Sunday, December 27, 2009

Caveat Lectores on Sartorial Correctness

Today’s rant has been festering inside me for at least a quarter century. Now that I have a forum, here it comes. It has to do with the appearance union leaders make before the public. This is more than a little sensitive to some and will rile up those who do not agree with me but…..

Union leadership needs to move away from the notion that they always need to look and dress alike to show unity. That methodology works fine when you want to show unity and strength. It works fine when you want to rally the troops. Everybody wearing a union logo ball cap and shirt is fine for union meetings, conventions, picnics, charity events and generally any group outings for union members and where group unity is valued.

HOWEVER…. Stop looking like the Three Stooges, Village People or the Harlem Globetrotters when you go to public hearings, private hearings, private meetings, public meetings, negotiations, grievance meetings, political functions or any type of situation where you need to blend in. Wearing union garb is not as good an idea as it seems to many of my brothers and sisters. Here are some reasons why:

· Politicians, friend and foe, and management are not impressed with the union uniforms.

· If a politician does not know who you are without your showing him/her your union baseball cap, you are a loser in the lobbying profession. You must have a relationship that has already made you well known.

· Sadly, not all politicians are comfortable appearing in all public arenas with union folks. You must blend in the picture.

· Management, politicians, business people and the general public should not be able to tell the difference between labor and management by what you are wearing unless you are wearing better looking conservative clothes than them.

· Casual and poorly fitting or worn clothing of any kind is not appropriate in a professional setting.

· Business casual for union people should be nothing less than a collared shirt, trousers and possibly a blazer for the men. Women’s clothing should be similarly appropriate. I never wear a slit skirt or a “wife beater” to a business meeting and neither should you. By not understanding that fact, some people subtly place themselves in an inferior position they must later overcome.

· Not all settings require the same boring clothes, but make sure you can identify who you are trying to impress and dress at least as well as they do.

· Over dressing can be as damaging as under dressing. Good fashion judgment is a must.

· Your cause is what is important … not your comfort.

If you do not normally wear business clothes, buy at least one properly fitting blazer type jacket and a couple of broad cloth white or blue shirts that fit. Assume they will shrink and you will gain weight so buy them ½ size larger than you normally buy. Get two conservative ties that match the shirts.

There is more for me to say on this topic. I have already done enough to piss off some but have caused others to nod in agreement.

And Oh yes… Have a nice day?


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