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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 certain types of dress and even say that you should dress like this everywhere you go, including the grocery store. The whole piece is available 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 t shirt, 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 t shirt to a business meeting, but go ahead and wear it to a signing. People want to meet you, not a false image of you.

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?