Years ago, I worked at a beleaguered big-city daily where the managers decided that the best way to address sagging morale was to restate the already-existing dress code. Such a move, of course, was a red flag in front of a bunch of badly-dressed bulls, and it was promptly ignored...except by the young woman who pushed the mail cart, who had the delightful notion of showing up the next day in a prom dress.
With elbow-length gloves.
She was sent home and the dress code was not mentioned again.
All this is prelude to the three-act play enacted last week in the newsroom of the even-more-beleaguered Los Angeles Daily News, which is reeling from layoffs and stress and downturns and all that modern newspaper wonderfulness. The story unfolds at LA Observed:
Act One, Thurs., July 31:
* Managers and professional employees should dress for business daily; never jeans or tennis shoes. If unsure, recall how you dressed when you interviewed for your position.
* Casual Friday is an option. Business casual always presents a good appearance, never jeans, running shoes, T-shirts, flip-flops or beachwear.
* Business casual is a good choice for evening work in all departments outside of production.
* Clothing should be clean, unwrinkled and in good repair.
* Denim including designer jeans is never appropriate for the workplace.
(Designer jeans? Have we teleported back to 1979 and the Age of Gloria Vanderbilt?)
Act Two, Fri., Aug. 1:
Act Three, Mon., Aug. 4:
After serious review, the proposed dress code has been dropped from consideration. Let's continue to dress professionally and to use our best judgment in choosing the right attire for the task at hand - whether covering a city hall news conference, chasing a fire or working the night copy desk.
Thanks to everyone for your involvement in helping arrive at this decision.
I wonder if anyone had the balls (or the fashion sense) to wear a prom dress.