I’ve read a few posts in the last few months (sorry, didn’t make notes so I can’t provide links) that reflected on fashion and appearances. They came down in favor of being “well dressed” to create the right kind of image, especially in business. One spoke of how you’d want your financial manager or stock broker to look and assumed everyone would want a guy in a suit — presumably the more expensive the suit the better.
I didn’t leave any comments because I didn’t want to seem like I was fighting – I get that mainstream America favors fashionably dressed people and that most would agree that they would prefer a stock broker in Armani. But I’m an old hippie. At one time the sort who marched and protested and was anti- a lot of stuff. That segued into spiritual pursuits — still after peace and love but preferring a different road. My standards of what kind of people wear what and who I trust based on appearance is rather different.
Bottom line, of course I prefer to find out who people really are and I’m aware that appearances are all too often deceiving. But if I’m going on appearance alone, I don’t really trust the guy in the Armani suit. I figure his first interest is seeing to it that he can buy the next Armani and the Jag, etc. And that if I have to switch from, say, Nordstrom to Kmart because of something he does that’s ok with him as long as he’s got all his stuff.
I’d like my stock broker to have a pony tail and a shirt from some place like India or Mexico and maybe some chinos and Birkenstocks. I want him or her to be somebody who deals mainly or exclusively in socially responsible and/or green companies and who totally supports that I want nothing else. I want him/her to have some values that at least put me on an equal plane — that I know s/he’ll do her/his very best to make both of us money and that s/he won’t make choices that save him/her but ruin me. And I’d trust the person in the Birkenstocks to do that before the guy in the designer suit.
I like the fun flair with which almost every artist I’ve ever known has dressed. I like people whose clothes make fun statements about their independence from what people think. I like people who have enough self-confidence to be casual because it’s comfortable. When I see people who obviously spent hours on their bodies and hair and make-up and who wear a fortune on their backs, I expect to be bored–anyone who spends that much time on appearance doesn’t seem interesting to me.
When I see a guy in a fancy suit with shiny Italian shoes I wonder how many people he stabbed in the back and walked over in order to get the stuff. When I see an old hippie working in the food co-op I feel comfortable and like I could start chatting about solar power… When I see a woman in eastern robes with shaved hair I think of compassion and meditation.
I don’t have any beef with people who like fashion and trust people who are well dressed by those standards. I just don’t look at people the same way and I wanted to point out that not everyone sees the suit or the 4″ heels and has the same reaction of trust and admiration. I know somebody like Richard Branson can look like a hippie and still make that ruthless climb to the top and that a guy in a designer suit can have a heart of gold. Even though I have types I initially offer more trust based on appearance, in the end what matters is who people really are. I like a good-hearted person in any garb.