I’m not, as anyone who knows me very well can attest, a fashion expert or clothes horse or anything of the kind.
What I am, though, when it comes to clothing matters, is someone who has an interest in looking the part, whatever that part may be — that is, I do believe wholeheartedly in wearing appropriate clothes for the situation.
That’s why, when I spoke at West Albany High’s annual career day last week, I wore a coat and tie. To be more specific, I wore a coat and tie because when I was in high school at Rex Putnmam — which albeit was a long time ago — the most legit teachers (outside of PE class) wore coats and ties, including the most legit of them all, physics teacher extraordinaire Dave Cox.
Cox, btw, grew up in Albany and now lives a stone’s throw both from the DH and from West.
Anyway, in honor Mr. Cox and all the others of his era who shaped my views on what a high school teacher should look like, I wore a jacket and tie to West since I, like a teacher, would be addressing classrooms full of students.
Likewise, when I know I’ll be covering something in court or interviewing a judge, I typically dress that way as well, or maybe even wear one of my two suits.
If I know I’m going to be working on a story outdoors — like the day a couple weeks ago when I spent the afternoon at various tree farm locations in Sweet Home — it’s obviously going to be jeans and boots.
If I’m just going to be in the newsroom, I may or may not wear a tie, but either way I do try to effect a look consistent with what you’d expect to see in an office.
It just seems a decent idea, if you want to be taken seriously, to make an effort to wear the kinds of clothes most reasonable people would wear in the same circumstances.
Obviously attire is far from the most important aspect of a person, but it is important in a way. It’s kind of like the front porch of a house in that it gives a hint as to what’s on the inside, what the rest of the package is like.
Might as well give a constructive hint as long as you’re giving one.