Wednesday, May 11, 2005 | What makes San Diego different than all other cities?

Being in San Diego for just under two years now, I am continuing to experience culture shock. I find it simply amazing that what passes for office attire here could barely get you in the door at a McDonald’s in most parts of the country.

My fellow men, let me state for the record: If you work in an office or if you even have any job – and especially if you want a job – your toes must be hidden in this thing called shoes.

Yes shoes, as novel as that idea may be, are worn by men all across the planet. Apparently, except for this sprawling suburb called San Diego.

So here is my fashion tip of the week. Sandals are not acceptable work wear. Sneakers (unless you work in a gym) are not acceptable office wear. Shoes are what you must wear when you work and (please) when you are out during the day. Within the countless plethora of malls and strip malls that dot our landscape, there are shops that actually sell shoes. You can buy them there.

So why do I do this? It’s simple. I’m here to say that people really do judge you by what you wear. Professionalism goes out the door when you come to work in flip-flops and a T-shirt. It seems that I am one of the very few men who actually care about the way they look. I wear a suit, and I am proud of it. There is a rule of dressing that we all can follow. When in doubt, be overdressed.

A tie is also not a new invention. Yes, they sell ties in San Diego as well. Learn how to tie a tie, it’s not that difficult. What’s more difficult is learning how to match a tie to a shirt. That will come with time. I might suggest reading a men’s magazine, such as GQ. Men can look good; even if you are a native San Diegan, you can learn to dress well and with style.

You only get one chance for a first impression, so it has been said. I’m not sure if I completely believe that statement, but over time you will make an impression – on the people who you work with and on the people you play with. When you look the part, you will get the part. So the question becomes: Do you want to be the successful guy or the beach bum guy? I choose the successful guy … your choice is up to you.

The author is a well-dressed mortgage loan officer who lives in Golden Hill. Feel free to contact him at

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