I've made a few trips recently. Training and conferences. We were blessed to be able to attend these things in business casual attire. Yikes.
Now, I apologize in advance if this blog post is about you. But, if it is, apparently your Mom's not around to tell you to tuck in your shirt and comb your hair, much less put on a different outfit.
This little blog entry is sort of a rant about business casual, the well meaning dress code policy that cruelly puts on display the poor fashion sense of nearly 50% of the male population over 30.
Under 30 seems to be doing okay. For now... How is it that a young man just out of college (so easily mocked in other areas) can enter the workforce and successfully show up in business casual dress? His worse offense being a boring ensemble; the ubiquitous polo and chinos. Yet, a more mature, adult man, by the age of 40, has had some sort of designer clothing lobotomy, his frontal fashion lobe slit, like so many pleats in the pants he should no longer be wearing...
But, pleats are so obvious. Let's skip to the shirt, the item of clothing most likely to make the first impression.
When did free become better than nice? What does that Comdex '05 golf shirt, so proudly won in booth 1709 really say about you? Well, it means you went to Vegas and probably picked up a ton of pornographic mousepads in the Comdex Electronics Annex down the street from the main event.
And, that yellow buttondown, so proudly proclaiming Warp* to be king of the OS hill? What's your message? Irony? Well, the ironic message falls on mostly deaf ears. That's right. People think "Star Trek" at best (or is that at worst?). ...and even though the odds are solid that you actually ARE a Star Trek geek, the irony is that you're being labeled geek, correctly, but for the wrong reasons...
Look, I know you like the free shirts. So, use them around the house. Gardening or car washing, for instance. A geeky t-shirt is actually a great cloth for cleaning up your car or dusting furniture.
Now, if you're up around 50 or so, look down at the cuffs of your dress shirt. Are they missing? Can you see your forearms without needing to roll up your sleeves? Better sit down. I've got news for you. That's not a dress shirt. At best, it's a sport shirt. But, if you've ever worn it with a tie, things aren't looking too good for you right now.
Think about Apollo 13. The movie. You've probably never seen so many short sleeve dress shirts and ties in one place, at one time. You'll also notice that Houston's second problem was that there were no women in Mission Control. So, which left first? The women or the sleeves? That's all I'm sayin'
The short sleeve dress shirt. An oxymoron if ever there was one. A dress shirt is, by it's very name, dressy. But short sleeves are not dressy. Sorry.
Most guys just put on their clothes. No thought behind it. Just grab from the top of the stack. But, every action, including getting dressed, should be dependent on one's goals. So, what's the goal of that shirt? Keep warm/cool? Impress the boss or a client. Blend in, at least? Meet, get, or keep a woman?
Rank these things how you like. Personally, I'm happy to freeze my ass off or generally be uncomfortable for a shot at a raise or a date.
So, mix, match, rank your goals, then dress appropriately. And, keep in mind that the whole 'women aren't so into looks' thing has it's limits.
Anyhow, if you show me a woman who's listed computer conventions, Star Trek, and hacking in her 'compatibility profile' and I'll show you a woman who's sporting a Comdex shirt, a bowl cut, and considers a lanyard of usb keys and name badges jewelry.
To paraphrase whoever, "I would not date a woman who would date me if I'm wearing an "I <3 Linux" t-shirt."
Rant over. Next time, we'll chat about Sansabelt Slacks and those swank looking pleats you're sportin'. In the meantime, pickup a fashion magazine and at least try to do better.
* Warp was the last version of OS/2, an operating system (OS) competitor to Windows NT. The name is vaguely Star Trek related, but not enough so a geek won't still laugh at you when you refer to the show rather than the OS. No one else will laugh though. It will just be awkward. You'll notice it's not around (the OS). Well it is, but only in people's basements. There are people who still love Warp more than Linux and ham radios combined.