Conny: clothes maketh the man?

22 Feb 2008
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United Kingdom
Conny, in another thread said:
I lose respect for [people who don't wear ties] because to me it shows respect to others if you dress in a manner befitting your position.
You go for an interview and another applicant has exactly the same qualifications/experience and knowledge of the job as you but you go in wearing a sports jacket/open necked shirt and trousers, he goes in smartly dressed and wearing a shirt and tie who do you think is going to give a better impression, bearing in mind that you both perform well in the interview?
Maybe I am 'old fashioned' but I know if I was the interviewer what would sway me to make my selection. Why do you think 'criminals' turn up in court well dressed?
Ok, let's go back to Branson, first off. Are you saying you have less respect for him, purely because he is quite casual in his attire?

I'm an SE, with all the requisite academic and professional qualifications. Presumably, with that being my profession, you would expect me to turn up on your doorstep to survey your property, for whatever reason, suitably booted and suited?

So, would you think any less of my capabilities and opinions, if I was in jeans, tee-shirt, fleece and walking boots? Would you think more of me if I was booted and suited, but had a really broad Norfolk accent, which made me sound like my train had stopped a hundred yards short of the station? Would you think more of me if I spoke in RP, but dressed very casually? Which one would you think had the required level of respect for you as a client?

Where image comes into it, where do you stop? Say I turn up in a suit and bulled shoes you can see your face in, but in a rusting, extremely tatty ten year old dustbin of car, what would you think then? Or in a new Lexus, Merc or Beemer, say, but dressed in very casual attire? Which person would you say would be more likely to give a creative solution to your problem, who would be unlikely to be hidebound by the numerous rules and regulations that blight our lives and who is probably the most successful at their job?

In fact, it could be any of the variants above: your opinion would be based solely on your own preconceptions and prejudices.

As it so happens, I hate suits. I hate ties. I hate shiny shoes. I had enough of dressing up while in the forces - where I can understand and accept the need for conformity. But, as a civvy, I hate dressing up, unless there's a specific reason for so doing (weddings and funerals...possibly); the capability to do my job to the best of my abilities not being one of them in my book. I don't, in some perverse way, have any less respect for those paying my fees by dressing down. Clothing doesn't come into it in my book: you cut the mustard by what you do, not what you wear.

Having undertaken interviews of both uber-dressed and more casually dressed applicants, my personal view would be and is diametrically opposed to yours: booted and suited to me shows a conformist sheep, incapable of independent thought; casual shows someone who is not afraid to break out the conformist straightjacket, who thinks laterally, who is not afraid to push the envelope and who will most probably be a pain in the ar*e at some point, but generally good at their job. What I would most definitely not think was that the latter had less respect either for me, or my company, by attending so dressed.

There are so many anomolies in founding one's perceptions about people's respect for themselves and others and their ability to carry out their duties based solely on the clothes they wear, the way they speak and the car they drive, that to do so is crass in the extreme.

The only area where I would draw the line would be in matters of grammar, spelling and punctuation. It would be no good to me if someone writing reports for the company issued them littered with grammatical errors, misplaced apostrophe's (sic) and so forth.

So does that make me as prejudiced as you with ties? The report could be 100% correct in its findings, whether or not it was spelt correctly and with commas in the correct place and so forth. Incorrect use of grammar could, of course, affect another person's understanding and interpretation of the meaning of the report; however, beyond that, should grammatical errors *really* matter, innit ;)? In my book, that's a definite yes, not least as inaccuracies could lead to a misinterpretation of what was intended, with dire consequences. But you couldn't misinterpret the contents of a report that was grammatically correct in every way, which was compiled by someone with the ar*e hanging out of a pair of jeans.

With reference to wearing a suit to Court, there are several options:

  • they are attempting to make a public display purporting to effect some (belated) respect for the office of the court in a misguided hope of eliciting a lesser sentence or fine;
    they are a sheep, as their solicitor told them to wear one, as it's "the done thing";
    Mother dressed them that morning;
    their casual stuff was taken off them at the plod shop as exhibits for the case and that's all they've got left to wear until their next thieving spree in Primark.
There was another thread on here somewhere regarding a guy who got jailed for threatening to kill a drug dealer, which contained a photo of a somewhat scruffy individual leaving Court after sentencing. Do you reckon he probably got more of a sentence by being in a tee-shirt than would have been the case had he been suited; or conversely, had he been suited, do you think he would have got less of a sentence?
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Go to court scruffy, blgger sentence. perlod.

so long as you go looking tidy and presentable, the court won't be looking at what your wearing 1. they are too busy 2. many people attend court without a suit & tie 3. its your attitude on the day that counts.

turn up in your dirty shell suit saying init to every question then yes expect a sentence that reflects but otherwise no it doesn't work like that
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Whey-hey Shy, that's one monster post - must be at least £180 worth ..... it must be a serious issue!

But I agree. I try and ditch the formal attire for a polo shirt and combats or chinos - not jeans though. Very rarely a problem. But when attending court (civil work related not criminal :rolleyes: ) then a suit and tie is a must.

Its funny sometimes when I happen/need to meet some or other other professional in a suit, and often their initial perception is that there is a hint of talking down to me as I am not "one of them". They are soon put in their place though . LOL

I also agree that those that wear formal wear, are less creative and more of a sheep than a shepherd.

But, what is the consensus on shaving? Do the same thoughts apply to someone who is unshaven?
One of the few things in life that I can bothered enough to raise up an indignance about.

Interesting court thing. As an experiment, last year I tried alternative modes of clothing for two small claims I had raised. When I went in casual I lost; booted and suited, I won. Can't hang it all on that though, as they were differing circumstances, different judges.

I have also experienced the talking down due to clothing. From a bloody surveyor of all people :). Ironically, these days, I am his pet engineer and he jokes about I will wear what I will wear, but will always give him a sensible solution.

Shaving is an interesting one. Some people can carry off the stubble, others look like hobos. Unfortunately, I tend to the latter, although I suppose that if I offset it by formal attire, its effect would be lessened.

Why not jeans ooi? How do combats somehow purvey a better impression?
Not skater boi combats, but smarter side pocket cargos. I just prefer them.

I'll shave more in summer, but otherwise I let it grow until ... well until I feel like it. I am known to sport a beard which a Taliban chief would be proud of.

Another little anecdote is often when I get a few spare moments or am just bored, I'll have a wonder around the local shops when I should be working :rolleyes: . In some of the 'posher' shops I will be watched and generally not asked if "I can help" when I am in casuals and unshaven, but if dressed smart and shaven, then there is a totally different attitude. And this is from the same assistants who must recognise me by now.

And I have been to a few situations where Police or fire crew are in attendance, and they always ask if I am "the carpenter" or "the electrician". Damn cheek. I say "No, I am in charge!" LOL
Oooh! Have touched a sore spot with you! :LOL:

Haven't got time for a lengthy repy like yours, nor the inclination to be honest but can I just say that I didn't say a person not 'suitably dressed for the occassion' does their job any less well. I was merely trying to point out that presentation is an important factor in life. Branson as an example is a first class businessman who has worked hard to get where he is and all credit to him. But when you are talking to millions via the media I think you should dress as befits your position.

Hopefully will continue this tonight as I now have to go and don my boiler suit, (without tie ;) ) but can I just say this is meant to be a light hearted discussion and not all out war as to what people should/shouldn't wear?

By the way, showing my ignorance, but by stating you are an SE do you mean Senior Engineer?
In some of the 'posher' shops I will be watched and generally not asked if "I can help" when I am in casuals and unshaven, but if dressed smart and shaven, then there is a totally different attitude.

I find exactly the same thing! Go to Currys at lunch in a suit and they engage me in small-talk and ask if I want to demo the latest big screen TV, go unshaven in my jeans and about 1 time in 4 I get followed by the security guard. :LOL:

I used to be an engineer (aerospace industry) and I found that smart trousers, shirt and no tie was satisfatory for everyday wear. Ties and cufflinks would be a hindrance if I had to go and visit the lab or production guys. Smart suit for big meetings though. Engineers choose substance over style!:cool:

But, in my current job (smarmy sales-type) the smarter the better. Form beats function. I don't think it would be well-received if I showed up in chinos and a polo shirt, even though there's nothing in my contract about appearance or standard of dress... I end up walking around like a visual manifestation of ZZ Top's song "Sharp-dressed man"! :LOL:
You're a man after my own heart, Woodster :)...

Nah, Conn, not **that* bothered by it all, just intrigued as to why clothes should/do make a ha'porth of difference. Close, by the way: structural :LOL:
Just done a 14 hour day so not very alert at the moment but to try and continue for a short while.

I agree with Donkey, cufflinks etc are a pain in the rectum and should only be worn on formal occassions, weddings etc and if you work in an office and have to go on the shop floor then a tie can be a danger around machinery etc so fair comment leave it off. As I have said though my main grouse is with people in high positions who hold interviews/press conferences with the media OR people going for job interviews where I believe appearance and articulation can play an important factor in decision making as to who gets the job. I don't mean talking with a 'plum' in your mouth but being able to express yourself in an articular manner and with confidence. I asked our branch manager today wether this would influence his decision, given that both candidates were totaly equal and presented themselves equally and he admitted he would probably come down on the side of the suited applicant merely because he had taken time and effort to present himself in a good light that he thought that person was more likely to take the same care and attention with his work. As he said, it may not be true but it would indicate to him that it was more probable. Don't get me wrong, I am all for casual in the right place and at the right time, but when you are going to be seen by millions I think you should make an effort.
Good job I shall only ever be a LCpl (at best) of industry and never a politician then, eh? ;) :LOL:
Look at the next lot of politicians etc on the TV.

Check out just how many of them can do a tie properly - central, even and no kinks below the knot.

Very few I will wager

Then look at how many have a shirt with the neck size too small, or collars sticking out as it is too tight.

Then look at the amount of ill fitting suits

And then trousers which are too long or too short

If you are going to dress smart, then dress smartly. Otherwise its just lip service and IMO that says more than anyone in casuals any day

Tell you what though, I have not seen anyone better my parade glossed shoes for a long time:cool:
Agree entirely Woody, it's frightening to think they will be running the country when I am a pensioner! :eek: :rolleyes: ;)
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