On a couple of occasions I have found myself caught short in the workplace, and I’m not referring to bodily excretions. I am instead referring to my clothing.
Now, if you ask me, I’d say that women have it much easier than men, or at least certainly at work. Yes, I know that society’s expectations of how people should look is a weightier burden for women. But, as with so many other things, the office is different. If you work in the city then, ironically, I guess things are on a pretty level playing field. Everyone dresses as smartly, as ‘powerfully’, as possible to give off the impression that they can be trusted with your millions because they can iron a shirt or blouse. Probably shirt. And in creative industries you can, of course, dress up as a blancmange and get away with it, so good for them.
But in other areas, particularly in the public sector, things are different. In my experience, women can sport an array of items and get away with it. The terms ‘Smart’ and ‘presentable’ seem to be as stretchy for women as their leopard print jeggings. As a man, if I turned up not wearing a shirt there would be trouble.
The following is society as it currently stands, in my opinion.
When I go to the bank and ask for a loan that might allow me to set up a new business and radically change my career, what’s going to give me hope that this person will make a rational and fair decision is how snappy a dresser they are. If I’ve been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and I’m speaking to a doctor who is outlining the preferred method of saving my life, by far the most important thing to me will of course be if they’re wearing a tie. Being given this news by a bloke in a tracksuit may not instil in me a huge amount of confidence. When life from outside our galaxy arrives on earth and promises that they can reveal the innermost secrets of the mind and the soul in exchange for a commitment to peaceful co-existence, what will our response be? Sorry, we’re not interested, because you didn’t iron your polo neck and you’re wearing sandals with socks.
All this is bollocks.
We should judge people on what they say and do, not what they’re wearing. If we talk to someone we disagree with, then maybe we should ask to see their work, rather than their Moss Bros loyalty card. Yes, my shirt isn’t ironed and I’m not wearing a tie. Big fucking deal. Grow up.