Dear Mom: 8 Reasons Why I'll Never Wear A Suit To Work

by Lauren Martin

Dear Mom,

I know it’s been hard, watching me graduate, enter the world and refuse to put on the one thing you think I need to wear in order to get a job.

It’s like watching your child leave for a blizzard without a coat -- how can you let him go knowing he's going to freeze? What you fail to understand, however, is it’s not as cold as you think it is.

Contrary to the antiquated notions of your generation, we don’t need to dress for success. And I’ll be damned if I ever put on a goddamn suit.

It’s not because I don’t want a job, but rather, I don’t want one where I have to dress like I’m going to star in an Anne Taylor loft ad every day. If you really do dress for the job you want, then I’m going to dress in jeans and a t-shirt.

Maybe I’m spoiled, or maybe I’m just honest. Maybe I see adulthood differently. Maybe I don’t understand why you have to be uncomfortable to do good work.

Maybe I’m part of a new generation, one that places value on the work we’re doing rather than the clothes we’re doing them in.

Change is hard. This I know. But if there is one thing I need you to understand, it’s that just because I’m not gliding along the corporate path the way you once envisioned, doesn’t mean I’m not working.

Just because I’m not dressing up, doesn’t mean I’m dressing down my options. Just because I refuse to wear a suit, doesn’t mean I won’t be great.

Because I’m passionate about the dream, not the paycheck

Dressing down means dreaming up. If you’re just working for the paycheck then a suit is fine.

But if you’re looking to create something, nurture something or find something new, you can’t possibly get your hands dirty in a $500 suit.

Because I want to have a voice, not just a 401K

Suits are to cubicles as jeans are to no boundaries. The limits imposed by suits are great for achieving one thing, and one thing only: security.

Jeans may be radical, undesirable and unsophisticated, but that’s because they’re for people looking to say something.

Because I’m into celebrating small successes, not my CEO’s achievements

Start-up culture is all about those small moments that lead to the big one. Wearing a suit is committing yourself to a dream that’s already been achieved.

Suits are for people who don’t want to see the efforts of their day-to-day work. They are for those who can deal with the monotony of unfulfilled efforts.

Because I want to be the man, not work for him

With a suit, you must climb the corporate ladder. With jeans, I have multiple paths. There are no rungs, but stairs, escalators, elevators and magic carpets.

There’s no set path or determined course to becoming CEO, just however fast and far you can move in those sweatpants.

Because I want to work for a vision I believe in, not one that dictates my wardrobe

I’d rather work for a company that puts more stock in what we’re doing than how we’re dressing.

If a company is doing something really great, then who has time to be judging one another’s clothes? Work should be about productivity, not dress codes.

Because I want to enjoy my job, not resent it

If clothes are a representation of who we are, then I want to work for someone who lets me express myself. Uniforms and dress codes are a hold on self-expression.

Working shouldn’t feel like imprisonment; it should feel like the first thing you’ve done for yourself that makes you feel worthy and free.

Because I want to feel like I’m part of a family, not a team

If work is like family, I don’t want to be part of one that makes me wear dresses and suits to dinner. Home should be cozy and relaxed, the one place where you can be yourself.

What if work were like that? What if the people you saw every day from 9 to 5 were just like your other family?

Because I don’t want to spend money on clothes I hate wearing

What’s the point of working all day to spend money on clothes I hate wearing to work? Doesn’t that seem counterproductive?

If I’m going to spend five days a week busting my ass, then I want to slip that ass into something that looks good on me. Working to spend my own money on clothes for someone else is a wasted life -- and wardrobe.