I recently had the pleasure of being in Greenwich for a meeting and took a stroll through the Old Royal Naval College just as the sun was setting. Yet, in spite all the history of the place (and temporal puns of the nearby Royal Observatory, which is home to Greenwich Mean Time), I found myself thinking of The Imitation Game (both book and movie) and the code breakers of Bletchley Park during WW2.
For the briefest of background history lessons; Bletchley Park was the central site for Churchill’s secret intelligence and computer headquarters during the war and it was here that Alan Turing and a large team of code breakers managed to the German Enigma cipher machine.
To be honest, as I’m writing this, I’m still not sure why my mind wandered to this particular place in time. It may have been the mix of a thick wool sweater, repp tie and trench coat, which combined does look something a slightly nerdy mathematician could have worn in the office back in the day.
I’ve always had a certain sense of nostalgia for menswear from periods that far precede my own existence and often find myself drawn to books, movies or TV shows that reflect a time where a shirt, tie and jacket was the norm. In other words, when men dressed like grown ups and one’s clothes showed a sense of respect not just toward society, but also one’s profession. While I don’t believe that everyone should wear a suit and tie in our day and age, I do lament the lack of sartorial standards that has made hoodies, shorts and dirty old sneakers acceptable in certain work situations. Don’t even get me started on what goes for suitable travel attire at the airport these days.
I’ve previously added the category label ‘tie by choice’ to some of my posts because I wear a tie simply because I like it and not because of any office dress-code. I believe a lot of men could set their sartorial aims a little higher in their everyday wardrobe and so this will likely be a topic I’ll revisit again in future posts.Granted, as with most cases of nostalgia, I’m highly romanticizing and fixating on one element of the period surrounding Bletchley Park and politely ignoring that there was a gruesome world war, the iPhone was not yet invented and everything probably also smelled of cigarettes and ass.