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Hotel Bathroom

3 Lessons for answering: What is appropriate attire?

Here's an unoriginal sentence you've probably heard before: What you wear matters.

But you probably haven't read this Tweet:

"When you want to cultivate serendipity, stick to the 'Hotel Bathroom' dress code. Always dress well enough to walk into any bathroom at a hotel you're not staying at and get away with it." -@david_perell

Three lessons came to mind.

Picture this: your boss or maybe parent mumbling at the TV about how CEO's back in the day wore suits when they appeared on CNBC for an exclusive interview.

Now you have tech CEO's being known for a trademarked t-shirt and jeans look. The last few years have seen changes by even the most historically stringent of industries — banking. In 2019 CNBC wrote about Goldman's policy changes: "The dress code is symbolic of a deeper cultural transformation at financial firms, which are trying to project themselves as innovation hubs where individuality and autonomy is emphasized."

People have more opportunities than ever to show their individuality through personal style in work and life. Manufacturing, technology, and materialism have evolved over centuries to bring us clothes that make it possible to look sophisticated and be comfortable at the same time, for very little cost. Emphasis on sophisticated. Lesson 1: Be comfortable and look tasteful.

Another aspect of the Hotel Bathroom Principle I love is this message: what you wear matters even at the times when it's tempting to think it doesn't.

This lesson I picked up while on Ariana Grande's Sweetener tour. In my post-tour notes I wrote:

"Appearance matters. Especially when working in different groups, it’s very distinct and it’s easy to be treated differently based upon how we are each dressed."

It wasn't a glamorous two weeks, but even covered in grease and dirt, by taking pride in my appearance I was afforded client-facing opportunities that wouldn't have turned up otherwise.

Dressing for a hotel bathroom is about cultivating serendipity. Dress to be approachable and you never know what will come your way.

Lesson 2: Dress nicely, even backstage. Allow opportunity for the serendipity machine.

I needed to dress how I wanted to be treated on that tour.

It was good I had my favorite belt.

Lucky underwear, favorite belt, a go-to yellow hat.

All these are confidence boosters.

Having pride in appearance serves as a boost of confidence.

There's a reason baseball players have superstitions that seems silly, like Aubrey Huff wearing his wife's thong and knocking in the game-tying run in the NLDS.

Confidence breeds success. Lesson 3: Wear your lucky underwear. Personally liking what you wear boosts your confidence.

These lessons serve as my reminders.

  1. Be comfortable and look tasteful.

  2. Dress nicely, even backstage.

  3. Wear your lucky underwear.


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