Y&R CCO Explains ‘Business Casual’ to CBS Sunday Morning Viewers

By Patrick Coffee 

In case you missed it because you didn’t care enough to see Mo Rocca interview Stephen Colbert or had other things to do over the long holiday weekend (?!), Y&R chief creative officer Leslie Sims made an appearance on last week’s CBS Sunday Morning along with several of the agency’s not-so-well-dressed New York employees.

The topic at hand was informal business attire–or why today’s Young & Rubicam office looks nothing like that of Sterling Cooper circa 1965.

One may blame this fact on the influence of “Casual Fridays” and a few other things, chief among them a work day that keeps growing longer as agency folk spend more time in the office so as to earn more money for their labor (JK, LOL).

Sims’ money quote:

“We always encourage everybody just be comfortable, because they’re here a lot. We have really long hours.”

The rest of the segment addressed the “working from home” phenomenon as well as all those far-too-earnest startups that allow their employees an unprecedented amount of freedom in terms of dress, scheduling and weekly Soylent consumption.

The larger point is that only 12 percent of professional men and 6 percent of women wear suits (or their equivalent) to the office every day. The numbers don’t even necessarily jump when limited to those who work in…accounts.

Fashion Law Institute director Susan Scafidi says:

“Take a look at the watch and the shoes. We’re absolutely still are signaling status via fashion, but we’re signaling status in different ways.”

We don’t know about all that. But if the discussion on this topic sounds familiar, you may want to travel back to 2007, when a onetime Digitas recruiter said:

“”We are a creative agency, so we are not restricted by dress codes. “If [the jeans] fit right and look appropriate, meaning no rips, etc., they are acceptable.””

Back in the modern world, Scafidi predicts that “Formal Fridays” will soon be a thing because some tech company somewhere wanted to score free media mentions.

CBS’ chosen fashion expert then makes an even bolder claim:

“Now we’re seeing young men coming to work in three-piece suits with the fedora, with the well-groomed beard, pocket watches.”

No we’re not. We suspect someone has been watching “Classic Man” on repeat all summer.

Unfortunately, CBS does not have a video of the segment in question on its YouTube page at the moment, because the network assumed that its 9 AM Sunday demographic would rather listen to Chrissie Hynde explain why rock music should never be played in stadiums.

Good placement for Y&R, though.