You know who I’m talking about–the guy whose flat billed hat matches his Jordan’s, which also happens to match the Nike swoosh on his T-shirt, and may even match the color of his basketball shorts that are hanging on for dear life. Or the sock less guy whose scuffed-up oxfords (from goodwill), twill high-waters, and nondescript button-down done up to his adam’s apple are completed by his thick, tortoise-shell glasses, and mustache. You have to know who I’m referring to.
These are well-known stereotypes that
are easy to make fun of have distinct mannerisms, catch-phrases, and attitudes associated with them. Whether the dresser purposefully wishes to assume the stereotype is irrelevant; they have a say in items they don, accoutrements they carry, but not how it is perceived. For example:
What does this communicate? How is this perceived? When would it be appropriate to wear this? Frankly, when I dress like this, it’s for me (because I like bright colors), and for all you independent free-thinkers, style does not originate with other people’s opinions. However, every once in a while your “don’t-care-what-you-think” mentality is going to come up short: on a first date, in the office, at a job interview, meeting her parents for the first time…life is not Coachella.
But going back to Mr. Red&Blue up there, he may fare well with the right kind of woman and the right kind of venue for a first date (undoubtedly getting several stares). It works well as an Instagram picture, or an advertisement, but I would love to see an interviewer’s face across the table from this getup.
Your wardrobe is simply theatrics in these situations. You are on stage, and at times you only get one scene to perform. First impressions can be killer, and while I’ve referred to high-stakes situations where dress matters, on a day-to-day basis there are people you may or may not meet and forge lasting friendships with based on appearance. *gasp* “How judgemental!” Yet, everyone falls victim to such knee-jerk biases, and the only thing you can do is be aware and open-minded.
Choose wisely, my friends. Heed not the scoffs and scorns of the style-less onlookers by the wayside if your MO is peacocking or simply dressing up because it feels good. Have some moxie and own your style. Nevertheless, when you are on stage, and your clothes become your costume, be mindful of the character you are trying to play.