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Dressing for success

I understand companies being fluid in their approach to operation depending on employees that they hire; not everything is set in stone.

For example, an employee may be more adept at one skill than another and a procedure set up in the office hinders that person. Being fluid means a company may have to change or mold the policy to make it work with the new person.

I believe that is such in our U.S. Senate. In comes John Fetterman, i.e. hoodie and sweat shorts guy, and suddenly the dress code changes. reported, “Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday that staff for the chamber’s sergeant-at-arms will no longer be tasked with enforcing a dress code on the Senate floor.

““There has been an informal dress code that was enforced,” Schumer said in a statement Monday, without mentioning Fetterman by name. “Senators are able to choose what they wear on the Senate floor. I will continue to wear a suit.”

“In response, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine joked to reporters she planned to “wear a bikini” Tuesday. “I think there is a certain dignity that we should be maintaining in the Senate, and to do away with the dress code, to me, debases the institution,” Collins said.”

I was watching Fox News a few days ago and their reporter was interviewing some of the more swanky restaurants in Washington D.C. and found that they were still requiring strict dress codes to enter their establishments to eat. Apparently Fetterman doesn’t eat there and Wendy’s doesn’t have a dress code.

We in the Midwest are not immune from dress codes becoming laxer; twenty years ago I wore dress pants and shirts every day at the office. Today, I wear jeans or shorts based on the temperature of the day. 

But, a big but, there are still times when dress codes should be adhered to; i.e. when leading meetings or appearing in a professional rank for an elected office. It does matter what people where when they were elected to hold an office and have to report to other elected officials or the public.

Reasons to dress up? LinkedIn, an online social media business platform, had an interesting commentary of dress codes. explains, “1 – Science says so. As already stated, there is science behind the term “dress for success.” A study by Lefkowitz, Blake, and Mouton (1955) proved that business suits portray a form of authority. In an experiment they had someone in a city cross the street against the traffic. When he was dressed in a suit, three-and-a-half times as many people followed him as when he was wearing a work shirt and trousers. 

“2 – First impressions count. There’s an old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” which is technically true; however, product designers create packaging with the mind-set that people do judge, and they’re not wrong.  This also applies to how someone dresses. The visual aesthetic we present to others through our appearance and apparel is extremely important. We live in a judgmental world; we are quick to make assumptions and to categorize individuals based on what we see. 

“3 - Promotes self-respect.

“4 – Boosts self-confidence.

“5 – It draws the right kind of attention.

“6 – It’s a step to overall self-improvement. 

“7 – It will keep you productive. 

“8 – It shows your attention to detail. 

“9 – Competitive edge.

“10 – It’s fun.”

I go along with several of the points LinkedIn makes; however, I don’t necessarily find dressing up fun. I do it out of necessity, not because I like it. There is a time and a place to dress up; we, as a society, have devolved into one where John Fetterman may look normal on the Senate floor. Enough is enough; decorum in our government is one place people need to hold more to the line. Fetterman is a joke; and we don’t necessarily want our entire Senate looking like that, or other elected bodies of government.




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