Most men, whether they realize it or not, have a uniform they wear.
It may be a Pink Floyd t-shirt with worn out jeans and a pair of boots.
It may be the bro-tank, board shorts, and flip-flops with a backwards cap…and let’s not forget the Ray-Bans, gotta have those.
It may be a button-down shirt and jeans, or a simple black suit and white tie.
Whatever it is, most men tend to wear the same thing, over and over and over again. They do it without really thinking about it, because it’s just as natural as breathing.
The problem is, at some point as a man, you need to start thinking about it. Because the older you get, the less it becomes acceptable to rock the bro tank and board shirts, or wear a flat-bill cap with “HURLEY” etched across it in gigantic lettering. With age, comes responsibilities, and with those responsibilities comes adult-hood. If you want to be successful as a man, you have to communicate that you take yourself seriously to others.
I’l never forget learning this lesson, and I’ve had to learn it from both my father and friends I greatly admire and respect. For a long time, my uniform consisted of a t-shirt, jeans, and a ball-cap. I always wore the ball-cap. It felt like ME, and I didn’t give a damn what someone else thought. Yet on the rare occasion that I didn’t wear one, I would always hear the same thing from my father: “You look like a man. You look good.” I went on a vacation with one of my closest friends, who is several years older and highly regarded by his peers in law enforcement and the military. One day he saw me standing with my ball-cap on as we were waiting to go out to dinner at a nice place. “Take it off for a minute.” he asked. So I did. He grinned. “You want to know something?” “You don’t look like a boy anymore. You look like a man.”
See the pattern here? I changed one thing about my appearance, and it radically changed how others perceived me. Because gentlemen, there is a big damn difference between being a boy and being a man.
What I’m advocating for is to dress with class not only at work, but off the clock as well. Ditch the wide brim ball-cap. Leave the bro tank and board shorts for summer back-yard barbeques. Buy button down shirts, nice shorts, and shoes that aren’t Nike or Vans.
A good rule of thumb is…if you are about to graduate college or already have, it’s time to leave whatever wardrobe you embraced in college behind. That means trading shirts that have logos on them for shirts that are plain but in bold, stylish colors. It means buying a suit, and wearing it once in a while. Fellas, when you wear a nice suit, the whole world feels like your oyster. Women want to talk to you, men stare at you with respect. You can command attention in all the right ways. You look like the man you are.
But don’t lose that playful side of you. No need to go all Ben Bernanke on us here, (He was the former Fed Chairman. Don’t know what that is? You better start learning.) But dress like you mean business, and play like the frat boy you really are inside.
That, gentlemen, is the best of both worlds.
Yours in Virtues and Victory