May '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Dan Danbom is a Denver writer and the author of "Humor Meets the Workforce: Make Laughter One of Your Organization's Goals." LAST LAUGH B Y D A N D A N B O M I think we should all observe a moment of silence to acknowl- edge the passing of the dress code and its primary symbol (at least for males), the necktie. Judging from the people I interact with in business, there's re- ally no difference between what a sales rep wears and what you might see on a student. Sure, the sales rep might wear a shirt with his company's logo on it and a nametag, but a student might also wear a shirt with a logo on it, even if it is the logo of a band called Abdominal Infestation. But the emphasis is on the casual, which means no suit, no sport coat, no pantyhose, no skirt, no polished shoes. And certainly no tie. Ties have gone the way of the video rental store. Not all that long ago, ties were pretty much required for any guy who worked in an office. IBM used to require not only a tie, but a white shirt. The Bell Companies used to require not only a tie, but also a hat whenever you left the building. Grad- ually, we came to realize that people hated ties, mostly because they were uncomfortable. A prestigious eastern university even did a study on ties that found that a significant percentage of men wore ties so tightly that they impeded blood flow to the brain. This actually explains things we've long wondered about, such as the popularity of the Kardashians. The only times you see ties now are on the people who manage fast-food places, on corpses, and on the floor of Congress. Of course, it didn't help the cause of neckties that they became so expensive. You can easily drop $100 on a tie these days, an amount that would buy you a lot at that "buy one pair of pants, get four free" place that rhymes with Mofuf Cranks. Once the tie fell, so did the sport coat, along with more formal attire for women, who faced the added chal- lenge of having men de- termine a company's dress code. "Casual" dress meant, "wear a nice shirt and pair of pants that aren't jeans, and make sure they've been washed in the last month." Or, "wear a nice blouse and slacks, and make sure the blouse isn't a halter top." But this was hard to get across to employees, whose natural inclination was to wear to work what they wore to the weekend hockey game. At the same time people were becoming less formal about what they wore, they were becoming more vocal about what they put on themselves. Out with the tie, in with the tattoo! Tat- toos became a sign of youth and hip- ness, and while some people had them put in places you would not nor- mally expose, others put them in places where you couldn't miss them. I saw a guy in one of those big chain stores (name rhymes with Marjet) who had a tattoo completely covering his neck and one side of his face. He was working in Customer Service. All of this has to be good news to decorators. No one ever want- ed their name stitched on the back of their suit coat, right? And who ever asks you if you can put their company logo on tie bars? And because companies are now obsessed with branding, they like it when employees wear logoed items. With a bunch of people in suits, you couldn't tell what com- pany they were with, and you were instead gripped with fear that they might be from that organization known for its suit-wearing. You know who I'm talking about: it rhymes with Mongress. Ties That Bind 112 || P R I N T W E A R M A Y 2 0 1 6

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