Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What Not To Wear: Office Version

They come runnin' just as fast as they can
Coz' every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man.
 - ZZ Top
Ever since my post on the man rules for wearing pink, I have been inundated with guys asking me the question:  “How do I dress for success in the office?”  Well I have never been Mr. GQ, but I do have some examples on what not to wear in business situations.

Not on the Golf Course, Not Anywhere

Years ago Engineer Mike and I made an early morning sales call on a truck service dealer in Pennsylvania.  We were wrapping up a very successful meeting when disaster almost struck.  That’s when Engineer Mike asked “So you guys are going golfing?”  He said this because one of the men was wearing one of the most hideous pairs of pants I have ever seen.  They were plaid and the most dominant color, was yes, pink. But the guy looked at Mike and said very seriously, “No we’re not going golfing.”   He obviously was confused and offended by the question and wanted an explanation why it was asked.  The true answer was that those pants you are wearing should not ever have been made, should never have been sold, should never have been bought and obviously should never have been worn by you today.

I blurted out, “We’ll it’s such a beautiful morning, we just thought you might be golfing.”  Mike then quickly changed the subject and the sale was saved.   We laughed about it for about five minutes after leaving.

(And by the way, the man rules still apply even on the golf course.  You can dress, wild, you can dress crazy, but you can’t dress pretty.  Hey Alice! Unless you are planning to hit off the ladies tees, no pink below the belt).

Plaid Is Bad

Pink plaid is wrong anywhere, but plaid is just plain bad in the office.  A co-worker named Ezra had two pairs of plaid pants (one red, one green) that were part of his office wardrobe.  He looked absurd and took a great deal of ridicule from his co-workers.  It is never a good thing when ladies are looking at your crotch area and laughing, especially when your pants are still on. 

These plaid pants are only appropriate when you are smoking a pipe and drinking wine in your study at home.  However they are still not acceptable if they in any way decrease your chances of having sex later that day. 

A man who wears plaid pants in the office.  I know what you are thinking, but you are wrong.  Ezra is caucasian, very caucasian.  He would return from a Florida vacation whiter than before he left.  Also, he is very heterosexual.  I know this because he would frequent strip clubs and brag about it.  I never got to ask him if he ever wore his plaid pants to the club.  I can’t imagine that the strippers would enjoy performing a plaid lap dance.  Of course if the stripper was wearing a plaid skirt, it would give a whole new meaning to “scotch doubles”.

Solids Aren’t “Safe” Either

One day intern Steve decided to wear his orange pants to the office.  You are probably thinking they were a dark, burnt, orange, but you would be wrong.  He looked like a freakin’ walking traffic cone.  It is the only time I have laughed out loud at someone’s pants.  Again, it should be illegal to sell pants that outrageous, but Intern Steve made the decision to buy these things and to wear them to work.  Understandably, Intern Steve did not make the cut allowing him to take his talents and his orange pants to another company. (The geekyhood of the traveling orange pants)

No Yakking

Intern Earl decided to wear a very unique, brown, furry, jacket to the company Christmas party.  When asked about his jacket, Earl proudly proclaimed that his jacket was made of “pubic hair from yaks” (I am not making this up).  I didn’t really believe him.  I reasoned that you might be able to shave a yak there once and get away with it.  The next time you touch him in that area, I think he bites your hand off.  Still, I made sure that I went through the buffet line before Earl, just in case his jacket shedded in the beef stroganoff.   Not much later, Earl and his amazing, yakkyhairy, screamcoat were sent packing.

But She’s Not Chinese

I can’t finish this post about men’s clothes without mentioning Trisha the H.R. representative.   She was kind of a “plain Jane”, but she caused quite a stir in the office because she wore men’s shoes.  I swear you could find her footwear on page four of the Thom McCann catalogue or maybe page one of the Butch McCann version.  The women in the office hated her shoes.  It was very disconcerting for them to be in the restroom and look down and see a pair of man shoes in the next stall.  That’s just too creepy.  In a Hitchcock movie the man shoes would have grown eyes to stare at the squatting victim.  Trisha’s office nickname was “manshoes” and her tenure at the company was known as The Manshoe Dynasty.

Pink Shirt, Plaid Pants
But I can’t get no one to even dance
Yak Suit, Odd Shoes
I am dressed to really lose

They go runnin' just as fast as they can
Coz' no girl's crazy 'bout a dork dressed man


  1. Plaid ain't bad if it's a Dickies brand work shirt, my man! But you're right - no one can pull off plaid pants except my grandpa.

  2. about the only acceptable plaid on a man is a pair of swim trunks. its also okay to wear plaid pajama pants at a drum circle.

  3. Hey, there are these very good articles on what to wear at office place:

    For Men: http://www.bizetiquettes.com/business-etiquette/attire-for-men-in-a-corporate-setting/

    For Women: http://www.bizetiquettes.com/business-etiquette/attire/corporate-attire-and-accessories-for-women/

  4. What do you mean by "She is not Chinese " ? That is not nice