If others are distracted by your clothing or the lack thereof, your professional presence takes a negative hit. ~Deborah King
We live in an increasingly casual society — casual in our dress, behavior, and communication. Additionally, as Americans, we believe that our personal comfort trumps the comfort of everyone else. After all, I have a right to wear what I wear, do what I do, and say what I say. While I may have the right, should I?
I am glad that the strict rules of formal dress and behavior have softened and we are able to enjoy a more casual approach in many settings, but it seems to be a slippery slope. Have we lost sight of what and when something is too casual?
The impact of casualisation is seen in our offices, churches, restaurants and every other public space. Appearance is as varied as people, and behavior can be outright shocking at times. We have all seen the person talking on their phone while checking out at a store. The few moments it would take to focus on the salesperson was not worth setting their phone aside. Those who have experienced this treatment are left feeling invisible.
Recently, a passenger flying on JetBlue was allegedly asked to change clothes before boarding her flight from Boston to Seattle because her shorts were ‘too short.’ What was she wearing that was so inappropriate? A long sleeved sweater, thigh-high socks, and extremely short shorts that to me look more like underwear. You can view the article here.
The comments posted on social media ranged from that’s discrimination, she paid for the flight and can dress as she likes, and she’s not naked – to, it looks like she’s wearing panties, and she should learn how to dress appropriately.
Years have passed since dressing up to fly somewhere was standard practice. With long lines, security checks, and extremely tight seating, formal dress is packed away in a suitcase. Passengers show up wearing everything from pajamas, to sweat pants, to dress slacks with a button down shirt.
Airlines, and most companies, no longer have a written policy outlining what is considered appropriate dress and those that do have such vague descriptions that few understand what is acceptable.
Appropriate dress, behavior, and speech elevate any setting and demonstrates respect for self as well as those encountered. We don’t live in a bubble called ‘self.’ We live in community with others and how we choose to dress matters.
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