How do you dress in the workplace? How does what your coworkers wear affect you? Do you frown on those wear casual dress and does larger culture need to go back to dressing up? Does it matter?
This comment was by Crow on the post “What We Wore”.
In some ways, I feel like wearing a suit and tie is the new “eccentric” in the workplace. I totally understand that older generations carry the baggage of the enforced dress code in a way that the younger persons don’t have to deal with.
I wear both almost every day, though I do enjoy the ability to mix it up with jeans and other apparel. I’m 28. I work in the larger mortgage industry, which while never as formal as “traditional banking” is still a somewhat conservative industry. I’m constantly amazed by the “casualness” of most places of business. I equate my suit and tie wearing to my preference and my desire to be well-dressed and to present well. In part, my job is a touch face-to-face customer service, a touch PR and a little bit of salesman mixed in. The difference in attitude between customers treating me well and like crap has been night and day since I started wearing a suit. Earned or not, I gain a ton of off-the-bat difference and respect when I dress in a suit and tie. It makes my own job simpler and more streamlined as I spend a lot less time establishing my credibility and authority (again, earned or not).
In fact, when I started wearing suits to events where my (remote) co-workers were present, I started to see the men begin to dress up, as well. Just an observation I’ve chuckled over a few times.
But in an age of “anything goes” for officewear, wearing the suit is daring and off-kilter. For a young ‘un like me, it’s what sets me apart and certainly not what makes me fit in. In no way would I want for the culture to change, either. I like my suits and ties and I’d hate to force anyone to wear things they thought were stuffy or uncomfortable. For me, it increases my productivity and provides a great little lift to my day-to-day self confidence. I’ve been doing it for the last year or so, and plan to continue indefinitely. My father remarked to me a while back that after months and months that it was the first time he had seen me without a tie in long time.
And let’s be frank: men have very few wardrobe options compared to women. Ties, suits, vests and the like are our little ways to find variety in an otherwise limited wardrobe.
And, lastly, let’s not miss the fact that suits are probably the easiest in terms of care. I wear a suit a few times (depending on the level of use) before I send it to the cleaner and pick it up and fresh and perfect again. Trading a large portion of my day-to-day wardrobe for suits makes laundry a thousand times less daunting as a necessity.
photo: littledebbie11 / flickr