Posted by Lewis on March 07, 2005
In Reply to: 'sincere' suit posted by David FG on March 07, 2005
: : : A mans wardrobe needs at least one 'sincere suit'. Thats the dark navy or black suit you wear to funerals, job interviews, adn other occasions when you want to really show that you are a solid citizen. I have one with pinstripes, just to be sure.
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: : as a lawyer, I dress in long-sleeve polo-shirts and some shirt/jacket combinations, if I feel like it.
: : suits are for court appearances and the like only. that's only so the clients feel that I'm as 'smart' as my opponent.
: : dress codes are for retrograde fascists.
: : L
: Dress codes, like other forms of etiquette are attempts at good manners. To deliberately break an expected standard of dress is to draw attention to one's self, which is a form of exhibitionism. It does not necessarily mean 'formal' styles of dress either: to wear a dinner jacket on a stroll in the countryside is as unacceptable as to wear jeans and a t-shirt to a funeral.
: It's all about not setting out to create uneasiness on the part of others.
One of the best young lawyers in the town in which I worked used to dress in jeans and t-shirt/sweatshirt in the office and sometimes kept something more formal available if he was in court. he was respected by young and old alike in the local legal community.
even the local judiciary were amused rather than outraged when he turned up at court in jeans and t-shirt, having not expected to need to be there that summer's day (I was opposing him in that case).
it was his courage in risking opprobium for his standards of dress that inspired me to dare follow suit. whilst I would rarely drop down to t-shirt casualness and prefer to appear neat, albeit casual, the principle of not being dictated to is kept. most of my clients speak with me on the phone or through email, so they already have confidence in me before we meet.
defeating expectation can be good - especially when people are expecting to be intimidated and find they are met by somebody at ease who has the confidence to look comfortable.
it is a question of judgment and knowing when a person may need the re-assurance of you being smartly dressed. I had known a client for about 2 years and he had never seen me in a suit, but when we went for an important meeting, I was there 'suited and booted' and looking every bit as sharp as my mind.
somebody, possibly Charles Atlas or Bruce Lee, used the term 'dynamic tension' in describing their training regime. it is often necessary to create a 'tension' or 'unease' to facilitate constructive change. that principle, that change in thinking is brought about through instability, is at the core of dispute resolution training, so if dress-code can contribute to that, it may be beneficial.
Just a thought.