Pastors going rogue these days has really opened up our eyes in many ways. For one, pastors have evaded the suite & tie look, a style which was highly favored in the corporate league back in the day. Nowadays, pastors will kill (not literally) the formal wear more than any of David Tlale’s male models could could ever do on the ramp.
However, thanks to the forever-evolving fashion world, corporate geeks have found a new style that fits them and them only.
It really depends on what you do for a living and what the general vibe is at your office. Are you still working from home or are you one of the chosen few that gets to go into the office every day? Is your office space all cubicles and whip-wielding task masters, or is it one of those informal think tanks where people skate from coffee station to meditation zone between meets where they come up with the world’s most confusing way of advertising insurance? These things all matter because not all environments follow the same standard of decorum.
For the purpose of this question, we’re going to lean into the more corporate spaces, as those tend to be the ones with the stricter dress codes and the least information on how to navigate the way forward.
The answer is simple: dress like the man you want to become or want to be perceived as. Just because the coronavirus happened and everybody became less formal, doesn’t mean you should rock up to a zoom meeting in a bandana and pigtails. Don’t take yourself less seriously or stop taking care of your appearance. Don’t be that guy on your Standard 5 field trip who got a nipple piercing and blackjack rave pants because he thought it was cool and suddenly was able to wear whatever he wanted. Your seniors are still the same suits they used to be, even if they don’t dress that way anymore. And while they might be enjoying a little time off, they still cut their teeth in the old-fashioned way, so their perception of people won’t change that quickly. It’s also a matter of self-respect. If you look like you’ve put effort into putting yourself together, people will appreciate that and take you more seriously.
Yes, you may look like the rusty nail sticking out of the wooden floor board if you rock up fully suited and booted with tie, cufflinks and collar bar, but better that than the guy plotting his early retirement.
So, here’s my advice. Ignore everything you heard about suits dying out. It’s simply not true. In fact, home/comfort wear is slowly shifting towards more formal iterations. As a species we are beginning to dress more casually in public, but we are taking formal wear online (personal marketing) and bringing formal detailing into the home. Watch this space. Formal wear hasn’t died. It’s just changing lanes. Your suits might still have a purpose in years to come.
For now, just keep your ear to the ground and make sure you look respectable, because it still matters. Maybe you don’t layer up the full look with a blazer, shirt and tie, but stick to shirts. There’s nothing wrong with a shirt or even a shirt and tie. A man always looks good in a shirt. Or maybe even just a shirt and a sweater – simple gestures of formality. Even polo shirts are a go. With the weather cooling down you can layer these with knitwear or cardigans, too. You know what to do. Don’t follow the crowds.
Stick out for the right reason so you can be recognised for your attention to detail and your respect of the corporate space, despite what’s happening in the world. And when the suits come back, it won’t be such a tail spin for you to recover.
Main Image: Brittanica