When at work - dress for work? PR professional Ken Jackson joins the debate launched by Core Marketing & Events director Kay Cadman...

If ever there was a need to get PR types back to a respectable dress code it is now, particularly graphic designers, artists and some advertising types who should know better.

People in all sorts of professions seem to be abandoning their ties, just look at new Tory Leader, David Cameron, (what's he trying to prove?).

But there's no excuse for media types, many of whom represent large public companies.

How can any profession expect to be respected or believed when they turn up at interviews or to make pitches for new business to prospective new clients looking as if they've just got out of bed?

Even much regaled over-paid footballers have a style and a dress code and are always up with the latest designer offerings.

So why is it that so many young people, men particular-ly, feel that having an artistic bent entitles them to dress as slovenly as they like and have a total disregard for those from whom they are hoping to win business?

Why is the British way suddenly the slovenly way - almost matching up with our infamous slob behaviour abroad?

But shouldn't PR and media types know better?

Aren't we the ones who should set the standard as we are the ones who go out into the highways and byways advising top management, launching campaigns and products and emblazoning plans for the new tomorrow.

It has taken the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, of which I'm proud to be a Fellow, more than 50 years to get the recognition which it so richly deserved.

That is why we have to ensure the new kids on the block get the right guidance and support.

How you present yourself is so vitally important as that is how you will represent your clients.

During my 12 years at the Birmingham Post and Mail in various editorial jobs, how one appeared at someone's front door was quite often the difference between getting a successful interview and failing.

In those days even though you could have a straggly tie in the office and take off your jacket, if someone came into the front office and asked for you, then editors, Frank Owen and David Hopkinson insisted "jackets on and ties straightened."

And my old boss at Tarmac, Sir Eric Pountain, always a picture of sartorial elegance was known sometimes even to suspect the motivation of pipe smokers and people with beards.

Obviously in these days where virtually anything goes we don't want a big brother society but we should accept that we need to adopt an acceptable dress code applicable to the importance of the job in which we are engaged.

The late Lord Lichfield who could be avant-garde as well as a snappy dresser, whenever he chose, summed it up when he was quoted as saying "Real dress style is quite conventional but it just has that twist of something different."

* Have standards slipped?

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