How many people would let someone who isn’t dressed in scrubs to perform surgery?
What about allowing an impeccably clean man in a suit work on your car?
Both examples above are unlikely, because, as we’ve discussed before, first impressions matter.
Part of that impression is “looking the part.” While there isn’t a uniforms for “knowledgeable libertarian” we can make a positive first impression by ensuring we offer ourselves as not only well-meaning, well-informed, but also well-dressed.
I’m not suggesting that we wear a top hat and tails everywhere we go, though we should put forth significant effort in our appearance. Keep in mind that many people view our outward appearance as an indicator of our knowledge, education, and general trustworthiness.
In my experience, these tips have served me well:
- Wear clothes that fit. Whether too big or too small, ill-fitting clothing can be something that tarnishes your image immediately with a new person you wish to discuss ideas, solutions, or philosophy with. Cull the wardrobe to just the things that you wear well. This includes your accessories, even glasses.
- Know your audience. Try to wear something on par with their likely attire. If you always see this person wearing a suit, you should probably try to match that level.
- Keep your hair (especially facial) neat and trimmed. We all have a preferred style, whether our hair is long, short, or non-existent (my case). The key here is to keep it looking like you meant for it to look. This goes double for the gentlemen with facial hair. Our beards, mustaches, and sideburns should look purposeful, rather than suggesting that we don’t even own a razor or a comb.
- Avoid bright colors and too much “flash.” Don’t let what you wear overpower what you say. If the only memorable thing about you is your clothing, has anyone remembered what you had to say?
Our individuality and style should never take a backseat to the opinions of others, however we are looking to influence those who may not yet understand individualism and its value. Not everyone is ready to go from where they are to fully embrace something they are just beginning to learn about, so introducing them slowly is likely to yield a better outcome than full, immediate immersion at first.
Who’s ready to win over some hearts and minds?