JB Fuqua and the Trappings of Success – Do You Need Them?


I've never bought into the whole "it doesn't matter what you wear" theory at work. Right or wrong, people judge you by the way you look, so you need to dress with that in mind. There's obviously a limit on both sides of thought. Even people that think it's fine to wear shorts and flip flops to work usually wouldn't look like the slob in the picture. But where is the limit on the upside?

Several years ago I read the biography of JB Fuqua, and I remember him saying that he always bought the best suits, even when he could barely afford it, because he wanted to convey success. I wonder if that is taking it too far. Or maybe that's one of the reasons he was so successful.

I think about this a lot as I drive to events around town in my relatively beat up Nissan Frontier (that was paid off years ago). I wonder if it would make a difference if I showed up in a shiny BMW. Knowing my age, what I make, and my financial situation, I tend to be a skeptic when I see people in flashy clothes and cars, assuming it's all debt that will come back to bite them. Or is it an investment? Is it an investment in social perception? This is the issue I struggle with sometimes. Does the image of success actually drive success? Does it influence others enough to make it worthwhile? Was JB Fuqua right or wrong? If you have an opinion on this, I'd be very interested to hear it.

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