Johnson & Blanton blog: When working the Florida Capitol, fashion choices matter

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Johnson & Blanton, one of Tallahassee’s most respected lobbying firms, represents a wide range of clients in Florida government — and they put a high priority on looking the part.

With the philosophy that professional success starts with proper attire, it is not surprising that the subject of clothing style was touched upon in a recent post on the Team JB Business blog.

Here are some “fashion rules” to keep in mind when on business in the Capitol:

  • It may be silly that it needs mentioning, but even though this is the Sunshine State, beachwear is not suitable for the Capitol; something especially true for things like flip-flops or swimsuit cover-ups. 
  • Another obvious rule: avoid anything you would not want your grandmother to see.
  • For men, the uniform de rigueur is jacket and tie. At times, it may be okay to lose the tie on Fridays; good judgment should dictates on that rule. It depends on what is happening on a particular Friday.
  • Another rule of thumb; unless you are Congresswoman Frederica Wilson or it happens to be Cattlemen’s Day — no hats.
  • Facial hair — especially of the “Duck Dynasty” variety — is frowned upon. (Of course, this is one for the men).
  • Shoe choice could also take up an entire page. Women envy men for the ability to wear comfortable shoes, especially during the last two weeks of Session. Some female colleagues can stand exceptionally high heels (swearing they are comfortable), so shoes are up to the wearer, with comfort the deciding factor.
  • Again, unless it is Cattlemen’s Day, then no jeans.

The post goes on to address the unfortunate occasional wardrobe malfunction — ripped pants, too high of a skirt slit, toilet paper stuck to the shoe — it should be a matter of courtesy to tell a friend as soon as possible.

But what about total strangers?  

That is why Team JB developed a fashion policy. When noticing a serious wardrobe malfunction, the offender will be told immediately.

But if it is only a dispute about fashion selection, then at the end of the day, it will be politely mentioned not to wear that outfit again.

Success in the Capitol is attributed to hard work and talent, but there is little reason to make the task harder with unfortunate wardrobe choices.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.