Rich started writing for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin as music critic for the symphony and opera seasons. Originally from Granite City, IL, he graduated from Simpson College with a degree in music education. In 1984 he received his MA in Music ...
Rich started writing for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin as music critic for the symphony and opera seasons. Originally from Granite City, IL, he graduated from Simpson College with a degree in music education. In 1984 he received his MA in Music Education from Truman State. Now retired, Rich enjoyed reading, writing music and short essays. He is the director of Kirksville Community Chorus.
MCKNOTES ON DRESSING FOR SUCCESS
I know that times have changed from when I grew up, but in many ways, for the better. I’ve got a gripe I need to air. I used to call them “vants,” which for me was a cross between vent and rant. I communicate with a friend in Florida, and we have similar outlooks on what’s going on in the world, so I always knew I could rage on about a topic and she would at least pretend to agree with me.
From my title, you can tell this is about dress. First of all, let me say that some so-called styles are really hideous. I think it’s important for people to remember that we don’t all look like movie stars. I guess it’s true that some people look good in just about anything, but those people are few and far between.
I know you’re probably thinking that people should wear what they want, and I agree, to a point. My complaint is about watching a talk show and a celebrity is introduced wearing blue jeans with holes in them. My sense is that they can afford a decent outfit if they’re going to appear on national television. We support these people by going to their movies, watching their television shows and in so many other ways. It seems to me that they can at least dress as if they care. I don’t know how many people watch the typical talk show, but I would guess that it’s in the millions. The use of a bit of taste could really be helpful in such situations.
This year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny Manziel, made guest appearances on a number of shows following his accomplishment. He always looked like a million dollars. His shoes were shined; his clothes were clean and stylish. I realize he had plenty of advantages by the time he was appearing on these shows, but in my view, he made the most of the opportunity to show that he deserved a position of recognition with his sartorial statement. Playing football is a rough and tumble sport, so I don’t think I would have been put off if he had looked slightly less polished, but I’d have to say that he looked better than a large percentage of the movie stars who make ridiculous amounts of money.
I have been asked by others what they ought to wear to certain events. I believe that you make a powerful statement about how important the event is to you personally by the way you look. I’m all for comfort, but I also have high regard for being well-groomed, clean and thoughtfully attired.
This is not an endorsement for fancy labels. Frankly, I don’t like wearing visible labels on my clothes. A shirt from a thrift shop can look just as nice as one from Macy’s with a bit of thought. The whole idea has nothing to do with the cost of clothing, but rather with the consideration one puts into his presentation.
I’m not really a fan of dress codes. I don’t remember if jeans were considered appropriate wear for school when I was a kid. Actually, I may have gone to school before jeans were invented. My parents were wonderful models of the concepts I have regarding appearance. My mother made many of the clothes our family wore. My father always wore a suit and tie to church. This was not how he dressed for work at the steel mill or at the service station. He had to make an extra effort. In fact, he became aware that he was facing the onset of a serious health problem when he could no longer button the top button of his dress shirt. He lost his battle with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. One of the most difficult things for him was to continue going to church even though he could not dress like he believed he ought. Eventually he could not buckle belts, fasten hooks or any of the other details he was accustomed to when dressing for church. It broke his heart.
My mother loved dressing her daughters. Ruffles, frills and lacy garments were highly regarded options for my sisters when they were young girls. Still, my mother made many of their outfits. She was an excellent seamstress. Occasionally she made things for me to wear, but much less frequently. I think making men’s clothes was more difficult for her.
I guess I have digressed a bit. For those of you who read my blog regularly, you will not be thrown by this. My point is clear enough though. If you show up for a job interview looking like you just got dragged behind a pickup truck, don’t expect a follow-up interview. Looking nice has much more to do with being clean and neat than it does with wearing name brands or even stylish clothes.
One doesn’t have to be good looking, but it’s important to make the best out of what one has.