Where Have The Suits And Casual Clothes Gone?

Suits were once the mainstay of drycleaning. Men’s and women’s business attire. It was our cream of the crop. But lately studies are being conducted to see if the influence on work attire has affected the consumer. I give credit to the “Informed Debate” article in Costco Connection that I ran across recently that caught my attention. The article was titled, Has Office Attire Become Too Casual? This is great news for our industry. People in business are starting to wake up to the fact that sloppy clothes reflect a bad image. Who feels safe leaving their clothes with a gum chewing, multiple hair color, earring wearing, sloppy dressed individual? It may be a poor way to judge somebody, but judge them I do. People are starting to realize the logic in dressing up, according to Diane Gottsman of the Protocol School of Texas. Her latest book called Modern Etiquette For A Better Life reveals her attitude about her company’s training philosophy.

As An Industry We Have Really Dropped The Ball

Mrs. Gottman believes that recent studies done and readers’ comments, reflect a growing number of workers who wish to return to business attire. Now we aren’t talking about blue color workers. But anyone meeting the public on a regular basis should be mindful of the fact that the company will be judged according to the dress and attitude of the person up front. I don’t wish to sound hypocritical but why have we not taken the first step toward this problem as drycleaners and associations? For as many years as I can remember, associations have vowed to return to the once common advertising practice of promoting good dress wear. We have really dropped the ball in favor of being comfortable! Poor excuse if you ask me. Lots of wasted and lost business because we refuse to even promote our own industry-clothing! How do we expect to sell drycleaning if no one wants to promote dressing up?

She goes on to say that technology has destroyed our sense of style. She advocates dressing for success at work and believes that attitude can pay off. She went on to describe the difference between business casual and smart casual in her book. Surveys show that some people say they don’t feel the need to dress up in order to work smart. Stating that the real difference in pride is one’s self, not their clothes. Debates go on. But what started out as Casual Friday years ago, turned into a weeklong clothing free-for-all in many offices and places of retail sales. We looked the other way and let it happen. We literally watched our business go down because of this philosophy and yet our industry did little to combat it. Everyone wants to be comfortable. Being comfortable does not relate too happily to lost business.

What Negatively Effects The Employee And Customer Relationship?

Mrs. Gottsman goes on to state that extreme examples are: jeans with tears or holes, flip flops or open toe shoes, clothes that fit too tightly and clothes that show undergarments that are clearly visible. These are shocking to any retail customer who expects a person to reflect the garment business we are in and not disrespect their clothing. Experts say that sloppy dressing negatively affects the employee and customer relationship. Nevertheless a large number of people commented in the survey that clothes had no effect on a person’s work ethic. I agree with that up to a point. Image is what is at stake here. We cannot afford to risk our image as people who clean clothes, hopefully nice expensive clothes that people wear. This is the core of our business. More people advocated that each business should set common sense limits for an employee to consider and follow. This is preferable to losing or demoting top talent.

Let’s face it drycleaners, we will continue to lose customers if we don’t turn this casual dress down attitude around. It must start with each of us dressing nicely and setting the image. It’s not so very hard to dress up. It has been done for centuries without hurting anyone. Think of all the heavy garb folks wore in the old west days of the 1800’s. And all we have to do today is wear something simple and proper and nicely ironed. When we do this, we have set the tone and standard for which our business represents. The choice is yours.

I’m headin’ to the wagon now, these (nicely polished) boots are killin’ me!

About Kenney Slatten

Kenney Slatten Training Company is a Dry Cleaning and Laundry Consulting Firm Specializing in Environmental Training and Certification. Kenney Slatten Training Company, or KSTC, is based in Texas with offices in Arizona and California. Kenney Slatten is a certified instructor/trainer for the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI), is actively involved in the San Diego Drycleaners Association, the California Cleaners Association, is an Allied Trade board member of DLI, the Executive Director of Western States Drycleaners & Launderers Association, a member of the International Drycleaners Congress, and a columnist for American Drycleaner and Western Cleaner and Launderer magazines. The Kenney Slatten Training Company provides the only complete environmental training and inspection process. Started in 1987, Kenny became the first instructor for California E.P.A, OSHA, and state regulations. Kenney publishes a 36 point plant requirement every year in trade publications which is his guide for plant training and certification. We are the only company that provides dry cleaning and laundry specific environmental training. Kenney Slatten is a third generation drycleaner/laundryman from Houston, Texas. His company, KSTC, can teach you the skills you need to have a successful plant. His wagon is found all over the country parked under a tree just waiting for the next call to come to your plant. He can be reached at (800) 429-3990; e-mail: kslatten@aol.com or go to: www. kstraining.com.