Appropriate corporate work-wear?

On one hand, there’s the sloppy poorly fitted (and often not very well ironed) poorly tucked-in business shirt, saggy pants and unpolished scuffed leather shoes. And of course, no tie. On the other hand, there’s an outfit you’d expect to see at a nightclub, or down at the mall.

The problem with male corporate wear is that there’s a rigid expected standard with a fair bit of cultural momentum: many men don’t have to think about the finer points of wearing what is pretty much a uniform and hence end up looking terrible. The problem with female corporate wear is that there’s a pretty flexible expected standard without that much cultural momentum: many women have a lot of choices, not that many explicit norms to follow and hence end up looking terrible.

Irrespective of gender, arriving to work in barely appropriate wear stems from a common issue: not paying enough attention to one’s outfit and what it says about oneself in the context of an organisation’s culture and values. When selecting your corporate work-wear is put into this context, it stops becoming a uniform and becomes an outfit that provides a solution to a design challenge.

That’s when dressing for work became fun for me.