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Bear Stearns Tells Employees Dress Up
Bloomberg ^ | 9/17/2002 | Bloomberg

Posted on 09/17/2002 7:20:27 PM PDT by 1L

Edited on 07/19/2004 2:10:41 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

New York, Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Bear Stearns Cos. wants employees to suit up or ship out.

Two years after adopting a casual dress code at the height of the dot-com boom, the sixth-largest U.S. securities firm has reversed course and will require workers to don ``formal business'' attire, according to an e-mail sent to employees today.


(Excerpt) Read more at quote.bloomberg.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS:
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This is absurd. There are sensible ways to go about establishing quality dress policies without going back to the starched shirt and tie and dark suit look. I have to dress that way for court, but I never wear a tie in the office. I still wear high quality, nice looking clothing. Hey, it's simple: for men, during the week, wool or blended slacks with pressed shirt, open collar. Add a sport coat, sweater, or something similar. No chinos, nice loafers only. On Fridays, chinos with any sort of collared, button down shirt. More casual shoes, but not Dr. Martens type. On weekends, nice jeans ok with Doc Martens, golf shirt, but no t-shirt, tennies, etc. Start with that and work your way down depending on your industry. I'll let a woman with a similar attitude offer dressing advice for women, as I would probably say something silly.

I agree that conservative and nice dress does make an office function better, and does have an effect on clients. But I will guarantee you that when I see clients in a sport coat, dark slacks, nice shoes, and no tie, I look nicer and make a more professional impression than many lawyers wearing a decent suit that doesn't fit, and a tie that is either too loud or too boring.

1 posted on 09/17/2002 7:20:28 PM PDT by 1L
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To: 1L
More important stuff......

Giuliani gets a haircut

2 posted on 09/17/2002 7:29:41 PM PDT by hole_n_one
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To: 1L
You bet, I see your point so well, that's why, the next time I want to invest a couple of million dollars(US), I want a real slouchy bitch to handle my account...
3 posted on 09/17/2002 7:31:42 PM PDT by Vidalia
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To: 1L
Corporate types never like it, they just did it because of the labor market. Now that they are in the drivers seat its back to "normal".

The irritating thing is that employees who have already taken salary cuts and such are now going to have to go out and buy suits and ties. I myself would prefer to spend that money on my kids education or something else more useful than a monkey suit.

I threw away all my bizarre bass, trout, and Munch's "Scream" ties I wore to protest having to wear a tie at all. Will have to get some more.
4 posted on 09/17/2002 7:32:45 PM PDT by Arkinsaw
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To: 1L
Ties are silly. Nobody has ever adequately explained to me why men should wear them.
5 posted on 09/17/2002 7:33:06 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: 1L
Perhaps the employees were being to liberal with the dress code. Some women, I have noticed, have no idea what business casual is. They think it is a day at the beach or something close to it.
6 posted on 09/17/2002 7:33:28 PM PDT by Aggie Mama
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To: 1L
Q. What's long, soft, and hang's in front of an a*&hole?

A. The CEO's tie.

7 posted on 09/17/2002 7:34:13 PM PDT by Skwidd
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To: 1L

I still wear high quality, nice looking clothing. Hey, it's simple: for men, during the week, wool or blended slacks with pressed shirt, open collar. Add a sport coat, sweater, or something similar. No chinos, nice loafers only.

 
I see your point. 
I get it and you get it, but I also work in a dot com and some of the clothing people find perfectly acceptable is atrocious.  A golf shirt and jeans and black sneakers???  Believe me there's a sizeable amount of people who really think that's appropriate!  Still though, it's a dot com and that type of stuff is somewhat expected.  Bear Stearns is not a dot com and their image is respectability and dependability.
I think setting a firm and clear policy re-establishes the image that Bear Stearns is looking for without a large grey area (the attire that you describe) that will have to be policed by the management and be a cause of confusion for many employees.

Owl_Eagle

Guns Before Butter.


8 posted on 09/17/2002 7:35:23 PM PDT by South Hawthorne
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To: 1L
Thank you, Calvin Klein.
9 posted on 09/17/2002 7:35:50 PM PDT by Cagey
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To: Vidalia
You bet, I see your point so well, that's why, the next time I want to invest a couple of million dollars(US), I want a real slouchy bitch to handle my account...

The smartest guy I ever knew wore a torn up budweiser t-shirt half the time and I've seen whole truckloads of dumbasses in suits. If you base your investment decisions on suit wearing you probably won't have a couple of million to invest anyway.
10 posted on 09/17/2002 7:36:00 PM PDT by Arkinsaw
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To: Dog Gone
Ties are silly. Nobody has ever adequately explained to me why men should wear them.

It's a symbolic leash. Don't forget your place.

11 posted on 09/17/2002 7:37:44 PM PDT by The FRugitive
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To: The FRugitive
That actually makes far more sense than anything else I've been told.
12 posted on 09/17/2002 7:42:05 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Arkinsaw; Vidalia


The smartest guy I ever knew wore a torn up budweiser t-shirt half the time and I've seen whole truckloads of dumbasses in suits. If you base your investment decisions on suit wearing you probably won't have a couple of million to invest anyway.

Maybe, but you can't deny that people make decisions on what information is available to them.  You may have heard that old business school story about people making decisions on airline safety and dependability based on how clean the seat back trays are. 

It might not be a great strategy to do business with people on how they dress, but people do it.  Therefore it is a good strategy for Bear Stearns to ask employees to dress up.

 

Owl_Eagle

Guns Before Butter.


13 posted on 09/17/2002 7:42:56 PM PDT by South Hawthorne
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To: 1L
These stiff Wall Street firms may start wearing ties and suits again, but there's no evidence that corporate America is going to adopt this "trend." As you point out, it is possible to dress casually and still look like a business person. Sitting in an office with a shirt buttoned and a tie around your neck is ridiculous.
14 posted on 09/17/2002 7:44:37 PM PDT by sinkspur
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To: Arkinsaw
Corporate types never like it, they just did it because of the labor market. Now that they are in the drivers seat its back to "normal".

Correct. With business, technology, and investment being villified on a daily basis, and with a Republican president guiding government growth at several times the rate of the private sector, it's a buyer's market for labor.

The irritating thing is that employees who have already taken salary cuts and such are now going to have to go out and buy suits and ties. I myself would prefer to spend that money on my kids education or something else more useful than a monkey suit.

Look on the bright side. According to Bushonomics, all those people buying suits should really light a fire under the economy. Just don't look at how the economy really works, or you might get depressed.

15 posted on 09/17/2002 7:49:58 PM PDT by Moonman62
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To: Dog Gone
"Nobody has ever adequately explained to me why men should wear them."

Ties keep the chili and barbecue sauce off your shirtfront.

Next question.

16 posted on 09/17/2002 7:56:44 PM PDT by okie01
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To: Vidalia
the next time I want to invest a couple of million dollars(US), I want a real slouchy bitch to handle my account...

I'm sure if she could earn you 30% per year without cycles, you wouldn't care if she wore a tank top and thongs to your meetings. Or would you?

17 posted on 09/17/2002 7:58:58 PM PDT by 1L
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To: Arkinsaw
Tongue in cheek is hard to express without the emoticons, but I stand with my main premise.

You are quite wrong on a point or two (you may work on that on your own time),and many others who deal in the God-awful world are tiring of the "laid back hippiedom" look many of us thought was "kinda fun" way back when, but now it might well bode the majority of the country to shape up just a bit.

Three thousand dead working Americans doesn't fit my description of "laid back", regardless of the occasional throwback you may have considered to be "smart".

This comment, " The smartest guy I ever knew wore a torn up budweiser t-shirt half the time ..."

And what, the rest of the time he went "nekkid"?

What is your criteria for "smartest man I knew"? Please define smart, and when did you quit knowing (from your own statement) any smart (more or less) people?

Are you able to now guess what other part of your remark is way off base...?
18 posted on 09/17/2002 7:58:59 PM PDT by Vidalia
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To: Aggie Mama
Perhaps the employees were being to liberal with the dress code. Some women, I have noticed, have no idea what business casual is. They think it is a day at the beach or something close to it.

This is the main reason why firms have gone back to so-called professional dress. It's easier to define. But that doesn't mean it looks better. 10 years ago I worked for a company where a middle manager wore clothes right out of the 1970's -- polyester pants, short sleeved shirts, and wide ties. On friday, which was casual day, he wore the same -- without the ties.

Professional dress is easy to define. Business casual, especially for women, isn't. Do you think if the firm spent a couple of meetings trying to educate people on how to dress that it would do any good?

19 posted on 09/17/2002 8:04:29 PM PDT by 1L
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Comment #20 Removed by Moderator

To: 1L
Dealing in hypothetical is a detractive fool's game, and I know you cannot name me one slut-styled dresser who is able to perform (financially, that is) and give me or anyone else a 30% (not annualized) return on my dollar, otherwise I would know who he/she/it is....
21 posted on 09/17/2002 8:09:50 PM PDT by Vidalia
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To: Owl_Eagle
Therefore it is a good strategy for Bear Stearns to ask employees to dress up.

Is the horse out of the barn already? How long will it be before the company looks the other way at a trader or analyst that makes tons of money for the firm, but still likes his chinos. Or, more precisely, wears nice clothes but no tie, no white shirt, and no suit.

22 posted on 09/17/2002 8:10:09 PM PDT by 1L
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To: 1L
I'm sure if she could earn you 30% per year without cycles, you wouldn't care if she wore a tank top and thongs to your meetings. Or would you?

Mental note to self:

Make money.

Ask 1L to recommend a money manager.
23 posted on 09/17/2002 8:15:58 PM PDT by cryptical
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To: Vidalia
I know you cannot name me one slut-styled dresser who is able to perform (financially, that is) and give me or anyone else a 30% (not annualized) return on my dollar, otherwise I would know who he/she/it is....

Whether I can name one or not isn't relevent. If you hear about a successful money manager or investment counselor that you would like to work with, are you seriously going to find out what they wear on a daily basis before hiring them? In addition, you act as if I am in favor of so-called "slut styled" dressing. One should dress appropriately for their profession, whether money management, garbage collector, or professional athlete. Sometimes a suit and tie is appropriate. But I would like to see the day where no tie is just as appropriate.

24 posted on 09/17/2002 8:22:33 PM PDT by 1L
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To: 1L
It is absolutely relevant, for you cannot name one or any in the world of legitimate brokerage, and you are now arguing for the sake of hearing yourself heard.

Name one described principal or associate broker that matches the terms I put forth.

The dress code was the core of your original retort, please make an attempt to stay on subject, or are you an exceptional linguistic dancer in your own mind...?
25 posted on 09/17/2002 8:37:19 PM PDT by Vidalia
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To: Vidalia
You are quite wrong on a point or two (you may work on that on your own time),and many others who deal in the God-awful world are tiring of the "laid back hippiedom" look many of us thought was "kinda fun" way back when, but now it might well bode the majority of the country to shape up just a bit.

Or maybe not. Depends on your opinion.

Three thousand dead working Americans doesn't fit my description of "laid back", regardless of the occasional throwback you may have considered to be "smart".

Have no idea what this sentence means or what three thousand dead Americans has to do with the topic at hand.

This comment, " The smartest guy I ever knew wore a torn up budweiser t-shirt half the time ..." And what, the rest of the time he went "nekkid"?

Pretty much.

What is your criteria for "smartest man I knew"?

My criteria for that would be, out of all the people I have known, the smartest one.

Please define smart

Well, this guy was a physicist. They have to be pretty smart (even the fairly dumb ones). Another fellow I knew wore flannel shirts and those brown boots with fluorescent orange shoe laces. He worked on the Space Shuttle which, I guess, makes him a rocket scientist. He is damn smart also. Much smarter than the bank teller wearing the suit and tie down at my Bank of America despite appearances and shallow stereotypes about spiffy dressers.

and when did you quit knowing (from your own statement) any smart (more or less) people?

I think it was somewhere earlier in this thread.
26 posted on 09/17/2002 9:25:21 PM PDT by Arkinsaw
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To: 1L

I've worked at a couple of different firms in my day, and I think that if anyone is going to meet clients, they ought to dress professionally. At my firm now, a brokerage, people wear whatever they want to the office. Usually it's dress shirts and khakis, but some guys wear shorts, flip flops and t-shirts. Seriously. I think it just doesn't look like you take your job seriously if you constantly look like you just woke up. Anyway, I'm sure that many people can work well without a tie on, but at least they should look like they took a little effort to get dressed. I try to look at least presentable. But hardly ever with a necktie.

27 posted on 09/17/2002 9:34:04 PM PDT by Koblenz
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To: Arkinsaw
Your absolute ambiguity and admission that you deal with those who cannot or will not dress themselves has nothing to do with the real world, since you have admitted belonging to the less smart class of posters who put so many others above you, therefore your arguments are also of a lesser degree to match your self-confessed inferiority.

Why should anyone here engage you in any sort of intelligent and fact based discussion, when the only intelligence you refer to are others in the basic fields of physics and the lesser tile-setting on the Space Shuttle.

Word has just been received that you enjoy the reaction between felines and Super-Glue, therefore, this discussion is meaningless.

Good luck on your next job...
28 posted on 09/17/2002 9:38:36 PM PDT by Vidalia
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: Vidalia
I get the impression you wear a suit and tie while FReeping in the middle of the night. Didn't they used to joke around about Nixon wearing a suit to the beach?
30 posted on 09/18/2002 3:02:03 AM PDT by Moonman62
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To: Dog Gone
Ties are silly. Nobody has ever adequately explained to me why men should wear them

They derive from medieval times when the guys were such gluttons that they had to keep a napkin around their necks to catch the drool and slobbered food.

There is, from a historic perspective, nothing encouraging about BearStearns employees needing to wear ties.

31 posted on 09/18/2002 3:11:05 AM PDT by grania
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To: 1L
My company went business casual five years ago (field service - office equipment). Productivity immediately jumped. Technicians could suddenly get a lot more done when they didn't have to worry about staining $30 ties or ripping $60 pants or scuffing $80 wingtips. They could really dig into their work and be more comfortable. Since our technical department now wears polo-type shirts with the company logo on them, we get through security a lot faster and customers don't think we are slick salespeople trying to sell them something.

What I'm saying is that suits and ties might be appropriate for people who work in climate controlled offices at their desks all day but they can be a hindrance to people who have to move around a lot and work with their hands.

32 posted on 09/18/2002 3:28:36 AM PDT by SamAdams76
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To: 1L
".....you wouldn't care if she wore a tank top and thongs to your meetings. Or would you?"

........give me a minute here....................hmmmmm.................

33 posted on 09/18/2002 3:35:14 AM PDT by RightOnline
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To: 1L
You know, it is their ball park and their bats and balls. If the players don't want to play there, they don't have to.

This company wants to project an image and a message. Each employee is part of this projection. If the employee doesn't feel he/she can project this image without sacrificing their "self-esteem or self-worth", then they need to find a more compatible company.

If my company establishes a dress code again, I will adhere to it.

This juvenile game of "it doesn't matter how I look as long as I do my job" is ending. The adults are back in charge, kiddies!

34 posted on 09/18/2002 4:02:12 AM PDT by Redleg Duke
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To: Dog Gone
So Blonds know what to buy men as a gift.

I used to feel naked without a suit and tie, now I only wear one for special events and don't miss it at all.

Houston will cure people of wool suits and vests quick.

35 posted on 09/18/2002 7:32:52 AM PDT by razorback-bert
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To: The FRugitive
I call my tie the "yoke of servitude"
36 posted on 09/18/2002 7:38:50 AM PDT by babble-on
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To: 1L
Having worked on Wall Street for 16 years (at two major brokerage firms -- one for 12 years, the other for 4 years), I completely disagree. I miss seeing men dressed in suits every day, and women dressed as ladies, instead of floozies looking like they are heading for the beach (summer "casual dress" is the absolute worst). Say what you want about the corruption in this industry, I have always felt proud to be a part of it. Wall Street has always been one of the most competitive and most esteemed industries to be a part of. There ARE ethical people who work on the Street, and they are definitely not all rich and self-indulgent (such as myself). Clients walk in and out of corporate offices all day long, every day, and setting the right tone is a sign of respect and dignity. I hope this silliness of casual dress dies and goes away for good, and old-style tradition returns.

I also don't like seeing people going to church in "casual dress." It's disrespectful as well.

37 posted on 09/18/2002 7:44:05 AM PDT by hot august night
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To: Redleg Duke
This juvenile game of "it doesn't matter how I look as long as I do my job" is ending. The adults are back in charge, kiddies!
In other words, symbolism over substance.

This is news because its one company bucking an overwhelming and probably irreversible trend that's already completely taken over manufacturing as well as the high-tech world. In the last five years, I've seen precisely one facility that included manufacturing and had a "business attire" dress code. Even headquarters-only facilities have mostly gone casual due to the influence of the plants. These days, too many "suits" in manufacturing indicates a disconnect between management and production.

I work for a Tier 2 automotive supplier. We're usually jeans and golf shirts unless customers are visiting, and its only certain customers. We don't dress up for our largest because their rep doesn't.

So-called "business formal" attire is pretty much limited to those organizations dominated by the 50+ crowd, or those who have dealings with the public, particularly the older portion. Banks, certain other financial institutions, and government.

-Eric

38 posted on 09/18/2002 7:50:52 AM PDT by E Rocc
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To: Dog Gone
Ties are silly. Nobody has ever adequately explained to me why men should wear them.

IMHO, the decision should be made the employer. If a person doesn't like the dress code, they can go work someplace else. Better yet, they can go start their own business and establish their own dress code.

That reminds me, I really miss the ladies in their skirts, stockings, and heels. Does anyone have any pictures to refresh my memory?

39 posted on 09/18/2002 7:53:22 AM PDT by bankwalker
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To: Dog Gone
Ties are silly. Nobody has ever adequately explained to me why men should wear them.

The entire concept of the suit is idiotic. There is absolutely NOTHING functional or practical about it at all. Suits and ties should be abolished forever.

40 posted on 09/18/2002 7:56:29 AM PDT by southern rock
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To: Vidalia
you are now arguing for the sake of hearing yourself heard.

Then...

or are you an exceptional linguistic dancer in your own mind...?

A touch of the pot calling the kettle black.

Name one described principal or associate broker that matches the terms I put forth.

Since you pressed me for a name, there's a guy named Karachi or Kirally or something similar who's now in either North or South Carolina (I don't remember which, after searching for him a year or so ago). He has a PhD. from A&M in finance, is a CFP, and now runs a financial planning and money management firm. I had him as a prof for an undergraduate class at A&M, and his wardrobe consisted of a faded polo type golf shirt, untucked, with shorts, and often boat shoes. Well, one shoe for most of the course, as he broke his foot playing softball. One day, he said he had to leave class early because he was meeting a client. I asked him what he wore to client interviews, and he responded, "you are looking at it." Even though that was 1990, I refer to the notes I took in that class as I thought he had a lot of good ideas as they related to investments. I also spent a lot of time in office hours picking his brain on certain things. I would have had no qualms investing with him, had I had any money at the time regardless of what he wore. And while I'm sure his dress now is more conservative, I'm equally sure his clients don't give a rip what he wears. I can't say for sure he can guarantee you 30%, but if you didn't think that I was being at least a little hyperbolic, you are taking yourself way too seriously.

Now, I've given you the example you asked for. How about answering my questions which I've posed to you twice already: would you turn down the opportunity to work with a good investment advisor who good get you a high premium on your return simply because how they dressed? Your refusal to answer this makes you the one dancing around.

41 posted on 09/18/2002 8:01:21 AM PDT by 1L
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To: bankwalker
Of course an employer can set the rules regarding dress code. They can even require their employees to wear ugly brown uniforms like UPS does.

What I was getting at is why any man would feel it necessary to tie a piece of cloth tightly around his neck as a decoration. It's crazy.

42 posted on 09/18/2002 8:03:20 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: 1L
I saw a lawyer at an arraignment wearing a Scooby Doo tie with a powder blew suit. His level of competence seemed equivalent to his taste.
43 posted on 09/18/2002 8:03:22 AM PDT by Dead Dog
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To: SamAdams76
My company went business casual five years ago (field service - office equipment).

I think even the most ardent supporters of conservative dress would agree that folks like field service techs, on site insurance adjusters, car sales people, and a bunch of similarly suited professions that must go outside (especially in the south) and still meet people look more professional in quality golf shirts with the company logo and appropriate pants and shoes. They look much better in these "uniforms" than they would buying rather inexpensive "professional" dress clothes because they don't want to spend a great deal of money on clothes they will soil and stain.

44 posted on 09/18/2002 8:05:51 AM PDT by 1L
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To: Dead Dog
..and my spelling
45 posted on 09/18/2002 8:06:06 AM PDT by Dead Dog
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To: Redleg Duke
This juvenile game of "it doesn't matter how I look as long as I do my job" is ending. The adults are back in charge, kiddies!

I think you have a point, and that's where I'm torn. On the one hand, you have people that probably need to be dressed up -- White House staff, some executives, etc. On the other hand, one can define professional dress as meaning something other than a dark suit, white shirt, and tie for men. Bush shouldn't come on TV without his suit, and I wouldn't dare go in front of a jury without one, but the typical office job doesn't necessarily require it.

46 posted on 09/18/2002 8:11:06 AM PDT by 1L
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To: 1L
Bear Sterns is ordering its employees to 'dress up' but it's too bad that what is needed is a 'dressing up' of the upper management's ethics and morals. It is ironic - they are sharply dressed business suits on the outside, but on the inside they are still filled with corruption and greed. White-washed tombstones.

I won't repeat my oft-posted theme that management will to its utmost during this downturn to shaft as many employees as they can. The unemployment picture is such that right now employees will bend over for any amount of abuse - with nary a whimper.

47 posted on 09/18/2002 8:11:20 AM PDT by fogarty
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To: E Rocc
In other words, symbolism over substance

To a degree, yes. But the symbolism spills over into substance in terms of attitude, decorum, professionalism, etc. Both very important in my line of work (institutional investment management).

There have been a ton of psycho-babble studies about the effects of attire on people and they all show that people behave differently while "dressed up" and in my biz that is a plus.

And as much as I want some of the ladies in the office to wear sandals & thongs it would tend to distract me. ;)

48 posted on 09/18/2002 8:13:11 AM PDT by Captiva
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To: hot august night
I also don't like seeing people going to church in "casual dress." It's disrespectful as well.

Would you rather they not be there? There are plenty of people who don't go to church because they don't think they have nice enough clothes. I would rather they come.

49 posted on 09/18/2002 8:14:41 AM PDT by 1L
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To: 1L
NEWS FLASH: Solomon Smith Barney to require all men to dress in skirts and decides to hire more under age boys.
50 posted on 09/18/2002 8:15:53 AM PDT by 1Old Pro
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