Apr 30, 2012

It takes a lot of money to look this cheap

I confess: I watch Mad Men. But I swear, I don’t watch because it’s about advertising. It’s actually very good drama. Also, like everyone else these days, I got a thing for retro stuff. We all do. Why do you think Instagram is so popular? All that wonderful 21st century technology just to take cheap Polaroids!

Anyway, regarding the retro thing, I am especially drawn to the wardrobe on the show. It is shocking yet appealing to see creative professionals rocking the suit and tie, and I ask myself, What the fuck is wrong with today’s creatives?

I am a creative and I enjoy the message t-shirts and Converse kicks as much as the next guy, but man, there’s a limit to how quirky one should be at the office. At the agency where I work, it’s gotten to the point where creatives are expected to be sloppy and weird. That’s ok, but at what point does it become a game of simply “dressing the part?”

Lawerys, bankers, and doctors are expected to dress a certain way. Of course, there are a few who break the curve and wear a Mickey Mouse tie or Levis 501s on a day other than Casual Friday, but all within reason. However, it seems as if creatives today compete with one another to see who wears the Creative Uniform best… and the battle has gotten nasty and unhygienic, even. Dudes and dudettes are coming in to the office with t-shirts that haven’t been washed in days, barefoot, unshaven, hair unkempt and with loads of pillow fluff, and – in some cases – with the particular stench week-old body odor. Yeah, it disgusting.

What makes matters worse is that with their dress comes a message: “Yeah, I make $85K/year and drive a new Lexus Hybrid, live in a hipster neighborhood and eat organic, but I’m still irreverent.” They reinforce their message by wearing $1,000 designer eyewear with a two-dollar Salvation Army t-shirt and $200 Birkenstock sandals and not taking a shower in days. Oh, and don’t get me started with the tattoos. It’s as if they need to personify irony.

My fellow creatives: By trying to pull off that “individual look”, you end up looking like everyone else. You’re trying too hard to de different. Will ironing your shirt make you less creative? Will your brain stop producing award-wining ideas if you comb your hair? And, don’t you think that a 37 year-old dude trying to look like a rebellious 14 year-old is just plain wrong?


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