Dress code for seniors


I had one of the biggest laughs of my life when I came across this material that talks about dress code for seniors. Here is how it goes:

Despite what you may have seen on the streets, the following combinations DO NOT go together:

– A nose ring and bifocals.

– Spiked hair and bald spots.

– A pierced tongue and dentures.

– Miniskirts and support hose.

– Ankle bracelets and corn pads.

– Speedo’s and cellulite.

– A belly button ring and a gall bladder surgery scar.

– Unbuttoned disco shirts and a heart monitor.

– Midriff shirts and a midriff bulge.

– Bikinis and liver spots.

– Short shorts and varicose veins.

– Inline skates and a walker.

But, otherwise, WE’RE LOOKIN’ GOOD!

Have you ever shown up at an event and to your horror, you realize that you are not dressed properly? During the early years of my speaking career, I spoke to this group of very young marketing professionals who were always casual and relaxed in all of the occasions where we met. In fact, I almost always show up over-dressed for the occasion.

Being a person who is quite acquainted with the fashion industry due to my exposure both in manufacturing and retail, I knew the rule. It is ok to be a little bit over-dressed and when you find that the audience is too casual, then remove the tie, unbutton the neck, perhaps refrain from wearing the jacket or just roll up the sleeves and appear casual too.

The same organization invited me to keynote their evening occasion. I went without thinking, and I was so embarrassed that I arrived at the venue without a tie while all of the participants that evening came all dressed up in sparkling evening gowns and the gentlemen all suit up. I kid you not, —and this one is for the books—just before I was introduced to speak up on stage, I approached one of the hotel servers and borrowed his tie. I was so surprised to know it was not even a regular tie but a clip tie, put it on, went on stage and did my thing.

It was such an embarrassing moment for me, but I have learned from that time on to come prepared and to dress up for the occasion. By the way, I returned the tie with the plastic clip and gave the server a healthy tip.

The rule of thumb for public speaking is that the speaker is to sport an attire that should not be more than one level above the audience. For example, if the audience is wearing knitted t-shirts with their company logo, then it is okay to be wearing a long-sleeved woven shirt with a casual blazer on top of it. If they are wearing dressed down casuals, then it would be okay to wear just a shirt with not tie at all specially if the event is being done in a resort. And then of course, there are other considerations like the venue, stage, occasion, expected guests etc. Knowing what to wear involves both art and science. Following fad and fashion or investing in very pricey designer labels are no guarantee that one has dressed right.

“Simple but elegant.” These are three resounding words I keep hearing my designer daughter Hannah says. When you look at her creations, they seem so simple yet there is a lot of work she puts into it. She says, “to be loud and ostentatious would be easy for me to do, but I don’t do that.” Her work is known to be “understated elegance” and I am learning a thing or two from her.

Following fad and fashion without consideration of other factors is not safe. It is actually risky. We really have to determine what would work for us. For example, I am fascinated with skinny pants and jeggings. But I am no longer a spring chicken. They look good on other people, but they are not for me. They will make me look like a malnourished tadpole.

The classic pieces never fail to disappoint. Yet one would have thought that just by investing in a few pieces and keeping them in the closet would have given us the safety we needed for any occasions. Yes, but not quite. There is also a case of the changing silhouette or fit. And I have not mentioned shoes and other accessories yet.

I love fashion because it speaks of culture and change. I still take the time to study it, learn more about it and to make sure that I do not make the mistake of showing up unprepared for the occasion and have to scramble for a tie at that given moment.

As for me, the best thing to wear for any occasion (except funerals) is a smile. The overall disposition of the person, the confidence that person carries. The attitude, respect, and as many of my clients would refer to—the “gravitas.” They all contribute to the right dress code.  Dress properly and appropriately. Karl Lagerfeld says: “Trendy is the last stage before tacky.” And I guess, to all the very fashion conscious men and women in the different social circles of life, this reminder I came across really makes sense: “Sexy” is not a shape, it is an attitude.” And I fully agree.

(Experience two inspiring days of leadership training with Francis Kong in his highly-acclaimed Level Up Leadership seminar-workshop on Feb. 19-20 at the Makati Diamond Residences near Greenbelt 1. For registration or inquiries contact April at +63928-559-1798 or register online at www.levelupleadership.ph)

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