Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Jury Is Still Out! When Is Casual Attire TOO Casual?

professional attire

In last week's blog I wrote about the mission I am on to rid the world of the oh-so boring job interview suit by suggesting via my Pinterest board more stylish alternatives to interview attire that allow job candidates to express their genuine personalities.  This particular blog entry has generated the most visits to my blog to date, and I hope the many readers (HR recruiters and hiring managers included) found the examples to be refreshing without being too casual or compromising a certain level of professionalism.

The phrase "compromising professional appearance" brings me to this week's topic:  are we as Americans (or others for that matter) becoming too casual in our appearance?  This question came to mind as I recently read through the jury duty summons I received in the mail.  It included a written dress code for those serving on jury duty, which I have yet to determine as laughable or sad.

I mean really, does it have to be said not to let your undergarments show and not to wear your bedroom slippers to the court house?!  While I know this code may be intended more for others who will be present in the courtroom, apparently enough people have reported for jury duty dressed in such a manner that some already over-worked government employee was assigned the task of penning the verbiage for this letter that would go out to all potential jurors.

But it's not just the court system where taking pride in appearance has sunk to such a low (ever seen what's on the site?!).  For those of us old enough to remember, there once was a time when people used to dress up when traveling by air.  Gone are those days, but a recent blog on dressing up while flying shows how it can now garner special flying privileges for you that others don't receive (i.e. being bumped up to first class).  And the same goes for just about any situation:  you are more likely to receive a job promotion or a record/music publishing deal when dressing the part, you may not have to wait as long for a table at your favorite restaurant if wearing a tie and jacket, and you just might even be excused from jury duty by dressing professionally, above and beyond what is expected in the court's dress code.  Since I've already been excused from my jury duty prior to my reporting date, I unfortunately won't be able to test that theory and report back on it!

But I'm curious as to what my readers' thoughts are on this topic.  Do you think Americans (or even all of the world's society in this day and age) have become too slack in their appearance?  Feel free to post your comments below.  I'd love to know your opinion!

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