I recently attended a lecture at a local university, the topic does not matter. What does matter is how the day ensued.
Waking up at 06:00 as usual, I ate my breakfast, showered and suited up. As I walked out the door I grabbed my sunglasses, briefcase and phone and was quite excited as I sat down in my car to drive to the college. The lecture was supposed to be bringing in the brightest students and some other professionals in my field and I was pretty pumped up to be meeting with them and discussing some new ideas that had hit the world.
As far as I knew this was supposed to be a pretty white collar event. Their was indeed a ticket price just to get in, meals were provided, refreshments and basically anything else you would expect at an upscale event. What you wouldn’t expect, however, was the total lack of class for the event overall. Somebody had gone through a lot of trouble to make this event happen but you probably wouldn’t know it by the look of the participants and audience. I was totally and completely mind blown.
Firstly, the men in charge of the event were wearing American Eagle jeans (Yes, the ones with all the cut out holes and way too tight fit. I would only expect they got 50% off due to the holes) combined with some sort of hipster-vibe flannel shirt. At first I felt very out of place and for the first time in a while I almost felt overdressed, but things continued to get worse as time went on.
Shortly after the college kids started showing up. Suited up? Of course not. They were dressed even more poorly than the adults. Flip flop sandals combined with torn up shorts and t-shirts. What the hell is going on? What finally set me over the edge was a comment I received from one of the staff that was running drinks to and from the bar. The waitress had made eyes at me a few times and stopped for a moment to say, “It sure is nice to see somebody these days to dress for something they stand for.” At the time I had no idea what she was talking about. Something I stand for? I suit up because it’s comfortable, I look good and it is simply my style.
It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized what she meant, and that I should have asked for her number. To some the wearing of a suit may demonstrate power, sophistication, class or wealth. I think these are all fine but I also think it goes deeper than that. A proper looking suit shows that the wearer has depth and understanding. He is able to reflect upon himself and acknowledges the need to express his existence to the world. The time it takes to polish your shoes in the morning, tuck in your shirt and button your jacket literally instills the very fact you care enough to look decent in the world and aren’t the lazy sap who goes out every single day in his cut up jeans. I was in college once and understand that it can be a hassle to dress correctly every day for class and other activities, but for Christ’s sake I would never dream of showing up at a formal event dressed in shorts & a t-shirt, even at the age of 20.
There used to be a time when it was common courtesy to make the effort to look decent. Everybody did it in respect of each other. We all have eye balls. I know I’m not the only one that catches these people walking down the streets looking like crap, pretending to be someone else. Also, if you’re not already in a suit don’t think you’re not in the same category as these hipsters that I speak of. The truth is you probably are.
Do yourself a favor, suit up.