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Do Clothes Horses Wear Polo Shirts?

Aug 18, 2007
If clothes make the man, dressing for success is done one pant leg at a time. A scientist needs a white lab coat. Both male and female executives need to be well coiffed in tailored suits, but the female executive has a chip on her shoulder from hitting her head on the glass ceiling. Politicians, with their hands out and talking out both sides of their mouths, should wear conservative suits accessorized, of course, with flag pins.

Accessories are an important part of the look. A professor with a worn briefcase looks like he knows more than a professor with a new briefcase. Add patches to the elbows of the professor's tweed jacket and gray, unruly hair and you've got a professor who looks more than tenured. He's looks twelveured. Patches on a NASCAR driver's jacket and badges on an eagle scout's uniform, however, aren't accessories. They are real signs of achievement.

A few years ago yellow was the power color. To look powerfully successful men wore yellow ties. I knew yellow was a power color as soon as I got married. In fact, seeing a traffic light turn yellow still has the power to make John drive faster.

Many people think wearing designer clothes - any color - makes them look important; but my grandmother never understood why people paid more for clothes that had labels on the outside. She thought wearing the Nike swoosh or the Polo horse was like wearing a one-sided sandwich board.

Prominent actresses dress in designer gowns for award ceremonies, but today's starlets undress for success. Fully clothed, many couldn't act well enough to act like actresses.

Teenagers want to dress like their favorite stars. It's copycat chic - boys in clothes too big and girls in clothes too small. Teens must expect their stars' fame to wear off on them.

When my boys were growing up, dressing for success meant wearing their "Sunday best" - no t-shirts, no jeans, no sneakers. Clothes were Sunday best if wearing them made the boys groan, "Do I have to?"

My boys think they're lucky because dressing for anything in Southern California is casual. I'm casual in black. Wearing black is convenient because everything matches. Unfortunately, the only place I look dressed for success is at funerals. In fact, the only place I'm sure I'll see a man wearing a tie is in a casket. Heaven must be formal.
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