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Clothes make the man or woman

 
master gardener
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I was the victim of a house cleaning frenzy yesterday and was forced to confront my split personality.   While my usual uniform is cargo pants/t-shirt/muck boots, and suspenders , I do keep several suits around for those times when I need to pass in society as normal.   I find I am treated much better at hospitals, banks, etc. when I have a suit, tie, and Johnson&Murphy shoes.   At least once in my life I was virtually chased out of a bank while wearing my homesteader uniform......and three days later accepted with open arms while in a suit (heck no, I didn’t do business with them).

How many others play dress up when the need arises?  



 
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It’s a sad truth you speak of John. When I retired from healthcare I got a part time job at Lowe’s. Weekend Plant Specialist was my official title. The way I was treated was sad and eye opening. Since I had been in healthcare all of my adult life I had never experienced people looking down on me. I’m not unhappy it happened though. It simply reinforced the need to be pleasant and respectful to everyone I met.
 
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I consider dressing up for things like that as camouflage for normality. I still dress with my own weird flair, but at least I don't look like I just crawled out from under a tractor.

The problem I have with that is if I talk to people about anything important and they have me written off (because I'm dressed "normal") as clueless, it gets weird when it's obvious I'm not. Some of them can change brain gears, some can't. Example: I walk into Lowe's dressed grubby and ask about tools, they give me good info, I walk in dressed in a long skirt and jewelry and ask about tools, I got lame answers, and when I press them for the answers I need, I often get brushed off and not answered.

So some places I do better looking "normal" and some  I REALLY do better looking grubby. I guess it's a matter of how you look to start with. If you are a male, and look grubby and like you work, maybe it sends a different image than a female who looks grubby and like she works.

I consider it camouflage, and sometimes do it just to hide behind.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Pearl,

I was once on a business trip to another state.  I was meeting with a man over a 20 mil a year company.   I was in full uniform.   It did no good. He saw through me.  He asked we about my private life ..... a telling question because it was out of bounds.  I figured I read him right, so I broke it to him I was hippie homesteader.   He invited to his house for dinner should I ever be in the area again.   There are a number of us sneaking around out there.
 
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I tend to wear a simple cotton T-Shirt and Carhart Canvas pants. They are really the only things I can wear that hold up for any length of time. But I am a Carpenter by trade, and usually I have sawdust on my arms and dirt on my pants. I walk into banks, businesses and meetings dressed in my normal work clothes. I do try and put a clean set of clothes on for important things like doing estimates and meeting the banker about a loan.

I get odd looks occasionally, especially if I am in Hipster land. I'll admit I tend to look like a redneck, so I am out of place in the bigger towns.
 
gardener
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i imagine that my beard is long enough that any ‘non-weirdo’ disguise would fall short. i clean up good, but will never pull off normal.

adding to that, for the most part i am fine with people underestimating me. i think whatever opportunity i may lose is more than made up for by the avoidance of the sort of conversation i would prefer to avoid.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Greg,

Indeed, I see underestimation as a huge advantage.   Even in the business arena, I found a significant advantage to be able to hide in hide in the shadows until noticing me too late.
 
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Definitely. I'm very careful with how I dress in certain situations. You can tell a lot about people by how they dress and it's fun manipulating peoples first impressions of you, and often saves a lot of time.

I have 4 main wardrobe choices/personas -'i work  construction',  casual and outdoorsy city dweller, cheap and practical rural dweller, and "I work in a conservative office'. It reminds me of drama class , because you have to own the persona you are using.  I pull out my rural accent for two of them, my city accent for the others.  Even how I walk changes.

I don't walk on a construction site in brand new boots and safety vest, or wear leggings. I don't wear construction clothes to meet a real estate agent or when I walk into a women's dress clothing store. I might if I am going to the mechanic.  Going garage saling, thrift store shopping, or buying used furniture makes me wear very different clothes than trying to buy a house!  

Still, sometimes no matter what I wear, I can't get past the 'young blonde woman' stereotype. Irritating in the working world and in my personal life people have definitely lost my business because of it.  Sure, it's fun occasionally to reveal your not-so secret identity as a person with brains and competence to annoying and condescending  people, but eventually it's just tiresome.
 
pollinator
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I don't look at it as one type of attire being normal and another type not being normal.  It's just that one type of clothing is suitable for some situations, and different types for others.  It's not much different from needing to change what you wear according to the seasons -- we need a set of clothing for the cold winters, and an almost entirely different set for the hot summers.  It would be silly to wear shorts and a tank top and sandals when there's snow on the ground, and equally silly to wear a heavy coat and winter boots when it's in the nineties with high humidity in the summer!  We have nicer, more formal types of clothing for going to church or to weddings or funerals.  The same clothing would work for things like business meetings where men would wear suits.  When we go to town for shopping or to run errands, we wear our newer jeans and tops, and shoes that are in good condition.  Working around home is for the old, ragged jeans, the shoes that are starting to get holes in them, the stained t-shirts.  Of course, that means that if someone comes to the house without warning me ahead of time, they are going to see us dressed in our worst clothes, but that's their problem -- they should have called first, LOL!
 
pollinator
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John F Dean wrote:I was the victim of a house cleaning frenzy yesterday and was forced to confront my split personality.   While my usual uniform is cargo pants/t-shirt/muck boots, and suspenders , I do keep several suits around for those times when I need to pass in society as normal.   I find I am treated much better at hospitals, banks, etc. when I have a suit, tie, and Johnson&Murphy shoes.   At least once in my life I was virtually chased out of a bank while wearing my homesteader uniform......and three days later accepted with open arms while in a suit (heck no, I didn’t do business with them). How many others play dress up when the need arises?  


Since banks tend to have a better idea of how much money people have compared to other areas (e.g., hospitals, stores, etc.) it's disappointing that they would assume you are poor. The Millionaire Next Door by Stanley and Danko provides a great insight into what high net worth people actually look like, and it tends not to be how they are portrayed on TV.
 
pollinator
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I think the concept of disguises is a very good one. There are many ways I disguise myself besides clothes, such as listening politely when my neighbor pontificates on the idea of sowing annual monoculture crops to sustain livestock, or smiling when someone informs me that my children are going to catch cold from playing in the rain, or saying, "sure, maybe sometime" when someone is trying to make friends and invites me to go shopping at the mall with them. So clothes are just part of it, but I still choose my outfits while answering the question, "would this work if I had to walk home in it?"

Today I am headed to the mechanic and then afterwards to show a remote property to a prospective (male) client. I am in nice jeans, a flannel with a long-sleeve tee beneath, leather boots with tractioned soles, and a 6-inch dagger hanging from my belt because it's wise to signal for a bit of respect when I'm hanging around with men. I feel like wearing heels to the bank is a bit of the same idea as wearing a knife on my belt when alone; it says that I'm here to do business and won't stand for any fooling around.

A funny note is that my husband wears the same uniform every day: a grey tee with jeans, a flannel button-up, and his baseball cap. It sets him apart and was one of the reasons that I fell in love with him, because I knew he wasn't trying to pretend, he just was who he was and didn't give a damn whether people approved or not. Well other women have always snubbed him for his clothes, looking him up and down then discarding him as a prospect...EXCEPT for one time when he went to the mall to buy me a surprise (unknown to me of course, as I said I'm not a mall girl) and he was carrying around a couple of bags from the higher-end stores. Well suddenly alllll the ladies wanted to make friends!! We laughed long and hard over that one.
 
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I take my dogs with me pretty much everywhere.  They sit in the back seat of the truck, but they like to takes turns reaching over and laying their heads on my shoulder for rubs and scratches.  My dogs are big, and drooly.  I can't remember the last time I went anywhere without a giant drool spot, in various stages of wet through crusty, on top of my shoulder.  There may well be a canine eye-booger or two on me also.  I'm not sure anyone gets past all that to notice what kind of clothes I'm wearing.
 
rocket scientist
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Hi John;
Nope I don't do split personality's.
They like and accept me as I am or they can take a long walk off a short pier.

Liz tries to  make me clean up from time to time.
Best she can manage is cleaner jeans than the ones I had on and a tee shirt that is clean and only has a few permanent grease stains.

Seems that when I'm repairing their cars, they don't mind at all, what I look like... funny how that is ehh?
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pollinator
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I am generally well dressed. I really like nice clothes. Though at home I am exclusively in yoga pants and whatever shirt my mother in law gave me. I've been known to trudge out in my heels though. Gotta do what you gotta do.
 
master gardener
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John and I went to a large outdoor outlet mall, back in IL, looking for a specific birthday gift request we couldn't find, anywhere else. We were in our biker gear, and had been riding, so we looked scruffy as hell. John had some business meetings coming up, for which he needed to look the part, so we stopped into the Armani outlet, to see if they might have something that fit well, was affordable, and that he liked. At the time, he could have picked up a few suits, and not blinked. But, the manager snubbed us, in favor of a much younger guy who walked in right behind us, in a suit. We saw through the young guy, immediately - the suit was ill- fitting - far too big in the shoulders and gut, and despite his showmanship, he looked horribly uncomfortable. I thought it might be his dad's suit? We stayed,  out of curiosity, covertly watching, as the manager solicitously ushered him around from one suit to the next, fawning over him. The poor kid looked paler and sicker with each price tag he saw. He finally made a dash for the door, and while we felt bad for the kid, we laughed at the manager, for his flustered look, when John told him, "I'd planned to buy a couple suits, but I'll go where I'm not judged by my hobbies. "

The scruffy millionaire is a thing, too. I've known a couple, myself. And there are those who are VERY good at playing the part, but haven't a pot to piss in. I have far too many clothes for my comfort, but each mini-wardrobe has its purpose. I'm not going to ride my motorcycle, wrangle goats, haul water, 50lb feed bags, & hay, and fix fences in my Sunday-go-to-meetin' dresses, and the only thing I'm doing in the biker leathers and boots, is ride. I wear something a little nicer to church, out of respect and deference.

I don't believe that 'the clothes make the man', but I do believe in wearing the right gear for the job - whatever that happens to be, and being comfortable ranks right up there in priority with safety, as it affects my effectiveness for whatever is at hand.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Carla,

In a central Illinois town I lived in in the early 60s, there were two brothers who went around town on a couple of beat up bicycles with clothes to match. Once a month, they would go to the train station to ride to Chicago for a night on the town.  As with all of us, eventually they died.  In today’s dollars they were worth over 30 mil.
 
John F Dean
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Hi John W,

Your observation is solid.  The bank was in a farming community.  My outfit shouldn’t have put anyone off.  The person I spoke to made a number of snap judgements about me.  I was shopping around for a loan to buy land.  He assumed that because I was shopping around, it meant I had been turned down everywhere else.
 
Marie Abell
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John F Dean wrote:
In a central Illinois town I lived in in the early 60s, there were two brothers who went around town on a couple of beat up bicycles with clothes to match. Once a month, they would go to the train station to ride to Chicago for a night on the town.  As with all of us, eventually they died.  In today’s dollars they were worth over 30 mil.



My dad's boss was on the Forbes 500 list, one of the wealthiest men in America. He wore jeans and camo just like everybody else, drove a beat-to-hell '97 suburban well into the 2000s, and liked to hang around the house in his worn-out doctors scrubs. He even had to borrow my dad's coat for a trip one time since he didn't have one that was adequate. You never would've picked him out as someone who was worth more than 500 million dollars. Yet, many of the losers who came around trying to schmooze him out of a few bucks were often some of the best-dressed fools you ever saw. Taught me a lot as a young kid looking on.
 
gardener
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Carla, you speak the truth when you say lots of people who dress well don't have a cent to their name.

Before my boys were born, I was a legal assistant for a bankruptcy attorney. I learned several lessons working there:

1. Bankruptcy just happens. Sometimes it's because you can't handle a dime. Other times it's because a medical emergency wipes out your savings, or a spouse wants a divorce but says he'll let you have the kids if you also take the debt. Other times it's because you got screwed by a business partner. Sometimes it's because your kid stole your credit card to buy stuff to sell for drugs. And you spend your life savings to help your kid get to rehab. Then they get out and the same crap happens again. (My boss handled all those scenarios.) So many paths lead to bankruptcy.

2. Many of our bankruptcy clients declared bankruptcy because they were foolish with money. They had fancy cars, fine clothes, and mansions. Multiple mansions. But no money to their name. I learned that dressing like you have money is often a charade. Many people who look scruffy have more assets than the fine-dressed folks, simply because they're not spending their money to dress the part. (The Millionaire Next Door is a classic finance book that describes this fact very eloquently.

3. Our town has lots of "old money." We have families who have lived here for several generations, and they even have streets named after them. Some of those old money families were bankruptcy clients.

4. If anyone treats you better for your nice clothes or worse for your "farm" clothes, they are no friends of mine. Some of the most intelligent, wealthy folks I know look scraggly at any given time. They clean up darn handsome! But they also know how to work hard. And their work ethic is what got them to be the quiet success stories I appreciate.
 
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for quite some time now my idea of getting a new wardrobe was going to a store and getting a new package of cotton tee shirts
but if I got to go to the big city and want to fit in got to put on my Sunday best button down shirt
 
pollinator
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I have little interest in dressing for others, or much of anything else for others, nor am I impressed by any of it. Something that I told my kids often while growing up was, "if they are not giving me some of their money, why should I care how much of it they have". I grew up surrounded by people with money. I am not impressed. Character is what matters.
 
John Wolfram
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So a few years ago I worked for a high-end law firm where suits and ties were quite common, and the hourly rates charged to the clients could be eye-popping. Since I unfortunately had a rather long commute, I would wear my regular clothes while commuting and change into fancy clothes at the office. Apparently my regular clothes were a pretty good disguise since rather than asking for money the homeless would let me know which shelters were giving away the good food that day as I walked to the office.
 
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I dress grubby and comfortable around home. I'm always working outside or building something anyhow. Maybe dress a bit better if I do have to go to the store in town lol
The bigger city I go to it's better to look like you don't have anything and safer too.
Occasionally I have a graduation party or other family function then I can pull out some decent pants and a shirt.
Most of my family thinks I'm a kook anyhow living simple, doing permaculture and the like. For the general population
around here it's just fine to look grubby and be comfortable.
 
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John, it has been almost a year since you posted this topic.

I bet you still feel that clothes make the man or woman.

I feel the same way.

Around the house, I wear old slacks and a T-shirt.  That way whether I am sitting at my desk or working outside, I am comfortable and do not have to worry about ruining my good clothes.

I still have many of my professional outfits from before I retired.  I keep those for trips to town, visits with friends and family, and pot lucks.

This had been an interesting thread.
 
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So true. My usual summer garb is shorts shirt and sandals but when going to doctor appointments I always switch to slacks shoes and a button down shirt. I have always found that I get just a little more respect when I dress more formally.
 
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If I may, I would caution that the word 'disguise' has somewhat negative connotations in this context. Yes, perhaps many of us use clothes to blend in or go incognito... However I don't think one should have to feel that they are covering or limiting themselves by doing so, nor should anyone feel like they have to hide thier true expression of self from others.

Instead I think it is more positive to think of clothes more like tools.
IE: use the right tool for the job
Clothes are tools we use to protect us from occupational hazards.
Clothes are tools we use to protect us from weather.
Clothes are tools we use to communicate.
The varying amount of things humans communicate through thier choice of dress across cultures, groups, professions, and genders through history is too expansive to list for me. However, I think the takeaway is that even if you didn't mean to communicate much of anything with your attire, each person is going to read something into what you put on because of our history and evolution as a social species with pattern recognition and heuristics.

But it doesn't have to be complicated or sad. Dress for the social weather just as you would the natural weather, for instance black at a funeral, dressy clothes at a wedding, tidy work appropriate clothes at an interview. What is your task today that involves peopling? Who is it with? What would those people be comfortable or uncomfortable with? Are you looking for things to go smoothly and efficiently or are you looking to cause some friction?
Form Follows Function.
No matter what you wear you are still you, dress for what your function is each day, never feel like you are lessening yourself or otherizing yourself by doing so. Chances are what you need to get done is more important for the world than expressing your individual unique-ness while you're at it**, so wear the right tool for the job and don't let it make you feel fake or bring you down, because utilizing the knowledge that looking or sounding a certain way can expedite certain tasks in social settings is not a crime, but rather an inherent component of our species that I imagine likely predates spoken language.

So I think, to tie back to the thread title, maybe Clothes do not make the person, It is thier Choices - yet we do (generally) choose our clothes.

** I say this while understanding that for some individuals the ability to freely express thier unique-ness in all or most cases is more intrinsic to thier well being than it is for others, and I fully support you guys too, especially when historically and even still today many people/groups are killed over a matter of what amounts to a simple and harmless form of self expression. I salute your bravery, you trailblazers of the different, the weird, the unknown, the misunderstood, the new and frightening.

Maybe this is all common sense to you permies, but just in case it helps someone I thought I would add it.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Anne and Chris,

Indeed, it should not be this way, but in some circles it is.  I
It is so intrenched that it is virtually impossible to get people on the inside to see that any other side might exist. I was doing some consulting in 5he Cleveland area with a large formal organization.  It had significant problems with its workforce.  I spoke to the CEO about getting input from his employees. He was quick to show me all of his meeting minutes and surveys.   Finally I was able to ask him if they were working.  Of course they weren’t.   I told him to take oh 5he jacket and tie and go out to the dumpsters where his employees go to smoke. Missing the point, he assured me his employees would never smoke on grounds, it was against policy.   So once again, I asked him to indulge me and do as I suggested. And, when he got there, coffee cup in had, he needed to not mention the smoking, but to ask for their input on specific issues.  Hopefully, he followed my advice, but I doubt it.   My point is the clothes can act as a filter is both directions.  Yes, we get filtered out because we don’t wear suits, but who do we filter out because they do?
 
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I work, all the time, always outside.  Things like landscaping, firewood, trenching, hauling, etc., you know, all that guy stuff.  It is interesting that I noticed that I no longer had a nice outfit, including footwear.  I was down to work clothes and logging boots, you know those boots with the aggressive soles and sexy heels.  It came to me that very gradually, over time, the "I don't give a rat's a_ _ attitude had come over me; that is, I didn't care what people thought.  Hm, so recently that has changed.  Whereas, before it was suits, ties, and wingtip shoes, now it is clean pressed jeans, button-down shirts, and clean, neat belts with polished boots.  I just wanted to look a little nicer and cleaner than the gruff persona that had snuck up on me.  In that "other world" I mistakenly had thought that how I looked would impress those opposite of me to my benefit because that is what I had been told.  Maybe true for some, but not for me.  That always rang hollow for me, so maybe that's why I shifted away from that line of thought.  I sure was a relief to move away from all that pretending into the natural world where the only camouflage one needs is enough to get a shot off, or fish on the line.  The critters don't pretend, if they see or sense you, they are "outta here"!  
 
thomas rubino
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So Marco;
Did you stop doing outdoor manual labor (guy things)? Note) Girls can do all those things outdoors as well...
Are you still wearing your "working clothes" during the day and getting "cleaned up" for the evening?
I hope your not wearing pressed jeans and polished boots to do the landscaping are you?

I have to wonder what brought about this change???
Could it be that a new " friend" has entered your life?
If so that is a wonderful thing for both of you.
Amazing how a suggestion from a beautiful person can alter your thinking.

As long as you are pleased with your new look and not doing it to impress then good for you!

For me, I'll stick with my earlier post about, take me as I am or take a hike!



 
John F Dean
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I should have mentioned this earlier, “Clothes Make The Man” is a reference to a short story by O’Henry.
 
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Depending on what I am doing, I wear different clothes. As I live on a smallholding, my day to day wear is leggings, wellies and whatever jumpers/t-shirts and coats my husband and/or children have handed down to me. These probably cost more than my favourite weddings/celebrations dress which I picked up in a charity shop for £6.99 10 years ago. I find that it isn't just the clothes you wear that make people treat you differently but the colour of your hair. Now I am grey haired, I get treated like a stupid old lady. My equally grey haired husband gets treated with respect. At hospital appointments, he gets treated as if he were an intelligent human being whereas I am treated as though I know nothing. In fact, I am far more clued up than he is and I often have to spend some time explaining what the doctor has just told him. People will always judge us so nowadays I have come to accept this and just carry on regardless and laugh about ridiculousness later.
 
Marco Benito
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thomas rubino wrote:So Marco;
Did you stop doing outdoor manual labor (guy things)? Note) Girls can do all those things outdoors as well...
Are you still wearing your "working clothes" during the day and getting "cleaned up" for the evening?
I hope your not wearing pressed jeans and polished boots to do the landscaping are you?

I have to wonder what brought about this change???
Could it be that a new " friend" has entered your life?
If so that is a wonderful thing for both of you.
Amazing how a suggestion from a beautiful person can alter your thinking.

As long as you are pleased with your new look and not doing it to impress then good for you!

For me, I'll stick with my earlier post about, take me as I am or take a hike!





Hi Thomas,

Short answer is no, I do not wear the neat and clean stuff while working.  I get too dirty, usually before noon.  

What brought about the change was that I just noticed one day I didn't have anything nice to wear around any more, so I remedied that.  Just that simple;  nothing as complicated as a new friend.

Interesting that you answered, because I was just on the dragon tech site looking over your stuff.
 
Marco Benito
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Ara Murray wrote:Depending on what I am doing, I wear different clothes. As I live on a smallholding, my day to day wear is leggings, wellies and whatever jumpers/t-shirts and coats my husband and/or children have handed down to me. These probably cost more than my favourite weddings/celebrations dress which I picked up in a charity shop for £6.99 10 years ago. I find that it isn't just the clothes you wear that make people treat you differently but the colour of your hair. Now I am grey haired, I get treated like a stupid old lady. My equally grey haired husband gets treated with respect. At hospital appointments, he gets treated as if he were an intelligent human being whereas I am treated as though I know nothing. In fact, I am far more clued up than he is and I often have to spend some time explaining what the doctor has just told him. People will always judge us so nowadays I have come to accept this and just carry on regardless and laugh about ridiculousness later.



Good for you Ara.  This mellow calmness comes with living.
 
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My concern is how to select the proper attire, hairstyle and vehicle when the time comes to roam the post-apocalypse nuclear wasteland.
properattire.jpg
[Thumbnail for properattire.jpg]
 
pollinator
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Dc Stewart wrote:My concern is how to select the proper attire, hairstyle and vehicle when the time comes to roam the post-apocalypse nuclear wasteland.



Most of the good post-apocalyptic outfits involve large amounts of leather, but gardening in leather? I'm not sure that's a good idea. Too much chafing in tender areas. And the hair styles look like too much work. I think my post-apocalyptic outfit will be what I'm wearing now. Loose pants, t-shirt and light linen long-sleeve shirt, all topped with a wide brim hat. Not the stuff of legends.
 
pollinator
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At work I dress for the worst case scenario. If something breaks, I have to go on stage to fix it.

For normal weekly events, chinos, polo shirt and black merino sweater, black merrell vapor gloves with orange laces (or brown with lime green laces).
For bigger events (arch bishops, government ministers, that sort of level), white long sleeve shirt, purple tie, dress trousers (if I can find them, else chinos) and black merrell vapor gloves with black laces.

Outside work, chinos, long sleeve t shirt (plain cos I don't like logos and most slogans are too boring), hoody and moccasins.

All the time, short beard and just past shoulders long hair.

One thing I have really noticed is that I look at least one "step" or "grade" more formal in the same style clothes not that I have lost 150lbs. People notice and judge and then forget that they noticed and judged.

I tend to wear shades when out in town here in africa, it adds a dehumanising layer that puts off most street sellers.
If I take the shades off, the service improves. It also works with accents, my local british accent, meh. A clean cut oxbridge accent and people can't wait to do stuff for you.
 
Dc Stewart
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gardening in leather?



So, maybe not too much leather. Vehicle-wise, I'm leaning towards a Kiyoti tractor tricked out with flamethrowers plus a platform for a guitar player and a couple of Taiko drummers located above the sawtooth-equipped loader.
 
John F Dean
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I was re reading Bens post regarding hipster land. I have found there is a strong anti small community bias in larger cities. ...and vise versa.   Often I have side stepped the question of where I am from by saying I grew up in Detroit.   That seems to help me to avoid the country hick bias.
 
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I wonder were I fall on that line.  I usually describe myself as from Central Texas which covers a lot of small towns, unincorporated land (though less every year) and two major cities. I suspect I come across as more country or small town than I actually am.  
 
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Haha, there's a lot of truth in this.  I'm 48, overweight and shirt.  I largely look like a harmless old lady these days. So my daughter tells me.  I dress comfy.  Boots. Stretchy jeans. T shirt.  With a wide brim hat in summer with a fabric softener sheet tucked into it so bugs don't bother me. I look weird I. City settings and most of the time it doesn't bother me one bit.  I enjoy my redneckedness. Lol. People often underestimate me.  

Example:. I was sitting in the truck knitting (another reason people assume a certain persona about me.
I find it amusing) yesterday at the hardware store, unabashedly eavesdropping on these 2 young men filling up propane a few feet away.  It is scary times here in western Washington State, especially in Olympia area.  My ears had perked up, bc they started talking about concealed carry and situational awareness and so on.  Kinda loudly.  In a very liberal part of our area.  Olympia is kind.of known to be against certain kinds of folks like this. So it piqued my curiosity.  And I was kind of giggling to myself, bc here these two younger men, well meaning, are going on and on about prepper things and "grey man" (apparently this is an urban camoflauge?) And being aware of their surroundings.  In a shtf scenario which....Olympia is getting there fast... here I was 15 feet away,.casually listening to everything they were saying about what assets they had,.etc.  And I was packing.  And I could.potentially have taken them both, were I a bad guy.  They weren't even aware of my presence,.let alone had sized me up as threat/non-threat.  When I'm in the city, bc we have lived in a meth neighborhood, I have learned the hard way to keep my head on a swivel and check people out in my surroundings.  That area was right next to a truck stop and is crawling with would-be criminal sorts. And there's cars ripped off from there and tools, and the whole bit.  Often. So I was giggling a bit at 5hese young men. They mean well.

So that's one example of your dress labeling you as a certain way.  

Another example is my hubs.  Before he quit the carpenters union (lots.of reasons.... the jab, for one.  And they embezzled retirement funds, politics got too insane...) his dress was work pants, and usually the construction orange t shirt, work boots.  People took him more seriously when he wore that, surprisingly.  It gave him status.  And women everywhere, doggonit, wouldn't stop hitting on my husband!  Lol. Seriously, I mean, he's a tall drink of water with salt and pepper hair and 10 o'clock shadow, but doggonit, woman!  Ugh.  Lol. Actually, I don't mind so much, bc he's kind of oblivious about it, and when I point it out to him, he's completely surprised. Lol And I'm not the picture of what people call "good looking", so I consider it a priveledge that he's with me.  Still makes my heart flutter.  And yes. I completely understand why those women smile and bat their eyelashes at him. The orange construction shirt filled out with broad, hairy chest and shoulders. With nummy biceps, tiny butt, and flat stomach and a tool belt?  Totally hot. Lol  When he dresses what I call "Olympia", sticking hat or baggy stocking hat, t shirt.  Holy pants that he has one leg stuffed into his sock bc he doesn't pay attention to what he's doing when he dresses.  In dire need if a haircut with a curly, balding on top white man afro.  Not so attractive polo type sweatshirts...hard to explain.  It just screams "nerd", I'm not kidding. He gets judged as "special" and people don't really take him seriously.

Ironically, in Olympia when the man wears Carhartts and work boots, he would appear more like the homeless population.  But down here in the more rural area, he fits right into the redneck crowd, and vice versa.  It's all in where you're at.  But that orange shirt gives him instant credibility, for some reason.   And me?  I just get viewed as this crazy old lady, I guess.  I don't get it. I have had 2 grown, BUILT, HUGE men state (lying...I said I lived in a rough neighborhood) to law enforcement that they are "afraid of me. ".  Yet at church, people gasp and are surprised when tanktop season comes and they see my one tattoo.  Like I'm some harmless old lady that knits and does crafty things and plays with my chickens and pigs and horses.  Go figure. Lol  

Yes. Clothes say a lot. It's why I follow hubs around and tuck in his one sock and his underwear out of his shirt, keep his hair and beard trimmed, and try to keep the truck cleaned up. Also to consider....stickers you put on your car.  Literally for a while in Olympia, having certain political affiliations, or even an American Flag. Would get your windows busted out.  And the police did nothing, there.  And people that got beat up and defended themselves...got arrested and prosecuted.  So the first line of defense was to not make oneself a target in the first place. When we went to protests, we made a sign on collapsible cloth material, parked a good mile or two away.  Folded up the sign until we got to the Capital.   And eventually we stopped going bc it was unsafe and we weren't being heard and took to other means to be heard. I s'pose some folks considered us cowardly for that, but we don't have an unlimited legal defense fund, and only have one truck.  

And also....driving an older, beat up vehicle.  Nobody rips off the catalytic converters from those.  Or bothers with them much at all, actually. But people will also judge you for it and assume you do drugs or are a bad "poor" person.   I remember before we moved, we got pulled over a lot by law enforcement bc we were poor and drove piece of crap cars.  Because it was a meth community and apparently our car looked the part. We noticed that when we finally started driving a nicer vehicle that the cops left us completely alone. Interesting, huh. So moral.of the story...don't ductape your mirrors on. Lol it looks trashy.
 
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