- its funny sometimes to see on clothing forums some posters complain that other posters talk too much about clothes. I was using your queries as a starting point for riffing a bit on clothes and context and if on the way its useful to you then all the better.
Partly why I started riffing is that it was on uni campuses and also rural/regional hospitals that I started thinking a lot more about the clothes I wore and what their meaning was. Basically wearing woolen worsted suits and ties garnered a reaction i was a bit taken aback by and as I needed to get people on side to change reform etc (this not being the armed forces) I needed to change how I was seen. How I was seen determined, partly, how I was reacted to.
In addition most of my working life I have held positions where I was either the CEO or representing the organization publicly or at important forums with government or industry or funders. In that case how one looks and presents to the world, and the impact that engenders, cannot be a matter of indifference or simple personal preference.
Its often said "its only clothes" and "I don't think about it much - it has no meaning to me" - well - not true. Clothes mean something beyond utilitarian functions such as covering rude bits and keeping warm etc, to both the wearer and to others. Discovering what a certain dress style means to yourself is hard enough - discovering what it means or what its meanings could be (signals/ signifies/ codes/communicates) to others and in which different contexts is harder and shifts.
The bloke who says you (well me) is reading too much into it - will always be the bloke who turns up consistently in the same look and clothes. If he didn't care then one day he's wear a suit 2 sizes too big, next track suit pants, and the next torn jeans with paint splatters and the next day a tie. He doesn't.
In most places its not OK to turn up to work in a track suit and wear it all day. (I've sent people home to get changed) Yet in some strictly suit and tie business places it is acceptable to turn up for work in a track suit but change into a suit by 9 am. Or to change into a track suit or shorts at lunch and go for a run and come back into a meal room and eat lunch in shorts before changing back into a suit. Or to change into a track suit or lycra at 5pm prior to cycling home and to sit at the desk for a few minutes in lycra or even have a word with the boss in lyrca in those last 20 minutes . So some things are possible others are not. Figuring it out is what makes clothes work and be interesting .
Excellent post, for my office, it's all about the message and image you want to portray to your clients, so all the account managers/sales wear formal attire, and all the support staff can wear casual smart (track suit still not acceptable, it's like an unwritten rule).
We also find that what you wearing affect your work attitudes, you just are more relaxed and don't want to work in casual clothing, so no casual Fridays for us as well.