A New Kind Of Casual Friday

Practically every American accustomed to reporting to an office on a regular basis is finding himself in the midst of a new normal due to the Coronavirus pandemic. With even Senators such as Florida’s Marco Rubio publicly asking how much longer those 100 women and men will continue to meet in person, many if not most offices are doing their best to maximize work from home, telecommuting, and other necessary arrangements.

In my non-profit organization of about 600 employees, we have reduced to a skeleton staff on campus (IT, Facilities, Security and a small communications team) with the rest, about 475 or so, working from home. We dropped neckties for men a decade ago, and went even further last year, allowing jeans and non-collar shirts every day. We are based in Colorado which partly explains the bow to denim.

As a member of the C-suite — who finds jeans uncomfortable, in addition to unsightly for office wear — I continue to don a sportcoat or blazer over either dress pants or khakis, with Weejuns on most days.  I do not wear a tie to the office except in special circumstances, which I eagerly anticipate. But during the current work-from-home time period, as I have continued to keep quasi-regular office hours, I have downplayed it to khakis, with an un-ironed buttondown under a sweater and LL Bean blucher moccasins. The shirts include a rotation of Brooks Brothers, Mercer & Sons, Michael Spencer, or one of the very soft Lands’ End “sail rigger” oxfords.

This week, amid a spring blizzard, I traded the shirt and sweater combo for an LL Bean buttondown Scotch plaid flannel over cords, both of which are not only warm but incredibly comfortable. The flannel shirt practically hugs one’s shoulders and torso. The photo above was taken a few years ago by my wife as we shopped at the LL Bean store in Denver. As I perused the table of flannel, I suddenly heard her laughing, and I began to smile, even before realizing that she had noticed my attire was identical to that of the mannequin.

A little added comfort was nice during this difficult week, but in the office it still feels too casual. Nonetheless, I think it pretentious to maintain my typical business attire, so will enjoy the comfort of cords and flannel as long as both this virus and blizzard persist, or until the weather warms. Winter persists far later here. To the comment-leaver and contributor here who goes by the name Charlottesville, sir I continue to envy your location back “home.”

Hopefully all Ivy Style readers are finding a happy medium, and that dads at home with kids are prospering also. May this current unpleasantness pass quickly and safely as Providence guides. — JDV

3 Comments on "A New Kind Of Casual Friday"

  1. I have that same shirt! And am finding it well suited to the sub-zero spring I am enjoying in my neck of the woods, about 1250 miles North-by-Northwest of Denver, CO.

    On one hand, working at home with my wife and 17 month old is a bit hectic, and the house becomes a disaster zone as the hours go by. But on the other hand, his presence does help the day go by faster, and keeps morale up.

    Volo omnes bonum sani!

  2. Like JDV, I look forward to wearing a tie, which is rare, especially in retirement. Khakis and OCBDs have been my business, casual, golf, and all around attire for at least 40 years. Never really liked flannel shirts, but in recent years, I’ve been wearing one as a pajama top. Comfortable and keeps me warm in winter.

    I did stray a bit, during the 1970’s. Took to wearing the wild colors of the disco era, along with the Redford “Gatsby” chalk stripe suits of 1974. I even bought a wide brim Panama after seeing the movie. Hats were almost extinct by ’74, but still, a man could wear one without drawing too much attention.

    I gave up on the wild stuff, when a fellow remarked unfavorably on my stripe shirt and plaid pants combo. Back to the basics after that.

    Stay healthy, gents. May this crisis pass quickly.

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