Dressing for the Job You Want is Only the Beginning

“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” is classic advice that recalls the importance of your appearance in shaping your reputation, but George Washington and the Founding Fathers show us that it’s the substance of the man underneath that truly matters. 

In May of 1775, George Washington strode into the Second Continental Congress wearing a newly tailored military commander’s uniform, despite being nearly two decades out of military service. Due to his well-publicized exploits as an officer in the British Army and his masterful reinvention of the Virginia Regiment as its commander, Washington’s military reputation preceded him. What did not precede him, however, was war. Skirmishes had broken out at Lexington and Concord and the British Army subsequently moved in to try and subdue unruly Boston, but whether these were isolated incidents or the beginning of a large-scale conflict remained to be seen. Ultimately, the Congress resolved to establish a national army, the Continental Army, for the defense of America and unanimously agreed that there was only one choice for its leader: George Washington. Comprised of men from every colony, the united fighting force signified that the American colonies were standing as one against the tyranny of their oppressors.

At some point in our lives we’ve all heard the advice “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” It’s good advice, and clothing-obsessed as we are here at CircleRock we can’t echo it enough. But clothes themselves aren’t enough to make a man. It’s incomplete advice. Your conduct and character are far more important than what you’re wearing and how you look. It may not always be possible to be the best-dressed guy in the room, but reputation, respect, and character will always stand out and always be noticed (that being said, we hope you look good with all those eyes on you!).

George Washington’s decision to wear his uniform reminded his fellow delegates of his military experience, but neither its intent nor its effect was to inspire men to ride off to war. His calm yet commanding presence, measured and thoughtful speech, and steadfast commitment to America, its cause, and its liberty were what set him apart and demanded unsought respect. The uniform helped, but shining even brighter was how he carried himself and his character. Without that, it’d just be playing dress up.