Wakening the Laughing Man

I’ve been thinking a lot about fashion lately. It’s not a place I ever thought my pretend-adult brain would ever march towards. Historically, fashion has not been something that I’d associate with ‘ooh shiny!’.

Yet here we are.

Here’s the thing: corporate wear is awful. Not a little awful. It’s abysmally awful. The kind of awful that I associate with being devoured by a dray of squirrels. Or being forced to reread The Scarlet Letter.

Despite being a heavily hirsute kidult, I’ve never taken to this whole slacks and dress-shirt nonsense. A pair of form-fitting jeans, sneakers, and a funny t-shirt are preferred any day of the week.

And before the temptation of saying “oh grow up” overtakes you like the blob on a rampage, try and respect that different things matter to different people, and being comfortable is paramount to me. Comfortable and feeling like, well…myself.

Remember that scene in The Matrix when Neo is plugged into the construct? When he appears as his residual self-image? It’s a little like that.

You still with me?

It’s a bit like that. The way I see or envision myself and the expectations of my employer don’t exactly have Legos that click with each other. I’m all about casual clothing, funny t-shirts, flat caps, and regrettably expensive (but comfortable!) sneakers.

Doesn’t quite jibe with the buttoned-down, dick-of-Satan-sucking corporate look, does it? In the three years I’ve been in my most recent place of employment, I’ve gone from (initially) wearing a suit to radiate that whole “oh yeah totally game, motherfuckers!” vibe to grey dress pants, barely ironed shirt, black Adidas I wear whenever no one’s looking, a hipster-as-it-gets beard, and a desk with a Doctor Who figurine, an XKCD comic taped to my monitor, and assorted little figurines scattered about my desk, like an invasion of ephemeral plastic and wooden figurines from the days of yore.

And usually, a door-stopper fantasy novel that I’ll casually read during the moments I’ve downtime and absolutely nothing to do. Occasionally, this can be helpful. I once read a whole Star Wars novel in one day at work, it was that quiet. But that day was a complete and total aberration.

Nevertheless, the corporate non-chic just doesn’t rustle my jimmies. The spectrum of acceptable colours? Shirts seem to get one set of rules, and pants and shoes – not so much. Shirts can apparently be the colour of ten-day old sushi left to shrivel up into itself in the Australian sun, provided that slacks are either grey or black, and shoes are either brown or black.

Bland doesn’t seem a sufficiently expressive word. We need something bolder, something that conveys the horrendous monotony of bleach bypassed polyester and cotton wankwear.

And the shoes aren’t much better. I’ve yet to find a company that can produce leather shoes as comfortable as my Adidas. At present, I’ve been faking the adult shtick by wearing a pair of Hush Puppies that are meant to have some kind of pressure or pump system. In theory, the company could offer to propel my hairy Russian arse to the moon and I wouldn’t care a whit provided that my feet didn’t feel like they were under assault by angry ninja lemmings within minutes of putting them on to please my skip manager.

Someone in the fashion industry needs to take action to make Corporate Wankwear more comfortable, wrinkle-resistant, and more playful.

Oh, and get rid of ties. They really do cross the line between functionality and aesthetic appeal into some new territory of complete uselessness. We’re not using them as napkins anymore, they get in our way when we try to eat, and more often than not give every indication of being little more than mobile arrows colourfully pointing at our death stars.

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Wakening the Laughing Man

  1. Jibe. It doesn’t quite jibe. It might not jive either, but that’s not what you meant.

    I’ll comment on the rest later, but for now it’s just good to see you back in some form or other, so I’ll restrict myself to a grammar-feck.

  2. ohilya

    Very nice. Thank you! I constantly confuse jibe and jive. It’s one out of a small set of words that my brain refuses to use correctly.

    • Not at all.

      And this was a cool post. It’s good to see you getting back in the world. Now me, and fashion, not really a thing. But after 4 years in a home office wearing trackies and dressing gown (if that), I’m rather enjoying the smart casual office thing now.

      We don’t do suit-and-tie, though, at least not in Finland / in the areas I work in. Jeans are fine, and I actually dress more formally (ie. buttoned, collared shirts and waistcoat) than most of my colleagues who go for T-shirts and so on. Like I say, I’m enjoying having a bit of a “now I’m dressed for work, when I get home the tracky dacks go back on” thing.

      I also have practical considerations for my clothing. Jeans are usually too narrow-banded at the waist, and I can’t wear belts anymore – colostomy bag doesn’t take kindly to restrictions of that nature. But a good pair of elastic-waisted trouser-esque pants, or actual dress pants with braces instead of a belt – that goes nicely.

      • ohilya

        To have that kind of life.

        And to even have options.

        My soon-to-be-ex-workplace and I never saw eye to eye on this particular topic.

        Yet one more point of frustration I am looking forward to no longer having to deal with.

        • So glad I never worked at a place (or perhaps in a country?) with that sort of corporate culture. I suppose places like banks and financial institutions still require ties here, but my experience as customer and employee has always been rather more casual.

          Australia’s way too caught between the US and the UK. And both options suck.

          • ohilya

            Very much so. There is so much of both forms of culture in it, and I am sick to fucking death of it. And happy to be leaving it.

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