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Dress, Grooming, and The Effect on Attitude

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It seems that shorts, a T-shirt, and “flip flops” are now considered appropriate wear at just about any public place. How did we, as a society, get to this point? When did “being comfortable” become more important than self respect and respect for others? Our society seems to have lost what was once common knowledge – that our outward appearance has a major impact on our attitude and on the attitude of others.

We have probably all seen the advertisements for a “Work at Home” income. Aside from the fact that they are almost always a scheme to separate the gullible from their money, they also usually paint a picture of working while wearing pajamas and slippers. Perhaps there really are some people who can work that way, but my experience has shown just the opposite.

I have worked from my home, full time, since 1995. I am what many would consider an entrepreneur – I started a business after designing and writing a software program that turned out to be very popular within its niche. I have seen less than a half dozen of my customers face-to-face, so I could easily get away with spending my days unshaven and wearing whatever seemed to be most comfortable. While I have done just that for very brief periods, the effect it has on my attitude has proven to me that good grooming and dressing well are every bit as important – if not more so – than in an office filled with co-workers and clients.

While I sit in my office at home, I make sure than I shave each morning and put on nice dress clothes. At a minimum, I wear dress pants and a long sleeve white dress shirt. On rare occasion I will even wear a coat and tie. I have found that it has a profound effect on my productivity, my level of professionalism, my attentiveness, and how I deal with my customers on the phone. All are greatly improved as a direct result of my outward appearance – something that typically only my wife and I will see.

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4 Comments

  1. John's Gravatar John
    July 5, 2016    

    I can only imagine your thoughts on the “Duck Dynasty” look that has caught on our Southern society!

    • Stephen Clay McGehee's Gravatar Stephen Clay McGehee
      July 6, 2016    

      Your imagination is probably very accurate in that regard.

      I suppose that look has its place for those who are inclined to that sort of thing (I’m not), but it’s a bit like the guy who buys a big 4-wheel drive pickup on credit, smears it with mud, and then just drives it to the grocery store and then off to work at Walmart.

      • John's Gravatar John
        August 27, 2016    

        “It seems that shorts, a T-shirt, and “flip flops” are now considered appropriate wear at just about any public place. ”

        Reflecting on this first piece of your article, comfort plays a part. But, it is the loosening of this society that plays the major part. Men and women used to dress according to the standard of society. We can clearly see that the standard of society was much higher in the older days than now.

        I believe this standard was set not by a populous level, but at a personal level. Men and women held themselves at a higher grade. That grade was determined of mental, physical and financial aptitude. Nobody then wanted to be viewed as lazy, uneducated or ignorant. They dressed and carried themselves as the best they could because it was a personal pride they had. Which is lacking today.

        We see today that while people are taught today to be an individual and be themselves, they’re taught to fit in certain social groups. So, while they’re striving to be as unique as possible, they’re doing nothing more than the others who are doing the exact same thing.

        It’s funny and very creepy at the same time. Society is meant to be lawful and teach us to be the best we can be. But is also the best tool for brainwashing.

        • Stephen Clay McGehee's Gravatar Stephen Clay McGehee
          August 28, 2016    

          Excellent points, John. There are (or were) social sanctions that enforced desirable behavior, and now they have largely disappeared. Many will say good riddance, and perhaps there were some that needed to disappear. The result, however, has been a near-total loss of civility in many parts of the country. The “do your own thing” and the “it’s all about me” line of thinking has resulted in a coarser, ruder, sloppier society, and we are much worse off for it. Thank you for your post, sir.

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