I just wanted to make everyone aware of a great article on the Wall Street Journal’s site that discusses the problems facing younger associates who never really learned the basics of dressing well and business etiquette.
It’s really an interesting take on generational issues as well as what it means to be a “professional.” Also, a great online discussion is being waged about the article on the WSJ’s Law blog.
Take a few minutes to check out both the article and the online discussion surrounding it – a lot of great advice as well as good back and forth on the realities of working and dressing in law firms today. Thanks to a reader from Georgetown Law who pointed out this story to me.
By the way, I did add to the online discussion, here are my comments:
“I run a men’s style blog (www.OffTheCuffDC.com) and am finding this discussion fascinating – thanks to a reader for letting me know about this.
As many have noted, this issue never seems to die and that right there says something. Younger guys who want to be accepted for their skills alone often don’t understand that once you get to a certain level skill alone is not enough.
If you want to be a leader in or face of your organization than your superiors need to feel that you can engender respect and project authority and competence. I hate to break it to you but flip flops and an “authentically distressed” polo shirt won’t cut it. Although I write about bringing classic styles into modern life, I am all in favor of updating what we consider “dressing well.”
I’d bet money that those who are writing that the old line needs to get out of the way for a new generation will be making the same comments 20 years from now. When you dress well, and that doesn’t always mean a suit, you are showing respect to those around you and are projecting professionalism to your clients, customers and superiors. If you dress like a perpetual college student why would you expect to be seen as anything else?
And for those of you on the West Coast, dressing casually is not the same this as being sloppy. It is always important to match your wardrobe to your client’s, but you should always be conscious of what others see when they look at you. And honestly, I have yet to meet a guy who, wanting to move ahead in his career, doesn’t happily convert to well made and well fitting clothes.”