Flip Flops and Tank Tops

“Casual Friday” is becoming more and more popular in American businesses. This is the day that companies allow employees to “dress down”, discarding drab business attire for casual wear. Studies show that in 1992 only 7% of workers could dress down on casual Friday. Now that number is 54%, with expectations being it will rise to 75% in a few years.

The problem is the word “casual.” Different people have different translations. Some people think that means they can attach every piece of metal they have to their body. Nose rings, earrings, belly rings.

One thing I’ve never understood is the tongue stud. This is bolted to the tongue. Why not just put a big steel arrow through your head? You can make a fashion statement and get some laughs at the same time. Or why not a steel umbrella sticking out of your back? You can keep the rain off you and during sunny days you don’t need to worry about sun-block.

Other people think casual means wearing a three piece suit and leaving off the tie. They remind me of pictures of Nixon on the beach wearing a suit. You’re missing the point:

“Hey, Dick, we’re getting a volleyball game together. Come join in.”

“Wait, I need to put on my wingtips for full ankle support during athletic activity.”

“Uh, forget it.”

Some businesses tell employees they should dress “business casual.” I guess this is different from “home casual.” When I am sporting my “home casual” look, it means I haven’t shaved, showered or dragged a comb through my hair and I’ve been lying in bed all day watching movies.

A few people are rebelling. An ad agency in New Jersey decided to go the other way. They have Formal Friday. The employees dress up in gowns and tuxedos. I think that would be fun–once. After that people will be asking you, “How’s that waiter gig working out for you, Tony?”

One internet company has a policy that they can dress down (except for outside meetings) only if they meet their sales goals for the month. The sales manager cheers them on, “Come on, team! Another million bucks in sales and we’ll be walking around in golf cleats before you can say ‘sandbag.'”

Can you blend dressy and casual? Golfcollection.com offers a silk tie that is in the shape of a golf bag. I suppose the Rodney Dangerfield model comes with a radio. It seems a little strange. It’s like the kid in high school who went to the prom in a T-shirt that looked liked the front of a tuxedo.

There are people I don’t want to see in casual clothes. The Pope, for example. I don’t want to see him on the driving range working with his golf pro. “Pontiff, I figured out what is wrong. At the top of your backswing your hands keep hitting your giant hat.”

I don’t want cops to dress casual. It’s bad enough they are riding bikes everywhere. Next thing you know they will be wearing berets and putting bread and flowers into a basket on the handlebars.

What about doctors? Will traditional surgical gowns give way to tie-dyed versions? Would the tie-dyed clothes affect the doctors sense of urgency. “Hey dude, you look like you’ve been shot. Lay over there and bleed while I get in touch with my chi.”

How about the President- do you want your president walking around in a mesh tank top and flip flops? Yecchh!

Why the trend toward casual?

People that grew up in the sixties and afterwards prefer casual clothes. Now they are all in the working world. Did you know that the average age of the board of General Motors is younger than the average age of the Rolling Stones?

I just think clothes should match the job. I want my banker to wear drab suits. She’s got all my money. I don’t want her to look like she is ready to go to Cancun on a moments notice.

Rock stars are different. I just can’t see a rock star coming out on stage in a three piece suit and wing tips. But, with the state of the music business, it would open up new sponsorship possibilities. “Ladies and Gentlemen, Brooks Brothers welcomes Pearl Jam!”

And who really cares if people are dressed casual or not? It’s more important that your clothes fit your body and fit your age. If you are 95 and wearing spandex mini-skirts you may need more medication. That goes for women and men.


About Joe Ditzel

Joe Ditzel is a keynote speaker, humor writer, and really bad golfer. You can reach him via email at [email protected] as well as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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