I am a lifestyler. Pretty much that means that as a rule, I listen to vintage music or music inspired y the DP era. I also happen to dress up wherever I go. Not anything spectacular, just slacks, a nice dress shirt, usually with a tie, and my black fedora (not a trilby, darnit, a FEDORA). A couple of years back I was dressed as such when I dropped off an application. No, I wasn't in a three-piece with a pocketwatch or wearing aviator goggles or anything. Just a shirt, tie, hat, nice pants and shiny shoes. I felt rather dressed down, but it is a minimum wage job, so I thought I shouldn't be dressed to the nines.
I was hired a few days later.
I was talking to my boss the other day and she said she didn't hire me, it was her supervisor at the time who had looked at my application and hired me. She had not seen me the day I filled out the application. She said that if she had, she would have immediately thrown out the paper and refused to hire me, on looks alone. I asked her why and she said, because nobody dresses like that. What was with the stupid hat? And why do I listen to that stupid music that's older than her parents? Nobody listens to that. I told her that since there is a uniform in this job, the hat was not an issue, And she listens to the most vapid pop fluff imaginable. How did that make me someone she would not want to hire? She said that since I dressed "differently" it meant I was "weird" and a potential problem in the workplace. I jokingly told her she was prejudiced against the chronologically displaced, and that ended the conversation.
My question is, was I wrong to wear a hat to fill out an application? If so, why? If not, would you consider this anti-dieselpunk prejudice (even though she didn't know of the existence of DP and it was a more subtle feeling from her than that)? Also, have you been a victim of any prejudice against your personal aesthetic style?
I do not dress all out DP, SP, or cowboy except when actually at an event or raid but I have slowly been stealing items for everyday wear here. One of the strangest local prejudices is hats. This is especially strange since we live in a RAINforest that receives 200+ days of liquid sunshine each year. I have found that if I keep my head dry I don't care if it is raining. I accidentally discovered Pendelton hats which have been made in the Pacific NW since about 1863 and are half way between a Fedora and a Stetson of thick crushable wool that is not only perfect rain protection but breaths. A hundred years ago all men wore hats here:
A story to show the odd local prejudice against hats was the time I was with a groups of fellows and we got caught in a sudden blizzard. Wet heavy sticky snow dumped on us. The whole group stopped, eyed each other, then pulled hats out of pockets and put them on in unison. Gloves are almost as bad here.
After SASS shoots when I am still dress 1880s western and packing I have had waiters ask me to take my SASS badge off since the badge (not guns) were making customers nervous. Without the badge I have been caught by random people ranting about Alaska politics. When I asked them why they said that I was dressed like a politician. Ouch.
Another Appalachian here. I'm not a life-styler, but I do tend to dress in a manner that might be considered "vintage" (longer dresses, shrugs, etc) just because that's the direction my tastes carry me. I have a collection of wool cloche hats that I adore and look good in. It has been several years since I was seen in public without one of those hats on. What can I say? The Bonnie Parker Look ROCKS!
Surprisingly, almost nobody flinches at my sartorial choices, even here in Hillbilly Central; occasionally I get the odd look, but usually that's followed by a smile and a "Like the hat, where'd you get it?" Even in my terribly conservative church (where I'm the musician, they pay me enough to expect obedience, if they decided to dictate my hat choices), instead of causing problems, I've caused a revolution: more hats are seen nowadays in church than there was before I took the job.
Your supervisor sounds like she's not smart enough to get out of her own way. How old is she? It may seem counter-intuitive, but I find that the younger people I meet are much more rigid in their expectations of conformity. It takes a certain amount of intelligence and a bit of emotional maturity -- not to mention being comfortable with self -- to look at somebody Different and say, "Hey, that's not my choice, but it's not hurting me, so knock yourself out." Your average 20-year-old (especially one deeply entrenched in the modern pop sensibility) just doesn't have the maturity or the sense of self to do that easily.
Then again, I could just be really lucky in my acquaintances.