I’ve been a full time fashion entrepreneur for five years now, and it’s really time to address my personal appearance. While thinking about why men generally dress casually, I faced some deep questions about why I resist dressing better myself.
Pour yourself a glass peeps, this post is a personal one.
I was born to devout Mormon parents, and consider myself (culturally at least) as a Mormon, and yes there’s a dress code.
Sunday clothes are a dark, plain suit, a white shirt and a plainly tied, plain or very basically patterned tie. Earrings are STRICTLY out, and jewelry other than a plain wedding band and wrist watch is frowned on. Although no express mention is made of things like lapel pins, tie bars, pocket squares or shoe colour, we are encouraged to emulate the leadership of the church in our dress.
I guess my first reaction to dressing up is a knee-jerk response against being told what to do: You’re forced to wear clothes you didn’t choose, just so you can go to a place you don’t want to be. Perhaps our hideous school uniforms also make us loath prescriptions of how to dress.
At home my family values education above absolutely everything, and fashion was never really a big part of my life growing up. Diligence in work ethic and dedication to God were emphasized, although sloppiness was not tolerated, dressing up was considered somewhat frivolous; a thing less competent people do in order to get by in life, while we rely simply on our abilities.
Growing up gay and Mormon had it’s own excitements of course, and the more I observe my tendencies as an adult the more I realize my strategy is to avoid scrutiny, to blend seamlessly into the background and be left alone.
Later as an archaeologist, field clothes were a bit of a statement. As mentioned in my post on men’s love of casual dress, it’s a form of virtue signaling: I’m so serious an archaeologist I don’t even own clothes other than my field clothes. Of course being in that industry for 8 years catered well to my laziness in personal appearance 😉
As men we can more easily get away with poor dress, and with my comfort zone being behind the sewing machine I really embraced being invisible. Plus five years without a salary takes it’s toll on the few good clothes you do own.
I think more men are in this position than realize it. For a range of different reasons we’d rather not stand out, but just be left alone to do our jobs well and that’s that. Unfortunately I’ve realized that my shyness is only going to get me so far, and if I really want to play this game I’m going to have to get myself into the arena.
So here we go peeps, join me as I transform from a farm boy into a fashion icon