While walking through the building where my office is at earlier today, I stopped to talk with a manager from another company. As we discussed how great the weather has been, my tan and whether or not I’m going to be around for the 4th of July, an older lady walked by. She leaned over, grabbed my shoulder and whispered, “never trust a man wearing a suit.”
“Ah, the wisdom of the old folks,” I thought to myself.
Now I’ve been told, “never trust a [insert ethnic slur here] bearing gifts,” but this was a new one to me.
I thanked her for her advice, let out a chuckle and bid her a good day.
For the remainder of the afternoon I kept thinking about what she said and what a great piece of advice she offered. I thought about who the suit-wearers are what they do.
Radio sales people came to mind first. Followed by bankers, motivational speakers, car salesmen and uptight executives. I’d throw lawyers in there too, but we all know they’re in a class all their own.
I did the shirt and tie thing during my brief tenure in corporate America before saying “screw this.” I fondly remember the day I traded them in for shorts and t-shirts.
I always get nervous when I walk into a meeting and there are perfectly pressed pants, over-starched shirts and matching ties staring me in the face. Think about it, when you’re confronted by a suit-wearer, you know you’re in for something!
I don’t own a dress shirt.
I don’t own a tie.
I don’t feel comfortable wearing them and I don’t feel comfortable sitting down chatting with someone dressed as if they’re going to a wedding at 2pm on a Wednesday who’s explaining all the benefits of partnering with his company to offer our customers the biggest and best widget that’s going to make people millionaires.
It’s just not my style.
I’ve grown to be more comfortable with the sales person or executive who’s wearing a pair of khakis and a golf shirt rather than the Brook’s Brothers special.
I can’t recall any meeting I’ve attended in the last 15 years where I dressed to impress.
In my companies casual was always the norm. Granted, tech companies march to the beat of their own drummer and nothing ever follows convention, but regardless of being tech or not, suits and ties were considered unacceptable work attire.
A perfectly pressed suit is intimidating to many, including myself. Even when clients were visiting or we were visiting clients, casual was the name of the game. Not sloppy, but casual.
I didn’t realize it until today, but I’ve been following the old lady’s advice for years.
“Never trust a man wearing a suit.”
Words to live by, I guess.