By Adrian Cavlan
Maybe it’s time for someone to say something.
I am not an individual who likes to dictate standards to other people in their business, but I think that an annoying trend has gone too far without any real commentary:
I am talking about the ever-lowering standard of on-the-job appearance by many in the event service industries.
Not attacking any specific profession, but it seems like every time I turn around these days, I see some “professional” photographer or videographer roaming around someone’s wedding in Levi’s cords, an un-tucked plaid hipster shirt and grubby sneakers (this of course among guests dressed in suits and ties or nice dresses), taking pictures as if it is normal and acceptable to do this.
What on earth do these people think they are doing, going out to rake the yard? Change the oil? Oh, wait: flip flops. It must be family-trip-to-the-beach day…?!
The answer is NO. This is a day that somebody (very likely the person paying) feels is important. They have invited all of their family, friends, co-workers, etc. to come join them for such a big celebration that they decided to splurge and hire outside professional vendors to come in and provide services.
Just what do these vendors think they are telling those wonderful people who are hiring and paying them for their services when they show up in attire that says they have no idea or simply couldn’t care less about the environment that they are being invited into?
What are they out to prove? Do they think they are cool? That others think they are cool? Do they think anyone at that event will EVER refer them business?
Look: if this vendor is you, I am politely asking you to have a little respect for your clients, for their guests, for your fellow professionals, and mostly, for yourself.
Here’s a hint: look at least as good as the average guest that is attending this event so that you won’t stick out and make a you-know-what out of yourself and that wonderful individual who is paying toward your next month’s rent and food.
All you have to do is ask your client “what is the attire for your event?” If you can’t bring yourself to do that, at least take heed of these few hints:
- Generally at a wedding (and most higher-level corporate events), wear a suit and tie. If you’re busting it hard with the physical work and you just can’t deal, well, then skip the tie I suppose but keep the suit. And regarding shoes, they make very comfortable work shoes these days that look dressy enough (brands like Ecco come to mind), just keep them scuff-free, if not polished.
- One level down from that is a sportcoat with coordinating slacks and a dress shirt with tie. This is a harder look to pull off with class than a suit, which is by default pre-matched for you, so you should know a little about colors and textures before going down this road.
- For informal daytime or picnic-type events, it may be acceptable to be in a dress shirt or even a nice polo with khakis (don’t do denim). Same kind of shoes suggested. This is about as casual as it should ever get. (Unless it is a themed event and your client has specifically requested certain attire. But even those can be done with class…)
- Remember too that it is totally possible to have cool and unique style without resorting to being disrespectfully dressed, but also remember that it is not a fashion show: resist the temptation to show up in attire that makes you seem like you are trying too hard to look like a rock star or a fashion model. Save it for the club: the day is about the client, not a faux-cool vendor who’s obviously trying too hard to get attention.
So, that’s all. That’s my rant… my opinion.
Except for one other hint: don’t have a beer at the event. And don’t plow through the hors d’oeuvres either. And if you get invited to enjoy the buffet for dinner, please only go through once and don’t pile your plate like you’re trying to build an Egyptian pyramid in miniature.
So, sorry if I offended anyone. That was not my goal. I only hope that a few people read this who will benefit from it and maybe up their game a little bit.
Happy Holidays : )