Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Are jeans smart casual?

Here's a question for you. Do black denim trousers count as smart casual?

I think they do. Some of my colleagues think they don't.

Today I am wearing proper black shoes, black socks, black underwear, a light blue button up shirt with cufflinks, no tie, a beige jacket and black DENIM trousers. I think I look smart and casual. I feel smart and casual. Therefore I AM smart and casual.

But apparently I am wearing jeans. Therefore I am not dressed for real work. Never mind that I am negotiating multimillion pound deals, structuring complex projects, trying to hire brilliant people. I can't be serious because I'm wearing jeans.

I heard a phrase recently "casual dress, casual attitude". It was delivered as if it was fact, and was received with approving nods. I listened with disbelief. Some of the laziest, most political, work-shy, hang-your-suit-jacket-on-the-back-of-your-chair-so-it-looks-like-you-are-still-at-work people I know have been hard core suit and tie merchants. No smart casual for them. Strictly proper business attire. Some of the most creative, driven, passionate, innovative, won't go home, work through the night people I know have been the scruffiest people you'll meet.

I fall somewhere in between. I am a smart casual guy. I will force myself in to a suit and tie if I have to, for a Board meeting for example or for a client meeting if I know that its a strictly suit wearing culture. But that's about it. Around any office I work in I'm smart casual at best.

But what is smart casual? Well, here's a pretty good definition. Yep, that'll do it for me. And in the definition I choose, black denim trousers count as smart casual. So, I'll keep wearing them until one of my courageous colleagues decides that they have nothing better to do than to try to educate me in how to dress in a way that stops me from having such a casual attitude. Then I'll switch to wearing a dress instead.

Casual dress, casual attitude, indeed!


Hazel said...

Are your clothes clean? Of course they are. Are your clothes ironed, all buttons on, no tears or holes? Of course. Then who the ---- do these critics think they are? Do they know who YOU are or do they not care that they are being insulting?

Hazel said...

Perhaps a dress for your next television appearance.

The Dark Lord said...

Tom, we have only recently moved from business suits only and are still finding the best approach - but one of the few rules was 'no jeans'. As a leader you are in great position to influence these - if you disagree. Was what you were wearing today Jeans - I think not. Were they acceptable - probably. Were we pulling your leg - definately. However we accept your offer of wearing a dress and very much look forward to tomorrow.

Tony "Scruffy" Stansfield said...

I'm with you Tom. As one of the scruffiest people you ever met (remember the Egg days?), I find it hard to believe that businesses spend *any* time worrying about what their people wear, when they should be concerned with what they achieve! I'm sitting in an office where suits are the dress code except on Fridays when it seems we can be productive in jeans and t-shirts.

Monu Ogbe said...

As always, thought-provoking, educational and entertaining.

"Casual dress, casual attitude"? Way too sweeping. However I find that there is a lot to be said for the emotional investment that I make in my the way i look; and I dare say you're properly invested in the swagger that those black jeans afford you! Come to think of it, it occurs to me that invested is EXACTLY the right word.. Sheesh!

When next I'm structuring a multi-million-dollar deal, I must try out a "wrapper" (Sarong, for the non-fashionistas).