As another corporate behemoth banishes the suit from it’s workplace, we consider whether dressing down is in fact another arcane attempt to be down with the kids.. YAWN! Or whether the tail is in fact wagging the dog.
For whilst HR teams across the country are no doubt pandering to the needs of an increasingly creative marketing team, who hold much sway these days as they are driving the business towards new business – good job someone is – if what we are trying to do is increase productivity, then surely enforcement of any kind hinders creativity?
Had ‘Dress Down Friday’ and the ensuing casually attired days of the week been rolled out following the death of the suit in the late 70’s, when Liverpool played away in Germany and came back with an entirely new and rather sporty wardrobe full of Tachinni tracksuits, I would have understood it. But to roll it out 10yrs into this current sartorial renaissance seems like madness?!
Any why? Because men in particular are no closer to being able to dress themselves, whether in a suit – and some struggle at that, let’s be honest – or otherwise then or now, and this is supposed to improve our wellbeing, and ergo our productivity and/or appearance in-front of our clients?
Let’s consider the choices; ill-fitting chinos and jeans – with or without holes never a good look at work. Add a casual shirt that has not been worn since shirts were last in fashion either in the workplace or on the highstreet; stripes of varying widths and colours and frayed and yellowing collars, most of which are cutaway collars which do not look quite as good when worn without a tie: no ties, the new order! Smarten-up this travesty (haha) by donning a jacket, which, given the current ‘trend’ (see that marketing team; ‘on-trend’?!) will be either too short (known in the trade as a bum-freezer) or too wide in the shoulders; fits-where-it-touches as they say. Not a good look. But perhaps allowing us to wear what we want, as opposed what they want, is what is required in this day and age? Within reason, naturally.
For gone are the days of reaching into the wardrobe for a clean shirt and then suit and shoes to match. But, for those who have been left floundering at the threshold of their wardrobes wondering what to pull out first; dishevelled shirt, ill-fitting chinos, bum-freezer jacket, odd socks etc. fear not! For here at Brown in Town, your battle cry was heard long ago and we have been crafting a capsule collection of sartorial ideas, which we call the Custom Collection, that are designed to fit you as well as your tailored suit and shirt did – and this shirt can be worn with or without a tie, and it stays tucked in, all day. Notwithstanding chinos and worsteds that not only fit you at your waist, as opposed your hips, but that stay up! Good, eh?!
Moreover, we are happy to provide shoes from Joseph Cheaney & Sons, which will match and not clash with your trousers. And provide hosiery advice to boot – knee length, naturally. No more odd socks!
To top it all, we have designed three sport coats, jackets, blazers – call them what you will – which will take you from Spring to Fall. And while we believe that a casual coat or jacket should be cut shorter than a suit’s is, we also believe they should be cut proportionately to one’s height and also trousers.
So, if we are all agreed that the image we want to portray is a professional one, then let us also agree that enforcing one particular dress code at the expense of another is as forward thinking as enforcing a dress code at all, that many may not be comfortable in. Any more than we are in our own skins.
But if that is too loose a framework and too arduous an undertaking to manage on a daily basis, then how about ‘Dress Up Friday’ when we can dare to be bold, pull up our (knee length) socks and put on the style, eh John?! Surely then, we give the workforce as a whole, as it exists today, the opportunity to shine and feel comfortable in their own clothes, if not their skin, and if only for one day a week. Radical, I know. But think about it..