The Diary of Anne Ku
24 August 2000 Thursday 9 C above normal dry, warm
THE CITY DRESS CODE
This morning I went to Tower Bridge to meet a friend who had moved to London a year before. On the way, I saw the place where I used to work. In fact, Friary Court was the location of my first full-time job. I remember getting my hair done the weekend before. I remember wearing that out-dated Harrod's suit and carrying that black briefcase, my first job as a management consultant. I was only 23. On the fourth day I flew out to Singapore for my first assignment. It was exciting and new.
For my second meeting, I got off at Liverpool Street station. I had moved to East London so that I could get to the office quickly and easily. Now, ten years later, Broadgate, Bishopsgate, etc have all blossomed into bustling centres. The City to London is Wall Street to Manhattan. This is where the good looking people work. I remember coming here every day and wearing Italian suits and high heels. Look good and you'll succeed.
Nowadays the trend is to dress casually - no suits or high heels and wearing comfortable clothes. This requires more imagination. And it can be tricky. Ten years ago my morning routine consisted of getting up, brushing my teeth, having a shower, pulling out one of my Max Mara suits, choosing a white blouse to go with it, and grabbing a buttered bun on the way to the tube station. Now my routine consists of rolling out of bed, ....., putting on a flowery dress, parading in front of my mirror, changing into a plain dress, trying on sandals, changing into a T-shirt and wrap-around sarong, and then calling it quits as it's getting too late. It was much easier wearing the City uniform even if it was semi-formal and unimaginative. With casual dress code, it is easy to get too casual.