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September 29, 2012

Looking back: Good grooming vital in days gone by seem to be missing today

The Daily Star

---- — Back in 2009 — exactly the Jan. 13, edition of The Daily Star — there was a “Dear Abby” by Jeanne Phillips column titled “Work dress code is crucial.” I cut that out and kept it.

The other day I was paging through one of our Bible translations (of all places) and there it was tucked away on the same page along with 1 Timothy 2:9, which empathizes well arranged dress. I carefully unfolded the now brittle piece of paper. It was worth the reread and a reprint.

Yes, now it is worth our attention, since today’s work ethics certainly need some sprucing up. Take it from this oldster, that when doing business anywhere, the first thing I see is the workforce and how they are presented —  a plus or a minus. (My husband and I have actually walked out of a business when hearing vulgar language.)

I went to school up outside of Boston, back in the early 1950s. Several college courses emphasized the need for a good appearance plus grooming when interviewing for a job. Also this was vital in keeping that job and progressing in your employment by having good work ethics. That would be not only pertain to your work habits but also in your presence and demeanor.

Here’s the column (in part):

“Trying to run a business in Florida” wrote: “Dear Abby: You’re in a position to do young people a great service by educating a generation that has grown up in a casual-dress world that there’s a line between how one dresses in personal life and how one dresses for work. Cross it, and it could negatively affect you career.” (That’s so true.)

The article went on to reiterate what a large company did to encourage better PR. It sent out to all employees dress code guidelines with a warning of repercussions if not adhered to. It worked.

It highlighted some suggestions if an individual wanted to be regarded as a serious professional: In other words, get the job, keep the job and progress not only monetarily but in position. 

I will summarize to fit into my space: 

1: Dress for success, and not sex — no-no to spaghetti straps, short skirts, low-cut and revealing tight clothing, etc.

2: Cover up with modest shoes and not flip-flops or sandals. “We don’t want to see your pedicure, your toe rings, the crust on your heels, or smell your feet.”

3: Make it fit: “We have a woman working here who looks like a sausage stuffed in a polyester casing. It’s hard to take her seriously. The same goes for pants that are so loose and low-slung that you can see his underwear or her thong.”

4: Don’t pollute: This highlighted that pungent fragrances for both men and women could be offensive. (This could also include any strong stinky smell such as wood smoke, manure barn odor...)

5: Bathe: (This was very informative). It read: “There seems to be a new ‘natural’ cult popping up whose adherents believe that washing removes vital oils from the skin (or hair) and should be avoided. This phenomenon is more often, but not always, a male habit. Anyone in close contact with others should bathe or shower daily.” (Amen to that!)

Yes, to bathe or shower daily is good personal hygiene and is vital for good health. I believe most folks recognize that.

That particular newspaper column was dated 2009 and my upbringing in the world of business was back in the 1950s onward. All was true then and all is applicable now.

We had strict laws, back then, like what was termed “Blue Laws.” No open stores on Sundays, and there were curfews. 

Yes, those Sundays were for family time where we would plan activities together and perhaps include relatives and friends. Family was very important and not to be neglected as was a healthy lifestyle, pleasant employment, contentment and all the other pluses that bring happiness.

Elaine W. Kniskern is a 79-year-old resident of Schenevus and a grandmother of five. She can reached at ‘Senior Scene’ columns can be found at www.