Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dress for Success . . .

As educators, we must constantly remind children and those under our tutelage the importance of dressing for success. What is dress for success? It's a concept I first learned about at a literacy organization where I worked as a professional fundraiser - we partnered with an organization by that name to encourage youth to dress appropriately when interviewing for jobs. But this concept extends to our personal and social lives as well. When I see parents walk out in my own community with pajamas and robes to do household chores no matter how small, it is discouraging and lowers the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Since time immemorial, human beings have felt an intrinsic need to cover up their naked forms with appropriate cultural attire - from kimonos to hijabs, veils and turbans, neckties and bowler hats and whatever else that is fashionable, imaginable and appropriate to disguise the shame and embarrasment of the naked flesh - we have adorned ourselves in so many ways to adhere to a common social ethos (women bear the brunt of this burden due to their effeminate sexuality). As modern citizens, we encourage children to dress appropriately when out in the world - to achieve success and realize that wherever you are, a certain dress code applies. I was recently watching a unique program on the Travel Channel that showed men in South Africa presenting an underground fashion show where they dressed in fine European garb and imitated runway models a la New York City's fashion district. This is very commendable indeed considering that it's taking place in South Africa - a country with developing industrial and economic prowess. It is an activity that deserves praise and reflection - that no matter where you are or what culture you are a part of - that it is best to promote that culture through proper dress. When we hear that image is everything, we realize that much of our perceptions of others are contingent on the way people dress - the butcher with an apron, the child with the uniform, the sherriff with the gold star - all has a symbolism and cultural value to the eye of the beholder. Let us encourage dressing for success and limit our own lack of fashion sense when we go out in the world - it is important that we set the right example for others - and show that we understand the importance of gaurding the human form with social grace and historic piety. Because not everyday is a day at the beach . . . you can visit Dress for Success at http://www.dressforsuccess.org/.

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