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I've been having some kind of strange, intense emotional reaction to uniforms lately. I mean, the concept has always bothered me -- or, at least, for the last 25 years or so -- but recently it's been really eating at me more than usual.

I'm not just talking about the polyester McDonald's kind of uniforms ... I'm talking about uniforms in a broader sense. Like suits and ties. Who decided that men all had to wear suits and ties in business situations? It seems so random! It's so stupid! Why shouldn't people be able to wear whatever they want to wear? Why should everyone be expected to wear things that are uncomfortable, just because "They" say it's the "right" way?

What does a suit and tie "say"? What does it communicate about its wearer, his status, his prowess, his wealth, whatever? Why can't all that be said just as effectively in whatever damn clothes the guy feels like wearing that morning?

Why can't executives wear flip-flops to meetings? I mean, really, what would be the harm? Can't someone be productive, efficient, hard-working, and professional without wearing uncomfortable shoes?

Why does society have to constantly try to press and squeeze us all into identical little moulds? Why is conformity valued so highly? If all us gazelles are dressed the same and behave the same, does that protect each of us from being singled out by the predatory lions?

Why do your socks have to match your clothes and shoes? Why do your socks have to match each other? Why does anything have to match anything else?

Why is the world so full of rules? Damn. I hate it.

- - -

I know that much of this strong emotional reaction grows out of my childhood in Orange County, especially my teen years, when I was always perfectly color coordinated, perfectly made-up, perfectly styled, perfectly conforming in appearance and behavior ... though things did start to go a bit off the rails when I hit 16 or 17 and started openly expressing interest in socialism, communism, and other non-O.C. kind of stuff. I still looked like I fit in perfectly, though. Still wearin' my suit and tie to the office, still sportin' the uncomfortable shoes, still makin' sure to color inside the lines.

This kind of thing pisses me off now. It pisses me off that all these random rules are being written elsewhere ... and then everyone just follows them as if they're perfectly reasonable. On what crazy planet is a suit and tie practical daily clothing? I'm sure there's a very interesting story re: how that particular fashion developed, but mainly I'm interested in why the hell these things have to go universal. Why does everyone have to do the same damn thing?

Why must people all over the world rummage in the top drawer of the dresser every morning, looking for socks that match? Why not just grab the first two socks you see? Why does it matter? Why does any of this crap matter? Why can't (won't) people just do what they want and not worry so much about the rules? Why do I still care about all these fucking rules, even when I hate them? Why do my panties usually match my shirt when I get dressed each morning? It's ridiculous!



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 5th, 2011 08:11 pm (UTC)
Have you seen these shoes that don't match each other?
Aug. 5th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
Ahhh! They even have shoes with little bicycles on them! I'm in love!

Sadly, they seem to only carry kids' shoes. But, hey, I wear a women's shoe size 5 1/2, and if I remember correctly I have in fact bought and comfortably worn little boys' shoes before, long ago. So maybe I can still get shoes with little bikes on them!
Aug. 5th, 2011 09:02 pm (UTC)
I don't disagree with you, and I know there are places were CEOs can wear flip flops etc. But clothes / uniforms are a social signal. People make a statement by wearing the uniform - or refusing to. People tend to follow styles for social reasons of inclusion and expression.
Aug. 6th, 2011 11:03 am (UTC)
I can't adequately express how much I agree with you here. I have to wear a "uniform" to work because my boss insists that all the admin staff dress the same. I've never been able to get a satisfactory explanation from her when I ask "why?".

And ties - I was contemplating them the other day. They just seem so random to me. Why is the man who wears one considered more smart than the man who doesn't? It's a piece of fabric tied round the neck - it has no purpose.

Makeup also confuses the hell out of me, but that's a whole other rant.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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