While I may not always look it, I like to consider myself a fairly fashionable person.
My clothes are always clean, my socks usually match (and sometimes have fun designs, like ice cream cones) and I think I have a basic understanding of matching. I will say, I’ve never really been told what a dress code is supposed to be in a newsroom.
Starting right out of college, I worked at a newspaper near home in the sports department, which came in later in the day just as my important business-side coworkers were heading home. That meant dress was more relaxed.
Now, I try to wear clothes based on where my assignments are during the day. That could mean a tie if it’s an important event, like a presidential visit. It could also mean putting flannel-lined pants over top of jeans and a few more layers if it involves a December playoff football game, the thought of which just made me appreciate the sweltering heat a tiny bit.
The only directive I’ve ever been given on journalism dress codes was in college, working for the sports information office. There, we were to look nice for football games and wear a collared shirt for basketball, but all other sports were considered “dress for the weather.”
During the pandemic, however, all dress codes have pretty much been tossed out the door. That is if you’re allowed to leave your front door.
The New York Times last week even had a story about the “Zoom shirt”, which the publication dubbed the “breakout garment of the quarantine season.” I don’t have a Zoom shirt because my work-from-home attire consisted mainly of basketball shorts and T-shirts from high school soccer tournaments. If I wanted to spice it up, I would put on socks.
It wasn’t exactly my Sunday best.
Which brings up a question I’ve been wondering for about two months. What exactly should my Sunday best consist of now? I’ve attended drive-up Catholic Mass over the last few weeks at the parking lot in front of the former Union Township Sears. If you’re not familiar, you’re to stay in your car except for the minute or two it takes to receive communion.
This has turned into a struggle for me between wanting to look presentable but also not wanting to sweat through all my good clothes because, you know, it’s been quite warm. Running the air conditioner makes it hard to hear anything, but rolling down the window just lets in a warm breeze. Loose, comfortable clothes have been my go-to.
I just hope the Audience of One approves.
(Pete Sirianni is the digital editor at the New Castle News. Email him at email@example.com.)