In my line of work, I guess we have a stereotype of where each person belongs to. We meet new people all the time and automatically place a job label according to how you dress, your outlook appearance and where you are positioned in the office.
When I first joined the Black Pencil. I came in dressed as how a Brand Executive or “Suit” should do. Buttoned down tucked in shirt, slacks, a nice tie fitting for any moment where you have to meet a client.
We would do that as a fresh newbie who joined in the mix of a new atmosphere, feeling the vibe of the people, the environment around you. And you would see that you stood out like a fillet of salmon in a salad bowl full of greens, and everyone will know that you are that new guy in the office.
So I spent time observing how everyone dresses, designers, copywriters, veneculars, GMs, ADs, Production, Studio, Brand teams.
So from that day of observation, I see how the creatives are themselves, in how they dress, but in a neat and presentable and artsy way, being themselves mainly cause they don’t usually meet clients, which was cool, cause it’s them being comfortable and themselves in an environment that bring heaps of demands to the table on a daily basis. For me, the days where I will be in the office, my colleagues who knows me would call me the rogue BE (Brand Executive), for me to wear jeans, flannel shirts, or even a t-shirt, would be unacceptable in the eyes of the client servicing personnel.
The Brands would usually be the ones suited up. But still a touch of semi-formal neatly ironed button down shirts untucked over a pair of jeans (not faded), with clients in their black and whites, with the “yeah they are a creative agency, that’s how they dress up.” deemed acceptable in the eyes of clients during a meet. While for me I will always have a set of formal apparels and black shoes in my drawer in case of an impromptu meet, or when a black tie event comes around.
But it comes to a point where people would guess wrongly nowadays on their appearance vs. their job titles. Just yesterday a group of us headed out for lunch when one of the guys (Arc AD) introduced himself to us, and he would guess our job title during our salutations.
“Ah you must be a designer.”
“Nice to meet you, you’re an AD (Art Director)?”
“Ah so you are in servicing?”
Funny thing is how it is so true that most of us would all be dressed our parts in each department of the Agency. My fellow Brand Executives would be wearing their blouses, lady suits, cocktail dresses, or for the guys the slacks and the jackets with the buttoned down shirts and complimentary ties. Now that yesterday I was wearing a folded sleeves checkered shirt (which is now really beggy and loose, from my fitness regime that I’ve been doing), with my faded charcoal jeans and Nike sneakers.
Arc AD: “Nice to meet you Danny. So are you a writer?”
Me: “Nice to meet you too man. No I’m a Brand Executive.”
Arc AD, with a confused and surprised look: “Really? Well, you dress more like a writer, definitely do not look like an AE! I mean she looks like
an AE (pointing at my Brand executive colleague) but not you!”
Then we went on with the rest of the group on how each of us look, and came to a conclusion that now it’s different. From the early days of Advertising where everyone wears suits including creatives to today where now we are segment stereo typically by the image we fashion ourselves to the norm in the eyes of each beholder. Though sometimes it would be nice to dress like Don Draper at points.
Dress like how we ourselves would like to be seen in our roles through our actions, fashions and confabulations. That brings out our individuality, the rogue, solitary atmosphere and vibe you give.
Though I know at some point in the near future, where I will grow to appreciate words and its expressive language and music.