I despise casual Fridays

August 17, 2012|By John E. McIntyre | The

Writing about me for a profile in the Christian Science Monitor, Richard O'Mara quoted an unnamed colleague, "He dresses like a floorwalker." Indeed, Tuesday through Friday, I'm at the paragraph factory in suit and tie. Only on Saturday, when a skeleton staff toils in the the echoing newsroom, do I go casual.

The formality is a personal preference, from a lingering sense that a grown-up man ought to dress like a grownup.  There is no dress code for the newsroom; my fellow managers on the news desk, Steve Young and Phil Klinedinst, are determinedly casual. (They are also better editors.) Most of the men on the staff go tieless except for formal public occasions. The women tend to dress better, I assume because they feel they have to if they are to be taken seriously.

I wouldn't have it any other way. I recall the Eighties and the sway of John T. Molloy's dress-for-success conformity. Those blue suits, those white shirts, those horrible neckties the color of urine. No one wants to go back to that kind of regimentation. (Molloy disparaged bow ties, too.)

I reserve my scorn for the neither-fish-nor-fowl casual Friday. There is something condescending in its faux egalitarianism. Management will allow you to go without a necktie! You can wear polo shirts to work! That will make your drab and soul-sapping cubicle warren just like those freewheeling Silicon Valley workplaces where they dress anyhow they like and set their own hours and have stock options and perks! (Your perk? Those polo shirts.) And the bosses will dress just like the little people! For one day.


People should dress for work as formally or informally as their personal tastes and work circumstances dictate, subject to whatever is appropriate when they represent their employer to the public. Any day, not just on Fridays.

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