When my three sons were adolescents, I insisted that they wear dress shirts, slacks, and blazers when we traveled, knowing that it would make a positive difference in how they would be treated, and that training has carried over into their adulthood. What’s true for air travel is also true in competing for jobs, landing a sales account, securing capital for a business, shopping, or even being considered a potential tenant by a landlord. Does that mean you have to wear a three-piece suit or evening dress and pumps wherever you go? No. But it does mean knowing the difference between wearing neat, casual, and appropriate clothing and dressing in an ill-fitting, inappropriate, and sloppy manner.
The bottom line: We must do better. We get one chance to make a first impression, and that first impression is almost always visual. First impressions are critical to business and professional success, and our general quality of life. Dressing in a way that commands respect has a positive influence on the way people treat you and on the opportunities you are afforded. Stop dressing like a teenager, or worse, like some of the entertainers your teen may idolize. Set an example by dressing and carrying yourself like a person worthy of respect so that when we reach the top, we arrive in a first-class manner.