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[When I put out a call for guest blog submissions, my goal was to get a variety of East Coast perspectives on the topic of fashion & style. This next post certainly delivers a unique view on the subject. Please give a warm welcome to one of my fave local Twitterati, a man who will un-friend you on Facebook faster than you can click “send request.”]

By Joel Kelly

*Disclaimer: The advice you’re about to read was written by a man who went through a phase (he was a child at the time) of dressing like Ace Ventura, and was convinced (again, as a young child) that by dressing in black sweatpants and black sweaters he looked like Batman and would one day become him.*

The longest I’ve ever been able to force myself to abide by a dress code was about two months. I wore dress pants/khakis, and a button-up shirt. And dress shoes. You know, “business casual.” Which, of course, means, “clothes that make you feel uncomfortable and self-conscious all day.”

The degradation started with simply switching to jeans, but tucking in the shirt. You know, balancing it all out.

Then the shirt came untucked.

Then the dress shoes became sneakers.

Other employees observed the slow and calculated descent into comfort. But more importantly they observed management’s complete disregard for my outright disobedience. It was as if the dress code never mattered in the first place. Never actually affected productivity. It was as if it had been instituted because someone suggested there should be more rules and why not make it about clothing?

So for my “902 Style Files” post, I’d like to talk to you about dressing for work in an office environment where everyone else dresses nicely, and like grownups.

Photo credit: JasonTromm from Flickr

Photo credit: JasonTromm from Flickr

1) Footwear. This is the most important bit in any outfit. They say that it’s the first thing women notice when looking at a man. They also say that women look at men, but I’ve had no firsthand knowledge of this so I’m utterly unconvinced. Anyway, the point is wear very, very comfortable footwear. You have to wear them all day, after all! So get yourself some OdorEaters insoles and toss on your rattiest sneakers. You’ll feel confident and comfortable all day. And if I ever got close enough to women to find out for sure (I get nervous and run the other way, typically) I’m pretty sure my bright blue shoes that are falling apart will turn some heads! (Direction of turn to be determined)

2) Jeans. Notice I didn’t says “pants,” or “bottoms.” This is non-negotiable. If you’re not wearing jeans don’t whine about not being comfortable: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. Jeans = comfort. Except if you accidentally buy jeans with a button-fly at the Gap because you’re terrified of clothes-shopping and store clerks and dressing rooms and taking your pants off. If that happens (I have this friend who says it can happen and that you shouldn’t judge him!) then you’re in trouble and you’ll only wear them when your other jeans are dirty or something, or you can’t find them because they’re lost in the pile of dirty clothes and sadness somewhere on the carpet of your bedroom floor. Where was this going?

3) Shirts. I recommend plaid button-up shirts. Mostly because they’re timelessly classy. But they’re also like ten bucks at Wal-Mart.

4) Hoodies. These are basically your go-to sweater when you’re preparing for a long day at the office where your coworkers are likely dressed in expensive, “fashionable” clothes. I recommend hoodies with cute visual flairs like dinosaurs or yetis. Ladies love animals. The great part about hoodies are their ease of removal when you work in an office where the temperature is apparently dictated by some sort of fire lizard attempting to acclimate all the employees to its native volcano-clime. Of course, if you’re going to remove your hoodie, check your pits! Wearing a hoodie all day when it’s super hot can only compound the issue of being sweaty and gross (a common problem for almost everyone, and not just me), so make sure you’re good before you take it off. If not, keep that sucker on! It’ll help you sweat out your Tuesday morning hangover, too.

Well, I hope that helped. My name is Joel, by the way, and I’d like to be your friend.

Joel Kelly bills himself as a vegan nerd and marketing asshole. He works for a Halifax-based advertising agency where everyone dresses up for work. His blog about internet marketing can be found at Ingenioustries and you should follow him on Twitter.

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