Everywhere I look, I see young people dressed like slobs.
They seem to have taken “casually chic” and transformed it into something completely sloven, or as observers of Hannah of TV show Girls call it, “ill-fitting chic”.
Fair enough, if you want to be seen in public like that.
You are grown ups and grown ups get to wear whatever they want, whenever you want to.
Wear the same clothes to go grocery shopping as you would to go to bed at night. Have lunch with friends in a “dress” that looks like it is a loose, wrinkled top (did you forget your pants) and shoes you could hike in.
Leave your hair looking like a bird’s nest and conveniently forget you own an iron, and an ironing board.
Just keep it out of the workplace, alright?
We are lucky that so many workplaces allow their employees to dress much more casually than they used to, but we should still look as though we have had a wash, and made a bit of an effort.
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Look, I get it. It’s all about self-expression and individuality.
Except all young people seem to be doing it, so I’m not sure how that is unique in any way.
I was young(er) when “heroin chic” was a thing and while I did temporarily enjoy not washing my makeup off before bedtime to achieve that much-revered “drug-fucked” look, I didn’t turn up to work like that.
Yes, you can wear whatever you like whenever you like, but there are consequences, particularly when it comes to your career.
I once heard about a young girl who turned up for a job interview for an office position wearing a hoodie.
They didn’t get the job, not because they didn’t look good or fashionable but because they didn’t look as though they made an effort.
They didn’t look as though they wanted the job at all.
An employer who works at a “business-casual office” has written to an advice column in New York Magazine asking for help with a slovenly-dressed worker who is good at his job but has unfortunate dress sense.
He is by the book following the dress code, but he kind of looks like he just rolled out of bed. He is clean, but looks messy. He will wear a polo or Henley shirt, but rarely tucked in. Often his pant hems are frayed. He wears shoes that are the ambiguous type that are sneakers but meant to pass as shoes. The clothes are baggy.
We work in IT so none of the techs care too much about looking fashionable, but pull off a reasonably professional look with a simple polo and khakis and belt. This person’s role is supposed to be more forward facing and collaborative with others across the organization, not just sitting in a room coding.
I blame Mark Zuckerberg with his grey T-shirts and his loose blue jeans.
I blame celebrities with their tracksuit pants and beanies.
I blame “athleisure” that is too expensive, leaving young people to pull on tattered, old workout gear thinking that’s okay.