Sometimes I would like to go postal on behalf of people who are not angry enough to go postal for themselves. Take this nice woman who has been driven from her job selling CDs in London because she doesn’t want to wear makeup. Does she need to wear makeup? No. Obviously the men working beside her manage to sell CDs without it, so it’s irrelevant.
But not to the aesthetic orthodoxy police. Apparently everyone has to look like a fucking barbie plastic freak just to do a basic retail job. The problem is there are no cultural standards for clothes and grooming that everyone agrees with or agrees to adopt. Your scruffy is my chic.
When I worked in publishing and employed people in production roles I experienced friction with a business owner over who I chose to employ. She was a pompous ignorant twit who wanted everyone to be princesses. I wanted smart people with skills.
One young man came to interview for a graphic designer role. He came in trendy jeans and smart casual. I hired him over her objection citing his great portfolio and enthusiasm. She cared more for the fabric from which his trousers were cut. But trousers don’t do Photoshop.
Another conflict was over a woman who was an Adobe Framemaker page layout specialist. She could whiz through pages of textbook page layout faster than any of us in the team. She was not the most reliable person, and was somewhat feral sartorially. But I argued we needed her. The boss had no idea how rare and valuable Framemaker skills were. Instead of hassling her for her personal presentation I tried to value her for her work.
The minimum standard should be clean and neat. If it doesn’t get in the way of work it shouldn’t be an issue.