Allow me to start this piece with the note that I wear an earring and play acoustic guitar with an untucked WOCBD, and have been called out more than once for being too open about how Ivy as a fashion should be interpreted. So I would like to think I am wide open.
Which I hope puts things in context when I throw the BS flag on a part of this article the Amazing Tom sent me.
The first few paragraphs are the set up – not sure it is news anymore that the pandemic had an impact on how people dress for work. There is even a survey in there that cites an actual percentage having something to do with jeans. I fast forwarded.
Til this needle scratch. A quote from a teacher who has a TikTok where she shows what she wears to work. Her name is Bouroncle, if you want to see it her TikTok it is here. (I don’t use TikTok but I am willing to capitalize it.)
“It’s important to, no matter what career you’re in, to be able to still express your style and your fashion and how (sic) you are. Otherwise, it would be, you know, so uniform,” Bouroncle said.
I would make three notes for reflection. First amongst them, in a career where you risk or save lives, you wear a uniform. So, how about, some respect? Police. Fire Fighters. Surgeons. Soldiers. Maybe start your thinking with an open mind about people who are willing to die for you or save you. This idea that any conformity whatsoever (AND THIS IS COMING FROM ME) is a bad thing is just – immature. And there are areas where you are allowed to be immature. But respect for uniforms is not one of them.
Before you say, “John, I think she means uniform as in you look like everybody else,” my preface is, yes, you do, that is the point. I have never served a single day in the military so I don’t know but I can certainly imagine that going to war with people who wear what you are because we are all in this together is a good thing.
Once you get past respect, certainly an Ivy value btw, you get to messaging. Bouroncle is a teacher. Who wears sweats, but doesn’t teach gym. I get what you are saying about yourself, Ms. Bouroncle, but I invite you to entertain what you are saying TO your students. You are saying that I take your education as seriously as I do a lazy Sunday morning. Now, that is probably not the case. You might be an amazing teacher. I don’t know. But I do know that messaging for your students that you take their education seriously would help them take their education seriously. Is your self-expression THAT important that you would muddle the message?
And this is not about identity or dignity. It is about holding others as importantly as you hold yourself. And again, maybe you do. But why not make that message as clear as possible?
Finally, even in the corporate setting, at which I admittedly suck, is not showing respect for your job at least as important as your own self-expression? Perhaps (and here we go) the problem isn’t that you don’t have an opportunity to express yourself as much as it has become overly important to you to do so.
The idea that brought about the Hey Day was this – showing respect AND self-expression on the college campus. Ms. Bouroncle is missing that balance.