This is a bit out of the blue but a few recent events at work have really brought this to the front of my brain. Today’s youth, say 18-25, really are in a complete social clash with the rest of society. When you haven’t ever worked a job and your first interview is at 25, then you’re going to have issues. So this post is dedicated to those folks and maybe a few other people with curiosity peeking through. This applies mostly to a non-labour intensive job (e.g. not a miner).
And it’s for guys cause you girls have way too many rules.
Like it or not, the visual impression is the one most people get stuck with. What you wear and how you present yourself speaks many so much that many people, right or wrong, have made up a decision about you before you even have a chance to open your mouth. Being smart about it puts you at an advantage, and it’s one you really should be taking.
Buy a suit and a jacket
Ok, you’re poor. I get that. You have parent/grandparents or some family member. You have a birthday or Christmas. Collect gift certificates, anything really. And then go buy 2 things – a tailored suit and a jacket/blazer.
A tailored suit is not normal for a young person. You typically only see people with grey hair or power execs. The thing is, that you’re fresh out of school and look like you know nothing. Coming in with jeans and a golf shirt is like everyone else. Come in a suit and you will make a good impression. If you work right now, come in to work one day with a suit and I guarantee people will ask if you’re going for an interview or some such. A jacket/blazer is something you can just throw on with any pair of pants and shirt. It makes you semi formal with 1 piece of clothing. And when you buy it, find the best dressed salesperson in the room. They will try to fit you in clothes that you already think are neat. Ask questions too, they are there to help.
The most important part though, is that it makes you look older. I cannot stress how massively important that is to a young person. You’re at a distinct disadvantage without grey hair but a suit suddenly evens the field a bit.
Find clothes that fit and wear a belt
This one sounds simple but look around you. Most people are wearing clothes that are either too tight or too lose-fitting. Pants that fit have a hem that goes to the floor when you’re not wearing shoes. People should be able to see your belt, not just the belt buckle. You shirt shoulder hems should be vertical, not half-way down your bicep.
If it has a hole, a stain don’t wear it to work. If it’s wrinkled, 5 minutes in the dryer usually fixes it.
If you don’t have a beard, shave daily. If you don’t shave daily, create an outline of the stubble. If you have a beard, learn to comb it and keep it trimmed. Again, this sounds obvious, but the days of not shaving for a week and having a neck beard are gone.
Find your own style
Everyone has a personal style. What I mean by this is that you need to find what makes you feel comfortable and make it presentable. There are hundreds if not thousands of styles out there. Some people like hats, some mustaches, some unique belts or shoes. Your physical stature has a lot to do with this too, so dress to your strengths.
You don’t have to be a sheep – just be clean and neat. Mustard stains is not a style 🙂 A good suggestion is to read Reddit’s MFA thread.
I don’t think I’ve seen a 30 year old goth or a 40 year old skater (outside of the XGames). Styles evolve over time and you should too. If you try the baseline advice above, you can always try changing a couple items at a time and see if it still makes you happy.
The most basic and simple advice is this. Pay attention to what you wear because other people will.