Books and Covers

“What do you do?” I was asked last night at the GRID magazine launch party.

“Errr… copywriter and blogger,” I said.

“Huh! I wouldn’t have guessed that. I would have said ‘lawyer’.”

I was apparently “too well-dressed” to be a writer in a chalkstriped blue suit, white shirt, silver-blue woven tie and dark brown suede captoe oxfords.

Books and covers. We always judge. I am wearing a bowtie tied with Churchillian looseness today, a minicheck button down shirt and a brown glen check sportcoat. Much more “artsy.”

There were a few business men at the launch party, identified by the company names on the stick on name tags. I couldn’t tell what the rest of the crowd did. They were dressed down in t-shirts, polo shirts, jeans and khakis: the creative economy’s uniformed forces. They may have been business owners, writers, photographers, IT specialists… each as equally anonymous in his profession as I was in mine.

The funny thing is that I ran into a colleague of a friend of mine who mentioned that she had seen me the weekend before stocking up at Trader Joe’s for the Easter party. She was hesitant to approach me since she was dressed to go to the gym immediately following her errand.

I was in casual clothing that day.

And it wouldn’t have mattered to me one bit what she may have ben wearing.

Books and covers.

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11 Responses to Books and Covers

  1. How about the people I see in Walmart who are wearing pajamas while shopping?

  2. Karena says:

    Oh and I have seen this as well! Chris you are always impeccable and I love your posts. I will have an interesting interview up this weekend.

    Karena
    Art by Karena

  3. This picture is very Ian Fleming of you…minus the cigarette holder of course.

  4. Simply refined, thanks! It hadn’t occurred to me that I am wearing his uniform.

    Karena, thanks! I’ll look forward to the interview.

    Suburban Princess, Oh, I have so very many faults that I prefer not to judge. I just want to spread the gospel. I do not understand the current vogue for traipsing about in pyjamas, but I’m sure when Noël Coward appeared in a dressing gown it was scandalous. Yes, he was far more elegant in his silken choices than those sporting the current offerings of bedclothes, granted, but I’m sure it was scandalous nonetheless.

  5. Anil says:

    You certainly are always dressed for the part. A lot of people are intimated by those who are dressed well.

    Clothing plays an interesting role. Depending on the context and situation, your dress can be warm and welcoming, or cold and intimidating.

    I suggest social experiment of you under dressing to an event with tshirts, jeans, and trainers 😛

  6. I have always found it rude to be asked what I do for a living. It is similar to asking a person’s income or age, and from a young age I was told never to ask these questions. In this tell-all age, it all inevitably comes out anyway.

    I remember some etiquette expert, perhaps Letitia Baldridge, saying that a good response to “What do you for a living?” is to say, “How kind of you to take an interest in my personal life.”

    Your pondering how one is evaluated and judged by dress and appearance is interesting. Dressing very well seems to invite envy, discomfort, or jealousy in some, perhaps because it makes them feel slovenly.

    Growing up, I was also told not to make any comments as to clothing and appearance, good or bad. If in a social situation you compliment some and not others, it is impolite. Also, if one is complimented, the times one is not complimented are the equivalent of saying an outfit isn’t so great.

    It is unfortunate that being well dressed draws unwanted attention.

    I also think your encounter at the party tells how much people judge us by what we wear. That is why in film and theatre, wardrobe design is so important to how a character is perceived and developed.

    Square with Flair

  7. brohammas says:

    I will vouch for you not judging too deeply. I don’t need to go to Walmart to see folks out in their PJ’s. There is a scene in the last Rocky film where Rock is in a bar and gets cursed out by some young girl in a bar. My wife and I laughed out loud at this part when we saw that this barfly was in fact wearing pajama pants. Someone did their Philadelphia research. That scene was dead-on.

  8. Paul says:

    Books and covers – ah!

    This is also the best place to walk up to someone and shake their hand — just say
    “hello, how are you?” – both parties may reveal their professions and enlightened conversations will ensue.

    A handshake opens doors.

  9. Reggie says:

    Interesting post. Square With Flair–perhaps at one time it was considered impolite to ask someone what they do, but I think that is no longer the case, at least in today’s profession-mad world; it is a conversation opener for many, including those with decent manners, these days. As far as never complimenting someone on their appearance (as the failure to do so in the future could be interpreted as negative), I am afraid I take exception to that, too. I have never met someone who isn’t pleased when told they look terrific, and I’ve never felt it inappropriate when I’ve been complimented. either. My policy is to be generous with compliments and stingy with criticism whenever possible. Yours with respect, Reggie

  10. tish jett says:

    Ah yes, it’s always about books and their covers isn’t it? The concept is intriguing though. Some hide beneath their covers, others chose a splashy, stylish facade and the book isn’t worth reading, sometimes there is a real message inside and out. . . Well enough of that.

    I’m embarrassed to say I just found you. Glad I have. Your blog is brilliant.

  11. Brian Sheridan says:

    Try wearing a fedora – you always get “Hey, are you Indiana Jones?” Grrrrrrrr….

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