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Why American Workers Now Dress So Casually

Angus Forbes

One of the Regulars
Messages
261
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
I realize that this thread is about work but the other day I was on the local college campus and was more than a little appalled at the state of dress. When I was in school it was nice slacks and button up shirts with likely as not a sport coat thrown in...not shorts , mukluk boots and raggedy t shirt. Pride in oneself has seemingly moved to greener pastures.

Modern dress code: employees/students/patrons must wear at least one piece of clothing.
 

3fingers

One Too Many
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1,797
Location
Illinois
I realize that this thread is about work but the other day I was on the local college campus and was more than a little appalled at the state of dress. When I was in school it was nice slacks and button up shirts with likely as not a sport coat thrown in...not shorts , mukluk boots and raggedy t shirt. Pride in oneself has seemingly moved to greener pastures.
Tis not only college. Part of my job involves monthly visits to various businesses, schools, etc. Today I was at a local high school and saw a quite attractive young woman with a pair of shorts and t shirt on that left little to the imagination.
I know that in fairly recent times there was a dress code of some sort in place there that did set some limit on exposure. Apparently that has been relaxed. In any case, parents are ultimately responsible for what their children leave home in, or at least making it clear that there are some things that we just don't do. Such as giving all in your general area a free view and dealing with infractions of that regulation.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
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30,737
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Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
Also, the "youth culture" etc., undid the cultural meme that, in general, respected age. As those of the "pre-youth-is-great" culture retired, the next generation didn't have the same view and didn't "enforce" or advocate for an age-respectful view. Nor were the kids now in their 20s (and even 30s) raised the way older generations were - with a strong and enforced respect for their elders. The older generation carried a default setting of respect for "age / experience" into the workplace in a way today's younger workers don't

I think a big part of that change was the realization around the last third of the 20th century that a great many of "the elders" then running things were corrupt, mendacious frauds hiding behind a veneer of good breeding and respectablity. This became even more apparent when the so-called "youth culture" was almost immediately co-opted by corrupt, mendacious commercial forces and turned into a merchandised product rather than anything that actually meant to achieve any kind of lasting improvment -- and having thus thrown in its lot with The Boys, the generation of that "youth culture" turned out to be the most corrupt and mendacious generation of all.

I don't recall, personally, having any forceful inculcation of Respect Your Elders drilled down my throat. I respected some of my "elders" because they were kind, decent people. And I realized early on that others of my "elders" -- especially my father -- were worthless, useless fools. In my case cultural memes had nothing to do with how I perceived them -- it was a simple matter of observation.
 

Dan Allen

A-List Customer
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395
Location
Oklahoma
While hoping to not step on too many toes I will add.....a substantial percentage of the students that I saw in various stages of undress were so overweight that they really need to readdress their clothing options.
 

GHT

I'll Lock Up
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8,174
Location
New Forest
I know that in fairly recent times there was a dress code of some sort in place there that did set some limit on exposure. Apparently that has been relaxed. In any case, parents are ultimately responsible for what their children leave home in, or at least making it clear that there are some things that we just don't do. Such as giving all in your general area a free view and dealing with infractions of that regulation.
That syndrome is not unique to your country. Here in the UK we have a class of young women who revel in the name, coined by newspapers as Ladettes. There was a time when it was a right of passage for young men to consume large quantities of alcohol, spend most of their money, throw up and vow never again, until the next time. Nowadays the young ladies seem to go out of their way to out drink the fellows, they wear, or almost wear, the skimpiest attire, once drunk they loose both their senses and their moral compass, have dangerous casual sex with all and sundry and usually do all of this on some Mediterranean shore, or UK High street.
 
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15,638
Location
New York City
⇧ I got a routine vaccine shot yesterday and the doctor was telling me (after I commented on the size of the needle) that it was smaller than the ones for gonorrhea and chlamydia (had to look the spelling of that one up). When I raised my eyebrows and asked if you give those shots a lot, he said all the time to the 20 and 30 year olds as they have unprotected sex all the time. He said, his words not mine, that it's crazy but they don't care about STD - they think a shot or pill will take care of it and things like herpes "well, everyone has it today."

My other observation is that at 53, I have several friends who have high school and college-age daughters and they tell me that the girls now binge drinking / party like the boys do. When I was growing up, many boys partied / drank A LOT, but only a few of the girls did that. Now, based on what I've read and the just noted comments of friends, it seems the norm for both sexes.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
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Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
Ah, the culture of intoxication. On the one hand, if the boys are going to go out and get spit-faced and it's all a big har-de-har-har, there's no reason to think the girls shouldn't do it too. But better we should ask why, exactly, do we live in a culture where making yourself violently sick and stupid is supposed to be "fun?" Couldn't have anything to do with the whole cultural structure that's been built around booze in this country, could it? Or the way in which alcohol is sold as symbolizing "party time?"

Forty years ago when I was in high school, it was the thing for the drinkie kids to go up in the woods behind the school and guzzle Wild Irish Rose until they puked. Nothing new about that. But the whole binge-drinking thing as a cultural trope in popular culture *is* relatively new, at least since the 1990s. And it's only within the last twenty years you started to see hard liquor advertised on television. Interesting coincidence.
 

Dan Allen

A-List Customer
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395
Location
Oklahoma
Fifty plus years ago when I was in high school, if three of us somehow got a hold of a single beer and we went to the lake and passed it around....we were living on the ragged edge as far as we were concerned. A much more innocent yet memorable time to to grow up.
 

Haversack

One Too Many
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1,192
Location
Clipperton Island
Besides the cultural shifts discussed above, I think that one of the causes of the ubiquity of casual dressing is the drop in price of clothing relative to income. Americans today have a lot more clothing than they used to. (I base this unscientific surmise on the increase in the size and number of closets in an American home.) With abundance and low cost comes a lessening of regard to the importance of clothes. Also, casual clothes for the masses is relatively recent.
 

sheeplady

I'll Lock Up
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4,481
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Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, USA
Drinking on American campuses is an epidemic. That is not an overstatement.

I've worked at several colleges where students started drinking Thursday afternoon, would attend Friday classes drunk or hung over, and keep drinking until Monday. As in, keep drinking all weekend- not just evenings.

There's a number of reasons I think for this. Kids are latched down pretty heavily by parents to do well academically and don't have a lot of life experience. Few have responsible drinking modeled at home. Some face a very uncertain future with a lot of debt. There's the 21 drinking age and culture of the frats and sororities. And there's this incredibly toxic culture in general around drinking.

I've seen places where the once highly desirable neighborhoods around colleges are horrid places to live because of loud parties and trash all over.

I work for a dry campus. The students drink, but they do it in the next town over. They are not supposed to have alcohol on campus. It makes the little college town in which I live... pleasant. My yard isn't filled with trash every morning, and I don't have to listen to keggers.
 

ChiTownScion

Call Me a Cab
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2,177
Location
The Great Pacific Northwest
Drinking on American campuses is an epidemic. That is not an overstatement.

I've worked at several colleges where students started drinking Thursday afternoon, would attend Friday classes drunk or hung over, and keep drinking until Monday. As in, keep drinking all weekend- not just evenings.

There's a number of reasons I think for this. Kids are latched down pretty heavily by parents to do well academically and don't have a lot of life experience. Few have responsible drinking modeled at home. Some face a very uncertain future with a lot of debt. There's the 21 drinking age and culture of the frats and sororities. And there's this incredibly toxic culture in general around drinking.

I've seen places where the once highly desirable neighborhoods around colleges are horrid places to live because of loud parties and trash all over.

I work for a dry campus. The students drink, but they do it in the next town over. They are not supposed to have alcohol on campus. It makes the little college town in which I live... pleasant. My yard isn't filled with trash every morning, and I don't have to listen to keggers.


I had a game plan in my first 2 years of college that worked for me. One weekend a semester was designated as, "Pull Out the Stops Weekend." Living at home, working my way through school, and attending community college for the first 2 years to save money earned me the right to a little breather, I felt. Never got blind, stinking drunk: it was more in the nature of going down to Champaign- Urbana for the weekend, seeing the sights, taking in a concert or film, dining with friends, and jamming on an electric or acoustic guitars till the wee hours with high school buddies. Enjoying a large 16" special pizza with the works and downing a pitcher with friends at the Illini Inn was about as wild as I wanted it back then. Beer and wine were legal for 19 year olds: our argument that, if we were old enough to face the draft and get shipped off to Vietnam then we're old enough to drink responsibly caught on. After one weekend of it, I was ready to go back and hit the books in earnest for the rest of the semester. Once a semester: that was it.

Too bad that not all 19 and 20 year olds can drink responsibly. Legitimate concerns over drunk driving prompted the MADD mothers to pressure the state legislature to raise the age for all alcohol drinking back to 21- and I'm not saying that was a bad thing. In the grand scheme it likely was for the best. That said, I can't say that I ever drove drunk in college: when you're too damn poor to own a car that problem more or less remedies itself. The closest my friends and I ever got to Drunk and Disorderly was belting out a few verses of Gaudeamus Igitur on the quad after midnight: as our Latin pronunciation was not too bad, that almost seems like a right of passage shared by students far brighter than myself at Oxford and Heidelberg.
 

sheeplady

I'll Lock Up
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Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, USA
I have no problems with student drinking. I was certainly not a teetotaler in college (and i actually probably did more drinking in high school). I've also been pretty drunk in my life time.

I have no problem with letting off a little steam, even if it was twice a week for students.

But nowadays it's not letting off a little steam. Maybe it was always this way, but people who have been in academia far longer than me say it's been getting worse since the 1980s. We have a drinking culture on college campuses that's toxic. If was always this way, then it's always been a problem. If it's new, then it's a problem.

Either way we need to solve it.

(And I'll add, I abhor drunk driving.)
 
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