The Power of a Suit
Should clothes define you or how you are treated?
I almost never wear a suit and tie. The only times I do is if I am on stage speaking at an event, and sometimes not even then, or at a wedding, or funeral. Otherwise, I’m usually in shorts and a tee shirt or jeans and a tee shirt.
Today I had a meeting at an office I have been to MANY times, but I had always been there casually, and usually dressed very casually. Today I was going in to meet with some of their “top executives” who had flown in from out of state.
Last time their “top execs” came in, most of them were wearing khakis and polo shirts, all acting very important, etc. I did not have any meetings with them, or any reason to speak with any of them, but being the super friendly person I am, I spoke with them when they were in town and I will just say I was less than impressed with how I was received. Maybe that was my ego (the voice of, do they know who I am??? repeating in my head), maybe it was their attitude. To be fair, it was probably a little bit of both.
So today I decided to try an experiment. At first I thought I would go in and match their normal khakis and a polo, and see if they treat me differently. Then I thought, maybe I should wear a suit? Since they are sooo into appearance, maybe I will just one up all of them to see how they respond, lol. I thought, I’ll wear a suit, but no tie… I don’t want to freak anybody out. I have literally never seen anybody in this company there in a suit, let alone a suit and tie. A tie would just be way over the top.
So after careful consideration, I decided on a suit and tie. Why not freak them out and see what happens. I considered cuff links, but decided that would be way too much.
What happened was hilarious!!!
Last time their muckety mucks came in, they all seemed too good to talk to me, this time, when I walked in, everybody looked in a panic! The people who I have dealt with for a long time all looked scared. Like I had tricked them into believing I was one of them, when in fact I was “someone important”.
What added to the reaction was, when I asked to speak with the guy in charge, one muckety muck got another muckety muck, and they were all nervous and scrambling, not knowing who I was or why I wanted to speak with their boss. Three of them were leading me around, and I’m sure it looked like to everybody else there that I was their boss or something. Literally everybody froze and dropped everything. It was like I walked into a Mannequin Challenge (if you don’t know what that is, google it).
The whole time I was trying to keep a straight face as the previously arrogant lower level muckety mucks were all so SUPER friendly and doing their VERY best to make sure I was well taken care of. I wanted to say hi to the other employees I normally deal with and talk to, but they all looked super shocked and nervous.
I think it’s dumb that people put that much importance on how people dress, but they do. A simple suit and tie made everyone drop everything and treat me like I owned the place. It was ridiculous, but… I did look pretty good.
PS: This is not some little rinky dink company, I won’t mention their name, but they do billions of dollars a year in revenue.
PPS: This actually happened a few days ago. I posted it to Facebook and received a lot of positive feedback, so I decided to share it here too. (11/22/2016)
1. Have you ever experienced something like this?
2. Do you treat people differently based on how they dress?
Please share in the comments, thanks =)