The No-Nos of Office Wear


Box Foot, don’t let it happen to you.

San Francisco is a major city and many national and international corporations are based here, including a number of clothing labels (Gap, Brooks Brothers, Levi Strauss, Banana Republic). Given this (and given how we are such an international draw for tourists), why is it that our downtown financial district denizens dress like it’s casual Friday in Grand Rapids? Here are five moving violations of the sartorial kind that I see every day in our neighborhood:

1. Box Foot: Square toe shoes should have never happened, but like a lot of other things that should have never happened (like Furbies), they did — and refuse to leave over a decade later. You might as well forego the shoes and wear the cardboard boxes they came in if you like the shape so much, at least then you can pretend you’re homeless and this is the only footwear you can afford.  If you want to know how you look in these sorts of shoes, simply Google “Frankenstein cartoon” and look at the images that pop up.

2. Pleats are the Devil’s Tailoring: No one knows why men wear pleated pants, many men don’t either. Yes, pleats give you a little bit more room, however, they also make you look like you have solid child-bearing hips. Pleats don’t flatter anyone and most women consider them a most effective form of birth control because a man in pleated pants reminds them of what their dad used to wear on Sundays because he was clueless about leisure wear and wore a suit and tie all the other days.

3. T-shirts with ironic slogans/images: Irony is a tricky thing to master but the key is in being unique. Let me give you an example: it’s ironic when everyone is wearing hip, tight black t-shirts for you to be sporting a Pabst Blue Ribbon vintage t-shirt that you bought at Goodwill for $3. What is NOT ironic is when you and every other hipster-schmo is wearing the same ironic t-shirt that you all bought from Urban Outfitters for $58. That’s just overdone and pathetic.

4. LieStrong: Those fluorescent yellow rubber bangles with Lance Armstrong’s “LiveStrong” foundation name are annoying enough when you see them everywhere (including on some 400-lb guy — where’re you living strong, buddy? At the local Quizno’s?) Yeah, Lance Armstrong beat cancer and raised money and built a foundation and all that. He also CHEATED and had more juice running through him than a Florida orange grove, so now, please, throw those ugly things away, okay?

5. Velour and Spandex: From Juicy Couture to stuff you’re actually supposed to sweat in, people are inexplicably wearing work out clothes to work (even more alarming — they are usually worn by people who obviously don’t work out). Clearly they’re not preparing to complete a mid-day road race or five-set match, so if you’re not exercising, why the athletic gear? Are you a member of Run-DMC? No? Then leave the track suit at home, please.

Remember, I’m not the only one judging you. Everyone is. I’m just callous enough to tell you this to your face.


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