Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Business casual is back, mofo!

Rockin' the Chicago street. (Picture: WearWhatWhen)

As I pointed out on my other blog, the idea of wearing a tie with casual clothes was huge a couple of years ago when Avril Lavigne and a million teenage girls did it, but that it is probably considered "totally played" by hipsters. Well, it's funny how many people I see around actually wearing ties. Skinny ties, fat ties, ties pinned to the side and worn as kerchiefs (kerchiefs, if you'll recall, were one of my 2005 Fashion Predictions). Ties with shirts, polo shirts, t-shirts, singlets. Business casual is here to stay.

Now, when I say "business casual", I don't mean it in the Andrew G sense of "let me put on a blazer with the sleeves pushed up with my jeans, t-shirt and appalling Farrah Fawcett hair," nor in the pragmatic sense "clothing to wear to work when professional dress codes have been relaxed". Many companies have given up on their business casual codes because workers were confused by them or because they actually prefer to wear suits.

This ties into the careless luxe trend I identified several months ago - the mixing of signifiers. So, what is business casual all about? Is it a nostalgia for dressing up in an era when dressing casually is more widely accepted than ever? Well, you have to admit that the more prominent new-tie wearers are the usual artsy, creative types, who can afford to wear whatever they want. Perhaps they wear business casual as a declaration of their independence from the socioeconomic tyranny of 9-5 labour. As Dougie (my source on the ground for Japanese fashion) wrote recently:
Watching MTV, I realised that one of the reasons punk and rock bands dress bizarrely and let their hair shag out wildly is effectively telling the world that they've made it, because they're completely unemployable by any other industry.
This week, I've been doing my own version of business casual - cutting off old black or navy pantihose and turning them into sheer footless tights. I wear them ankle-length with my cut-down Dunlop Volleys, or hitch them up to mid-calf or just under the knee to wear with sneakers or cowboy boots. I was reading with interest an article (the link is to the cached version) about how business casual policies have meant that pantihose fall by the wayside as corporate wear. Most young people I see (even business types) wear opaque tights. So, I'm interested to see if my idea of sheer leggings takes off.

But I am not so much into the Tommy Hilfiger look of tucking the shirt into the jeans. No, Tommy, no!

1 comment:

Lucy Tartan said...

Somebody must wear sheer pantyhose, because the tights section in the supermarket is 70% 15 denier sheer in tasteful navy or nude or smoke.

How happy I am that you make a blog where there subjects are well and truly on the table:)