“Oooh! You are the man in the videos!”
“Good afternoon ladies, yes… guilty.”
“You look so nice!”
“Why, thank you.”
“Were you in court today?”
“No… just here at Artemis all day preparing for a speech I’m giving later this week.”
“Really? You dress like that just to come to the office?”
“I’m an adult.”
This conversation happened the other day while I was standing at our coffee maker at Artemis. Two women were waiting in the lobby for one of our “women’s led pistol classes” and were evidently dazzled by my sartorial splendor.
Yes. I like to look presentable.
Or, to put it another, more “generational” way… one of Chaney’s classmates at West Point had leaned into Chaney during one of my visits and asked her: “Chaney… does your dad know how to swim?”
“Yes… why?” she answered.
“‘Cause he is drowning in drip!”
(In all candor, that one had to be explained to me.)
While I am indeed a menswear enthusiast, my choice of attire does have a deeper meaning, and one that should be discussed.
Am I trying to harken back to a simpler time? One of established values, customs, courtesies, and constrained behavior? No… not exactly. While I am the first to admit I was probably born in the wrong century, in no way do I think there really was a “belle epoch” that has been lost to the ages.
The past is the past for a reason.
I dress the way I do, as I said, because I am an adult.
There is a famous story about Michael Jordan. He was in his hotel room with one of the many members of his entourage and a reporter. They were preparing to leave to head down to the restaurant in the lobby. He began what could only be described as a ritual in preparing to leave the room, putting on his clothes as though he were putting on a military dress uniform. The reporter asked him why he was taking such care…they were only going downstairs to the hotel restaurant. He replied, “Because someone might see me.”
And he was absolutely correct.
How we present ourselves is as important as how we perceive ourselves. I am not a child. I have responsibilities to our business, to our law firm, and to our community. I have a responsibility to my children and to my wife. I have a responsibility to my clients and to my readers. Most importantly, though, I have a responsibility to myself.
That which I present to the world is a structured construct of how I would like to be received.
I am an adult; I see myself as an adult, and I would like to believe the world sees me as an adult.
Sadly, I believe “adulthood” has become synonymous with economic success. This cannot be further from the truth. There are some seriously wealthy individuals out there (regardless of age) who don’t behave in any fashion that resembles a maturity consistent with being an adult.
If you have been reading this blog for a while then undoubtedly you have heard me speak of “professionalism at arms”. I will be discussing this again to a greater degree in the next couple of weeks, but for now let’s focus on the “professionalism” aspect.
There is a fundamental difference between being a “professional” and “professionalism”. One deals with competency and economic remuneration; the other deals with maturity and character… in a sense, adulthood.
I happen to be both: I am a weapons professional and a member of the Armed Forces… the “noble profession of arms”… but I am also someone who adheres to a code of conduct, largely self-enforced, which demands personal conduct that displays “professionalism.”
To that end, I owe a debt to society at large to present myself in such a manner through my actions, my conduct, and yes… my attire… that speaks of professionalism.
Ephesians 6:10 instructs us to “put on the armor of God”. Yes, while I may not have been given the gift of faith yet, there is something here that resonates, does it not? While my theological friends might focus on the internal moral “armor” they don each day to steel themselves against evil, there might be quite a literal interpretation here as well. My “armor” can be the garments that I choose to clothe myself in. Professionalism demands moral conduct, and the pocket square, cufflinks, and tailored blazer I wear demand I act with professionalism.
So yes… all this… and let’s be quite honest… I look bloody good in a suit, don’t I?