Until 2000 I had worked in the City of London ...

  Clapton is God 17:13 09 Jul 09
Locked

... for more than 25 years. In those days it was de rigueur to wear a suit and tie.

In fact, in my early days of working there, I can distinctly remember bowler hats being worn and even top hats by those trading on the floor of the Stock Exchange.

I now work in the Surrey countryside (and still wear a suit and tie) but had occasion to travel up to London today on business, by train, in the rush hour. Naturally, I wore a suit and tie.

Whereas in the past it was guaranteed that the vast majority of people travelling into London from the Home Counties during the rush hour would be dressed ‘professionally’, today I was utterly gobsmacked, taken aback, disappointed, horrified (take your pick) to see the standard of dress now being worn into the City.

Polo shirts, jeans, T-shirts, open neck shirts, trainers, micro skirts (and that was just the men). Barely a suit or a tie in sight - and even those who did wear a ‘suit’ had open neck shirts without a tie.

Just another example of the falling standards in this country I’m afraid. Barely any of these people looked ‘professional’ and, as far as I’m concerned, if they can’t be bothered to dress correctly, they probably can’t be bothered to conduct their business in a professional or correct manner.

Wake up, Britain!!

  Forum Editor 17:35 09 Jul 09

I used to travel from Godalming to Waterloo on the 8:05 fast train from Portsmouth harbour.

Every day I got into the same carriage, and sat in the same seat - and said 'good morning' to the same people, all of whom were reading the same papers.

Come rain or shine, winter or summer, we all travelled together every day, and everyone, without exception, wore a suit and tie - many wore stiff white collars and carried rolled umbrellas; some definitely had bowler hats.

There was that sense that all was right with the world, even though it probably wasn't, and it was a very rare occurrence for the train to run late. There was certainly no trace of vandalism in the carriages, and not a sign of anyone having scratched anything on the windows.

As for the present...........

I very much doubt that you need to 'dress correctly' (whatever that means) in order to conduct a business professionally, or that wearing a suit necessarily makes you any better in a business sense. I think it's probably right to expect that someone who works say, in a City of London investment banking company , should dress smartly, and make the effort to look clean and tidy, but you can do that without wearing a suit and tie. In my experience lots of big companies have a dress code, and that can include wearing suits and ties, but it's not a universal thing.

Different industries have different dress cultures, and in the publishing business for instance it has traditionally not been essential to dress up for work. The problem comes when some individuals seem unable to understand what is and what isn't acceptable, and that's when dress codes tend to be imposed.

I wouldn't want to go back to those 8:05 to Waterloo days, I think today's attitudes with regards to work-wear are far better, but I do agree that lots of people don't seem too bothered when it comes to their appearance.

  newman35 17:41 09 Jul 09

That description of your morning commute had "Reggie Perrin" written all over it.
Thank the Lord I never had that kind of journey to work!

  Quickbeam 17:53 09 Jul 09

20 minute late, signals at Clapham Junction...

  Forum Editor 17:58 09 Jul 09

You got used to it, and the countryside in which I lived made the journey worthwhile. The winters were sometimes pretty awful, because I had a 40 minute walk to my house from the station, and in heavy snow it was no fun. No car for me in those days - life was an altogether less affluent affair.

  Clapton is God 18:02 09 Jul 09

"and said 'good morning' to the same people"

Really? How quaint. I can't remember ever saying good morning (or anything else) to anybody on my train - but I did read the same paper every day.

"you need to 'dress correctly' (whatever that means)"

I was referring to the City - I think it's fairly obvious what 'dress correctly' means in that context. We are talking almost 10 years ago.

  Forum Editor 18:12 09 Jul 09

what 'dress correctly' means in the contest of working in the city ten years ago.

I work there on at least three or four days every month, and have done for more than ten years - I don't recall being aware of any kind of uniform, even then.

As for it being 'quaint' to say good morning to people you see every day, why is that so? I say good morning to lots of people I see on a regular basis - in the newsagents, the petrol station, the supermarket, etc., why not on the train?

You might not have done it, but I assure you lots of people did, and still do.

  laurie53 20:37 09 Jul 09

You mean you actually spoke to and acknowledged somebody you had not been introduced to?

My God, what a yahoo!

  Charence 20:47 09 Jul 09

Say good morning? Thank God we're all issued Metros and the trains have so many 'interesting' adverts to stare at!

Some people store ties (for meetings?) and shoes at their office though, because until some of our public transport starts to get less congested or we get air condition, commuting is really uncomfortable whilst wearing a suit!!

Blame it on global warming.. ;)

  Pamy 20:47 09 Jul 09

I have never seen Simon Cowell or Richard Brandson in a suit on TV and you know how rich they are

  interzone55 21:25 09 Jul 09

I really can't see why anyone has to wear a shirt & tie at work.

Just because someone wears a tie doesn't make them any more professional.

Just because I'll be wearing a t-shirt & shorts in work tomorrow doesn't mean my customers will get a poorer service than they did today because I was wearing long trousers and a shirt (no tie - they're for weddings & funerals).
In fact, I think our customers get a slightly better service on Fridays because we're more relaxed...

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