I'm at a professional conference right now, waiting for the next session to start, so I've been people watching and I've come to a rather unescapable conclusion - a lot of young professionals do not know how to look like professionals.
I've noticed a lot of young people around this conference who apparrently couldn't be bother to take the time or effort to dress appropriately.
Now, I do not expect everyone to wear a suit to this kind of thing. Being a conference, there is some degree of relaxed standards. There are lot of people wearing what is basically considered "business casual" - and that is perfectly fine.
But I've seen several people with shirts untucked, or wearing faded jeans, or wearing sneakers. I can see one guy right now who is wearing slacks, a shirt, and tie, but is also wearing sneakers, had a knit hat with a bill (kind of like Radar used to wear in M*A*S*H) on backwards, and has his tie pulled loose with his collar unbuttoned. It is also clear that he didn't bother to shave this morning. Admittedly, I don't find shaving the funnest activity ever, but for a professional situation, it's kind of important. I really hope for his sake that he already has a job; because if he's looking for one here, he's not going to make a real good impression.
There are really only two things I can think of to explain this lack of professionalism in these kids: (1) they've seen older professionals dressing however they please so these kids think it's okay; or (2) they didn't think it mattered.
With the first situation - those older professionals have put in their time and have earned the right to dress how they choose.
And as far as the second - it does.