Sunday, March 28, 2021
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My father was disciplined. I rarely saw him without a shirt and tie. When I did, it was either when he was working in the yard or on weekends when, though he did not wear a necktie, he had his sport shirt buttoned to the top.
The Queen of England, Elizabeth I, said “A good face is the best letter of recommendation.” Though I am sure he never thought of it, my Dad most likely believed that a well-dressed man is the best letter of recommendation, or at least a noble one. And that he was. He set an example for many. I guess that’s why I am dismayed by the poor dress I see these days. This business of dressing-down does not work, for me.
I try to dress appropriately every day because it makes me feel good. Sure, I wear jeans (dungarees in our day) to work in the yard and, on an occasional lapse, when I go to town for a quick errand, hoping not to bump into anyone.
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When I was practicing medicine, I had a medical student with me on elective every day. If on the first day they reported carelessly dressed, unkempt, not well-groomed, I sat them down for a chat which started with, “I have a problem. I don’t want to be neurotic, but I am. I need to say something to you.”
Medical students are crowd conscious, ever desiring to do the right thing, so at that moment, I saw fear in their eyes. I continued.
“Not to worry. I know you have personal rights, but here is my problem. I am obsessed about a doctor’s appearance. Therefore, if you are going to spend the month with me and see my patients, then you need to look like a doctor. It instills confidence in patients and staff. So, I suggest you get home, clean up and return looking more professional.”
I thought sure I would be reported to some committee at the medical school for abrogating someone’s rights, but it didn’t bother me, and I never was. The student returned looking much more professional.
I don’t get it today. How can someone go out and about looking unkempt? How can someone go out wearing just a tank top? Nowadays, I see the same familiar trends, the same fads, and the same lack-of-concern for appearance. A universe of sweatpants and sandals is a sloppy universe.
Here are my thoughts: Dressing well increases your confidence. Dressing well sends a message of leadership, consistency, and accomplishment. Dressing well plain old makes you feel good, Eh?
Dressing well is a simple daily reminder that you have value. Your clothes tell a story about you. You can tell a lot about someone’s personality, politics, status, age, and income just from looking at how they dress. So why not dress well? It leaves a good impression. You never know who is watching.
And to me, it is a sign of a good upbringing and respect for those around you.
Sorry. I can’t help being a neurotic.
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Dr. Ed Iannuccilli is the author of three popular memoirs, “Growing up Italian; Grandfather’s Fig Tree and Other Stories”, “What Ever Happened to Sunday Dinner” and “My Story Continues: From Neighborhood to Junior High.” Learn more here.