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The Periodic Polemic

Polemic for 11 January 2001

A New Dress Code For a New Year

Well, I'm not too mad about much of anything right now, so I'll use this bully pulpit to advance one of my pet causes: Hawaiian Shirt Monday.

Some companies, like the one I work at, allow folks to wear pretty much whatever what they want to wear. This allowed me to experiment with different ensembles. In the course of that experimentation, I discovered the benefits of Hawaiian Shirts.

A Hawaiian shirt is different from any other shirt. It could be boldly colored or rendered in muted tones, but it is always festooned with dazzling patterns that invoke images of celebration, relaxation, and escape. Heck, just knowing it's festooned is cool enough.

Wearing a Hawaiian shirt bestows some of that feeling to the wearer. He becomes more at ease with himself, and can let normal stresses just roll off his back as he imagines the tropical breezes tousling his hair as he gazes out over a Polynesian paradise. Neat, huh? Well, there's more to it than just that.

Ask an employee what the worst day of the week is, and he'll tell you it's Monday. Why? Well, how can that day be anything but miserable? It's the day that starts the work week after an all-too-brief weekend. We need to do everything we can to make Monday a fun day, a day people anticipate rather than dread. When people begin to like Mondays, they'll begin to like what goes with them: work.

Employers: you want your employees to like work, right? If they like work, they won't flip out on you and do something nutty like look through the want ads for a better job or anything like that. Now, if you want your employees to like work, you've got to get them to like Mondays. To get them to like Mondays, encourage everyone to wear Hawaiian shirts on Monday. Be sure to set the example yourself!

Imagine the peace and joy everyone would have when, on Monday morning, they show up in bright, happy colors with holiday patterns, ready to shine their lights for all to see. Of course they'll work harder and better in their Hawaiian shirts! Mentally, they may be somewhere else, but you have to ask if that's any different from normal... Physically, their bodies will be more animated, tricked by the happy shirts around them into thinking they're still on vacation, so they'll view any activity they engage in as "fun" and "enjoyable."

The net result? A day previously distinguished by its higher-than-average rate of heart attack fatalities will become instead a day of continued celebration and fun. Productivity at companies where Hawaiian Shirt Mondays are practiced will skyrocket, leaving competitors that don't dress similarly in the undertow.

I wear a Hawaiian shirt every Monday, and I encourage my co-workers to do the same. I'm just one man, though. I need your help. Do what you can to make the Hawaiian shirt a staple of every businessman's dress. Do what you can to build a better world where children ask their parents to explain why that comic strip cat Garfield doesn't like Monday - the happiest, most colorful day of the week.

If everyone gives it a solid try, the rest of the business community will be all over this idea like a donkey on a waffle. Join me and wear a Hawaiian shirt next Monday with pride and joy!

Dean Webb

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