Who decides what is professional? Who decides what is deemed as acceptable dress in a given environment? Why do people just aimlessly follow the pre-defined ‘norms’ all the time and not question them?
When i go into a business meeting and everyone is wearing suits, i don’t look at them and think ‘oh you lot look very smart and professional’, i look at them and think ‘why are you all wearing the same clothes?’ The fact that they are all wearing the same dull grey/black colours makes them all blend together – maybe that is the point. Don’t get me wrong some people look fab in smart ‘officey’ type clothes, but some just look plain uncomfortable. I would much rather people were allowed to express themselves and show of a bit of their personality. Usually the people i find easiest to talk to in meetings are those that dare to be different – probably because turning up wearing bright orange leggings (not literally…altho that would be ace!) is a bit of an icebreaker in these situations…ha!… but you see my point. I tried the whole suit thing for a bit when i first started working, but aside from feeling freakishly uncomfortable, they are bloody expensive and i struggle with conformation for the sake of it.
Take the shoe issue for example. i don’t wear shoes much and some people think this is weird. I accept that from a health and safety point of view there are some dangers to this and sometimes shoes are a necessity…but flip-flops are accepted in most cases and dropping an object on your foot when you are wearing flip-flops is definitely not advisable. I can assure you i have sustained considerably more injuries as a result of wearing shoes than i ever have in barefeet, i think most people would admit to this too if they’re honest. Health and safety aside tho…. i have been told that i don’t look professional without shoes on… didn’t you know showing your feet makes you stupid?
I got on a commuter train to London once and i immediately felt out of place among all the men in suits with their laptops and financial times. i stressed myself out for a few minutes thinking about how i would never fit in in the business world. My white blouse and black blazer hinted at professionalism, but the shiny tube pants, bright orange watch and ridiculous nails sorta ruined it. After a while tho i realised that actually however hard society might push you to try, it is impossible to hide your personalitycompletely…Yeh so there was the stereotypical ‘Business Man’ in an immaculate suit reading the financial times and periodically jabbing at his blackberry, but there was also the slightly older guy who’d obviously done this journey a million times before and was struggling just to stay awake, the young guy who’d obviously had one too many the night before and got dressed in a hurry, and the casual hippy type who was wearing a loose fitting linen suit and fabulously bright stripy socks. I often think that if people were able to be completely themselves all the time the world would be far more interesting.
My point is, as long as people are not harming others, they should be able to express their personality all the time. The most attractive, confident and professional people are the ones that are comfortable and happy in their own skin.
Everyone is unique, everyone has their own sparkle. This is what makes the world fabulous.