Thursday, September 29, 2005

Business Casual

Dear Jeepers,
I am a casual kind of person working in a casual kind of upstate NY town from a casual kind of bygone era. Did I say birks and jeans? My local company has just been purchased by a fancy franchise. I have been told that the dress code for the next business conference is business casual. What does an independent contractor wear when I really want to be rebellious?

Dear Rebel,
They would like you to show up in slacks and a twinset, the bastards. But how dare they announce a dress code to a group of independent grown-ups? What if you are an African tribal leader, hippie, or Mennonite? Your grumpiness is entirely justified.

We say, stick it to them: Wear this gown and headdress. Alternately, you could arrive in a Leona Helmsley type black pantsuit with sleek, expensive briefcase and chunky jewelry. Whatever you decide, make them feel like the bossy frumps they are.



Blogger Jeepers said...

It has been suggested to us that we sound as if we are mocking anyone who ecshews "business casual." On the contrary, really! We once had a job that required, once a year, that we spend A WEEKEND with 130 colleages, at the conference center on the campus of Gettysburg College. The dress code was declared "business casual." Our first year, Jeepers was embarrassed to discover that other people's idea of business casual was v. different than her own.

On the third year of this "senior staff retreat," Jeepers were assigned the job of writing the retreat brochure, which was to include driving directions, a schedule of events, rules, and a sort of pep talk about how much of a fun and productive time we'd all have!

We gleefully took this opportunity to include in the brochure a clear, unambiguous DRESS CODE explanation. We wrote something like this:

"Don't be lulled into a false sense of ease by the breezy term 'business casual.' For our organization, for this annual retreat, business casual means twinsets and pearls for women, with slacks or skirts to the knee; and vice-presidential-like pressed khaki shorts--with shiny belt--izod shirts for men-- altogether a look that says: "I am a British colonialist visiting my plantation in Africa."

Jeepers got in slight trouble for that brochure. People couldn't tell if it was a joke, or what. Women who had planned to wear pearls were miffed.

Our point--then and now--is that if it's "casual," then we should be able to wear what we'd like to wear, not a uniform.

Sticking it to the Man,

12:44 AM  

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