Our workplaces dictate many new rules that we postgrads must begrudgingly follow. Fill the coffee pot, reply timely to emails, and do not, under any circumstance, talk to Brad in accounting about the secretary with the butterfly tattoo. Among these new standards are a set of expectations of how we present ourselves in the office. The most notable standard is how we dress at work. It’s not unreasonable for the office dress standard to stay the same throughout the week. However, our attitude toward that standard takes a serious nose dive.
You might not like Mondays. In fact, you probably downright hate them, like a majority of sensible adults. But damn if you aren’t going to look put together. The suit has had a full weekend’s rest in your closet and is ready to go. Today you are going to stroll in 20 minutes early, Starbucks coffee in hand, not actually ready to start the day, but looking like you are. What’s that 1.5 inch bar on your chest? That is a tie clip, and it is out to play. Sheryl the receptionist has absolutely no choice but to do a double take when you walk through the door. Grade A, my friend. The corporate world is yours.
There’s nothing like a full, eight-hour Monday to bring you right back down to Earth. That tie clip got thrown off immediately last night when entering your apartment and landed behind the couch, keeping company with three hot pocket sleeves and a gaggle of non-winning scratch tickets. This morning, you still manage to make it through the double doors before 8 a.m., but there’s definitely not a skip in your step. Today the suit still shows up when you sit down to turn on your monitor, but it does have the distinct draped-over-your-couch imprint.
The slacks remain, but the suit jacket is nowhere to be found. It made its way into your hallway closet along with other “for show” items like company windbreakers and running shoes. The tie remains, but if you think that thin piece of polyester is tight around your neck, you’re dead wrong. You roll up your sleeves, but definitely not for the “roll up your sleeves” metaphor. No, it’s from a purely comfort standpoint that you chose this look. This appearance plays into your favor when your superiors show up with a task. It’s the “man I’d love to, but I just have too much on plate right now” look.
Today, the 5 o’clock shadow is here and you haven’t even poured yourself your first cup of break room coffee. You showed up at 8:10 with your tie in your pants pocket and the first button undone with the understanding that, short of the CEO walking in, it’ll stay that way. You’re going for the “investment banker who just worked a 90 hour week” look, except you’ve worked three barely productive eight-hour days. Your coworkers may take notice at this point, but pay no mind. You have some work to do. A new Spotify playlist isn’t going to create itself.
Casual doesn’t even begin to explain how you put yourself together today. Six months ago, someone sent out an memo saying you could wear jeans on Friday, and you haven’t missed one yet. These aren’t your fresh-out-of-the-JC-Penney-catalog jeans. This particular pair of denim has been through the weekend ringer. You threw the idea of wearing a collar by the wayside and wore your junior year intramural softball championship T-shirt. This look and your overall posture have created the “not in the mood” demeanor that will carry throughout the entirety of the workday. At 5 p.m., you pat yourself down to make sure you have the only things you came to work with today: keys, wallet, and phone. You think maybe you should have dressed better today–that is, until you remember your destination.
After all, any attire is bar attire.