Last week, Mr. Zelenskyy came to Washington. Unfortunately, and rather characteristically, he came without a suit. While I have very little else to say about Zelenskyy, I do have a lot more to say about his appearance, or lack thereof.

As the new year dawns upon us, many Americans will start many of their ill-fated new years resolutions. If we are being honest, whether it be losing weight, going to the gym, or eating healthier, many of these feats will not last even into February. While these goals are noble, and I certainly encourage them, I have a better new years proposal: dress nice.

If there is one thing noticeable when one steps outside today, it is that no one dresses with a sense of purpose or respect. From sweatpants, hoodies, and workout attire, to crop tops, Americans do not seem the least bit interested in looking professional. This has led to a decline in our national work and social culture. This is not without explanation, however. Liberalism thrives on degrading both our communal and personal sense of dignity and respect. As our culture further declines and we continue to loosen our standards, it is no wonder that we see the degeneracy and foolishness that is all too common in public life today.

Dressing well elevates the soul and, at least in part, is the solution to our declining sense of dignity and identity. The clothes need not be brand name, fancy, or expensive, but they need be respectable. Slacks. A dress shirt. A sweater. Maybe even a tie or a blazer. What you wear says something about your character, forcing you to act in accordance with your dress. Dressing well conveys that you value yourself and have dignity and self-worth, and as such, that you value those you meet and interact with as well. Something feels absent when we wear sweatpants into the office or classroom every day. The phrase “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” comes to mind. 

If we can cultivate a culture that dresses respectfully, many of our social ills can be solved. By creating a standard through dress, we not only give ourselves and our neighbors a measure to live up to, but along with it, we articulate a culture of decency and respect among us. Dressing with respect not only provides a sense of dignity but conveys to everyone else that our lives and professional culture all have meaning – we are aspiring to something higher than ourselves. Our work is not for its own sake.

While one should not fantasize the past, there was a certain ideal to American culture in the 20th Century. Men wore hats and suits. Women wore dresses. There was a clear standard for how one should appear in public life because it portrayed a common culture and sense of duty. It is why, even in the midst of the Great Depression, men with no jobs and of no wealth still wore a suit every day. To them, their dignity was worth it.

Therefore, this is my challenge to you in the new year: dress well and look the part. It does not matter what job you occupy. Whether you be a sanitation worker, a salesman, a statesman, or a scholar – dress like it matters, because it does. And guys, make sure to button that top button. It is, after all, a new year, and while I hesitate to use the phrase, a chance to be a new you.

William Benson is an undergraduate student at The Catholic University of America pursuing a degree in politics. He serves on the executive board of Catholic University College Republicans and is an editor and contributor at Lone Conservative.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.


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About William Benson

William Benson is an undergraduate student at The Catholic University of America pursuing a degree in politics. He serves on the executive board of Catholic University College Republicans and is an editor and contributor at Lone Conservative.


williamgbenson on Instagram @williamgbenson

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