In 1962 Edwin O'Connor won a Pulitzer Prize for his book The Edge of Sadness about a middle aged priest battling alcoholism. I distinctly recall a part in the book that described how the Catholic church was taking steps to make services more personal and accessible. This was considered a bad approach by many because there was a fear of losing their core constituency who valued the sacredness of the mass. This was an interesting dilemma to me. And today, a similar situation presents itself with the news that Barclays (a notoriously conservative bank) is introducing super casual Fridays. Is history repeating itself on some level?
Barclays is known for being uber specific about offering dress guidelines to employees. They have historically defined inappropriate casual dress as "denim items of any color, shorts, T-shirts, sweatshirts, any sports footwear such as training shoes, any items of clothing with slogans and beach style footwear." Now apparently t-shirts, jeans and even sneakers will be acceptable on Fridays. I understand this is an attempt to lure talent in a time when the best and brightest are trading up for hedge funds and start ups but is Barclays going to alienate their core personnel? I may be old school when it comes to having a sense of occasion and appropriateness but I am of the mind that they will. I dress a lot of bankers and they are men and women who feel it's necessary to not only act the part but to look the part. And I agree 100%. As the idiom goes, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.