Today’s Lesson Kids – The Great Work Wear Revolution of 2017!
Getting Dress To Impress.
Work clothes… Are they still a thing these days? Or is it an ever-decreasing area of our wardrobes? It would seem the bland and boring suits; power dressing to impress the boss and students drowning in oversized suits brought by their Mums are a thing of the past.
No longer is the daily commute what it used to be, the daily chore of a packed train carriage overrun with briefcases and a broadsheet in your face… not even a hint of a bowler hat. How do we define ‘work clothes’ in 2017?
For people like me, gone are the days of the 9-5 suit; jeans and comfy shoes reserved purely for the weekend. We still require practicality and function and those elements are very much the same but there’s been a fashion rebellion as well as a massive change in the way we work.
There has been a seismic shift in the industry and its requirements over the years. Women are no longer pigeonholed into the same roles of Secretary, telephonist and office worker, they campaign against the need to wear high heels. Now the roles of CEO, Director, Judge, Vicar, Decorator and Prime Minister are all roles women deservedly have alongside their male counterparts.
Gone are the days of searching around for word of mouth recommendations for a builder who could do your extension and was guaranteed to refuse sugar in his tea because he was “Sweet enough already, darlin’”. Now you can check an app that has it all laid out for you, customer reviews, distance from your location, as well as booking a time for them to visit. What has this got to do with workwear?
It’s simple. The working world has evolved quite dramatically from the ancient day of Dads in Suits. My Dad’s idea of dressing down at a weekend was taking his tie-off.
Now more and more of us are self-employed and how we appear needs to reflect the quality of our work, we can no longer rely on that wage packet at the end of our working week.
If anything, grafting just got harder. However, the workers of today no longer seem to be quite so driven by looking the part in the office (if indeed they require an office), but by their own individual identity, what we wear to work no longer represents what we do for a living.
We no longer need a suit to define our professional abilities; our working day is no longer the daily grind of the five-day week. We’re are working differently; this means shorter/ longer and more varied hours, we cycle, walk, run or car share our way to work, our office is at home or in a café, wearing jeans is commonplace in most workplaces, but there is one area that has remained.
The humble work boots.
Take Dr Martens, for example, the brand which is nearly sixty years old has survived the test of time and has a rich history in industry – they were the original work boot. Once the working man’s boot, the stuff your dad would wear to work, and you wouldn’t have been seen dead in them. Being sensible workwear, DM’s were mainly worn by postal workers, Police Officers, tradesmen and those in the manufacturing industries.
It wasn’t until the early 70s that the look was again adopted, this time by a more rebellious crowd. As Thatcher’s Babies shaved their heads, wore them with drainpipe jeans and braces, they became the unmistakable uniform of a disillusioned working-class youth. Echoing the rumbling of discontent that was rippling across the country.
So, whether you wear a suit, a uniform, safety gear or your pyjamas, whatever you wear for work our professional appearance goes to show that almost sixty years on, history has a funny way of repeating itself. Your dad may have worn boots that made him look like an extra in a First World War movie, thankfully we don’t have to.
Industries have come and gone, suits, shoulder pads, patent shoes and pinstripe suits are worn only by a minority, and maybe we too will go full circle and decide that working from home isn’t for us. Bring back the Monday morning commute!
*This article cannot be certain if modern-day builders will refuse sugar in their tea*