Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Business Casual

TigerBlog owns a nice suit. He has two shirts and a few ties that he can wear with it.

He has two pairs of black sweats. They're very comfortable. One of them, the ones with the Princeton shield and Warrior lacrosse logo, is better than the other, which is just plain black.

Basically everything else he has is standard issue Princeton stuff. And a few pairs of pants, light and dark khaki and green khaki, that can be interchanged with various orange and black and white shirts.

Actually, if you have a total of five pairs of pants and maybe 20 shirts, then how many combinations do you have? That's easy. It's 100. Ah, but now you have to subtract out a few of the combinations that don't quite match, so it's not exactly 100.

When TigerBlog saw a suggestion to dress in "business casual plus" for a meeting last week, he chose not to go with the suit and instead was wearing his uniform, which meant one of the nearly 100 similar looks he could muster up.

Then, when he got there, he found everyone else in the room wearing a jacket, with most in ties. Oh well. TB was still comfortable.

TigerBlog's fashion sense isn't great. He likes the look of sneakers with khaki pants more than he likes to wear dress shoes or even casual shoes, like his Merrell's. It took him a long time to settle on white socks instead of black socks with the white sneakers and khakis.

He's always figured he can't go wrong with solid colors, and let's face it, he's been helped considerably by being at Princeton, where orange and black go with everything.

TigerBlog was listening to the Princeton-College of New Jersey basketball game on the radio Sunday when Derek Jones mentioned that the Princeton staff was wearing suits and sneakers as part of a Coaches vs. Cancer event.

This led Noah Savage, who in a very short time has become a great color commentator, to remark that he's never understood why basketball coaches get dressed up, with men's coaches in suits and women's coaches in formal business attire.

"As a player," Savage said, "I'm very comfortable being coached by someone in business casual."

TigerBlog laughed out loud at that.

Not every basketball coach wears a suit.

Pete Carril, at least at the stage of his career when TigerBlog first started covering his teams, always wore a navy blue sweater with a white golf shirt under it, as well as gray pants. The sweater had a cigar hole in it that was right over the part on the white shirt under it that had a basketball on it, so it made it look like the blue sweater actually had a basketball on it, something that took TigerBlog a few years to figure out.

Bill Carmody wore very business casual clothes when he coached at Princeton. He's more of a sport coat guy now at Northwestern.

The opposite end of the spectrum is John Thompson, who could be in some men's suit catalog any time he's coaching. TigerBlog never understand how he could travel and still have his suits be completely wrinkle-free on game night.

Mitch Henderson likes to dress in a suit for a game as well. He and his staff are very well attired.

TigerBlog isn't sure when basketball coaches first started to dress up, or why for that matter. Maybe it's because the crowd is so close to them.

Connie Mack used to wear a suit when in his 50 years of managing baseball in Philadelphia, but now the rules say that managers and coaches have to wear uniforms. Besides, that's a very baseball thing to do.

In football, where coaches are lost on the sideline and are much more exposed to the elements, there are many different styles. Some have even worn suits or jackets or ties.

For the most part, they dress uniformly among the entire coaching staff, usually in khaki pants with team apparel, depending on the temperature.

The same is true for lacrosse, whose coaches seem to most closely resemble football coaches.

Soccer? They dress very casually it appears, in shorts and sweats, also depending on the weather.

In other words, it doesn't seem like there is uniformity to the thought process. Baseball and soccer coaches dress like the players. Basketball coaches dress up, but they don't match each other.

Football and lacrosse coaches usually match each other.

TigerBlog's look for Princeton lacrosse games almost always mirrors that of the coaches, even though he's not trying to do so. In fact, he's often been called "coach" when on the road by the other school's facilities staff.

He takes that as a compliment, he guesses.

When TB first started working at Princeton, he wore a tie to every game. In fact, he remembers a football game at Bucknell where it rained so hard and the entire field turned to mud (1996?) that he wore the jeans he wore the day before - and wondered if he'd get fired.

Instead, he just got basically ruined jeans, because they were so caked in mud when it was all over.

These days, he sees some of his counterparts in ties at games, while others go the same route as he does. TB thinks everyone should be comfortable and look professional, and the khaki/school attire look is very professional in his mind.

The first men's lacrosse game of the year is three weeks from Saturday. TigerBlog will be going business casual for that one.
Even with white socks.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Blackwell says, "TB, don't wear orange with your green khakis. Trust me on this one. . . . Also, for the love of all that is holy, ask the football team to go back to black helmets. The old black helmets with orange wings and stripes epitomize intimidating cool, like something Darth Vader would wear if he could run a 4.5 forty. The current orange helmets with black trim look like pumpkins which have been left out in the sun for too long. . . . Talk to Surace about this. I guarantee you that the players want to look cooler in black. Better yet, go to matte black. The intimidation factor alone would be worth one additional win a year. Nobody has ever said 'Orange is the new black.'"

George Clark said...

One might expect a coach to dress in the style of his own coaches and/or mentors. Henderson played for Carril and worked for Carmody. Yet, his sideline attire is more formal than either. To me, it reflects an independence of judgment and a personal discipline. JT III's secret?: lots and lots of money....

Anonymous said...

have you seen any Davis Cup tennis? USA Captain Courier has been looking pretty sharp on the bench in a suit and tie