If You’re Wearing Dockers Today, This Is Why

Sometimes I like to peek at Reddit’s Today I Learned section just to see what the kids of today are freshly discovering. A Reddit user just learned, for example, that old-timey phones had party lines, which I can only assume means that this Redditor did not grow up reading Anne of Avonlea or the Betsy-Tacy series.

And then I saw something go by on my Tumblr dashboard, and — although I know it is my Today I Learned moment — I have to share it with you.

Business Casual Friday is the direct result of a marketing campaign to sell Dockers.


Here’s an explanation, from Marketplace.org:

In 1992, [Dockers PR Rep Rick] Miller and his team printed up an unassuming eight-page brochure, called “A Guide to Casual Businesswear,” and sent it to 25,000 human resource managers across the country. It showed different business casual looks.

And, surprise, a lot of them involved Dockers!

“Like how to match a button down with a pair of Dockers and a nice pair of loafers,” Miller remembers. “Or how to set the break on the leg of your pants when they came down to your heel.”

Human Resource managers would hand out the brochures to their employees, to help give them guidelines about what was appropriate and what wasn’t. Dockers also sponsored in-office fashion shows and a hotline for human resource managers with dress code emergencies. Soon, Dockers were everywhere.

The entire Marketplace article is fascinating. Apparently before khakis and a button-down became the official business casual wardrobe, people were wearing Hawaiian shirts to the office as part of “Aloha Fridays.” Do any of our Billfold readers remember the days of Aloha Fridays? I’m only old enough to remember Biz Caz Fri.

Of course, for a lot of offices, Dockers are now everyday business wear and Fridays are jeans day, or “jeans if you pay a dollar” day (I’ve worked in both kinds of offices and no, I never paid the dollar). And if you’re a freelancer, you might be wearing fuzzy slippers shaped like zebras right now.

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