The Positive Informalities of Modern Life
Life is less formal. Thank God.
A few mornings ago, I was getting dressed to head out to a content shoot. As I stood in front of the mirror to do my final checks before heading out, I remembered how wearing jeans to work a few years ago was a total No-No!
I remember arriving at an event in one of my previous roles wearing dark jeans, high heels, a smart shirt and blazer and being pulled aside for being inappropriately dressed. I looked over the shoulders of my reprimander and noticed a hundred glaring eyes looking back at me with shame. “How dare you wear jeans? What made you think that was ok?” Of course, what the hell did make me think jeans were appropriate that morning. They weren’t!
Neither were tattoos, or flat shoes, or a face without makeup. More so, part of my dress code included heels and red lipstick as a non-negotiable.
A man with facial hair was deemed to be lazy and untidy. Blazers and ties were a must if you were to be taken seriously. But those and many other formalities have, thankfully, fallen by the way side for many organisations.
The tone used in marketing communication varies brand by brand, but not only are we more likely to get away with an informal brand voice, it’s actually more effective. Why? Because it’s more human, more relatable. It breaks the barriers between company and end user.
It also helps to keep things local for an even more effective way to match brand and consumer. Take a look at African alcohol brand Orijin – “Haiybo, chommie don’t sleep on this match made in Africa.”
Podcasts and keynotes have changed in tone too. It’s become more acceptable to use slang or to curse to be expressive. It allows for humour and once again breaks the ice between expert and listener.
OK so this is quite a big one. Firstly, gone are the days when a B.com straight out of school was the way to go. The formal structure of school > degree > corporate experience > success, is no longer the only ladder to the top. You can literally decide to make organic soap made out of oats and honey from home and be successful if you’re committed enough. There are millions of different ways to learn and develop new skills and thousands of people willing to share their knowledge with you.
Now, I’m certainly not taking away from the value of formal education, but rather celebrating the fact that education and career choices are broader and more accessible than ever before. People are literally making millions from filming themselves playing games and starting cheesy dance trends.
Breaking the boundaries of formality in a super stylish way is Lift. Their airline staff dress in casual, modern outfits that give them individuality and confidence without totally losing the cohesion of uniforms. Even better, the outfits are sponsored by Superbalist (what a clever collaboration!).
Side note, unrelated to uniform, part of their casual approach that is absolutely winning in my books, is the fact that they allow you to fly with your dog on your lap (size permitted) and you can also change or cancel your flight up to 24 hours before departure with NO penalties. In fact, if the new flight you use is cheaper or if you cancel completely, they refund you. Love it!
I love how we are constantly breaking boundaries, doing the unexpected and finding our niches across multiple forms of media every day.
We are so often afraid of the direction the world is going as things change and rules fall away, but there is much to be celebrated in this less formal, wilder world we live in!