Lose the Coat and Tie – T-Shirts Find a Home at Work

Forty years ago, a t-shirt at work was about as fish-out-of-water as you could get. Collared shirts, ties, skirts and sweaters were the office uniform and no deviation was allowed. While many offices still have dress-codes, more and more establishments are working to create a work environment focused on professionalism, trust and respect, and less on what you’re wearing.

This trend away from the antiquated notions of “correctness” has slowly integrated itself into the business world over the last few decades. With the rise of multi-million-dollar internet companies built from scratch out of dorm-rooms and lofts, the idea that success must be reflected in ones wardrobe has gone out the window. The dotcom boom produced millionaire college students and silicone valley–one of the wealthiest industries in recent years-is largely run by man-boys in jeans and tees. Now, years later, the results of the dress-down trend that began in the late 80’s can be seen all across America.

Silicone valley is the best example–Steve Jobs wore jeans and mock turtle neck to present the iPhone to the world–but every industry from janitors to high-finance has loosened up the reins on dress-code. Auto mechanics used to wear full jumpsuits emblazoned with their name and company–most now wear a t-shirt and jeans. You never used to see a stock broker without a jacket, but now, many companies feel that their workers are most productive when completely comfortable. If you find yourself working for one of the thousands of companies that welcomes casual dress, why not take the opportunity to thank your employers by making a statement with your clothing.

Personalized t-shirt are always a great way to express yourself. And creating a garment that you and your co-workers appreciate together can raise community moral and bring an office together. Maybe Deborah from accounting is a wiz at drawing; a tasteful–and flattering–caricature of your boss may be the perfect design for office-t-shirts.

Pre-made occupationally focused humor t-shirts can be found in stores and on the internet. A purple vintage inspired t-shirt that reads “Computers are fun and useful!” made a computer programmer in my family very happy. He wears it frequently to inspire jealously–solidarity–among his office mates. Keep an eye out for these types of shirts in stores that cater to the twenty-something crowd and be sure to check the internet for additional options.

Maybe your boss doesn’t believe in comfort in the office, or maybe you simply don’t have anything nice to say about your job–why keep those complaints to yourself! You may have a hilarious piece of occupational humor to share with the world but are uncomfortable sharing it with your office mates. No problem. Friends and family are sure to appreciate a good jab at your boss, or a favorite, perhaps unflattering, co-worker quote. Make yourself a shirt to wear at night, or on the weekends, just be sure not to bump into any office-mates while running errands!

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