I remembered watching
Anchorman and realizing that Ron Burgundy was not only a sexy beast, but a
maverick and trailblazer beyond all measure.
He masterminded a polished, poised persona and he didn’t need to bother
with such silliness as “wearing pants” to pull it off. He was a true hero of the 1970s and his
heroic nature lives on today, in the chaos that is 2020.
Beauty is in the eye of the
beholder, yet vanity is now in the eye of the webcam. And in 2020, that eye generally encompasses a
view of the face and torso. We only have
to look pulled together from the chest-up.
Plaid pajama pants? Sure! Reindeer Christmas leggings? Of course!
Just underpants? Why not?!
The economic and fashion
impact of this shift in vanity can be found everywhere.
- No more suiting
Both Brooks Brothers
and the parent company
of Men’s Wearhouse and JoS A. Bank filed for bankruptcy in 2020.
- Cosmetics lessons: How to alter your makeup to be virtual-meeting glam!
- All about
athleisure: Increased sales and a desire for versatile clothing to both work-from-home and workout-in-home.
- Why change
clothes at all? Pajama sales increased
- Ponytails or
top knots? Tutorials for the best WFH hairstyles.
- Dry cleaners are
bored: One in six dry cleaners in the U.S. have closed or gone bankrupt.
camera, filters: Mastering the best lighting and lights for video conferencing.
- Commanding a
virtual room: Lessons on owning your charisma
fewer pants: Sales of pants decreased
13% from March to April.
But what does this all
mean? In a world of cupcakes are we only
concerned with the frosting? Well, I’m a
cupcake girl. Straight up cake. Ok, and a little frosting. I care deeply about the content, substance
and impact of what I offer. And I also
want to look decent doing it. Does that
make me vain? Once a man in my life told
me he thought I was “just vain enough” and I took that as high praise. I shall always be cupcake before
frosting. But I do need some frosting.
There’s definitely a judgment
factor in play. If you want to look good
for a WFH day, are others judging you?
If you see a coworker or client on a call that looks dressed-up and or
done-up, how do you react? Jealous? Complimentary? Like a cynical monster, assuming that the
person has too much free time? Like they
must really like to look at themselves?
Our instinctual, comparative reactions to others’ appearances, even in
video conferencing, can impact how we relate to others. Next time you jump on a call, take a moment
to check your reactions and the judgments that follow. There’s no right or wrong here; it’s a
mindful moment to understand our own biases as it relates to vanity.
It’s also about effort. What level of appearance effort do each of us
need to exude to feel like we are our best selves? Are we capable of this level of effort every
day? Likely not. Do we desire this level of effort every day? Likely not.
Are we still working hard and getting things done? Absolutely.
Most importantly, it’s about acceptance. This year is a unique recipe of poo for all
of us. Each of us are facing multiple
challenges; some we might share with others, some we choose to conceal. We don’t always know what it takes to be
physically and mentally able to be prepared for, let alone get through a
workday. Let’s advocate to always give
each other the benefit of the doubt.
Cheer on the cupcake, don’t
focus on the frosting.
Stay classy, HR.