After 20 years of marriage I had a major wardrobe malfunction. Getting ready one night I slipped casually into clothes my wife had suggested I buy and suddenly noticed that I had started to dress like Phil Collins. Having spent the previous 30 years dressing like a cowboy this was quite a shock. It was a horror I had been spared through all those years of getting ready to go to school and then work; all I needed was the right uniform. Blazer gave way to suit. Simple. And so life was generally for men, until out of nowhere materialised dress down Friday - and the world changed. Once relaxed middle aged men now found themselves grinning uncomfortably as they greeted each other in linen three quarter length trousers in a desperate attempt to keep pace with Kevin in accounts (who could do everything they could at half the price). Appalling. Some might even suggest world order was at threat. Out of this maelstrom came only one real gift - a harsh realisation of the nightmare many women have had on a daily basis for decades - without that standard practical uniform. With embarrassment, I remembered the trouser wars of the 1980s and wished sadly I had done more to help those colleagues.
Things have of course settled down a little, with some employers going the whole hog and allowing full casual (with tattoos) and others abandoning dress down altogether. But can things really ever be the same? In this age of millennials, can that genie really be put back in the bottle? On the one hand we have Mark Zuckerburg making squillions in his grey tee. On the other, experts such as Dr. Karen Pine, professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire and fashion psychologist, suggest dressing casually can make employees much less focussed and alert at work. Clearly this is a major issue which affects people in a very real way. But how many employers really grapple with it well? Many is the dress code policy and wide is the handbook that contains an out of date and ill-policed code. Yet could this be a major issue of our times? This is a workplace issue that cuts across the gender divide and affects people on a daily basis. There has to be a place for the views of the old, but also of the young. The dowdy and the flamboyant surely deserve a place at the table. I can't help but think if we employment lawyers could help employers really crack this, the workplace may never be the same (I have a few ideas if you are interested). Could this help me and women lead happier lives? Perhaps it may even promote world harmony. But then as Philip said perhaps, "you can't hurry love"?
Bow ties, tweed jackets, open face lids… cities around the globe were filled with strange sights on Sunday morning as thousands took part in the fourth Distinguised Gentleman's Ride It’s a fun event with a serious objective. The DGR seeks to bring people together to raise awareness and funding for research into prostate cancer and the Mouvember Foundation, which is committed to helping men live healthier, happier lives.