Business or Casual?

June 8, 2010 at 9:08 pm (Uncategorized)

Now, if you know me AT ALL, you know one thing: I hate dressing up.

It’s not that I’m bad at it, or that I even have terribly unstylish clothes. I’m actually very good at putting myself together for a business, or at least a fairly dressed up, occasion.

I just hate it.

There is SO much work that goes into it, and for what purpose? To show off how much better your sense of style is? To show off how much more you spent on your outfit? To show off at all? To waive any judgements made?

The worst part is dressing up for work, or an internship. For most people, this involves wearing something that probably isn’t the most comfortable thing ever, and sitting in a chair for eight or more hours. For people like me, it means putting on a uniform that isn’t the most comfortable, and going through shoes like it’s nobody’s business because I’m on my feet for hours at a time, serving your food with a smile.

And it’s expensive to be uncomfortable! You can buy 2 suits at the Men’s Warehouse for about $200. A typical business outfit for someone like me costs around $150 (more if there’s a Jewelry Emergency–aka, none of my jewelry matches). Shoes, pants, top, any underthings that may be required. Good shoes alone cost more than $60. The only good thing about those is that they WILL last a while, and you CAN wear them with more than one outfit. Hopefully.

Anyway, the idea about wearing business clothes is that you will be more productive if you aren’t wearing sweats and a t-shirt. The more comfortable you are, the lazier you are.

Sir, I say to you nay.

I personally can get so much more work done when I’m in sweatpants and a t-shirt. I’m not itching from the scratchy material of my shirt, my pants aren’t giving me a wedgie (because everything fits differently after you wash it >.<), and I’m not constantly suffocating because I have to wear a camisole in addition to a bra. (TMI?)

Also, I bet you can’t find much of a difference in productivity for people who dress up for college as opposed to those who don’t. Those who dress up every day? I see them as pretentious. “Oh, look at me, I care way more than you do about making an impression.” Yes, because the professor will remember you specifically in his or her class of 50 or more because of the way you dress. I, in my ratty jeans and ResLife t-shirt, prefer to make my impression another way: pulling an A in that class, while you dress to impress and hope that saves your C.

I’m currently at my internship–I’m in news, and blogging is the future of news, so this technically counts as experience–and I count myself lucky in what I’m allowed to wear. I’m in a dressy t-shirt, sandals, and jean Capris. My hair is in a ponytail. Most of the staff is the same–even during the newscast, almost everyone wears jeans with a suit jacket and a dress top; the camera just zooms to a torso shot, and  you don’t see the jeans and sneakers.

Last year, I had to wear business clothes to my internship. That was so fun, running all around three counties with a cameraman in a three-piece suit and heels. All of the staff was the same.

And I noticed something: productivity levels are about the same. Yes, I might now be working at the number 3 station, whereas last year I was at the number 2 station, and yes this year I don’t go out on as many shoots because we cover different aspects of the city than the number 1 and 2 stations. But the work ethic is the same. The community levels are the same. Actually, this atmosphere is more friendly, and I feel more free to ask questions, and approach my boss. Not that my last internship was terrible, I just found there were fewer people I was able to approach with little hesitation.

So, business or casual? Casual definitely seems to make a more friendly work environment. Business may look nicer, but it doesn’t always mean your employees will be more productive. While casual certainly cannot be TOO casual, (no flip-flops, holey t-shirts from that car wash your church held as a fundraiser six years ago, or your most worn-in pair of jeans), I don’t see any harm in a casual polo with a nice pair of jeans and nice sandals.

I’d certainly prefer to wear that over a three-piece suit any day.


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