30 September 2010

Ankle Socks and Other Workplace Fashion Faux Pas

I wear ankle socks with my dress pants. White ones. Apparently white socks don't match dark pants but it's really comfortable. Dress socks are too tight and make my legs itchy. And they trap heat. When it's 39 degrees plus humidity, every little bit helps. Ankle socks -- of any colour -- are against the dress code but that doesn't bother me. I'm told that if I want to be fashionable I should buy dress socks; at the very least I should wear black ankle socks.

I roll my sleeves up. This isn't against the rules like the ankle socks are but I'm told it's not fashionable. Apparently it's too casual. I'm told that if I want to be fashionable I should buy short-sleeved collared shirts.

I use my hiking day bag to bring books and work stuff to work. It's 4 years old and has been all over the west coast and the Yukon; it's had the shit kicked out of it. It's not dirty but it's worn. It's a great bag and I like it. However, it gets more strange looks than my white ankle socks do. I'm told that if I want to be fashionable I should buy a brief case or, at the very least, a messenger bag.

There is not a chance in hell that I'm buying more Stuff so that I'm considered fashionably dressed. There isn't language strong enough for me to convey how ridiculous I think fashion and its trends are. I don't look unprofessional with my white ankle socks, rolled up sleeves and backpack - I just don't look trendy. It is important to look professional at work - it is not important to look fashionable or trendy.

I got on this rant because 9 times out of 10 when I ask one of my students what their hobbies are, they tell me, "Shopping." And when it happened again yesterday I had to vent.

Shopping is not a fucking hobby. And you don't need to buy clothes every 4 months because the trends change. Some assholes you've never met set trends. Buy clothing that never goes out of style and stop wasting time, energy, money and resources on trends.


  1. I kind of view shopping as a social thing. Like, I often go shopping with my friends, and we just wander around and talk and try on clothing and then mostly don't buy anything because we're broke. And then we go for lunch and wander down to the inner harbour.

    I wouldn't say it's a HOBBY, but I do enjoy it. And when you DO buy something that you like, it kinda gives you a bit of a thrill of satisfaction, to know that you bought this cool thing (be it clothing or a book or a new pen or whatever. I love buying pens.)

    That is my defense of shopping :D

  2. hahaha - u know, I agree with you but having said that I think you pour yourself a nice relaxing camomile tea, put your feet up and take deep breaths :)

  3. Liam - Can I get a "Hell yeah!"?

    Rose - Shopping can definitely be a social thing. But what you're describing is window shopping. What I'm describing is the actual purchase of goods as a hobby (I should have been more clear). Some of these people go shopping 2 or 3 times a week. At first I thought they meant window shopping, but they meant buying things. They'll buy clothes, stupid charms for their cell phones, more clothes, more stupid charms, food, toys - whatever is being hocked as popular is purchased.

    And I understand entirely the thrill you get from buying something new. Everyone gets it. But how can buying something new be thrilling when you do it 2 or 3 times a week? If you buy a new pen every week, the pen you bought the previous week isn't nearly as exciting. So at the end of the year you've got 52 pens - one of which you like because you just bought it, and 51 taking up space. A waste of money, energy and resources.

    Andrea - I hate camomile tea. I'll see about having Aimee rub my feet when I put them up though!

  4. I gotta disagree here. While it's not something I would count as a personal hobby, shopping can definitely be a hobby for many people.

    I think you find it strange because shopping at its base is just spending money, but lots of hobbies require the spending of money. If you take pleasure from going to a mall, looking at things and buying them, I don't see why that's not a hobby.

    And the repetition you describe in your buying pens analogy is common to a lot of hobbies. I collect hockey cards; and even though I have a bunch of other hockey cards, I still enjoy acquiring new ones. Similarly, though I've played lots of piano songs in the past, I still enjoy learning a new one. And Mike, I'm sure that although you've hiked many trails before, you still enjoy hiking on another trail (or perhaps even repeating a trail you've hiked in the past).

  5. I'm having a hard time refuting your argument and I think it's because I'm quibbling about what is and is not a hobby, by its traditional definition. My problem is that I think it's sad that consumerism appears to have become a hobby.

    Perhaps you're right and people can gain an immense amount of satisfaction from finding a beautiful pair of shoes or some other article of clothing and then buying it. But I don't think that's what most of these people are doing; in fact I'm almost positive. They're just buying things because they're consumers. If they were really passionate about, say, collecting clothing as a hobby, it wouldn't just be about going out and shopping. But they all come in wearing the same things and they'll all stop wearing them the following season when they're not fashionable anymore.

    If someone told me their hobby was collecting clothing then that would be totally different. I would think it was silly but I wouldn't have a problem with it. They would be collecting - picking and choosing based on some set of criteria - instead of just amassing what is fashionable at some point in time.

    All that said, I think you hit the nail on the head Dave: "...shopping at its base is just spending money..." Can just the act of spending money be a hobby? Yes, most hobbies do require an initial financial investment and most hobbies require subsequent financial investment, but not on the level shopping does. You cannot shop without money.

    And I don't count hiking as a hobby. It's an activity. Like hockey. We both enjoy hockey and, much the same as I like hiking the same trails and you like playing the same songs, we enjoy watching the same teams play again.