Dress For Success

Luke Haines
7 min readFeb 19, 2021

I noticed a stain on an ostensibly clean jumper, the other morning. Which isn’t surprising — I sell agricultural machinery. Maybe the stain was oil from a chainsaw or grease from the gears in the head of a strimmer. I’ll have the lab analyse it as soon as I’m rich enough to own a lab dedicated to the strange blotches on my clothes.

Their findings will be horrifying.

In some ways it was my own fault for wearing a white jumper. There’s a fairly short list of people who should be wearing white; Brides, Druids, later period Elvis… The rest of us should really avoid it. Still, my stained clothing reminded me of one of the more irritating pieces of “can do” optimism you often see: “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.”

If you’re not the sort of brainless drone that takes inspirational posters at face value, you’ve probably noticed that there are plenty of reasons not to dress for “the job you want.” McDonalds workers will fire anyone who comes to work as Gordon Gecko for being out of uniform long before they have time to dangle their tie in the deep fryer, for example.

Fortunately, my work doesn’t require a specific dress code, and as I’m still forced to turn in every day to sell hardware to the rural elderly in spite of the ongoing pandemic, I decided to test this shitty advice to destruction.

James Bond.

James Bond seems like he has a pretty good job, traveling the world on the government’s money, driving supercars and shagging improbably named women. Sure, getting shot at isn’t much fun, but it’s not like any bullets ever actually hit him and the spying thing is a doddle — he’s famous for introducing himself by saying his real name, twice, and yet he’s still somehow a successful agent. Plus, I already shared his drink problem.

In the hopes of going from “alcoholic chainsaw salesman” to “alcoholic spy,” I put on a tuxedo, an astronomically expensive watch, and a Walther 9mm. I also remembered that Bond tends to have various clever gadgets secreted about his person, but after the eye-watering expense of the watch, gun and suit, all I could afford was a spinning bow tie and a telescope that turned your eye black.

My first customer of the day was like most of my customers, a grumpy septuagenarian farmer in tweeds. Clearly, he had dressed for the part of “miserable old…

Luke Haines

Former bartender, amateur writer, based in the UK.