Skip to main content

Love & Style in the Time of Corona. . .

While I am unsure of the exact provenance of this particular illustration, it looks more 1940s than 30s, the picture has a certain pleasing something about it.  At the very least, that could be because the two people pictured are pulled together in their attire and actually look like they might be capable individuals in both public and private life.

Like many around the world our lives here in mid-Michigan have been interrupted unexpectedly by the Covid-19 -- Coronavirus -- pandemic.  Two days into Week 9 of the semester, hot on the heels of Spring Break Week mind you, Michigan State University made the decision to suspend face-to-face classes until April 20th.  Students were advised to return home, and instructors have had to scramble the last several days to recast their courses as 'remote' so that everyone can finish the semester.  

[Edit -- This has just been extended by the university administration, as of 7pm Saturday evening, to the very end of Finals Week.  All students, including international, are being advised to return home as soon as possible.  In short, the rest of the semester will be conducted remotely.  Graduation ceremonies too have been postponed for the time being].

We're still in session, you understand, just making  greater use of remote applications like Zoom, Skype, texts, emails, Google Docs for file sharing, and so forth, to enable students to complete the next several weeks of coursework with some degree of success.  As my old mother made the point during a conversation about just such a possibility when I visited her in North Carolina during Spring Break not so many days ago, "My God!  They're all online via their iPhones and on social media all the time anyway.  What's the problem?"

She punctuated her observation by smacking the empty magazine back into one of her two new Glocks after a meticulous cleaning at the kitchen table.

To be sure, many of my student learning teams already complete their projects remotely given different schedules and the apparent difficulty of getting four or five people together in one room at the same time to organize, plan, develop, self-evaluate, and revise their work.  It makes you wonder though about their willingness to prioritize and manage their personal schedules accordingly when it comes to schoolwork and their related education, which, ostensibly, they've enrolled in college or university to undertake.  Right?

So, we'll see how teaching in a remote sense goes although I suspect many students will take liberties with playing an active role in their education, deadlines, related team activities and assignment submissions as well as  communications about everything.  We instructors have been advised by the university powers that be, however, to be flexible, within reason, on assignment due dates and so forth given initial student confusion and consternation by our mass exodus midweek.  What's that about the lack of intellectual flexibility so prevalent among late millennials and early Generation Z'ers?   While I've already been in touch with the students in my three courses this semester several times since Wednesday about how we will proceed, I'm not exactly optimistic. 

On a more personal note, and secondarily, there is the issue of daily personal style.  Vapid popinjay that I am, it was more than a little disappointing when I realized Thursday morning early that I would have no reason to dress in and enjoy wearing my suits, odd jacket and pants combos along with shined leather dress shoes, neckties, etc. Monday through Friday each week.  Sigh.  

Yes, boys and girls, there are a few of us dinosaurs still around who actually like to dress in adult male professional attire.  It is neither a hardship, nor an imposition from "The Man" in my view.  What far too many interpret as acceptable 'office wear' in the 21st century holds no attraction for me.  I'm a throwback, I know.  A badge that I wear loudly and proudly.  Thus far, no one from HR has contacted me with a cease and desist demand that I stop wearing jackets and ties in favor of the logo'ed company fleece in the (misguided) belief that it is good for team morale and more relatable to the average customer off the street.  

Don't laugh!  I've actually heard of this type of thing happening when a man has been audacious enough to turn up for work in a sports jacket.  Even sans necktie.

But let's return to the point, shall we?  Working from home does mean it's time to fall back on the ol' faithfuls of after hours evening, weekend, and holiday attire during the cooler months here in Michigan.  Which is to say corduroy jeans in various colors, rugby jerseys or plaid flannel shirts (the latter tucked in of course), and chocolate suede camp moccasins along with a casual surcingle belt.  

No need to resemble either a pile of soiled laundry, or an unmade bed simply because we're at home, right guys?  Right??!!

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Sorry, Charlie.  Whether you work from home, or still traipse into an office cubicle somewhere, leaving the house for work when you look like this does not inspire confidence in your data entry, marketing, web development, tech troubleshooting, or customer service abilities.  A disheveled, slovenly appearance hardly suggests much in the way of careful attention to detail either if Mom, Dad, or your caregiver never bothered to tell you.  By the way, this is a photo of 'My Bed' (1998) by English artist Tracey Emin.


Anonymous said…
I feel much the same, Heinz-Ulrich. Students have been sent packing here as well, and most of the city seems to be working from home, all of which makes perfect sense. And yet, I am wearing a tweed sport coat, oxford cloth shirt, striped tie, wool trousers and well-shined brogues. Like you, I dress primarily to please myself and thoroughly enjoy it.


Popular Posts

The Problem of "Business Casual" Attire. . .

This is how it's done.  Business Casual the RIGHT way, ladies and gentlemen.  Even during the summer months.  A photograph (taken by Studio B Portraits) which appeared in 425 Business Magazine in May 2017.

This post on the problem of business casual dress began as a quick postscript to a previous blog entry last week but quickly grew and grew as additional thoughts occurred, were developed in more detail, and revisions made.  So much so, that it seemed, eventually, like a better idea to make the initial P.S. afterthought into its own entryAre ya ready, Freddy?  Then, here we go. . . 

Unless you actually plan to sell beach snacks and trinkets on Cozumel, become a serial barista, or greet customers at a fancy nightclub after taking out huge student loans to attend university somewhere for four or five years, plus an MBA afterward, it's really a better idea to err on the side of (somewhat) more formal work attire any time you head into the office or meet with clie…

Like Shooting Fish in Barrel. . .

The childhood home of singer Taylor Swift outside Reading, Pennsylvania (very near my old stomping grounds).  If memory serves, Ms. Swift took quite a bit of flack several years back, in the early flush of success, when it became more generally known that she came from a relatively comfortable background.  Oh, how dare she!

Caricatures.  Stereotypes.  Formulaic cliches.  How many times have we seen the well off portrayed as superficial jerks in popular entertainment?  

In the context of a new Netflix series entitled The Politician, can you imagine the righteous indignation, social media uproar, and unfettered rage that would result if a series mocking and deriding the working class actually were to make it online or to television?  


Introductions, Thank-yous, and Excuse Mes. . .

When you meet someone new for the first time, establish eye contact, shake hands firmly, and exchange correct verbal salutations.
A somewhat shorter post today.  I'm simply worn out after yesterday's marathon writing, proofreading, and editing sessions.  Almost 11am here, and so time for the first scotch and water of the day I think. . .  Joking, joking!  Only joking.  We wait until at least Noon on Sundays here at Stollen Central before the process of knocking 'em back starts in earnest.  In the meantime, let's briefly talk about introductions, thank-yous, and excuse mes, three areas of social interaction and exchange that too many average guys (and people in general) get wrong in the 21st century.

Where introductions are concerned, the correct thing to say when you meet someone for the first time, and hopefully shake his or her hand firmly is, "How do you do?"  Please, please, please do not use the ubiquitous "Nice to meet you" or the even more drea…