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Dressing Better Opens Doors. . .


A jaunty looking guy in a tweed suit with what appear to be chocolatey suede shoes.  An old Laurence Fellows illustration that I don't think has ever featured here before on the Classic Style blog.

My view on dress and personal style is hopelessly out of step with much of the rest of society now.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing though.  Keep in mind that I am an aging 80s rocker metal head, who finally got with the program by the mid-1990s once I worked out in my mid- to late 20s how I wanted life to be after biting the academic bullet and returning to school.  With that experience from the other side of the sartorial and social tracks in mind, allow me to hold forth a bit. 

Grooming and how we attire ourselves remain important in the 21st century if we are brutally honest about it.   For people to be taken seriously, it still helps to present a pulled together, polished appearance -- Note I did not use the term 'suit.' -- rather than shambling aimlessly through life dressed in the guise of an overstuffed lawn and leaf bag, or dirty laundry basket with a backwards ball cap perched on top and bling or body art cheapening one’s body and leaving the wrong impression behind ourselves in the process.  Dressing better than the sad, pathetic, self-defeating average is not trying too hard, guys.  It's time we have a serious inner conversation with ourselves about that.

Asserting that appearance is important, however, is not a popular view to express in this day and age.  It’s not a view that the vast majority buys into any longer.  Many would be happy to drag me over the metaphoric red hot coals and/or shards of glass for having the brazen audacity to share that point of view.  And some have done so, metaphorically speaking, when I’ve been stupid enough express that opinion in no uncertain terms via this blog.  Especially during its earlier, more strident days.  Few of us, after all, are willing to admit that there might actually be something we need to change about ourselves in order to get ahead in life.  Some, yes, but most no. 

I'll venture further out on the limb of social observation and comment and posit that there is nevertheless some truth to what I suggest.  How we look and conduct ourselves continues to matter in a variety of ways.  Yes, even in 2020.  Yet people everywhere continue to insist otherwise and ignore that fact.  To their own detriment.  

However, as my late mother once observed to yours truly 30 or more years ago, “Your life would turn around if you would simply choose to cut your hair, dress more presentably, and present a better image to the world.  Doing so would open unanticipated doors to you.” 

 Oddly enough, she was absolutely right as it turned out. 

-- Heinz-Ulrich


  1. Heinz-Ulrich - Your wise mother was quite right. I feel sure that at least some small portion of my own success, modest thought it may be, is owed to maintaining standards of neat, clean, professional dress. And in addition to any career benefit, I derive personal satisfaction from dressing with care even during the current era of working from home and Zoom meetings.

    Suits are a rarity these days, and simply putting on a blazer or sport coat and tie is more than most men seem able to manage, but I believe that wearing a coat and tie can give one a slight leg up. It will not, and should not, be the primary factor in creating one's reputation; that would be rather a shallow view. However, it can foster the initial impression that here is a grown up who takes himself and others seriously, and is willing to put a bit of effort into presenting a professional appearance. It may make others listen just a bit more attentively, or make the difference between getting a call-back interview after an initial meeting, and being passed over for further consideration. And young women will notice too. Even as small an effort as wearing clean clothes, tucking in one's shirt, and standing up straight will set a young man apart from the lumpen mass of his peers, and he will certainly make a better impression than the walking unmade beds that I often meet on the grounds of our local university. The kids really just don't know any better, having seen few examples of well-dressed men and never having been held to any higher standard, which is a disservice to them and to those who will encounter them in later life.

    Interestingly, like you I too went through a disheveled, hirsute and somewhat dissolute time in my youth before deciding to grow up, return to school and get a real job. I do not regret it in the least, and learning to appreciate and wear good clothing has been an enjoyable part of the experience, along with things like reading good books, going to the theater and museums, listening to good music, and eating good food. Shunning the good stuff out of fear of elitism or some misguided egalitarianism is a mistake that needlessly deprives a person of much enjoyment. What could be more egalitarian than treating oneself and others with respect and making an effort to appreciate something beyond the t-shirt, the latest Facebook trend, comic-book movies and eating a microwave burrito while standing over the kitchen sink? Maybe the slovenly kids I see today will one day also grow up and learn to live a little too. I hope so, for their sake and ours.

  2. Well said, Charlottesville. Well said.

    Best Regards,



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All opinions are welcome here. Even those that differ from mine. But let's keep it clean and civil, please.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

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