Saturday, August 14, 2010
Dressed for Excess
“Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy; For the apparel oft proclaims the man.” - William Shakespeare
“What's the matter with the clothes I'm wearing?” - Billy Joel
“It is management’s intent that work attire should complement an environment that reflects an efficient, orderly, and professionally operated organization.” - Corporate Dress Code
Am I finding myself yearning for a corporate dress code in the workplace? How could that possibly be? I’ve always considered myself a 60’s guy. Just look at my Yahoo personal ad, it says it right there, “60’s guy.” I grew up in the 60’s, more toward the end, but still the 60’s. Too young to be drafted but old enough to have been against the war. Too young to go to Woodstock but old enough to love the music. I can probably trace my desire to work in television back to the premiere of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In in 1968. I’d still marry Grace Slick if she’d have me. I used to wear Nehru shirts, medallions and fringe vests to school. And, I can proudly say, I was tied with my friend, Tim, as the first two kids in our third grade to have long hair. Now at that point, and at that age, long hair meant Bobby Goldsboro not Robert Plant, but never the less, everyone else in our class was more Pat Boone. I guess I could go on forever about Tim and I in third grade, but the moving, prophetic and ultimately thrilling saga of our unsuccessful run for Class President and Vice President, must remain a tale for another day. Suffice it to say, there was a sex scandal involved.
Just as Tim and I knew that our, far out, hair and boss and groovy threads, were appropriate for that time and place, I actually do think that there are appropriate clothes for the office setting as well - even if it’s just the bare minimum. Let me propose a few theoretical scenarios to help clarify my point. You’ve got to find a new intake manifold for your priceless ‘67 Mustang, maybe you’ll luck out rummaging through the mountains of trash at the junk yard. Anna Belle, your blue ribbon winning mare, is about to birth her foal, you need to rush out to the stable and help with the delivery. Your septic tank is backing up again and, unfortunately, you’ll spend the entire evening digging up the front yard and dealing with the mess. Can you picture these circumstances? Chances are whatever you might be wearing for any of those three situations, probably would not be appropriate for the office. It’s as simple as that. Proper for Ringling Brothers - improper for office. Proper for nude beach - improper for office. Proper for Eastern-Rite Patriarch College of Cardinals - improper for office.
Two classic clothing items, worthy of specific mention, would be those staples of office warm-weather-wear, formerly thought of as beach wear - shorts and flip flops. Gentleman, I understand it’s hot. I, too feel the heat. I sympathize. So, if you must, just one minor point - If I can easily ascertain your chosen religious affiliation by a quick, unavoidable and unfortunate glance down toward your personal southland, you might want to reconsider the width, breadth and snugness of your Bermudas.
Finally, as for flip flops - Long ago mankind invented a thing called shoes - and they were good. They are made neither of synthetic plastic nor rubber. They don’t make a noise reminiscent of the sound of grandma‘s slippers clacking down the echoing hallway. And best of all, they are closed. They protect your feet from the accumulated, subway station and city street, dirt and grime. Guys, try the shoes.
But then again, I used to wear Nehru shirts, medallions and fringe vests to school - so what do I know?