Guest Writer Sean Roman, Eagle 97.7
One morning, a lot like the morning I’m writing this today, I came into work wearing a jacket that, admittedly, looks like the 80s as a collective decade thrown into a blender. I had a former coworker, a proud baby boomer, turn to me and say, “You know, you would’ve gotten beaten up walking down the street wearing stuff like that in my hometown.” Now, how does one respond to that remark? I still have no idea. I think about it every time I put that jacket on and walk out the door (because I still wear it, of course).
About a year ago, I decided I wanted to start dressing myself better, or at least in a way I felt represented me better. I noticed pretty quickly that there was a pretty wide disparity between the comments I would receive from women and the majority of men on my clothing. Women were very positive and highly complimentary. Men were…weird. For some reason, a showering routine that consists of both shampoo and conditioner (not 2-in-1!), face scrub, and cleanser made me effeminate. A morning routine that includes moisturizer, beard oil, and hair pomade (not to mention the $65 average on a haircut/beard trim I spend every month) made me ridiculous.
These comments never really fazed me. I feel like in my career field of broadcasting, you need to have thick skin when it comes to negativity. Rather, they were confusing. Rude comments about my hair were usually made by men who didn’t have much of it left, so I kind of always just assumed it was a jealousy thing. Remarks about my outfits were usually made by “Jake from State Farm” cosplayers who wore the same utilitarian khakis every day. Why are men serving as gatekeepers to what a man can wear? Why aren’t men allowed to dress well?
I’ve thought about it before. I feel like a lot of men lack the outlets they need to really express themselves creatively. The snide comments I’ve received before could come from a place of insecurity, ignorance, immaturity, or something worse, like the homophobia behind the assumption that a man who dresses well must be gay. On a lighter note, sometimes it’s just good-natured roasting. My workplace often could be related to a good old-fashioned Mexican stand-off: who’s going to roast who first? They say I look like Nickelodeon character Jimmy Neutron, and I hit back about their make pattern baldness. Zing.
Fashion and your wardrobe are a great way to achieve creative expression, and that shouldn’t just be restricted to women. Dressing well has directly translated to more confidence in myself which has bled into my personal relationships. And, as silly as it can be to say, when I dress well I feel like I sound better on the air.
There’s also the saying “dress for the job you want , not the job you have.” Now, I’m not saying there weren’t also convenient circumstances that allowed me to be promoted twice in a year, but I’m also not ruling out my floral ties as a contributing factor. Let me just put a disclaimer that it’s also not a good idea to wear a 3-piece suit to your shift at Burger King.
It’s also just frankly not really that much effort to head down to the outlets or go online and look for clothes with patterns or COLOR. So many of my male friends wear the same brown, grey, and black clothes every week. Some of my fellow broadcasters have underwear older than I am (which, yeah, is pretty gross, and also probably inexcusable?). Anyway, find someone in your life whose opinion you respect and whose clothing style you appreciate and get them to help you out. An early crash course in color matching and style is a great base that you can build upon independently. There are also plenty of magazine publications, online resources, and videos that can help you get there. Style doesn’t have to break the bank either; find what you feel comfortable in, at a comfortable price.
Dressing well is going to make you feel better about yourself. I guarantee that putting effort into your appearance and how you present yourself is only going to cause positive change in your life, regardless of what you are seeking. Whether you just want some positive attention, more self-confidence, or some creative expression, look at that dresser as an option to help you start making positive changes in your life. One tie, one shirt, or one pair of chinos at a time.
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