Feb 28, 2006

Professional Dress Codes?

I receive a large amount of Newsletters and group emails. One I got early this evening contained a piece by someone in the business in a discussion on how to dress professionally.

After reading the whole piece I would have to say that I disagree with most of what it said. They talk about dressing and presenting yourself as a business person, and they go on to suggest certian types of dress and even say that you should dress like this everywhere you go, including the grocery store. The whole piece is avalible on other sites so I won't reproduce it here. But it did get me thinking.

When I started going to conferences all I wore was Harley t-shirts, except to the banquet. Now as publisher I do dress a bit different, but I still wear t shirts and jeans. I do this more than anything else because that's part of who I am and I'm comfortable that way. I'm an adult (more or less) and I understand that sometimes I need to dress up more, and I do it. However, I'm also an individual and I'm not going to cast false illusions with my dress.

If someone decides not to read Crimespree because I was wearing sneakers and a tshirt, chances are they are probably not going to like the magazine anyway. I think clothes are an expression of who a person is and it should reflect that. If I saw Jason Starr wearing a three piece suit I would wonder who he feels he needs to impress. CJ Box wears cowboy hat because that's part of who he is. Writing is an expression and as such an author should wear what makes them comfortable.
And as adults most people in the mystery community are smart enough to dress appropriately for the situation, and also smart enough not to judge people on the way they dress. I think as long as someone is clean and groomed they are doing fine.

Another aspect is this. I wear a Kiss t-shirt a) because I like Kiss, and b) because it's kind of a barometer. If someone is going to look at my shirt and put up their nose and ignore me because of that, chances are I don't want to deal with that person. Would I wear a Metallica shirt to a meeting with the people in charge at Harper Collins? No. Would I wear it if I knew I might run into them at a bar during a convention? Yes.

It is important to look nice, but it's also important to be yourself. So don't wear a Mets tshirt to a business meeting, but go ahead and wear it to a signing. People want to meet you, not a false image of you.

Question.
We are planing to hook up for lunch during Bouchercon to talk about an idea for Crimespree to do something to help promote you. How would you dress?

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that a black leather basque and high heeled thigh high boots are not going to help me (trust me, all they're going to do is put you off your lunch). I have to say, I would just wear what I normally do. If I feel comfortable then I'm going to be less nervous. For me it all depends on my footwear anyway. I could be wearing a sack (and frequently do) but as long as I like my shoes then I'm happy.
Donna

Anonymous said...

I'd wear khakis and a shirt, at a minimum. I'd want you to at least think that I'm not going to waste your time by not being serious enough to dress approriately.

Anonymous said...

Nothing establishes you as an authority on the mean streets like a good pair of Dockers.

Maria Y. Lima said...

Heh, that whole thing cracked me up.

I'm of the SJ Rozan school of dressing: black, black, and did I mention black? Then it's all good. (Okay, so I throw in the occasional red or purple...it's festive-ish.)

Cornelia Read said...

Well, Jon, I'd probably wear my very best jeans and my black "Lefty's Tattoo and Piercing" t-shirt. With my grandmother's pearls.

I'd save the orange leather pants for the banquet, though.

ben from Bleak House Books said...

So, I'm faced with the daunting proposition of meeting a Jordan or two (or maybe even THREE if the ever wonderful J-bot shows up) to discuss business--what am I going to wear?

Shoes--Might be Kenneth Cole. Might be Chuck Taylor. Depends on my mood.

Maybe I'll wear a snappy suit (at which point I will CERTAINLY be wearing the aforementioned K.Cole). Maybe I'll wear jeans and a hooded sweatshirt over a CBGB shirt (purchased at CBGB thank you very much).

I just dyed my hair three shades of blond and three shades of red and it's pointing six ways to Sunday, and it better be stylish and hip because I paid good money for it.

Jesus, when did I start reading Cosmo?

Wait. I didn't.

b.

Jennifer Jordan said...

For you, Ben, I would wear either my Cheeky Monkey pj's or my pirate shirt with the twenty-year old jeans.

Either Chuck's, if I sense I will have to run away very quickly at some point, or my knee high boots with don't fuck with me points.

Depending on your mood.

I don't change the burgandy locks for no body.

Donna, I would kill for most of the shoes you own. Like 2 x 4 to the head, wrench shoes from feet and run.

Um... what size are you, anyway, chick?

JA Konrath said...

When I'm in the public eye, I'm JA Konrath, which means I wear a jacket, my Clark Kent glasses, and make sure I'm showered and shaved.

People take pictures. Pictures get posted. This society places an inordinate amount of value on looks, clothes, and appearance, and I feel the need to meet a kind of minimum standard of authordom.

If I dressed in public like I dress around my friends, I'd lose my fans---both fo them...

Tribe said...

Was there any advice about how to undress professionally?

ben at Bleak House said...

Tribe,

I've got a friend in Vegas, she might be able to help you out with that.

b.

Steven said...

Frankly, I've got the whole clueless, absent minded professor, schlubby look going for me, so I'm not giving that up. Wouldn't know what to do if I did.

Elaine Flinn said...

Are you telling me I have to leave my mink coat, diamond tiara, the gold lame gown and Manolo mules at home? Lordy, what has happend to good taste?

Cornelia Read said...

Elaine, those look great on YOU, but can you imagine how they'd look on some other people? Like, say, David Corbett? *shiver*. Tony Broadbent could probably pull it off, though.

Sean Chercover said...

Jon, for you I'd wear Jennifer's pirate shirt and the pants to her Cheeky Monkey pjs.

Actually, it would depend on what we were doing after the meeting. If we were going bowling, I'd wear jeans and sneakers and a t-shirt with my Cubs jersey unbuttoned over the t-shirt. If, on the other hand, we were going to a nice restaurant for dinner, I might manage a suit. I like getting dressed up sometimes, just not all the time.

And I love your Kiss t-shirt. And you always smell fine. So keep on keepin' on.

Ruth Jordan said...

I'd pay good money to see David Corbett in a tiara....

anne frasier said...

i think a dress code is a fantastic idea! i'm thinking a uniform... something unisex and flattering like a jumpsuit.

Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

I think if uniforms are going to be brought in then we should really think about what they wore in season four of Babylon 5. Black and grey, lapels.....

Jeremy said...

For work, I pretty much embrace the workday casual thing. I do enjoy breaking out a Hugo Boss or Hickey Freeman suit on occasion to style and profile, but most nights out are jeans and sport coat.

Nothing/nobody will ever seperate me from my concert t-shirts! Well, some of them are from 85 and will likely crumble away, but that is the only way they will leave my wardrobe!

Karen Syed said...

Jon, when I met you at LIM I was not at all put off by your dress. You were dressed appropriately for the setting. I would not have any problem with doing business with you...for the business we are doing. I did however have a problem with one women who came to me wearing a blouse that was stained, torn, and her perfume did NOT cover the scent of BO.

Makes no difference to me how good she writes, because her appearance and smell would probably offend some and bring comments about the "kind of people" Echelon publishes.

Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

Karen,

I've run into a few people like this. It's hard to beleive that there are pople who are in a position trying to sell something or get something and don't even stop to consider that their clothes are torn.

It's all about being neat.

And I guess it would be safe to say that you met an author who stinks and you didn't even need to read the book to know it.


I was at a signing and woman showed up with some beat up peperbacks to get signed. She didn't buy anything and monopolized the queations. She was very far beyond a bit over wieght and her sweat shirt was dirty and ode up over her stomach a good six or seven inches.

Hell, I'm no GQ model, but I do own a mirror....