When I was younger, I was taught by my dad that it’s important to “appear presentable” at all times. I barely understood it then and it kinda irritated me for a while, but it has definitely come in handy. Can you imagine the mortification of seeing someone you’d like to impress while you’re in yesterday’s PJs with eye boogers dangling from your lashes? That was gross and brought me off topic. Give me a sec to get back on track …
Yes, people! The clothes we wear and the style we maintain is important. In college we get away with wearing sweatpants and flip-flops every day and walking around with weird pant straps on our jeans from riding our bikes. But we’re no longer trekking to class on a windy October afternoon and shouldn’t look like it.
In L.A., it’s worse. So much worse. I’m still trying to fathom how big of a deal fashion is out here. Women and men are dressed to the nines whenever they step out of their houses. Plus, getting a job here only happens in three ways: have the position given to you through a connection, have an employer attracted to the way you look/dress or be extremely qualified for the job, in that order. Hell, if you can wrangle a combo of all three, why not use it to your advantage?
I learned something important from watching Top Model, which will probably kill my limited credibility as an advice columnist, but I don’t care because Tyra’s words of wisdom are gems that everyone should enjoy. The first step starts with asking ourselves what our “brand” is. Not our favorite designer, but the combination of the assets we possess that make us stand out from others. If being charismatic is your brand, use the way you dress to enhance that feature with relaxed looks that are inviting and not divisive. A.k.a., don’t dress like a gothic girl straight out of a Marylin Manson video. We should tailor how we dress to be an expression of our most desirable traits.
It matters the most in job interviews. Your employer doesn’t want you to walk in looking like Brad Pitt, but they need someone who looks well-polished and takes themselves seriously when it comes to their profession. The boss doesn’t have to know how many bowls you smoke in the evening or how many raves you went to last weekend, but don’t let them see your party-rock lifestyle in the way you dress.
It’s the men who scoff at taking what they wear seriously that I’m mostly speaking for. They don’t know it’s a lot easier for us to be just as fashionable as women if we utilize a few basic closet essentials. Every guy needs a three-piece suit that fits to their body correctly. A timepiece is a great accessory that people are foregoing nowadays thanks to the big clock on their iPhones. It doesn’t need to be a thousand dollars, but it’ll attract the eye of your boss or your date like catnip.
As far as dating goes, who wants to go after someone who dresses like Mark Zuckerberg? Actually, I could think of a couple billion reasons why someone would want to stick it to him, but those who take notice of what they wear will probably get more attention, dates and sex than the hipster with a beanie on in 80-degree weather. No one’s saying you have to drop racks on racks on designer labels. Take pictures of the outfits in magazines or online and take them to lower-end department stores. Do your best to make a match or undershoot it a little and pay the extra for tailoring.
To silence the nay-sayers, there is nothing wrong with caring about the clothes you wear or how well-kept you appear. Some think the only people who should care this much about what they wear are either gay men or folks that are shallow and materialistic. Keeping your closet situated does not mean you have to be an airhead. Be an intellectual first and foremost. Read, watch the news, stay up to date and ahead of the curve in your field. At the same time you can also keep your slacks pressed, know the importance of gingham and appreciate suede wingtips. Why not be the “full-package” people say they’re looking for?
If you contact JAZZ TRICE at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/Jazz_Trice, he’ll give you free coupons to Banana Republic!