Our last post looked at Dierdre Clemente’s book “Dress Casual,” which charts how college students over the course of the 20th century transformed the way the world dresses. Dr. Clemente today takes a curtain call as we share a piece she did last month for The Atlantic.
The piece is entitled “Why American Workers Now Dress So Casually.” Here’s a snippet:
What came before business casual? Basically, people wore suits. The norm was starched collars, overcoats, hats, and more hats. Americans dressed up for work, and they also dressed up for restaurants, for travel, for the movies. But as those other venues began to “casualize” by the 1950s, the office (and church) retained a formal dress code, by comparison. Well into the 1970s, companies gave employees manuals to outline official dress policies, but everything depended on the management’s need or desire to enforce them. Little by little, often-ignored infractions eroded the sanctity of any top-down policy: hose-free legs when the weather permitted, a tweed blazer for a day with no client meetings, loafers instead of dress shoes. Cultural change occurs most quickly when it is led by the people, for the people.
Sit down with a beverage for this thorough and engaging piece, which you can find right here. — CC