Firstly before we get started, I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and in a good place in these fretful and strange times we currently live in. Secondly, in the grand scheme of world events what us older men are currently wearing does not matter a jot. There are more serious matters at hand of course as we collectively try and get the upper hand over Covid-19. The much referenced “new normal” has thrown us all a few curve-balls, but let’s face it, me being in my pyjamas at midday while home-schooling the kids is still just not acceptable is it? So, with those caveats in place, I am writing a few lines about what the stylish older man might wear or consider donning during these locked down unpredictable times.
My current situation is probably more normal than most in that I am still travelling to work as I have always done. I spend four or five days in the pharmacy doing my shifts and trying to have everything running smoothly as per usual for my patients. My only sartorial deviation from my “old normal” is that I am not currently wearing a tie to work. This has is not hugely significant, but I just did not want an extra appendage flapping around the place and possibly harbouring the virus. Every small decision can impact my patients, myself and my family, so the tie is kaput for now.
When I get home from work, I also change immediately before seeing the kids and throw everything in the wash. Where is this article going I hear you ask? Well, I do cover the home schooling when I am not at work and yes, I did wear Star Wars pyjamas bottoms/pants until 1.30pm last Friday. Houston, we have a problem.
Selvedge or Solo?
In my defence, I knew nobody would be visiting during lockdown and I am aware that my kids do not care whether I am wearing vintage selvedge denim, Gucci loafers or Han Solo pyjamas (the likes of which Mr Solo would never be taken alive in). However, I did feel that I was not quite projecting authority, wisdom or care for one’s own appearance while still wearing the previous night’s bedtime garb at lunchtime. I was letting myself go, just like the deadbeat Dads in the movies. I was letting the “new normal” drag me deep into sartorial apathy, which to me is a pretty dark place I never imagined I would plummet to. So, shamed by my 6 year old daughter’s exclamation of “are you still not dressed yet?” I decided to think through what I should be wearing outwith Star Wars official merchandise.
So, if you were working from home then a certain level of productivity is expected from your employer, so having a certain mindset is required (having the work head on). I believe what your are wearing is a big part of this. If you are too casually dressed then a man might find himself not stepping up to those expectations and job security is a bit iffy at this moment in time. However, there is a limit to how professional a man needs to look in his spare room surely?
The suit with or without a tie looks great, but is gradually disappearing from the modern workplace (ties in particular) and obviously has no place in the even more modern workplace of the front room/attic/kitchen table where a lot of workers are currently earning their corn from. T-shirt and jeans is very much off-duty and wearing these might convince your brain it is Saturday and not a Tuesday morning with an 11.30 conference call. There is middle ground of the smart casual variety that I have adopted in the home school mode and also increasingly so in my real world workplace.
Merging the wardrobe
A Eureka moment occurred after I had decided to lose the tie due to Coronavirus concerns. That was why not merge my working wardrobe with that of my off-duty look to try and master the centrist style that is the smart-casual look.
I have a Venn diagram running in my head of what clothing I have, where it fits and how I can make it work across the style smorgasbord. It also taps into the buying better, but less mantra. So, the distance between what I wear to work and what I wear at home is narrowing by the month.
So, what should we be wearing then on the home front in these strange times? Eventually, I shall get to the point! I have three considerations that I have decided upon- Comfort, presentability and providence. I am going to cover each individually as I have a bit to say about each of them.
So, next time on the blog I will cover the importance of comfort in the modern workplace. This will not necessarily make you a better facilitator of algebra or James Joyce’s worksmithery, but you will be more at ease on your coffee breaks and look better delivering a coffee to your partner or anybody else you care to impress. You have to take the small wins as they present themselves!
Until next time stay healthy and sane!