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Why We Should Abolish Casual Friday

Kate Langbroek | Sunday Style

I DON’T want to sound like a Debbie Downer, but lately I have been thinking about the end of our civilisation and how it’s undoubtedly coming. Not immediately, you understand. Goodness, I don’t want anyone to panic and put all their belongings on Gumtree, but civilisations are like stubborn house guests. They come and — no matter how permanent they seem — they go.

This realisation recently dawned on me because of my husband. 

You see, that beloved bit of beardie flotsam is quite keen on the concept of learning. He’s not like me; content to while away my recreational hours with snippets of reality TV and licking the yellow cheese powder off Twisties. No. Petie likes to watch documentaries and biographies or histories of the world, and sometimes I get carried along on that tide with him.

So, we’ve been watching this show about the ancient Romans, and how they had this amazing empire. I mean truly amazing, not just like, “OMG, Kylie Jenner’s make-up line is going to be infused with real gold for her birthday Kyshadow release. Amazing!” The Romans were next-level. As well as their freak-on parties and incredible art, they invented concrete and newspapers, and outdoor “arena spectaculars”. The latter were, I gather, more Christian-gets-shredded-by-lion than Hugh Jackman trilling his way through his glorious The Boy From Oz repertoire but, still, you get my point. The Romans had it going on.

But here’s the big thing. When they sensed their looming end-of-civilisation, they didn’t think, “Jeez, fellas — we might have gone a bit far. Better do Dry July, have a think about ourselves and do a 30-day Bikram challenge.” On the contrary, they got more extreme. They topped up their leaden goblets and made sure their feasts were more decadent; their orgies more … orgy-ish. I mean, at one party, the host dumped so many rose petals on his guests that he crushed them. That is so Kanye!

But what have we got, as we lurch along our own inevitable path to self-destruction? “Casual Fridays”, that’s what.

Even writing the name makes me sad. Not just ’cause it’s so unattractive, but it’s also unnecessary. Because hasn’t anyone noticed? The world is already casual. It’s not like the 1950s, folks, when men wore hats and women wore gloves to go into the city. Now people call tracksuits “activewear”, just so they can wear them everywhere. Bono wore coloured sunglasses to meet The Pope. No man wears a suit unless, as the old joke goes, he’s the defendant. 

We’re already all waddling around our workplaces like walking beanbag covers. What we need, instead of pilling poly-elastane blends, bad denim and more “relaxing”, is to do the actual opposite. 

Ergo, I present to you, friends and countrymen: “Formal Friday”. The day where we dress up to go to work. 

How brilliant would that be? To get on the train to work, and be in a carriage of men with suits and top hats. To be at the photocopier behind Eva from Accounts in her bustle. We would sweep down the corridors, nodding to our colleagues. We would wear feathers in our hair and rustling skirts, and men would have waistcoats and everyone would look incredible, and it would be so much fun.

Of course, there will be some humbugs who won’t want to go along with it. But eventually even they, I believe, will be swept up in the joy of it.

After all, when in Rome…

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