Oct 20, 2021

Dressing Up Or Down: We Bring Some Clothier to the Debate

When are black bicycle shorts considered formal?

By Ed Goldman

Every so often there’s some back and forth on Facebook about dressing up. Most people endorse putting on your glad rags for:

-Fine dining (this is at a place where the menus may have tassels but not the waitresses);

-The office (unless you’re a software developer, in which case your peers will think you’ll be leaving midday for a job interview);

-Weddings (unless it’s outdoors and the bride and groom arrive astride ostriches); and


Edgy Cartoon

Dressed for Distress

While that last category usually includes the wardrobe of the silent star of the show, not just the attending mourners, he or she may have preferred to shuffle off this mortal coil in flip-flops and cutoffs. Unfortunately, he or she instead will likely be swathed in an uncomfortable, dark ensemble, especially if the ceremony is going to be conducted on a humid day, and if he or she was a head of state (possible exception: consul general of Margaritaville, between Panama City and Pensacola).

This is why it’s useful to put in a few words in your living will about your desired posthumous ensemble. Call it your Fashion Forward Directive:

“I would like no heroic measures taken should I lapse into a coma, and zero polyester placed on my body should I not come out of said coma. I’d also like to not be placed in any outfit with horizontal stripes, which tend to make me look pudgy.”

The late restaurateur, chef and cookbook author Biba Caggiano—a longtime friend and one of my more delightful interviewees for various columns and magazine stories—once asked me to write a column telling people to dress up when they went out for fine dining. She said it annoyed her when young people showed up in her piano bar to await their dinner tables, dressed in the aforementioned flip-flops and cutoffs “especially if the men haven’t cut their toenails and the women haven’t shaved their legs. Who wants to look at these people?”

I commiserated with her. But I told her that when I lived in Southern California for 18 years, “formal wear” often translated as “black bicycle shorts.”

It used to surprise me when I ate at showbiz hangouts back then to discover how sloppily many film and TV actors dressed when left to their own devices—i.e., when they had no in-house studio wardrobe designers to create their off-camera ensembles. The exception was when their agents got word that some very desperate paparazzi, armed with Hubble-like telephoto cameras, were lying in wait to get candid shots of the stars taking out their trash or grilling plant-based wienies in their backyards. Then it was time to drape the performers in designer-label T-shirts, shorts and sandals, maybe even a jaunty cap advertising a particular sports team—a clothing choice for which coins would cross palms.

I usually enjoy dressing nicely for dinner and when I conduct interviews or meet with marketing clients. It makes me feel that I’m upping my game in some way—and if it doesn’t exactly ennoble the people I’m visiting, it at least extends a measure of respect. My parents raised my brothers and me to feel this way, and their parents before them. Since my grandfathers on both sides were in the clothing trade (one was a tailor and the other a hatmaker), and were Russian immigrants, they not only dressed nicely but also exhibited gentlemanly manners. My father used to say of his father, “Your Grandpa Max would tip his hat to a ladybug.” 

Of course, Max was the hatmaker, so it also could have been very inexpensive advertising. I should add that when they died, within a year or two of each other, each was laid to rest in a beautiful suit. I’m not sure they picked them out in advance but I’m pretty sure they’d made them themselves. 

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President and CEO, Golden Pacific Bank

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


It’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month—making October the scariest time of year. Cybersecurity risks and Cyberfraud are scarier than any ghouls, witches or monsters—with potentially longer-lasting effects.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is supposed to help equip all Americans with the tools they need to stay safer and more secure online. But would you like to hear something scary? Since the pandemic, Cyberfraud is on the rise; and even worse, you can expect it to keep increasing as the world becomes more dependent on advancing technology, including digital banking and cryptocurrency.

It’s not going away. In fact, Cyberfraud is now one of the fastest growing types of fraud in the entire world. According to a recent study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners:

• 51% of organizations have uncovered more fraud since the onset of the pandemic;
• 71% expect the level of fraud impacting their organizations to increase over the next year;
• 38% of organizations increased their budget for anti-fraud technology for fiscal year 2021; and
• more than 80% of organizations have already implemented changes and enhancements to their anti-fraud programs in response to the pandemic.

So: What can you do to help prevent Cyberfraud?

1. Make sure you are using complex passwords and change them often. Change your username sometimes, too

2. Carefully monitor your credit reports. Check for any accounts or charges you don’t recognize and consider placing a credit freeze or placing a fraud alert on your account if you detect suspicious behavior

3. If you think your bank account, credit or debit card information was compromised, consider closing the account or cancelling the card and requesting a new one.

4. Secure your files by backing up important files offline, on an external hard drive, or in the cloud. Make sure you store your paper files securely too.

If you fall victim, report scams to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-382-4357 or FTC.gov/Complaint.

Don’t be a victim of Cyberfraud. It’s a trick with absolutely no treat.

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