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No Suit, No Tie, Life’s Good!

Here in Kentucky, our governor just announced the reopening of the state as of June 11, including masks now being optional. Throngs of people who apparently spent the last year hidden inside are now all out and about!

I realized something as I’ve looked around at my fellow humans this week: I’ve fallen into a fashion trap not unlike women introducing Lululemon and all things athleisure to the workplace (a trend that’s definitely here to stay!). Of course, when guys wear Lululemon to the office, it’s not acceptable. But that’s a topic for another day. 

Pre-pandemic, during the summer months, if I wasn’t in khakis and a polo shirt in the office, then I was in golf attire. If it wasn’t one, it was the other, with no exceptions. I used to fantasize that someday I’d retire on a beach in shorts, flip-flops or boat shoes, with a decent t-shirt and shades. 

Well, fast-forward to Covid times, and no one will be able to convince me that I need to dress up for any occasion other than a wedding, funeral, graduation, perhaps church, or Keeneland. Now, I’m not going to be channeling Marlon Brando circa Streetcar Named Desire, but one thing we’ve all learned over the last 18 months is that our lives and our best-laid plans can be taken from us or rearranged at any time, so we might as well live on our terms while we can. 

I was born with a certain innate style, much like Steve Jobs and his jeans and turtlenecks. While I’m still not living at the beach, there’s nothing wrong with dressing for the beach lifestyle on a warm summer day. I’ll still wear a collared shirt, but this summer, you’ll find me sporting shorts and boat shoes. I’ve discovered that if I’m comfortable, I’m a better, more productive version of myself. 

I’ll also promise this: I’ll dress to the same level as you when you come in for your client meetings. So, for the three or so of you left who wear suits, sure, I’ll put on a suit. I love dressing up as much as the next guy, and I love my suits and ties and dress shoes. But I’m at my best when I’m comfortable and focusing 100 percent on my business and my clients, instead of picking out a pocket square to match my tie, and then fussing with it all day. 

Come August, we’ll be celebrating our 16th anniversary here at Family Financial Partners, otherwise known as 15-plus-one, since we didn’t get to throw our 15th anniversary gala last year due to Covid. But now that our start-up has become one of the fastest growing companies in central Kentucky, well, I think we have enough street cred to jump on a Zoom call in shorts. 

Whatever your current mode of dress, or how you picture your retirement, I encourage you to start living life on the proverbial beach now. Life shouldn’t be spent longing for the “ideal” retirement that may or may not materialize the way you picture it. Time is a limited resource, after all.

I know most of you are either already back at work, or heading back to the office in the next couple of weeks. How have things changed in your workplaces in terms of dress code, or other shifts you’re noticing? We’d love to hear about it.


Article by David Smyth, Senior Partner at Family Financial Partners — a financial services firm in Lexington, Kentucky.

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