Among all the things I dislike in this world, there’s one repeatedly giving me the ranting itch: work dresscode advocates and other « appearance coaches »
Let’s be clear from the start: I hate these people with a passion.
Every time I happen to read the first-rate bullshit they produce on some business mag, it’s always the same story: I’m getting pissed, start to rant on Twitter, think about tweeting angrily at the culprit, to tell them to leave us alone and to do something else. Then only, I remember this is probably something they wouldn’t be able to do. I make myself a cup of coffee and forget about their existence until the next incident.
You know them.
This is the kind of stuff they do:
I know right?
I guess you hate them too.
These people founded their business on the fact that appearance is important to get a successful carreer. They assumed people will pay them loads of money to get their full of shit advise to improve their look in order to succeed. That assumption, which is the fundation of their carreer, is unfortunately true to some extent: there are still plenty of companies out there which rewards better employees sticking to some dumb, unstylish and sad dresscode.
However, this terrible system does not exist at actually efficient companies making helluva money like Google or Facebook, which have a strict « come as you are » policy. Tech companies and startup scene never endorsed dresscode crap anyway: why would you spend energy thinking about how to dress when you’re hardcore busy trying to build disruptive products? These folks know how to run a business, and they’re very aware that awesome work will be delivered only if employees feel comfortable at their desk.
These companies are acting today as trend setters: they’re the ones having the power, making astonomical amounts of cash (astonomical like parsec dollars), closing spectacular acquisitions, and this confers them a sort of supernatural lead that other businesses unconsciously want to follow (to make parsec dollars as well.) Good news is: following tech companies & startup ways means, at some point, getting rid of the dresscode crap.
So there we are, job almost done: old fashioned smart office dresscode slowly dying of natural death (in its own excrements, I like to imagine) thanks to the whole world being now focused on Bay Area style.
I know it’s happening for real: I’ve worked for one year at a financial service in the UK, the very type of place one doesn’t picture filled-up with people wearing hoodies and stuff. And yet, not only there were people wearing hoodies, but I’ve seen people wearing colorful Converse and fluo New Balance shoes everyday there, not only on Fridays. Snowball effect: as many of these people were executives, others started to wear sneakers, assuming they could. And fact is: they definitely could, because nobody would dare to tell anything. People were starting to put on their own clothes on Thursdays, Wednesdays, Tuesdays, Mondays. Like, even very cheerful Desigual stuff and all. I don’t like Desigual, but that was making me very happy to see some Desigual insurrection happening.
Don’t get me wrong, the battle is not over: I’ve also seen the usual cohorts of guys wearing a slightly different declination of the same light blue shirt while I was working there: my personal favorite nightmare, or a remake of The Clone Wars every morning while I was picking up my cup of coffee. But there is, undeniably, some clear trend that goes the right way. My only concern is: a certain vermin keeps publishing 1. nigthmarish, 2. racist and 3. sexist infographics about dresscode and appearance at work — and this may slow things down.
I always found these dresscode sketches so awkward and embarrassing. They have the same look and feel as the little plane disaster leaflets…
The main thing is, I’ve always found the clothes hideous. I know they’re just sketches, but still. Quick example: it’s just my personal taste and aesthetic considerations here, but these things below are just an impossible option for me:
« ELEGANT SANDALS » — please die :’(
I reasonably like clothes and fashion. I signed up for an ASOS Premier membership, and I’m quite happy to spend cash on a regular basis for stuff I like to wear. That’s why I hate even more being told how to dress, either at work (or elsewhere.) I don’t want having to fill up two wardrobes: one that I like and one that I don’t. Also, another detail: I hate wearing suits. I just feel like I’m not myself wearing a suit. But these are only my reasons that I’m exposing here, and everyone’s reasons count.
Work is hard enough. When it comes to dress for work, people should just be free to pick up what they want before heading to the office. Lazy, casual, or smart outfits. Whatever they want. The only choice limitation should be other people respect. Choice creates diversity, and diversity is just what you want to get around a workplace.
Unless you’re a fucktard, I mean. But that’s out of my scope here.
There is ten slots in this infographic, all of them have been filled with white people.
It is also racist against overweight people for whom it can be difficult to wear a specific attire. Also racist in a more hidden, insidious way (= social racism.) Certainly not everyone can afford expensive suits and jewelry. Dresscode is just another way to break down people by hierarchic level and income.
Women are always advised to wear fitted stuff only: there is no room for anything a bit larger or comfortable. Also, proportion of nude skin is always more important for women:
I’m not even talking about pregnancy: a dresscode does not give a shit about biology.
Also: heels. It has been medically proven that heels are a disaster for the whole body. Again, people are of course free to wear whatever they want. But these self-proclamed « appearance coaches » keep recommending heels, without any health warning. Kind of very unprofessional, don’t you think?
Also, that’s a bit anecdotical but… open toe shoes on and off depending on the employee level? I guess there is some serious machine learning data behind that (what the hell is fucking wrong with you?)
I’m almost done, but here’s few more thoughts. Feel free to use them if you feel somewhat in pain because your workplace has a dresscode:
- If you sometimes feel challenged to wear something unconfortable at work, wheter it is induced by environment or other people comments, please keep wearing what suits you and what you are confortable with.
Unless it’s contractual and you signed up for it, nobody can force you to spend your wage on stuff you hate to wear, and you are plainly protected by law. You really don’t have to put up with that shit.
- If your company promotes appearance rather than skills and merit, unless you’re ok with that because you are a dumbass, quit your job right away.
You can really choose to only work for companies which have different ideas. You are not losing anything: they totally are the losers here. Slowly, with talented people leaving shitty work environments for more confortable places, these companies will have to adapt or die by dead sea effect. Back in 2012 in Paris, I’ve seen this talk about talent hiring crisis which makes plenty of good points about how diversity acceptance is becoming critical to companies. People are more or less slowly becoming aware that they’ll have to adapt to survive. At the end of this natural selection process, we obtain changed for good companies, or dead dresscode nazi.
Both options are ok for everybody.
- Whether you liked him or not: back in 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world wearing a pair of jeans and a simple black t-shirt.
That’s a pretty good reminder: you surely do not need to be strangled by a tie to reach the highest point.