It's becoming a trend at my workplace, for Departments to provide or subsidize technical vests or jackets for their staff. The vest or jacket has the Department's name and the staff member's name embroidered on the upper right or left chest, and the Department's motto embroidered on its back. To keep costs down, the material used is usually inexpensive, and single layer without a lining, which means it's not thick enough to actually provide warmth to its wearer. Silap haribulan, nampak el-cheapo la pulak.
Personally, I don't find any particular function to these items of clothing, aside from creating a sense of brotherhood among its wearers, which may or may not be a good thing. Or perhaps they feel excited to have a custom-made vest or jacket, as the owner's name is embroidered on his/her piece, which again may or may not be a good thing. Risky, as any unbecoming conduct in public would instantly smear the wearer and his Department's name. Hmm, on the other hand, this may become a good disciplining tool, yes?
Do clothes make a person? I'm not much of a fashionista, but I prefer to see clothes worn properly as they were meant to be. For example, the vest is supposed to be an inner outer-wear, in that it's worn outside a shirt but usually with a blazer over it. Only in your own private space do you wear it without a blazer. But the people here seems to think a vest looks so grand, so it's worn as an outer wear, everywhere. The technical vest with pockets all over, that's usually worn by technical people like a handyman, is also proudly worn as a grand outer wear, everywhere.
Same goes for the jacket, which design usually looks like a sports jacket or wind-breaker otherwise worn by highschool kids in it's country of origin. And I swear, they think this is a 'corporate look' that's supposed to enhance the Department's image. It's ok for normal staff to wear those in their own office, but some middle-management group (read : senior officers, higher ranking than moi) even wear those to official assignments like inter-departmental meetings (ok lagi la) and meetings with clients and outsiders (oh tidak!).
Of course, don't judge a book by its covers, yadda yadda yadda. But when someone higher ranking than yourself becomes a fashion victim and proudly displays his 'wanna-be'ness, it's very awkward lah, knowing other people in the room might be thinking "hek eleh, buruknya!" during the meeting. Worse still if the wearer happens to be a cocky bastard, as some middle management happen to be, sheesh!
So yesterday when the boss mentioned that the department will be providing such jacket for all staff, after a brief silence, I politely asked if I could top-up the price with my own money, and have a blazer made instead. Not surprisingly, the other officers all voiced their assent, and my boss heaved a sigh of relief. You see, she herself hates the fashion fauxpas among the middle management group, and was having terrible visions of her subordinates walking into meetings dressed like a cyclist or a handyman.
Hmm... tak salah berpakaian kemas, tapi biarlah kena caranya. Apa-apa pun, segak sungguh si pemakai baju melayu lengkap dengan kain samping dan songkok... huuhuuhuuu...