Dress Codes

I dropped my daughter off at school the other day, and on the ride to school, we talked about dress codes. Her school doesn’t have a dress code, and it doesn’t need one. Everyone dresses the same, whether they think so or not. Well, almost everyone. She told me that two students wear capes to school every day. They are going through a goth stage.
That reminded me of the scene in the movie “The Incredibles”, where Edna, the costume designer for the Incredibles Family, refused to design costumes with capes. “No Capes!”, she said. She explained that capes could get caught in propellers. I guess there are no propellers at our local high school, so the students can wear capes.
I have a dress code. I wear button down shirts and chinos to work every day. No one makes me do that. It’s comfortable, and appropriate for where I work. Every shirt that I have is either blue or white (with checks or stripes sometimes), and every pair of pants is either tan, brown or black. So I don’t have to think about what I am wearing in the morning. I just grab a shirt and a pair of pants, and I’m off to work. I could get dressed in the dark (sometimes I do, at 4am), and it doesn’t matter.
I read that Steve Jobs wore a black T shirt and black pants every day. He didn’t want to make any choices about what he wore, because he felt that that was a waste of “choice energy”. He wanted to reserve all of his energy for choices that he felt were more important.
In Japan, every April 1 is New Hire Day. Japanese companies hire classes of new university graduates, and they all start on April 1st. Do a search for photos of “Japanese New Hire Day”. All of the entering employees dress exactly alike.
There is a cultural aversion to being different there. There is an expression (I’m paraphrasing here) “tall trees get blown over by the wind”. The expression means that those who stand out get knocked over. It isn’t appropriate there to “stand out”.
I guess no one wears a cape on New Hire Day there.


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