- Jun 29, 2016
- Reaction score
Well summarized. I'll chime in here since I've been mostly lurking on this thread, but have kept up with it.Great thread and I've really enjoyed reading all the insights. Two things are immediately apparent - many people can't wear a suit to work, they have to wear a 'uniform' of sorts to conform to the wishes of an employer or for practical reasons (eg. military, healthcare etc.) and that 'the suit' (like all forms of clothing) is subject to evolutionary change and development over time. My own view is that many of us (who work in non-uniform commercial enterprises) have never had more choice when it comes to business attire than we have today. If you do decide to stick to wearing a suit to work, the fabric choices are bewilderingly varied, for example pinstripe, herringbone, checked, hopsack, pick-and-pick, cotton drill, linen and many more as well as different weights. Formality can be adjusted not only by selecting differing fabrics and cloth weights, but also by carefully choosing colour, for example a mid blue or air force blue cloth will be less formal than a dark navy and a light grey will be less formal than charcoal grey. I believe that the suit remains one of the most flexible forms of dress for the commercial environment and while I may wear a grey pinstripe with white shirt, polished black oxfords and a plain or striped tie to a meeting with lawyers and bankers on a Monday, by Friday I could be wearing an unstructured beige linen suit with brown suede loafers and white pique shirt to an internal staff meeting. Long may the suit continue!
I work in architecture/design for civic government and while some of our highest level managers wear suits daily (sans ties typically), business casual (or even much more casual, unfortunately) is effectively De Rigueur here in San Francisco - arguably ground-zero for the casualization of the workplace and definitely a bastion of fleece vest techie culture. I think it could be argued that SF has always been all over the place in terms of workplace dress, and it certainly is a melting pot extreme currently. Probably as far to the other end of the spectrum of sartorially conservative cities as DC where @smittycl works.
I often take a very early commute bus into the City, and many finance folks are on the same but - those who start work at 6am in San Francisco's Financial District. The work attire of the men in that group is all over the place, from fleece vests to dress shirts sans jacket, to suits, but a greater proportion in at least sport coats and dress trousers than the greater sample one would see walking around downtown San Francisco.
As stated well above by @DEE1970 , the present-day absence of pretty much any required formal workplace attire, has given those of us who want to dress more CBD the freedom to do so when we are in the mood or have meeting or events where such attire is more appropriate. And on other days it's great to simply wear jeans, short sleeve polo, and loafers.
There have been days where I've seen some colleagues attire and lamented a more formal dress code not being in place on a wider scale, and other days where I've been grateful to have the flexibility to just throw on something decent and not worry about conforming to anything prescribed. I've personally tried to implement an anti-casual Friday campaign in my office (so far a one-man effort as far as I can tell) by at least wearing a sport coat, dressier trousers, and decent footwear. I am among those who subscribe to the school of personal/social ethics that believes dressing well is also a show of respect for those you're interacting with during the situations at hand.
With that said, it's rare for me to wear a suit, I can only think of two days in the last year I've done so - for work at least.
Today will be the third time , but it's not for work. Attending the opera tonight with my wife, and since I don't own black tie, am going with my midnight-blue Cesare Attolini suit in Super 210's, silver satin silk RL/PL tie. And I'm taking advantage of being able to bend the conventions a bit by not wearing black oxfords (don't own any black shoes actually) and going with my EG burgundy antique calf Audleys which are a plain toe, high single monk.