I had a meeting with a client yesterday and was presented with the usual dilemma of what to wear. Fortunately, the business end of it was solid and secure, but switching from my usual private “barn clothes”, that are OH so comfortable, is always a challenge, especially since I usually work from the comforts of my home or out in the field, literally.
It was so much easier as a public education “official” — suits and heels, at least in my day. For fifteen years I walked the halls of my schools in high heels and it has taken me the last ten years away from them to get my hips and feet in healthy condition.
I bristle a little when I interview people for a story and they appear in sweat pants or torn jeans and dirty shirt, especially when they know I’ll be photographing them for a publication. Photoshop can only do so much, after all, and it’s seldom a matter of finances on their part. Sometimes they simply don’t know better, but always, it’s a matter of time and courtesy.
My students used to ask me why I dressed up all the time and didn’t wear jeans and tee shirts like others. I would reply that I respected them too much to not dress well –after all, they have to look at me when I’m teaching. So the whole picture should be pleasing to the eye.
Sadly, we seem to have forgotten so many common courtesies today. Everything is about how “we” feel. Can we not be a little bit uncomfortable because we respect other people enough to NOT expose our floppy boobs under a torn, thin and faded tee shirt, or the crack of our butts over droopy pants?
It would be nice for the pendulum to swing a little toward the middle — a happy medium where we remember that good grooming and dressing is also for the “viewer experience” not because we care what they think of us, but because we respect them enough to not present them with the vision of a “slug.”
It took me a long time to feel comfortable about wearing jeans –we wore them to ride horses, after all, not to go on a date or to the theater. Today, clean and well-fitting jeans are part of my day-to-day public outfit, and that’s exactly what I felt would be appropriate for my meeting.
I knew I would be in a very rural area, so I wore a comfortable pair of brightly polished sport shoes, topped the jeans with a black sweater with gold-toned buttons. The finishing touch was a simple pearl choker and matching earrings. Adding appropriate make-up and lipstick, I was out the door and ready –comfortable and still appropriate and pleasing to the eye, if I say so myself!