If you turn to the gentlemen at the top of the current political heap for career dress advice, it turns out you get two pretty interesting answers. A Traverse City Eagle piece by George Weeks reveals that Michigan's governor has thought this through and decided that wearing a tie inhibits creativity. The Governor's deputy press secretary told Weeks that the idea of going tieless came to the Governor when he was addressing a crowd of suited-and-tied innovators and entrepreneurs:
The governor said innovators need to be different and think differently. They need to be bold and they need to challenge the way things normally work to find new and better ways. He said the idea came to him to take off the tie, breaking from accepted practice at the time.
The Governor does defer to custom and don a tie on particular occasions -- funerals, weddings, in the Michigan House of Representatives, and at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, after 6 p.m., for instance.
President Obama has also been known suit up without a tie on some public occasions, including high profile economic summits. The President talked about his distinctly uncreative dressing decisions with Michael Lewis for Lewis's "Obama's Way" piece in Vanity Fair:
“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” he said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions.
Is there anyone who validates the instincts of both the Governor and the President? How about Steve Jobs, who wore the same outfit everyday -- black mock turtleneck, blue jeans and New Balance sneakers.
Maybe the best conclusion to draw is that when you reach the top you can break the rules. Good luck in your dressing decision making until then.