Things are bad right now, but there are some silver linings you can unzip at the moment. One of these is not having to wear clothes. You can have pizza delivered and all you have to do is throw a sheet around your self and toga that delivery person. Or you’re on a video work call (using the new KA-BLOOM video chat app), and all you need to do is put a cardboard cut out of some sharp business attire in front of your body which is covered in cheezdoodle dust and pizza crust crumbs. But eventually things are going to go back to “normal” (it’s already happening!) and the world is going to make you put on clothes again. Why? We don’t know if it’s poor planning or some kind of conspiracy, but people really don’t seem to know how to handle it when you wander around naked. At the park, at the liquor store, at the fire department spaghetti dinner; if you show up without clothes on, people get all taze-y. What’s even worse than that is that they expect you to dress differently for different occasions. It’s enough to make a person miss the good old quarantine days and go live in a cave somewhere, except it’s hard to get pizza delivered there. But don’t despair. Your friendly neighborhood How To Even authors are here to walk you through the ends and outs of wearing clothes that will help you fit in, no matter where you find yourself.
First, you’ve got to figure out where you’re going.
Let’s talk about business.
We’ve discussed before the purpose of a tie, which is to point to the genitals and say, “Hey, look! I have genitals! Who knew?” We’ve also discussed how ties are meant to subtly choke the wearer in order to distract them from the realization that they’ve abandoned their hopes and dreams and replaced them with this cubicle, bleached gray in stark lights. Hear someone softly crying in the distance? That means you’re in the right place.
Business Professional clothes vary depending on your rank within the organization. If you’re a lowly plebe, they’re meant to humiliate you with their drabness. If you’re higher up on the pole, they’re meant to humiliate everyone else with their absurd cost while still also pretty much looking drab.
Business casual is like business formal but you don’t have to wear a tie. Or a sport coat. Since you’re not wearing a tie, that opens up your shirt options. Instead of wearing a fairly plan single-color shirt, you can now wear something with designs. This is actually a bigger advantage than it sounds like. For example, stains — soup, pizza, mud, paint ball paint, blood, coffee — the more stains the more convincing you “patterned” shirt is going to be. And let’s face it — stains are not going to be a that much of stretch for you. You can probably pass off rips, shreds, and burn holes, too.
When is a business casual appropriate? This used to be easy to answer. Business casual was appropriate after a three martini lunch (which is actually a four martini lunch, the first one is always a mulligan), or when leaving work and stopping at visit the mistress, bookie, or pusher. There’s a practical reason for this. You don’t want to leave your tie behind as evidence. Actually, that’s still true today for the upper wealthy 0.001% of white males, for whom it will always be 1957.
We’re not really sure what this is, but it sounds like something some asshole made up to sell a self-help book. We thought maybe it meant you have to wear a cap and gown, and carry a microscope. But we don’t really know, and we’re not going to even research it, but we bet we’re right. Apparently, smart casual is supposed to be halfway between business casual and casual and OMG SHUT UP SHUT UP WTF ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT DEATH IS REAL SO REAL YOU STUPID FUCKS.
Sorry. So, we guess you can wear polo shirts or something?
The difference between cocktails and regular drinking is that you don’t cry and throw up quite as publicly when drinking cocktails. You excuse yourself to the restroom where you have some privacy. Other than that, the main fashion difference is an ascot. If you wear an ascot for regular drinking, someone is probably going to punch you. If you DON’T wear one to cocktails, someone is probably going to “punch” you — with a cutting remark. Women, on the other hand, wear cocktail dresses, which involve…gah, what? Vinyl? Feathers? Could be anything, we guess. We should probably cue up Breakfast at Tiffany’s again, since we fell asleep 3 minutes into it last time. The bullet point, here, is to keep the poors away.
When people say “casual” in a business setting, they don’t really mean casual. Casual would mean tee-shirts, maybe pajama pants, flip flops even though it’s 30 degrees out, unwashed hair, that kind of thing. When people say “casual” what they mean is jeans. And still like a button-up or — even worse — polo shirt. Maybe tennis shoes. MAYBE. What a ripoff.
The thing is, Capitalism. See, we’re all supposed to live in fear of our bosses. They control our lives — even the things they don’t actively control, they still control. If you don’t believe this, go do something crazy and see what happens. So, the idea that we could actually be comfortable is a little too much like right. Being comfortable means not being afraid. Next thing you know, we’ll unionize. Some of you reading this may be thinking, “Hey, jeans and a button-up shirt IS comfortable.” We’re so sorry for you.
Clothes are expensive, you see. Even if you don’t specifically wear a uniform, you still pretty much wear a uniform. If you didn’t you could show up to work wearing whatever the hell you want. The first thing we did when we started writing this blog was burn all our clothes. No more masters! Of course, they immediately kicked us out of Starbucks, and there was a lot of legal stuff…the point is, we didn’t realize we wouldn’t actually make any real money from this thing, and now we’re naked and cold and banned from Starbucks. So.
Other Non-Business Styles
Formal wear for men changes depending on the time of day. In daylight hours, it means morning dress with a tailcoat and vest, while at night it means “White Tie.” In the event of a solar eclipse, it means Flaming Tie for the duration of the eclipse.
Semi-formal means half formal. So, were guessing kilts? Or suspenders and no shirt? For women, a skirt and Amazonian armor.
Is one sixty-fourth of full formal attire. Basically, a handkerchief, or pocket protector.
Remember when you were a teenager and wore all black and painted your face white? That’s more of a Despair Formal. We’re talking Despair Casual, which involves more stained sweatpants and a suspicious smell.
When you dress like a lobster’s better judgement — not on Halloween, just because it’s Tuesday — you’re wearing Formal Surreal. The difference between Formal Surreal and Casual Surreal is an art degree. Don’t forget that wearing a live lobster as part of your ensemble is a serious faux pas. All seafood mostly be fully cooked when going Formal Surreal, except for sushi. Live lobsters, sea cucumbers, pigfish and other marine fauna are appropriate for Casual Surreal only.
Sometimes, it’s just too peopley out, so you need some serious protection.
Traditionally, this has involved a lot of leather. We suspect this has more to do with the directors’ fetishes than practicality. In reality, Post-Apocalyptic garb would probably involve a lot more rat fur, and ashes. If you want to accentuate with a string of mutant teeth, feel free. The goal is to strike fear into marauders and to look fabulous.
Fat Jimmy Style
Fat Jimmy’s got some problems, man, but he just wants to have a good time. Listen, the world is crazy enough with all the shit that’s going on, is something he would say. Fat Jimmy style is most appropriate for frat parties, karaoke, pretty much anywhere people plan to get drunk enough to do something stupid and then not remember most of it. Fat Jimmy style consists of a Hawaiian shirt, dirty jeans, possibly a Panama hat. It may or may not include birkenstocks.
Anything that looks good with an oversized firearm. Fashion faux pas in this category include chiffon, Ellie Mae style hillbilly, polyester leisure suit, or a soiled T-shirt that says “MAI TAIS SUCK EM UP” with a cartoon of a big-nosed drunk guy wearing a hula skirt (See Fat Jimmy style, above).
Unless they’re in show business, animals go naked. Is this a value judgement on humanity? Of course. Everything we write is a condemnation of everyone and everything, ourselves, most of all. But that’s why we’re in therapy. What we’re implying is that nudity brings us closer to the realities of nature, such as freezing to death, being ridiculed (you think bluejays don’t make scathing remarks about each others’ personal appearance?), and being broke, since you don’t have any pockets to put money in (let us not explore solutions to this problem).
They say that you should dress for the job you want rather than the job you have, which is a profoundly stupid thing to say. Nobody wants a job. They also say clothes make the man, but we’re pretty sure our mothers’ wombs had a lot more to do with it, though we did, in fact, have a pair of khakis for a nanny for the first two years of our lives. We are impeccable paragons of style, except when we’re naked. Or broke. Man, we could really go for some coffee right now. Can anyone loan us some pants?