There’s nothing better than a well-dressed man in a suit. And yet, while suiting is one of my favorite things to style, many Rath & Co. clients work in casual environments and don’t have the need or opportunity to wear dressy clothes very often. For these clients, the challenge becomes how to be well-dressed and get noticed without looking out of place among their peers. There’s a fine line between putting some effort into your appearance and seeming like you’re trying too hard (which can often result in getting busted on by coworkers – never fun). Those offices where jeans, t-shirts and sneakers are more common than a jacket and tie can range from tech startups to laboratories.
With these challenges in mind, I’ve created the below list of 8 tips on how to step up your style just enough so that it improves your self-image and the way you’re perceived by others, but not to the degree that you overdo it and become the object of skepticism or even ridicule.
1) If you’re wearing sneakers, make sure they’re not ones you’d actually exercise in but rather what I call “social sneaks.” These are sneakers you wear for every day, not working out. They should be clean and fresh-looking. Wash or replace them as soon as they start to look grungy. Converse Jack Purcell’s are a great choice.
2) Same goes for any other kind of footwear you might find yourself in: keep it classy and avoid anything with the word “hybrid” in its description. The place where the sneaker meets any other kind of shoe (i.e., dress shoe, boot or sandal) is like a dark alley late at night — nowhere you’d want to be.
3) Just because you’re wearing a casual shoe, you don’t need to wear white gym socks or plain black dress socks. In fact, wearing more interesting socks is a great way to inject style into your look without going over the top. Try different colors or patterns, like those above from Drumohr. And even simply switching from black to navy or grey is a big improvement.
4) If you’d like to wear ties but aren’t sure where to start, go with one in a fabric with texture as opposed to a more business-y silk. It can be cotton, wool, cashmere or silk knit. Texture makes you look approachable, so this gives you the added effect that comes from wearing a tie, done in a toned-down way. Pierrepont Hicks makes a number of good choices with texture, like the one above.
5) Just because you wear glasses does not mean you have to resign yourself to life (visually) as a nerd. In fact, I get really excited (maybe too excited) when I have a client who needs glasses. There are so many terrific frames out there, and wearing glasses is an excellent way to improve your look – even if you sit behind a computer all day. The other nice thing about using glasses to step up your look is that wearing them is utilitarian, and unless you choose something that’s really wacky or overly-stylized, you won’t be perceived as trying too hard (assuming you actually do have a glasses prescription!). Here’s a guide I wrote on how to choose. One of my favorite resources for glasses in New York City is 10/10 Optics, and they were kind enough to offer the $100 discount above for my readers (Offer good on complete pair of frame and Rx only. Not valid on existing orders, contact lenses, Maui Jim or Ray-Ban Rx Eyewear).
6) Are untucked shirts more common in your office than tucked? If so, there’s a right way to do this – and several wrong ones. Done correctly, the shirt length should hit about halfway down your pants fly and no longer than that. Also, the bottom of the shirt should have a straighter and shallower curve than the tails you see on a traditional dress shirt (which are designed to help stay tucked in). If you buy a shirt and decide you’d prefer to wear it tucked out than in, take it to your tailor to have it adjusted accordingly.
7) Keep a sportcoat or blazer in your office – one that fits well and is easy to match like a solid navy or grey. That way, if you’re heading to a networking event after work, all you have to do is throw it on (but note, if your button-up shirt is untucked, switch to one that you can tuck in; you don’t want to wear a sportcoat with an untucked shirt).
8) For those of you in jean-friendly environments, keep your denim crisp and polished. Hint: these are not your weekend knockaround/football-watching jeans. Look for dark rinse, straight-leg styles with no holes or excess whiskering and detailing on the back pockets like those above from Bonobos.
Working in a casual environment is no excuse for giving up on the possibility of looking pulled together or stylish. By paying attention to a few details like those above, you can easily manage your appearance so that it enhances, rather than detracts from your overall appearance.
How do these tips strike you? Do they seem doable for you? Leave me a comment below.
Click here to review and purchase
The Recovering Politician Books is proud to publish its newest title, former Missouri House Speaker Rod Jetton, “Success Can Kill You: One Man’s Story of Success, Failure, Faith and Forgiveness.”
The book targeted to driven leaders, and points out how pride, flattery, bitterness and paranoia can have terrible consequences for those in charge of large organizations. Using personal examples, Rod warns readers about the dangers of letting success go to their heads. The book chronicles Rod’s meteoric rise from a young Marine officer to the second youngest House Speaker in Missouri state history. His political success made him a powerful force in the Republican Party and he was on the fast track to becoming Governor of Missouri, when his personal life exploded in a very public and humiliating fall.
On December 7, 2009, he was arrested for felony assault after a one-night stand with a woman he connected with on Facebook. Soon after that, he received a call from a former girlfriend telling him she was pregnant and he was going to be a father at the age of 42. Then, just a few weeks later, Rod found out he was the target of a grand jury investigation from his handling of a bill when he was Speaker of the Missouri House. Rod’s candid way of explaining his mistakes and pointing out the dangers of putting his career in front of his faith and family will be of great benefit to politicians, businessmen, church leaders and corporate executives focused on accomplishing their goals.
Click here to review and purchase.
Here’s an exclusive excerpt:
“Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” – Galatians 6:7
My bitterness and fighting had made me many political enemies across the state. Those enemies did everything they could to make sure the assault charges ended my political career. Over the last few years, I have had many supporters tell me I was set up by my political opponents. Let me set the record straight: I was not set up by anybody. I arranged to meet this lady on my own, and she was not part of any plan to get me. It is solely my fault and my responsibility.
But once my political opponents learned about the accusation, they took the information and did everything they could to make sure there was an investigation resulting in criminal charges. They used their political power to see me hang…however, I walked to the scaffold, gave them the rope, tied the knot, and put it around my own neck. Had I been in their shoes, I’m sure I would have done the same thing to them.
I remember talking to my good friend, Shannon Cooper, right after my arrest. In an effort to cheer me up he said, “Well Rod, at least things can only get better. You’re at rock bottom now, and the only way out is up.” While it did seem like my life had hit rock bottom, things were about to get a lot worse.
Two weeks after my arrest I was contacted by a lady I had dated that fall and was given some very sobering news. She told me she was pregnant and that I was going to be a daddy. Wow, that was a big news flash. My son was sixteen at the time and there I was at 42, about to be a new father.
To complicate the situation even more, she was still married. She was separated and in the process of getting a divorce when we started dating. Missouri law prohibits anyone who is pregnant from getting a divorce. They require that the parties wait until the child is born to do a DNA test to determine who the father is for child support reasons.
This woman came from a good Catholic family, and as you can imagine they were furious with both of us. The only thing they knew about me was what they saw on TV, which was not good. Her divorce, pregnancy and relationship with me were an embarrassment for them, and the whole complicated mess was like something on a soap opera.
For me, it meant another serious talk with my family. I will never forget telling my parents. When my mother heard the news, she gasped like someone had punched her in the gut. I could see the deep disillusionment in her eyes, but there was nothing I could do. What made it even worse for me was the realization that I was causing the woman who had done nothing but love and pray for me my whole life pain.
Once again my children were very kind and supportive. There are just no words to adequately describe how difficult it was to tell my two daughters and teenage son even more details about my whoring around. They were going to have a new sister or brother from someone they really didn’t even know, who was still married to another man.
That was one very rough Christmas. I was so thankful for God’s forgiveness and so appreciative of my family and friends, but everything else was a total and complete mess. I didn’t know what to do about my girlfriend and the arriving baby. She didn’t have any place to live so I rented her an apartment to live in and took care of her medical bills. I asked her to marry me, and she said yes, so I made plans to marry her once the baby was born. She was a very nice lady, and I felt responsible to her and the child, but I was adamant on us living apart and not having sex until we were married. By then, I was scared to death of breaking any more of God’s commandments.
Right after Christmas, I received more bad news. An old friend called to advise me of a federal grand jury investigation surrounding my handling of a bill regulating Missouri strip clubs during the 2005 legislative session. Over the years, many of my opponents had accused me of misconduct concerning this bill, but nothing had ever come of it. That fall a rumor about a new investigation had resurfaced, and my friend called to inform me that the FBI was moving forward with it.
I called my attorney who was helping me with the assault case, but he said he was not qualified to handle a federal case. He agreed to call the investigators and check on the situation. Later that week, he confirmed they were investigating the issue and two weeks after that I received a letter in the mail notifying me that I was the target of a federal grand jury investigation. The letter referenced several legal definitions of crimes they were looking into, but it all boiled down to bribery. The letter stated these charges could result in 20-25 years of prison time.
The accusation was that I took a $35,000 donation and promised to kill a bill regulating strip clubs in Missouri. I had been against the bill because it included a tax on strip clubs that I didn’t agree with, and the language regulating private businesses seemed unconstitutional to me. I had never been to a strip club and wasn’t trying to support them, but my disagreement with the language and my animosity toward Sen. Matt Bartle, the bill’s sponsor, were the reasons for my opposition.
Read the rest of…
EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Rod Jetton’s “Success Can Kill You”
Is it me or do ATM’s seem more talkative than they used to be?
It used to be you’d slide in your card and enter the amount you wanted and out the money would come.
Nowadays, though, ATM’s seem emotionally needy and ask endless and unnecessary questions–about my balance, my different accounts, service charges, and my judgement (“are you sure you want this amount?”) and on and on.
It’s as if they are lonely and just want some sort of interaction with anybody or anything.
I am waiting for them to ask me if I saw the game Thursday or ask me where I am headed next– or maybe try to guess what the money is for. “Is it bigger than a bread basket? If so, press 1”
I feel sorry for them but I just don’t have time to nurture these machines.
Maybe someone can let them have one day off a.week to socialize with other ATM’s so they can get their emotional needs met–and then when they deal with me just give me my money instead of playing 20 Questions.
My 11 years in the fitness industry has taught me a lot about life. It has taught me what to do and in some cases what not to do. Life often emulates art and I have always thought of personal training as art, it makes sense that I have learned some important life lessons. In no particular order, these are the 5 things I have learned about life from being a personal trainer:
1. Anything can be achieved with passion.
I’m not the best personal trainer and I am far from perfect. I am however passionate, a word that is thrown around in the fitness industry more than anything. My definition is simply one who eats, sleeps, breathes their work. That I do. Fitness taught me how. Through ups in downs, passion has let me conquer personal issues as well as professional. An unrelenting quest to be the best version of myself was taught to me from my experience in this industry. I attribute everything I have accomplished personally and collectively due to that passion. Without it, I have nothing.
2. If you want something bad enough you will do whatever it takes to achieve it.
My clients and clients of other trainers have taught me this. My client Rolodex is full of people who conquered the odds, all because they wanted it bad enough. In my book 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom I tell a story about a woman from Columbus who lost an extraordinary amount of weight and developed a community of enthusiastic people wanting to do the same. Or the woman who I have trained for many moons, who at first just wanted to be fit but now owns her own personal training business, all because wanted it more than other people. If you want it bad enough, you’ll go get it.
3. No one gets to where they are, alone.
I didn’t get to this point by myself. I had help…a lot of help. That help came in the form of support from others a long this 11 year journey. It also came in the form of detractors and negative people who taught me what I didn’t want be. No matter how successful you are, you got there with help. If I was never given a shot to train at Gold’s Gym in 2004, I would never be here today.
4. Bad times will always pass.
Obstacles are put in front of us not to stay and best us down but to leave after we have conquered it. I’ve seen it a thousand times, some one who goes through turmoil but keeps at it and never quits, always turns out for the better. If I have learned anything from working with trainers and clients is, regardless of the situation, if you keep at it, never waiver and never quit you will come out of the dark and into the light. It’s that simple.
5.Look to add value versus make money.
Money comes and goes like the wind blows. No matter how much you have you cannot take it with you. Having money is not impressive, adding value to other’s is. I have learned this through experience in the fitness industry. I have seen people with lots of money that truly had nothing, nothing because they were not adding value to others. The single most important lesson we can all learn is how to add value to someone else’s life. Whether it is to listen, be a shoulder to cry on or help a friend in need, adding value to someone means so much more than money. “Choose legacy over currency,” is a favorite quote of mine and it means to simple to add so much value to someone that you build a legacy and are never forgotten. A very important lesson.
I could write a list longer than this but for time purposes I will keep it short. Being in fitness has taught me so much that I feel honored to talk about it day. The lessons I have learned are so important not only to my life but the lives that interact with on a daily basis.
(RP Rod Jetton responds to Jonathan Miller’s column yesterday in The Daily Beast, “Leaning Into Obamacare.”
I love Jonathan Miller, but someone has to add some reality to this debate. The political experts will find Jensen’s pro-ACA strategy will lead to defeat in November. I give her credit for being bold, heck I even admire her for her valiant effort, but sadly, it will end in failure. I’m sure her fundraisers and campaign events are filled with all kinds of praise, encouragement and pats on the back as her liberal friends encourage her to rush up little round top just as Pickets men did at Gettysburg. But soon the cheers will end and the medics will comb the battlefield looking for casualties. Once the realities of a world where independents and republicans help pick winners sink in, Jensen will long for the early days of the campaign when the sun was shining, the bugles were playing and everyone loved her.
I know my liberal friends love the ACA and have the best intentions for helping more people afford insurance. Shoot, this may even be the best plan for doing it. But right now this program is costing most Americans more money. This is why it is so unpopular. Once the full force of the program kicks in even more Americans will see premiums increase. Should it surprise anyone that providing insurance to more people will cost more money? It may not be fair to blame everything on the ACA, but everyone will.
Of course, the Republicans are not offering and other options, nor do they have an answer for rising healthcare costs, but right now they don’t need one. All they need to do is sit back and sadly shake their head while pointing out what is wrong with the program. They have no idea what to do and I suspect that many of them quietly harbor fears of winning the senate, which would force them to develop and pass their own healthcare program.
As a former Republican I know what it is like to support a program and hope the bugs get fixed all while believing voters will embrace it someday. Occasionally “someday” even comes, but before that anticipated day arrives the political casualties pile up. I don’t think it was an accident the Republicans screamed bloody murder about the ACA and then suddenly caved right at the end of the budget negations and funded it. Many democrats told themselves, “We beat them.” But did they really?
If republicans really believed that the ACA was a disaster waiting to happen and that voters would be mad once it passed, wouldn’t it be in their best interest to let it pass? Republicans told the whole world know they didn’t like this program, were against this program and had nothing to do with the program, before quietly letting it be implemented, all the while hoping that the public would hate the program and blame the Democrats.
What’s that? I can barely hear you mumbling to your friends. “Republicans are not that mean, smart, or devious.” Let me fill you in on a little secret. Both parties are made up of lots of people who love the country, care about the people and hope to make things better, but their number one priority above all those other worthy goals is to… STAY in power.
I do not know Elisabeth Jensen, but I bet she is a good hearted, true believer, fighting for her principles. I even bet many of the people who are supporting her have the best of intentions. Unfortunately, just like General Pickets men at Gettysburg Jensen and many of her supporters will be sacrificed on the field of battle to help cold hearted, cynical politicians in Washington DC stay in power. I wish Jonathan were right and well-meaning people from both sides of the aisle could work together to fix healthcare, but he isn’t. While there is nothing wrong with hoping, don’t be too surprised when Jensen comes up a bit short.
Decisiveness is a critical ability we each must develop to navigate life successfully.
By the time we are 50 we have to be able to size up data guickly—almost intuitively–and make snap decisions on the spot on important matters. And never look back at what might have been.
Like just now, after exactly 3 months of dieting and low-intensity weight training 7-9 minutes a day (including breaks) 3 or 4 days a week, I have lost 16 lbs and cut 4 inches off my waistline.
And I have just decided, this moment, that I WILL continue with this health regimen but I WILL NOT ever compete in a 50 and older male bodybuilding competition.
This is a perfect example of making two critical life decisons –one TO DO something and the other NOT TO DO something–and decide decisively on both in just a matter of minutes.
And never look back at what might have been.
When I first started publishing my weekly political comedy videos on youTube, I knew I was tackling some fairly sensitive issues. But I still wasn’t prepared for the deluge of hate comments I would get, calling me horrid names, casting aspersions on my character, and wishing all sorts of misfortune on me. At first I was quite distraught – until I realized that the meaner the comments, the worse the spelling and grammar.
In the immortal words of Mark Twain, “All generalizations are false – including this one.” But it’s hard not to jump to general conclusions when so much outrage on the far right seems to lack basic language skills. Which is why I was thoroughly entertained by the recent standoff in Nevada over rancher Cliven Bundy’s refusal to pay over $1 million in grazing fees, taxes and fines. Don’t get me wrong, the prospect of hundreds of well-armed crazed militia-types aiming at government officials is pretty horrifying. But their firm stance was a bit undermined by protest signs refusing to “surve” under a “facsist” government imposing “Marshall law.”
I know not everyone grew up with an English teacher for a mother, so most people are not horrified by split infinitives, but I like to think basic skills are still important – there’s no spell-check program for a hand-written protest sign. And the poorly spelled signs are a pretty good metaphor for a mis-informed faux rebellion (Bundy refuses to recognize the federal government and claims he’ll only obey the laws of the state of Nevada – I guess he forgot to read the Nevada state constitution which explicitly defers to that same federal government). But if we’re all dispensing with accuracy, what the heck – this suburban Jewish mother can turn into a faux country star to sing about it!
In a speech before the 2008 Republican National Convention, I unveiled the “Drill Baby Drill” battle cry to reduce our nation’s dependency on foreign sources of oil and to encourage more domestic oil exploration and increase oil refining capacity.
However, since the 2008 election, our nation remains dependent on foreign petroleum sources while the Obama administration continually blocked exploration and drilling which in turn would have helped lower the cost of gasoline.
Once the long-awaited State Department’s final environmental analysis of the $5.4 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline was announced, its positive report increased pressure on President Barack Obama to approve the 1,700-mile Canada-to-Texas pipeline. The fact that experts say the pipeline would ultimately employ about 20,000 Americans while working to achieve the bipartisan goal of energy independence makes not approving the pipeline a bit problematic for the president when the economy is still growing jobs at an anemic pace.
Release of the report has triggered a 90-day review period so Americans will know within that time frame whether the president is serious about immediate job creation and ultimate energy independence.
Politically, Keystone XL is supported by leading Republicans, Democrats and some of America’s largest labor unions. However, environmental progressives, a core constituency of the Obama political base, are promising acts of “civil disobedience” if the president signs off on the project and, in their eyes, undermine their “green agenda.”
Others, like former President Jimmy Carter have warned President Obama he risks standing on the wrong side of history should he approve the Pipeline. “You stand on the brink of making a choice that will define your legacy on one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced – climate change.”
But for all of the dire predictions and threats of political retribution, it is particularly noteworthy that more Democrat members of Congress, particularly the Senate, are finding their voice in support of the pipeline. As recently as last week, eleven U.S. Senators sent a letter to the President asking approval of the Keystone Pipeline by May 31st.
The letter was written by Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and co-signed by Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Walsh (D-Mont.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.).
In it, the Senators pleaded “The time to act is now Mr. President. Please use your executive authority to expedite this process to a swift conclusion and a final decision so that we can all move forward on other energy infrastructure needs in this country. We ask that you bring this entire process to an end no later than May 31, 2014, and that your final decision be the right one, finding that the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest.”
Read the rest of…
Why Obama needs to ‘Build Baby Build’ the Keystone XL pipeline
New laptop equipment.
I am thinking of going to the Apple store –but not to get a new laptop. I often decide after 6 or 9 months with a laptop that I need a new one because I am not getting the most out of my current laptop.
No….This time I am going to see if the Apple store is selling a cool, hip and tech -savvy user that I can buy to operate my laptop.
That would solve my real problem–which isn’t having an inadequate laptop but having an inadequate user using my laptop.
I know such a Macperson would be expensive–especially at Apple and with the Apple Care program I would probably have to purchase with him.
But over time I think this could save me a lot of time and money in reduced laptop turnover.