By: Tim Cornell, Clothier
March 17, 2020
I sell clothing. I have for 15 years. A big portion of the clothing that I've sold is made up of suits and sport coats.
Over the last few years I’ve seen a change in plenty of my client’s dress codes. People forward me articles frequently about the clothing changes we see in the workplace. I’ve realized while certain people in my industry might be running for the hills I’m more excited than ever.
In my grandparents’ generation you wore what you had to wear. In my parent’s generation you wore what you had to wear. In my generation we’re seeing the change from “have to” to “want to.” We’re seeing the opportunity to dress for YOUR day.
The assumption by many is that people want to be comfortable. The noose of a necktie or the discomfort of “dressy” clothing is a thing of the past. Instead of the higher up executives setting the tone for level of dress, the opposite has happened. They are taking their cues from the bottom, who they are told, want to wear clothing that is comfortable, not intimidating and relevant for the day.
"People want meaning in their lives and work."
Now we can dress how we want to dress for our day. It’s up to us. If you want comfort and casual, go for it. But I have a feeling that many more people than we realize don’t want “comfort” and “casual” as much as we might think.
People want meaning in their lives and work. The pictures that I see of spouses and children and family in the offices of the clients I serve tell the story. They want to improve their own lives and the lives of those for which they provide. They want to really engage their natural talents and skills. They want to do work that they enjoy and that gets the best out of them for their clients and communities. When this is the case, it has nothing to do with comfort and there’s nothing casual about it.
The clothes we wear matter. Ask a neurologist if the clothes a stroke patient wears affects their recovery. Ask the young couple if the clothes matter for the nannies they interview for their 3 month old baby. Ask yourself if you are looking for comfort in your life or if you’re looking to make an impact. The clothes you put on your body will either help or hurt.
I fully support dressing for your day. Because now we have the choice, and with choice, comes opportunity and responsibility.
I believe people want to achieve and grow and give their best. I believe we ended up here, not because of clothing, but because we’ve moved too far away from attaching the meaning we want in our work and the clothes that we wear.
The product mix I sell going forward might be different than what it was in the past. However, there will be more meaning and intention attached. And when that’s the case, there’s no better place for this suit salesman. Because he’s happy to sell jeans and shorts and sneakers too.