Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


There are many reasons why I want to write this story. I can’t help but be impressed with the way the kids looked on The Lloyd Thaxton Show. Our dress code was jackets and ties for the guys and “party dresses” for the gals. Watching clips during the editing of the LTDVD, I find it amazing how dignified the teens looked while having the time of their lives.

A jacket and tie for men (and boys) has always been considered dressing for success. You won’t find any one of the Presidential candidates debating on TV without a jacket and tie.

And even though they often wear shorts, jeans or sweats under the desk, your successful male news anchor always displays a jacket and tie from the waist up. I know. I’ve been there, seen that.

Sonny and Cher, back in the 60s, set their own dress code for Rock & Roll. Sonny even got himself thrown out of a popular restaurant because his dress code and the restaurants didn’t see eye to eye. That was actually good for Sonny. It inspired his only single hit, “Laugh At Me.”

However, years later Sonny put on a jacket and tie and laughed all the way to Mayor of Palm Springs. California, and from there, all the way to a United States Congressman.

When a “dress code” is mentioned, it most always means men must wear a jacket with a tie. Here’s my theory: Men just don’t have a clue as to how to dress. Women, on the other hand, usually check out the latest fashion magazines (and each other) before venturing out into important public or private functions.

Without a dress code, this is what happens much too often. Women: pretty basic black dresses. Men: T-shirts. It would be interesting to be there to see a young man picking up his new girl friend on their first date. How does the girl hold back the disappointed expression on her face? After spending hours shopping for just the right dress and more hours making herself look beautiful, the young man at the door most often looks like he just grabbed the first thing hanging on the back of the door.

I have been given the honor of speaking next month at a prestigious club in downtown LA. It is consistently named by national speaker's organizations as one of the top 10 speaker's forums in the U.S. A sampling includes Presidents Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon; U.S. Senators; City Mayors, astronauts and authors; religious, civic and community leaders; university presidents; major coaches; Fortune 500 CEOs and other news makers. I wouldn't be the least surprised that when the chairperson introduces me, everyone shouts, "SO WHAT."

Even with all the high-powered speakers that have gone before me, the Club has never told me what to speak about. The only caveat, “You must wear a coat and a tie.” I am almost certain that, even though there is also a women’s dress code at the club, they never have to tell a women speaker what to wear. For successful women, proper dress codes are built in at birth.

Let’s face it, we men are not as smart as women. That’s why we need dress codes. It’s like your mom telling you how to dress (and even, if your mom was like my mom, knowing how to tie your tie).

As with the Lloyd Thaxton Show, I’m a big believer in school uniforms. This is a dress code that makes a person look like they are working their way toward success. After all, that is what all those candidates for President are wearing, UNIFORMS!

Face it, it's not just happenstance that those highly successful bosses of yours in the front office are referred to as “Suits?”

Stay Tuned.


Blogger Gary said...

I can honestly say I have no clue when the last time was that I wore a tie. I have a large adams apple and wearing a tie just doesn't cut it. I hate dressing up, too, but if I REALLY have to, I will, but no tie for me! Give me casual Friday every day...

2:40 PM

Blogger Mike Barer said...

Very good article. Looking at the You Tube clip from awhile ago, I was taken by how well dressed your audience was. When the kids started dressing crappy, you got out of the business.
My favorite shots of the Beatles were when they wore ties. Of course everyone wanted to immitate the funky St Pepper's Clothes that they started wearing in the late 70s.

5:50 PM

Blogger Gary said...

By the way, Uncle Lloyd, you should put on a photo of the REAL Sonny & Cher...those are poor impersonators you put up!
Mike, The Beatles wore the dreadful Sgt. Pepper outfits in 1967...not the late 70s.

7:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Gary:

Goooooood catch! Fooled me.

I changed the picture. Thanks.

Once again, you're right.


10:02 PM

Blogger Lauren said...

Hi Lloyd,
You make some good points. The topic can be even more complex. Uniforms in school, and for TV anchors for that matter, help remove distractions. Kids can come to school and have one less thing to worry about. Do I have the coolest outfit on? It gives a chance to focus on the person and not what they are wearing. TV people STILL get the hair comments though!
Could it be that boys are not so concerned about dressing for success because they learned from an early age that ties and suit coats are uncomfortable?
About the Beatles! I saw a Ringo All-Starr Band DVD recently and he commented on 'getting to go shopping!' in New York. Sound like he loves new clothes!
I noticed the Sonny&Cher impersonators right away. I thought there was some copyright issue..

p.s. this feels so surreal to me to post on the Lloyd Thaxton blog!
Thanks Lloyd, your show made a great impression on me. I'm trying to find like-minded fans whereever I go.

5:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lloyd I cant agree with you more . People often sum up a person on their first impression. Dress sloppy and you will most likely be perceived as a sloppy person. I've been an LA cop for over 30yrs. Back when I started , a big emphasis was put on how we looked in uniform. Everything was spit polished. It is called command presence. One old timer told me that one could be the biggest dummy but if you LOOKED SHARP the public at large would perceive you as being sharp. The problem with me was all the spit and polish was eclipsed by the glaze and jelly donut stains on my shirt !!!! LOL

9:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Thaxton, I loved your show and I love your blog. I've posted links to your blog everywhere I visit on the Web.

But I must disagree with you about suits. Suits are often tools of deception. Any snake in a suit will look "honest" to an undiscerning eye.

When was the last time you voted for a "nice guy" politician? I can't think of one in my life. Truman bombed Japan. Ike and Korea. Kennedy and Vietnam & Cuba. Johnson and Vietnam. Nixon. I can't go on.

This is why many working class people from my generation don't like suits.

But I like you, anyway:-)


9:22 PM

Blogger Mike Barer said...

I'm nailed Gary! I sometimes write my blog comment hastily. I knew that Pepper came out in '67.

7:48 PM

Blogger Chuck Hinson said...

Hey, LL and crew ...

The suit thing reminded me of a (thankfully obscure) American group who, in 1967, actually went onstage NEKKID!! It was at the funkiest of the "summer of love", and these guys did it to protest the entire "clothing" thing.
They found out three things:
(1) Clothes aren't displays of fake identities, as these guys were saying; they're necessary to (a) keep warm, (b) keep a gig and (c) keep your bare bottom from being carted off to jail (and those leather seats in the back of a cruiser are unkind to nekkid butts!)
(2) It's not exactly the safest attire if you're gonna play electrical instruments (however, you can wear the skin suits UNDER your clothes. It works MUCH better)! Remember what simply "barefootin'" did to Keith Relf!
(3) The crowd wasn't interested in their music. They were too busy critiquing their ... er, shortcomings!

Sure, there are times when you've gotta "dress up" -- but, whether in shirt-and-tie or fancy dress, at least let it reflect you.

As always, LL, a super article!


12:32 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Lloyd -

My guesses on the photos:

1. Robert Wagner on the far left...have no idea who the other two are
3. Jack Lemmon
4. Alan & Marilyn Bergman
7. Grant Tinker & Mary Tyler Moore?
9. Henry Mancini with your ex-wife?

and all of the others look vaguely familiar but can't reach the recesses of my mind to pull their names up. How many did I guess correctly?


3:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what your thoughts are on the grunge attire if you know what I mean and I will admit it does go too far. The jacket and tie attire that I would prefer is the denim jacket and the bolo string tie occasionally. I don't wear ties but the tie I would prefer would be that of the bolo tie. The official neck tie of State of Arizona and the Governor of Montana Brian Schweitzer

8:11 PM

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11:24 PM

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6:53 AM


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