Thursday, October 20, 2011

Suit up!

My favorite show of all time is How I Met Your Mother.  My favorite character of all time is Barney Stinson (played by Neil Patrick Harris).  He is this over the top womanizing ridiculous sociopath that demands your laughter.  He also is a fashion genius, so much so, that when I was getting married I actually said to my then fiancée, “I want to look like Barney on my wedding day and suit up!”  Barney Stinson is all about dressing in nice suits, wearing fashionable ties, and always looking top notch.  This TV character and real life meet in my closet.  That may sound a bit kidnapperish; however, what I mean is that I am into fashion as well.  GQ, Esquire, and Complex are all regular readings for me.  I enjoy fashion and looking nice.  For me how I look on the outside is a direct reflection of how I feel on the inside. 

The professional marketplace is deluded with khakis and polos.  We are a very “business-casual” marketplace these days.  The company I work for often has initiatives connected with their corporate giving to large non-profit organizations that allow its employees to wear jeans and be casual for some donation.  Every Friday is casual Friday, and by casual I mean a t-shirt and jeans.  This is a great benefit and is really nice especially in the winter.  This is the context I am working within.  This morning as I put the finishing touches on my look I found myself with a little extra pep in my step.  The reflection deserved a compliment, dressed in nicely pressed slacks (flat front of course), fitted dress shirt (no pockets on the front, ever), tie, and dress vest nicely covering it all.  I show up to work and get plenty of smart-assed comments but I see past them, I know they are compliments in disguise.  When a guy ribs you for looking GQ he is really saying, “You look very nice today.”  When you are asked if you have an interview, they are really complimenting how well put together you are.  When you are asked, “Who are you trying to impress?” they mean you look dapper.  I decided a while back that I am going to dress above par even though I have the option to be casual.  I’ve found that when I am dressed to the nines I feel like I’m floating around the office.  I have an extra skip in my bounce when I look like I have an interview or am trying to impress someone.

I’ve always heard, “Don’t dress for where you are, but where you want to be.”  Sure it is a little cheesy, but I think it has a grain of truth in it.  When you dress and look like everyone else you are just like them.  If you decided to step your game up a bit and not fall into the homogenous pool of business-casual  you stand out, in a good way.  No one is ever going to look down on you because you are dressed too nice.   Is there a too nice anyways?  I am proposing that if you dress the part you will feel the part.  If you have a job that you do not like or feel like you add no value to I bet there is a difference in how you feel about it all when wearing a suit over some jeans and a graphic tee.  I’m not sure if there have been any case studies done in this area, but I’d be willing to invest some cash in guaranteeing that the results turn out as I’ve prescribed.  In this flooded market any edge you can have over others is a good edge to have.  I’m not talking slimy or sleazy edges, nothing that is destructive or hurtful to others.  If you can make yourself more than a resume and more than a professional clone then you have a greater chance to get to where you want to go faster than others.  Dressing for where you want to be instead of where you are is not only good for how others perceive you, but probably even better for your own psyche.

So gentlemen: Suit up, look good, feel good, be well!