Dress Down For Success..


I spend all day dressed as expected – in lose fitting shirts and athletic shorts with an elastic waistband. It’s the official uniform of male fitness trainers everywhere.

Though keeping in good physical shape is a requirement for my vocation, keeping in perfect shape is not. This means my elastic waistband reminds me of my dietary sins – all day long, every day.

I spend my entire working life with me elastic waistband judging me for not being as lean as a fitness trainer should be. This brings a negativity that bubbles under my psyche, all day long, and is reflected in my job – at least from my side of the partnerships.

When I am not otherwise engaged in fitness training though, I remain in shorts, but in casual Bahama shorts, with a loose-fitting waistband. Wearing these, I’m always in a better mood – always, because my waistband isn’t reminding me I’m not perfect.

Last week, as I prepared to step into my studio for my Saturday sessions, and for no reason I can explain, I chose to wear my loose-fitting Bahama shorts, rather than my athletic shorts with the elastic waistband. A funny thing happened – I was in a better mood all day long, for actually being comfortable.

I spent that Saturday conducting fitness sessions in a uniform that more resembles that of a Jimmy Buffet fan than a fitness trainer – and it was one of the best workdays I have had in years. I was in a good mood. I was more engaged with my clients. I was having fun, and there was no constant reminder that I’m not 6-pack lean.

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And there’s where the lesson is for me – I think, that dressing for comfort vs. expectations keeps me in a better mood, me more engaged with my clients, and they all seem to notice and appreciate the difference. I have worn Bahama shorts most days since that Saturday.

So, the question I’m now chewing on is this…

In a necktie and long skirt world, what does this tell me about the comfort of clothing as it relates to jobs well done…?

On one level, I get the ideal of the value of uniforms and decorum for a properly organized social structure, business or otherwise.

On another level though, if an elastic waistband can keep me uptight and on edge executing such a simple job, then what’s happening beneath all the neckties and pantyhose in all the boardrooms, courtrooms, offices, and the in halls of Congress…?

Maybe society would function better if we all dressed as Parrot heads.  Fins to the left… Jhciacb

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2 responses

  1. Late to reading this one. My new (ish?) job since I’ve been in since August doesn’t even allow one day a week to wear jeans. I am uncomfortable every day. I still manage to be pleasant to people but I’d love to be more relaxed.

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