Dress­ing for suc­cess

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY AN­GE­LOS STAN­GOS

Public di­a­logue in Greece has al­ways been about the big is­sues – those that would solve the prob­lems of the coun­try, Europe and the en­tire world in one fell swoop. It was along such friv­o­lous lines that SYRIZA be­lieved it would give Greece so­cial­ism (the Greek ver­sion, noth­ing more se­ri­ous than that) and would change Europe – with all the known ter­ri­ble con­se­quences. The smaller is­sues, how­ever, went un­ad­dressed and the re­sult of that has been the per­me­ation of im­punity, in­co­her­ence and un­bri­dled pop­ulism in daily life. And this, in turn, led the coun­try to its present state of ab­so­lute dis­so­lu­tion. As silly as it may sound, the process of putting the coun­try back to­gether could be­gin with a dress code. The gen­eral stan­dards within the Greek Par­lia­ment, which have fallen to an un­ri­valed low, would not be el­e­vated in any es­sen­tial man­ner, but the im­po­si­tion of a few ba­sic rules of at­tire, such as male law­mak­ers hav­ing to wear a shirt and tie, and their fe­male coun­ter­parts dress­ing like­wise ap­pro­pri­ately for their po­si­tion, could in­fuse a cer­tain sense of se­ri­ous­ness and give the House some of the pres­tige it de­serves as an in­sti­tu­tion. It could pos­si­bly help shift the tone in Par­lia­ment, make law­mak­ers more care­ful with their be­hav­ior, make them think twice be­fore they speak and feel some re­spect for the po­si­tion they serve. This is not a mat­ter of eti­quette or con­formism. Par­lia­ments around the world ac­knowl­edge that a dress code im­bues a sense of re­spect for the of­fice among the pop­u­lace. Like­wise, a dress code should also be im­ple­mented in other places, such as banks. Greece’s lenders want to cul­ti­vate a sense of se­cu­rity among the peo­ple who en­trust them with their money and their busi­ness and per­sonal trans­ac­tions. This is why in other coun­tries you will see all bank em­ploy­ees dressed care­fully and look­ing clean-cut. The same goes for air­line pilots and trans­port work­ers. Any­one who has trav­eled with the Grey­hound bus ser­vice in the US, for ex­am­ple, knows that the driv­ers al­ways wear a shirt and tie for pre­cisely these rea­sons, even though they usu­ally cater to a less af­flu­ent clien­tele. In Bri­tain, even real es­tate agents wear a tie. Not all ar­eas where public trans­ac­tions are car­ried out can be treated like a beach or bar. How peo­ple dress when they’re serv­ing in a pro­fes­sional ca­pac­ity has a di­rect ef­fect on the re­spect they are shown and the trust they in­still in their cus­tomers or in­ter­locu­tors.

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