Namaste Mr. Investment Banker

Modern Work

It definitely took me awhile to warm up to dressing down at work. It makes me sound dated, but I liked judging a person’s status by the price of their suit. But those days are long gone, and since I work from home, the whole concept is kind of moot. The cats don’t give me any respect no matter how expensive my outfit.

All the same, I was surprised at how quickly I took to the concept of yoga pants as work attire. Last summer I had a former colleague come over to meet up for lunch. He arrived early and caught me before I could change out of the yoga pants into something more conventional. So I bravely pulled on a nice cardigan and headed out to lunch.

After surviving that outing, I was emboldened. Yoga pants are a lot more comfortable than dress pants – and a lot more, shall we say, forgiving. So I headed out to the mall and discovered that yoga-pants-as-dress-pants has emerged as a whole product category.

I bought two pair and started puzzling over how I could work them into my regular wardrobe. They work seamlessly with sweaters. I’ve worn them to meetings and no one has objected. So I ordered a few more in different colors.

But now the real test is coming up. Dare I wear them to the last bastion of suits and ties in my industry? In January investors and financial types in the health care sector come to San Francisco for a series of conferences. It’s the one time a year that everyone dresses like it’s 1985.

But in recent years, I have seen the sartorial standards start to erode: A VC in jeans and a dress shirt, women in color block dresses, tights and faux motorcycle boots. So I’m thinking, what about yoga pants, a silk blouse, a good jacket and nice boots? After all, I’m not working for a financial firm anymore. I’m a writer: creative and eccentric.

On the flip side, I do realize that yoga pants are not very far from the stretch pants my mother used to wear and that I forswore. But doesn’t the fact that I buy them in a hip boutique count for something? I like to think it does.

A couple of years ago at the San Francisco meeting a female investment banker who works from home was complaining about how it’s such a burden to have to wear regular clothes again. I will definitely be looking this year to see if she is wearing Lululemon with a Prada jacket.


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