As a West Coast kid who grew up pearl jam grunge in Seattle with jeans and flannel shirts lining the drawers, I chuckled as I read the New York Times article entitled “Dress for Success, Again,” which profiled these young 20-somethings who are ramping up the office dress code: “Today the well-off 55-year-old is likely to be the worst-dressed man in the room, wearing a saggy T-shirt and jeans. The cash-poor 25-year-old is in a natty sport coat and skinny tie bought at Topman for a song. Young men are embracing the “Mad Men” elements of style in a way that the older men never did, still don’t and just won’t.”
The article went on and on describing the younger generation that wants to revitalize fashion and bring back the suit and tie. Poor saps, I thought. Thank goodness Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where everybody walks around in fleece and gore-tex, doesn’t hold true to the hoity-toity urban style. Thank goodness we work in a place where the ski-bums can sit right next to the millionaires at the Brew Pub and you would never know who is who. Anybody in a suit in this town immediately elicits the response, “Well, what’s with him?”
Multiply that by a power of 100 at our Dave Hansen Whitewater office where we’re thrilled when guides show up with clothes that don’t smell like wet dog. Standard uniform includes chacos, DH hat, board shorts, and a shirt that you bet your lifevest was sniffed that morning before deemed wearable. About the most GQ we get around here is when our fashionable van driver matches his visor with his t-shirt, which guaranteed, gets an ooooh and ahhhh from the office staff.
This suits my husband and I just fine. I mean heck, Bud has such an aversion to formality that when he was in furniture sales, he would visit with major buyers wearing his suit and green Tevas on his feet. No Gucci kicks for this kid. I remember one day when I was a teacher, I was so tired of wearing professional clothes, that when I played volleyball with the staff before school one morning, I pretended I forgot my dress clothes at home. “Shucks, I’ll have to wear my sweats and tenneys to class today. Hehe”
So I read all this New York Times hoopla with smug indifference. I was haughty, in fact, sighing in superiority as I gazed over at my husband and caught my breath. Not because he’s a 35 year-old hunk who benched 225 yesterday—but because he had on his Target river shorts and white crew socks…. Which suddenly reminded me: Wait, didn’t all those young 20-somethings smirk at his get-ups? Didn’t the office crew chortle when Bud would walk in with yet another mis-matched shirt and short combo? In fact, their regard for Bud’s style of riverguide clothes was so bad that they all pitched in for an end of the season present: new, stylish board shorts. Even a remote outdoor playground has its dress code standards. The younger generation has spoken.