Oct 11, 2006

'There is no time, sir, when ties do not matter.'

Udolpho laments the state of men's attire and blames the current trend of casual-to-the-point-of-sloppy dressing on the "boy men" who run the modern corporation.
Not surprisingly, behind the fake corporate friendliness lurks a callous indifference that treats everyone – customers, employees, partners, stockholders – as units of meat that are either helping management or causing some kind of problem, which to the mini-Steve Jobs corporate manager means anything goes in retaliation. Lie to them, manipulate them, betray them, lie to them some more – the most depressing thing about this conduct is how ordinary it is. It is a culture built on lack of respect and "business casual" is a meaningful part of that. Of course, it will be confidently announced by idiots that respecting someone for how they dress is superficial and anyway frequently wrong. (As illustrated in the Whit Stillman movie Metropolitan, customs are most often assaulted by the immature and the unimaginative.) We are supposed to look past the unkempt outward form and peer into their souls. At any rate this gets the vector of respectfulness backwards – it is a show of respect for others to make your appearance nice.

(The claim that one cannot be comfortable while dressed to a higher standard than jeans and a polo shirt is sometimes used to defend the horribly banal business casual look, by people who one suspects own exactly two suits which were tailored to their expanding bodies many waist sizes ago. Since half of even the most formal type of business apparel is simply pants and a shirt, they must be complaining about either the jacket or the tie. It's hard to believe the jacket is the problem, and the feeling of a collar around one's neck is no more restrictive or uncomfortable than a belt around one's waist*** – like most things done for decorum it is quickly gotten used to even by children.)
He's got a point. At one of the worst places that I ever worked, the vicious back-stabbing proprietors were constantly patting themselves on the back for their "anything goes" dress policy. This was evidence of how laid back management was. Yet woe betide anyone who didn't put in a 12-hour day. Indeed, the only benefit I got from this dress code was the depressing view of the hairy-legged guy who sat across from me who wore shorts 365 days a year. Naturally, he loved the dress code.

No comments: