Suits and Ties

I’ve never unleashed my well-aged rant about “dressing up” here in the BLOG, and it had to occur eventually. Thanks to a fellow Dallasite and outrageously successful businessman who eschews the illogical culture of suits and ties, it’s happening…

Why I Don’t Wear a Suit and Can’t Figure Out Why Anyone Does! by Mark Cuban

I absolutely agree with him about this topic — lock, stock and barrel. If you want to take the extra effort to wear one, even though I see it as wasteful (below), great. If it makes you comfortable, that’s a respectable justification, even if I can’t understand how. Have at it. Just don’t tread on me or Mark or anyone else in particular about it.

As for the clothing form itself: Are suits supposed to indicate some level of respect and honor? Apparently, as I’ve been told ad nauseum. I wonder how this can be true. Many of the most untrustworthy, conniving, low-down snakes that I’ve ever encountered in life (e.g., certain government and corporate bureaucrats, drug-running inner city thugs, two-faced politicians, incompetent and oppressive managers, butt-kissing workplace chameleons, beady-eyed attorneys, and used car salesmen) wore really crisp suits — their fabric arrangement of choice. Where’s the dignity and honor in that? Call me on the guilt-by-association argument if you choose, but I’ve seen far too many examples to dismiss the dapper demons of the world as “unfair and isolated bad examples.” These “well dressed” slimeballs aren’t rare at all; in fact, they’re way, way too common in this world. Turn on C-SPAN and you’ll see them in droves.

To be fair and balanced, I’ve also known plenty of wonderful and terrific people of integrity who happened to wear suits. Fine. Same for the great people I’ve known who wore other stuff (and there absolutely have been some). Their outstanding character wasn’t produced by their choice of clothing! It was a function of who they were inside, part nature, part nurture — people who would be honorable no matter the culture of clothing into which they emerged.

I’ve also known plenty of folks — mostly hard working, unionized, blue collar dudes like my dad and others — who instantly mistrust anyone wearing a suit. That goes too far the other way, of course, and also is a form of judging someone by other than character. But I must admit, in the battle to be fair and nonjudgmental of someone I’ve never met, I actually have to suppress a seemingly innate temptation to hold it against someone right off the bat for donning a suit. Thanks a bunch, O dapper bureaucratic pinheads!

For the sociopolitically partisan among us I’ll pose some simple logic exercises.

Why would a real conservative wear suits or compel others to? As a group, conservatives are stereotyped to blindly follow the herd and don the tie at work or church, or if in positions of power, require others to do so. There’s a lot of truth in this particular stereotype, probably because Daddy or some other dapper demigod of an authority figure once told them it’s “proper” (whatever that means). As Mark Cuban pointed out without invoking a sociopolitical context, such behavior actually wastes time and money, as well as resources such as energy and chemicals spent dry cleaning the materials. Waste is the very antithesis of conserving, and therefore of conservatism. Yet many conservatives advocate pomp and waste. No wonder conservatives have a reputation for hypocrisy. Logic follows that the authentic conservative should advocate conserving time and money, and avoid wearing suits or compelling others to do so!

Why would a real liberal wear suits or compel others to?
It amazes me to see many left-wing thinkers and talkers (I used to live with one) — folks who vociferously advocate freedom-of-this-and-that, judging nobody, equality for all, avoid discrimination, promote diversity, reject mindless conformity, etc. — turn around and judge people by their appearance, or worse, demand that I or others wear a “nice” shirt and tie or suit to any given social occasion, funeral or wedding. Huh? No wonder liberals have such a reputation for hypocrisy. If the suit-and-tie isn’t the poster child for mindless conformity, I don’t know what is. Come on, “well dressed” liberals! Where’s all that sanctimonious spew about “diversity” and “tolerance” in moments like those?

Nobody, but nobody, ever has been able to answer the following questions for me unambiguously, and without resorting to the follow-the-lemmings, herd mentality, “whether you like it or not” type of drivel. [Spare me that sort of intellectually vacant line of reasoning, please.]

1. What justifies judging others by what they wear instead of who they are?

2. Exactly, how is wearing a suit (or dress, if a woman) supposed to be respectful, who specifically decided this, and what gave them the authority to do so for the world of 2007?

3. Why should anyone be treated differently because of something so trite and trivial as the color and arrangement of the fibers in their clothing, instead of something truly meaningful, such as…ummm…lemme see…their character and integrity?

4. In a different twist on one of Mark Cuban’s questions, exactly how does that certain arrangement of threads in one’s attire (e.g., suit or dress versus anything else in particular) drive excellence on the job — say, making more better widgets, producing more better research papers or issuing more better forecasts? [If anything, productivity should fall when one is physically uncomfortable, right?]

5. Why would anyone really think God cares what we wear to church — especially given the prevailing clothing of Hebrews in Jesus’ day? Is the purpose of church for humble worship in deference to our eternal and almighty God, or is it for exhibition of human peacocks strutting their wardrobes in deference to worldly culture? After a few decades of questioning this, I’m still waiting for someone to show me scripture requiring suits and ties.

OK, enough on that long overdue expulsion!

Time to finish prepping and checking the online portal for Elke’s and my upcoming stock photo service…more details soon.


One Response to “Suits and Ties”

  1. doug on February 17th, 2007 4:12 am

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