it was wear a suit day yesterday, and despite the fact that i did not wear a full-on suit, together with a discussion i had last night it inspired me to bring up a phenomenon that i've thought about sporadically.
a friend of mine noted that if you sit on a terrace in the middle of punavuori district around the time people return from work, you're bound to see a galore of style hopping off trams and biking past you. however, if you stick around for another hour or so, the same people appear in what can only be described as "comfortable home gear": usually an outfit including something that is notably a piece of exercise clothing (to be distinguished from sportswear which can be rather dapper).
and no, this is not a complaint of finns being unstylish or inappropriately dressed, far from it. it's just an observation of a distinguishing factor between us and other city dwellers, and which interests me.
the issue came up as i walked past the terrace dressed like this: i was on my evening walk with my dog and did not think twice about what i was wearing until he brought it up. simply put, i was in what i wore to work, nothing special or spectacular.
tee and blazer by cos, belt and jeans by monki, ballerinas by rizzo.
he's an adorable snob for pointing out that i did not look like a dog walker, but it does raise a question that i have thought about before: do people wear terribly uncomfortable clothes to work or do they just desire an increase of comfort no matter what the starting point is once they are off duty, so to speak?
i never had home clothes until a few years ago. don't get me wrong, i have a habit of lounging in my pj's all day and even running errands in them, but once i get into something, i just stick with it.
in other words, it just did not occur to me that i should change into something more comfy because my clothes are not generally uncomfortable to wear. if they were, i would not wear them anywhere; for me the comfort level of an outfit is dependent on other factors than properness for work and such. after i got a pair of sweatpants, i have started to wear them on days i am working from home, but i still do not habitually change into them once i'm through the door.
the most plausible explanation i have heard is the protection of office clothes from mundane scruff that's a part of normal family life. for a dog owner, who is an obsessive friend of the sticky tape roll, it makes perfect sense not only because family activities can get messy but because constantly cleaning suits and dressy outfits is both a waste of money and a strain on nature and the clothes themselves. thus, i do see the point of changing a suit into something more casual.
it does not, however, solve the issue completely. most finns do not wear dressy outfits, let alone suits, to work – quite the opposite, actually. most finnish jobs where a uniform is not required have a smart casual dresscode at most, but usually by international standards the clothes people wear fall into the category of smart sportswear or lower. therefore, to me at least, it seems the outfits should be leisure friendly and comfortable. they are also usually washable and not worn for several consecutive days.
thus, i have speculated that the reason for opting towards more comfortable clothing is not actually justified by comfort but by the need to distinguish between work and leisure. i may be completely missing the mark here, but the prosiness of training gear on our streets seems to suggest that either people are really, really into exercise or that stepping into leisure mode requires hopping that far stylistically.
thus, i ask you to contribute: do you have an alternative explanation for the phenomenon? do you change into home clothing once you're off work? if you do or don't, please explain why.