I believe my responses are allowed under fair use and therefore are not licensed under the Creative Commons license (I don't want people messing with adapting my personal opinions, thank you very much).

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