Friday, September 02, 2016

Two Weeks in an Open Necked Shirt

Here we are, at the tail end of my summer break.  It has, indeed, been two weeks in an open necked shirt, (not the same one for all two weeks, I hasten to add - even I change my shirt every so often).  It's one of the little things about not being at work I love, the dispensing of a tie.  Personally, I've never seen the point of ties, but they do provide a useful demarcation of work and leisure: tie means work and formality, no tie equates to fun and relaxation.  Taking my tie off at the end of the working day has become a ritual for me: once it is off, work has no domain over me until the next working day.  But these matters of sartorial elegance - tie or no tie and so on - can have wider repercussions, it seems.  Apparently, even in this day and and age, there are people who think that they can make some judgement upon your character, or even competence, based upon how you dress.  I've just been reading how wearing brown shoes in the City of London will have you marked out as 'lower class' and someone 'unsuitable' to work in city institutions.  You could also be in trouble if you look uncomfortable in a suit at a job interview in the City.  Even if you do look comfortable  in your suit, wearing a 'loud' tie (ie not an 'old school tie') will mark you out as unsuitable.

So it's just as well that I never wanted a career in high finance: I'm never comfortable in a formal suit, don't posses any kind of school or regimental tie and favour brown shoes.  To be fair, I don't wear them to work (I have a pair of black boots for that) and I do have a pair of black shoes I wear with my suit, (which still comes out for job interviews and funerals - ominously, the latter are becoming more frequent than the former).  Like ties, I associate black shoes with school uniforms and all the years that I had to wear the bloody things.  Wearing them makes me feel as if I'm still wearing a uniform.  Interestingly, these perceptions seem to be uniquely British.  Elsewhere in Europe they apparently aren't so hung up about the supposed correlation of shoe colour and social class.  Indeed, when I worked for the MoD and had to attend meetings at NATO in Brussels, I was always struck by the far more relaxed way in which continental colleagues dressed for work.  I particularly remember a Danish guy who attended meetings in a lilac suit - that certainly wouldn't be allowed in the city, or anywhere else I dare say, in the UK.  But, like I say, the tie is a useful symbol of authority to wear at work - I also found wearing a tie useful when teaching teenagers. It marks you out as the adult in the classroom.  But whatever the work uses of ties, there's nothing like spending two weeks in an open necked shirt to make you feel relaxed.  I've enjoyed the lack of restrictions it indicates - the fact that, for the past fortnight at least, I've been at nobody else's behest, answerable to no one but myself and master of my own life. I've been able to go where I like, when I like.  Something I clearly need to do more.

Anyway, with my return to work next week, things will doubtless return to normal here.  In between all my travels I've also managed to catch up with some classic schlock movies (including the obscure 1969 Rowan and Martin vehicle The Maltese Bippy).  So, hopefully, write ups of some of these should start appearing the next couple of weeks.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home