Blogs & Comment

It’s time to dust off the dinner jacket

Ramsey Naja is chief creative officer at JWT MENA

“As summer descends upon us, turbo-charged with apocalyptic predictions of global frying, it is time to open up that old can of worms: the “office dress code”.

I am perfectly aware that this is a minefield of epic proportions. We are, after all, in the creative arena, where offices are labs, ateliers; staff are absent-minded geniuses that will mismatch socks without batting an eyelid and walls are canvases for anything from Michelangelo to machetes. Indeed we are – and the more insane, the more provocatively mind-opening and refreshing our environments are, the more fuel for inspiration.
This is my view, and it may not be shared by the polyester brigades who descend upon us every now and then, but hey, nobody really minds.

Where I do draw the line, however, is at flip-flops. Yes, flip-flops. It may be the de rigueur “oh, I am an artist” thing – and it may be the moment I lose all my cool credentials in saying it, but say it I will: I am against flip-flops at the office.

Please don’t get me wrong: I am perfectly happy with flip-flops… at the beach. And in the same way that I don’t encourage people to wear suits at that same beach, I frankly regret seeing them wearing beach gear at work. You see, I have a deep-seated belief that, unless you believe in pedicure, flip-flops make you unproductive. You can’t run in flip-flops and you can’t think in flip-flops: flip-flops make your toes yearn for soft sand running between your toes and that’s not conducive to big campaignable ideas. There’s worldly evidence here even: what happened when flip-flops became fashionable in Europe? Recession happened, that’s what.

In the early radio days, BBC speakers had to wear proper dinner jackets (bow-tie included) for their broadcasts. The theory was that it gave them a more… “proper” attitude and, therefore, kudos. In any office today, the same thinking applies: if you look like you’d rather be at the beach, then I’m not sure you’ve dialed in your environment. Office summer, you see, is also Alaska-like air-conditioning time.”

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