Sunday, July 8, 2012

Casual Sunday. Casual everyday.

Spotted at
I am not one of those people who enjoys dressing up. I do not fault them for it, and wish them all the best, but I am not one of them. Sure, it can be fun for a wedding or fancy dinner, but generally speaking I am at my happiest in a t-shirt and jeans. Or better yet a tank top and jeans, because I like my arms to be as free as possible. There are particular brands of clothing that I like, but not because they are expensive-- because they have a track record of producing durable clothes with nice textures. I rarely wear skirts and almost never wear heels, though again I don't have a hard and fast rule against them. I just like to be comfortable. I spent the final two years in college barefoot about 80% of the time.

I would like to dispense with the notion that dressing formally conveys respect. Sure, you wear a nice black dress to a funeral. But I don't think that occasions in which it is mandatory to dress up out of sheer tradition should be necessarily treated that way. For example, I'd love to have a president who never wears suits. If female, I'd love to have a president who doesn't even wear dresses (but of course we'd have to get one first). I would love to see Congress convene casually, clad in attire that might have come from Target or even a thrift store. Hell, I'd like to see actors and actresses show up to the Oscars that way! Can you imagine? That might be the downfall of the fashion industry, but it would be a beautiful downfall indeed.

One good thing about dressing casually is that t-shirts and jeans don't really go out of style. So you don't have to buy a lot of them, though you could. Yes, trends in different styles of jeans come and go, but you can wear the same basic pair of Levis in 2012 that you wore in 1998, provided they still fit. Trying to be always on-trend and fashionable is a good way to spend a lot of money and acquire a lot of clothes that you won't wear again after this year. Clothes that you have to look in the mirror while wearing, and think "Wow, I don't look especially good in this...but at least I'm trendy!"

Lastly, dressing formally does not make you more virtuous, knowledgeable, or trustworthy. Unfortunately everywhere you look this myth is reiterated, and I would love to see it banished completely. Let's have experts interviewed on the news while clad in shorts. Heck, news anchors clad in shorts...or I guess tank tops, since you don't generally see their legs. Talking heads of all sorts being casual from the neck down. That would actually force us to consider what they're saying by its content, rather than instinctively conclude without explicitly saying it to ourselves "This person looks nice; he/she must know what he/she is talking about and generally be a trustworthy person."

That would be nice. But I'm not holding my breath-- not for that to happen, and not to get my jeans on.


  1. I am fortunate enough to be able to wear jeans and t-shirts to work every single day!

  2. "Heck, news anchors clad in shorts...or I guess tank tops, since you don't generally see their legs."

    I thought it was well established that news anchors like to go au naturelle under the desk.

    More substantively, I wonder if the desire to formal dress is driven by the view of many employers that it makes their staff look 'professional', which is really more about the petty power trip of picking someone elses shirts for them than actual professionalism.

  3. "Heck, news anchors clad in shorts...or I guess tank tops, since you don't generally see their legs"

    Exactly. I was at the ABC station in Chicago one day a few years back. The local weather forecaster went on the air wearing a suit jacket and tie, white shorts, and tennis shoes.

  4. Nice post! if you want to look casual and feel confident wear cool color cheap tees in variety of colors and styles!


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