HR Strange But True!
September 09, 2009

Employees clamored for "casual Fridays" so they could wear jeans and sneakers. Then the revolution brought us "corporate casual," even in the most conservative organizations, explains Sandy Dumont, executive director of the Impression Strategies Institute. Now, she says, get ready for "in-your face" dressing--and pink ties!

A pre-Recession hold over, Dumont says this trend was initiated by “young millionaires with more money than style” who disdained even business casual and wanted to convey through their attire "I'm so hip and with-it that I don't need to look polished and professional.”

Unfortunately, followers of this trend often look more like pop stars headed to a club in Las Vegas than up-and-comers headed into a boardroom, says Dumont. The “look” for men features a black silk Armani T-shirt and expensive sport jacket, she explains, while the feminine version leans toward stretch lace or thin satin camisoles, chandelier earrings, and too much makeup. Would Stacy and Clinton approve?

Not only does the in-your-face look dramatically decrease credibility, Dumont maintains, it also requires a slim build to pull it off and some strategic tailoring to keep things modest. The look definitely isn't for comfort, but more about showing “attitude,” she states.

Dumont says the ultimate “in your face” accessory is an “inappropriate tie … that suggests ‘I'm so successful that I can wear a Mickey Mouse or baby pink tie to the office.'” She sites The Donald and his pink power ties on “The Apprentice” as an example. Of course, in this instance “power trumps decorum,” Dumont puns.

Will the extended recession put young professionals back into suits and modest dresses? Remains to be seen.

TGIF - It's HR
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