At least that's the opinion of the Aziz Corporation, a consultancy which says ‘with the threat of redundancy, every day is a job interview for thousands of office workers'. A touch dramatic perhaps, but it's quite right in suggesting the harsher economic environment will lead people to sharpen their attitude and smarten up.
That said, there are hundreds of things people need to get right if they're going to thrive in these hard times: if you're not doing the job right in the first place, even a titanium Paul Smith suit won't protect you from the axe.
Last year the consultancy ran a survey about how the office was becoming dominated by the smart casual look, with 51% of workers being allowed to ditch formal suits for regular work days, and only digging them out for meetings. Meanwhile only one in four people had to wear a tie to work.
According to Debbie Gray, the Aziz Corporation's image consultant (hardly the most recession-proof role itself?). She also points out the convenience factor - that suits save the less imaginative dressers among us having to work out what else to wear. MT is reminded of a comedy routine by Jerry Seinfeld, in which he highlighted the benefit of the ubiquitous tuxedo at weddings (that if there's a problem with the groom, every man can just take one step to the left and the bride can claim ‘this man' to be her lawfully wedded husband).
In one of the more sartorially detailed press releases to have arrived on our desk of late, the organisation describes in depth the strength of the suit jacket, ride down to the gravitas in the shoulder-line padding, ‘which the unstructured "business casual" look just can't compete with'. If you thought the ins and outs of VAT on biscuits and cakes was troublesome enough, then the Aziz view of business casual really takes the muffin.
‘Many of my clients lost their identity when they lost their tie!' says Gray. ‘With it you get individuality and flair.' Although we suspect that isn't a green light to wear one with Homer Simpson sitting in his pants on the front saying ‘Doh'. To be honest, MT is still pleased with the ‘open-necked' tag ad guru Martin Sorrell gave us a few years back. That never harmed our individuality.