How to dress for success…or not?

Ryan Gosling

Whilst skimming the newspaper this afternoon, having well and truly read every conspiracy theory about MH370, marveled at the rare sight of two water buffalo making an escape from a film set and rampaging down an inner-city Sydney street, and dissected every salacious detail of the message exchanges between Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp, I came across the following article about “how to dress down for success” which essentially charts the rise of the “Schlumper;” a term Oprah Winfrey coined 6 years ago to describe women (mainly) who have literally ‘given up’ on life and decided to retreat to the comfortable haven of elasticised track pants and loose, holey t-shirts. Women are not the only culprits however. Men are increasingly letting daggy come before deportment and it’s enough to make the Philippe Perzi Vienna team bury our heads in our hands.

The way you dress is like holding up a mirror to how you live your life. Karl Lagerfeld couldn’t have said it better when he proclaimed, “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.” But now it seems that this scruffy look is making it’s way onto the catwalks and taken up by ordinary folk who think, just because celebrities dress down, suddenly it’s ok to look like you’ve been dressed out of a charity bin. Well, it’s not ok!

The article cites a Harvard Business School study which found that dressing down can lend people an air of “competency” and boost the wearers status in the eyes of those around them – for example, wearing gym clothes in an upmarket clothing store to create the illusion that the person wearing said sloppy clothing, is more of a ‘big shot’ than someone dressed well, because that person has deliberately flouted the dress code. We say, forget it. You’re not fooling anyone. You’re not Cara Delvigne, Prince Harry or Robert Pattinson or even Mark Zuckerberg. Would it kill you to pull on a shirt and step out of the double pluggers (thongs/flip flops)?

What immediately sprung to mind were the prophetic words of Ryan Gosling’s character, Jacob, to Steve Carrel’s character, Cal, in “Crazy Stupid Love.” When Jacob advises Cal how he should dress for success with the opposite sex, following his wife’s desertion of him:

Jacob: Are you Steve Jobs?

Cal: What?

Jacob: Hold on a second! Are you the billionaire owner of Apple computers?

Cal: No!

Jacob: Oh, okay. Well, in that case you got no right to wear new balance sneakers, ever!

Crazy Stupid Love: “Are you Steve Jobs?”

Now, we’re practical people and we know how comfortable gym gear is for lazy weekends and expeditions to the supermarket…but please people, if you’re going out somewhere nice, pull on a smart collared shirt, ditch the sloppy clothes and wear tailored items that encourage confidence and make you walk tall. Of course, if you are Mark Zuckerberg or Robert Pattinson or Prince Harry… carry on as you were.

How to dress for success