An Open Letter to a Social Experiment

This is in response to an article that I read about a black man’s experiment in wearing two different sets of clothes, one dressing up/ business casual and one dressing down/ sweatpants and sweatshirt combo, and how differently he was treated wearing either outfit.  He did the same activities in both fashions, and then talked about how he felt and how he was treated by the general public.

A Black Man’s Experiment in Fashion

You don’t even have to read to article to know what the conclusion was.

My argument is that race has nothing to do with this experiment.  I am not in any way trying to downplay racism and the struggle that people of color have to go through.  It is not fair, the world is actually against them- people love a scapegoat, love to put another down to make themselves feel better, love to blame other cultures for why their life is hard, love to judge, love to hate, love to make themselves feel better by berating our fellow species.

My argument is that race doesn’t have anything to do with how you are treated based on business dress code system.  The office attire successful look- although is not flattering-  will get the immediate attention and respect of strangers.  This is why people dress like that.  It is a societal rule that exists, and although the fashion is not great, the program has been established.

Clothes denote power- this has already been proven, and it is a rule that applies to everyone- race, gender, social standing, and age are unaffected by the universal understanding that what you wear speaks volumes about who you are.  I am not saying  I agree with this truth- ties are inherently dumb and not flattering.  I hate this system, so let’s try to change it instead of placing the blame on race.

Playing the race card at when it is not applicable only hurts the cause, only pigeon holes the minority further.

Although I disagree with the business attire dress code, the article under scrutiny does nothing to promote an alternative way of dressing.  If the man is not wearing fancy clothes, then he is wearing sweatpants.  Of course people are going to treat you like a bum, you are wearing pajamas in the outside world.  If you can’t even be bothered to get dressed, then no, I will not take you seriously.  These are house clothes, something to wear while getting ready to sleep or to watch TV.  It’s just like extreme sagging- if I can see your butthole before we have even exchanged a greeting, no I don’t want to get to know you.

This is about self respect.  Sweatpants, joggers, yoga pants, stretch pants are for children and if you want the world to treat you like child then wear this in public.  But if you want to gain a slice of respect from strangers, feel good about what you wear- make a statement, feel confident about your outfit.  And no, you don’t need money to pull this off, you just need a basic sense of style, pants that can’t be pulled down by a soft blowing of the wind, a display that you are ready to interact with the world.  Instead challenge this nomenclature style with something different that is also visually appealing.

You can argue that social standards are dumb, because they inherently are, but don’t turn this into a race argument.  These are two separate issues.  Instead, this article should be about how much better you look in clothes that makes you feel confident, smart, savvy, primed, prepared, dandy, and dapper.


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