There is some controversy about what defines generations, including those generally lumped into the class of “millennials” who were born roughly between the years of 1981 to 1997, more-or-less. I generally disavow lumping anyone into any category because I myself don’t fit stereotypical lumps. But that’s another story.
Anyway, I had an interesting conversation with three guys in their late 20s at a professional association social networking and mentoring gathering, and I thought I would convey the boot-related parts of our conversation. (I participated as an old-fart sage/mentor in my role as an officer of the association.)
The boot-related conversation began by one of the young men noticing cowboy boots on my feet, and saying…
“…cool boots. Different for a social event, eh?”
I responded that I wear boots like these all the time, not just for social events.
His reply was expected, “you what? Boots at an office? You mean like at a desk and in meetings? — not out on a field site, but actually with a suit in an office?”
His incredulity was palpable. His other two buddies about the same age were closely attentive. They also were a bit more than wondering about this “boots-in-a-professional-office” thing that I had going on.
One of the other young men said, “I’ve been taught to ‘dress like the person whose job you want’, not just what I want to wear. Hell, if I could do that, I’d be wearing my sneakers and jeans every day.”
But then the conversation changed a bit. First young man said, “Well, if I wore boots, I wouldn’t wear pointed-toe cowboy boots. That isn’t my style anyway.”
Okay, I can understand that. Not everyone likes cowboy boots. So I asked him, “if you did choose to wear boots, what kind of boots would you wear?”
Guy #3 said, “look at these!” and pointed to his own feet. He had on a nice pair of short dress boots. He went on further to say, “these are good looking, comfortable, dressy boots that I like a lot.”
The other guys looked at his boots and asked him more about them. “They’re ‘Thursday Boots.’ I saw them on Facebook and liked how they looked. The company that makes them was founded by guys my age. I like their style. They also were much less expensive than dress shoes. With my student loan payments, I can’t afford high-end shoes. So these work.”
Guys #1 and #2 both seemed to be impressed. Guy #1 said, “well, I’d wear boots like that. Not like those…” (pointing to my Lucchese Caimans.) Guy #2 said, “me, too. I saw those and some others like that, but haven’t gotten any.” Then he pulled out his smartphone and found the Thursday Boots website and actually made a purchase there on the spot. He remarked, “nothing like the present.”
Okay… I guess those wallet-sucking sillyphones have a purpose. I mean, if it gets a guy to buy boots, even short dress boots, I’m all for it!
So a brief moral to this story — yes, young men who are trying to “dress to impress” for promotion potential, who live on the U.S. East Coast, and work in a professional office can wear boots with dress clothes. Perhaps they are not ready for or not interested in traditional cowboy boots, but as far as I am concerned, any kind of boot is far better than a dorky dress shoe!
Life is short: wear boots!