Suggested New Year's resolution: Dress better

BY January 4, 2012

Editor’s Note: All this week, the editors of Gulfshore Life will be offering up some New Year’s resolutions we’d like to see adopted around the region. If you’ve got your own ideas, visit us on Facebook at and share.

I am a recent transplant from a place called New York. Perhaps you’ve heard of it

I do not mention it in order to suggest an immediate sense of superiority, but merely to alert you that I’m seeing everything in Southwest Florida with fresh eyes. That said, you kids are making my eyes hurt, Southwest Florida. What exactly has happened to caring about what you look like when you leave the house? Flip flops everywhere? Really? T-shirts with conch juice stains? What the hell is conch juice? Eh, don’t tell me.

Now, before those of you who did look in the mirror at least once today get on my case (ladies), let me assure you this is directed more toward the gentlemen in our area. By and large, I’ve met many wonderful women who are making an effort (sometimes successfully). But the guys in this neck of the woods are bordering on vagrant chic. In the few shorts months that I’ve been here I’ve heard the phrase “I’ve literally not worn a necktie once since moving to Florida” multiple times. It would be understandable if you moved here within the past month, but a couple of these guys have lived here since ’83. Of course, neckties are not the problem: I don’t expect you to wear a tie over your “Sloppy Joe’s, Key West” T-shirt. That’s the problem.

Listen, I get that it seems like we’re all on vacation down here. I get that it’s hot outside (often). I get that you might not like neckties. But I also get that the guys in ZZ Top were seers—and understood that “every girl’s crazy ‘bout a sharp-dressed man.” Here’s all I ask: every time you plan to go out in public for more than 20 minutes, rethink that torn T-shirt or even that shockingly dull golf shirt with contrasting sleeves and collar and instead reach for a crisp, clean, buttoned dress shirt that actually fits and has visited a dry cleaner at least once in its life. Put on pants. Recall the thrill of a belt and actual shoes.

I’ve seen the clothing stores in this area, so it’s not that decent clothes aren’t available. And this isn’t a money thing, either. Style isn’t expensive, it just takes effort. Perhaps that’s the problem. Some of you moved to Florida and, like in marriage, decided to let yourselves go. Take off the sweatpants and maybe do a sit up, Southwest Florida. To paraphrase the great Ron Burgundy, “Reach for classy, Southwest Florida.” Please.

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