I’m Having a Crisis of Style

No, seriously.

I realize that my current style is probably “older than I think I am.”  But I’ve been thinking a lot about the clothes I wear to work, to casual events, etc. 

After all the years I spent in politics and a decade in D.C., I know the corporate/political uniform.  In my early days as campaign staff I once showed up to an event where multiple pre-primary candidates were speaking.  I stood in the back with the other advance guys.  As I looked around I realized that all five of us were wearing a grey pin-stripe suit, white shirt and red tie.  Our mommies couldn’t have planned it better.

But see, I’ve got this artsy side to me.  So when we lived in D.C., I shopped a Nordstrom far more often than I should have.  But it was the 80s and I was stylish. At least I thought I was. I had the requisite dark suits.  But for summer I had the seersucker and bowties.  And in those days I could still tie a bowtie.  Now, the only bowtie I have is for my tux and more often than not I get frustrated and just go back to the clip on.

Moving to Richmond where I got older and wider (that’s not a typo), I started out in the political job with the suit. But now that I’ve settled in as a state employee by day and an internet vigilante by night my wardrobe has become more casual.

I no longer have to wear a tie every day.  That’s a good thing because I no longer have a closet full of suits and shirts.  I can dress up on the occasion that I need to.  Weddings, funerals and important meetings.  But it’s not an everyday thing.

I know that the old adage is to “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

Thing is, I want to be a freelance writer working from home.  I see my days as going for a swim, heading to a coffee shop to catch up on email and reading, then heading home to write through the afternoon.  Not many suits required there.

Still, in building this writing career, I have the occasional meeting with clients.  I’ve got one coming up with a fairly conservative group.  Here I am with the spikey hair I’m too old for and wearing more jewelry than most business men would wear.

Do I go for the artsy writer in khakis and a blazer?  Or do I unbedazzle myself and put on the suit and tie?

For the most part, I’ve had no problem dressing for the occasion, and I suspect I will for this meeting.  But is that not being true to who I really am?  I don’t want to lose a client because I’m not willing to comb my hair.

Reality is that I’m not like Steve Jobs.  I don’t have a closet full of black turtlenecks and I couldn’t carry it off if I did.  And I’m not going to be the hip, young social media guru.

What I want to be is a respected, well published writer.  I think I can be that.

And to get there, I’m willing to comb my hair.

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