As the cold winds of isolation blow over Corona County, for those newly working at home, these are dangerous times.
My heart goes out to those poor displaced souls, tucked away in the eves with a laptop, unshaven, the crumbs of yesterday’s KitKat, smeared across their jogging bottoms.
One day, you’re a city slicker, the next, a dead ringer for Dominic Cummings.
Being surrounded by people during our working day keeps us on the straight and narrow.
It’s the prerequisite for morning ablutions, clean pants and running an iron over your shirt.
Put a chap in the spare room by himself for weeks on end, and for some, it’s a slippery slope to eating cereal in your underpants, a beer for lunch, with a browsing history that makes Sodom & Gomorrah look like Disney Land.
The only time I’ve worked at home was aged 23, when I lived in Chicago for 12 months, hitting the phone to find new customers for a steel wire manufacturer based in Sheffield.
Bespoke tailoring aside, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done, and the thing that kept me going was routine and self discipline.
Every day, I would put on trousers and a beautifully starched shirt, ironed to perfection by the local Chinese laundry for a dollar a pop.
I’d then grab a coffee and salt beef bagel from the deli, take a 15 minute walk along the lake, and then head back into my apartment, ready to spread the word about the wonderful world of Winterbottom wire.
Daily calls to my Sales Director probably kept me in line, but now here I sit, at Casa Michelsberg, my own boss, post Corona, shop shut, with digital tumbleweed blowing across the screen of my laptop.
How easy it would be to put my feet up, go feral, and wait until the world gets back to normal.
But I can’t and won’t let that happen.
For my own soul and sanity, I need to keep my body and the little grey cells active.
Whilst my morning power walk up Otley Chevin is a great start to the day, there are demons whispering in my ears.
There’s a part of me that is craving to go mental, get properly lashed and make Pete Doherty look like a choir boy.
I want to swan around the house in silk dressing gown and slippers, a martini in hand, smoke cigars, dance round a roaring fire pit at two in the morning, to banging house music blaring from the speakers.
This could be the ‘gap year’ I never had, but with age, must come a semblance of responsibility.
Alongside work commitments, my attempts at helping to home school our two daughters has not been without incident.
This might be the preferred method of education for the Amish people, but patience is not one of my strong points.
Combine this with their high regard for plain dress and abstinence, and I wouldn’t last a minute in their fellowship.
Whilst I applaud their views on family, community and hard work, it’s their reluctance to adopt to the conveniences of modern technology that really strikes a chord with me.
I read in a recent article that during the coming months, “people will realise how much of what normally happens face-to-face can be replaced by technology.”
What utter tosh.
Next they’ll be saying people can achieve sexual gratification on the internet…
To shake a person by the hand, look in their eyes and feel the energy that radiates from their voice, can never be replicated over a video-link onto a two dimensional screen.
For now, we just have to get used to it and for many people, I suppose it’s better than nothing.
So, for those professionals who are zooming and skyping customers and colleagues on a regular basis, I have some tips:
1) Shave every day. It’s a mindful pursuit and even if you’re a bit of a soap dodger, you’ll come across as clean and presentable.
2) Wear a crisply ironed shirt and possibly even slip on a jacket for that conference call. It shows your head’s in the game. What you are wearing off camera / under your desk is up to you. Talking to your boss in stockings and high heels might even be fun.
3) Gag and secure noisy children to the floor of their bedrooms with plastic cable ties and gaffer tape.
4) Make sure the backdrop on camera sets the right tone and use props. A high backed leather chair, monocle and white cat will help you find your inner Blofeld.
To be honest, I really miss putting on a suit and tie every morning.
A Michelsberg bespoke shirt and pair of made-to-measure chinos is hardly slumming it, but in a bid to keep up standards, I’ve had a bit of an idea.
Every Friday night at 6pm, I invite you to ‘join me’ for cocktails at home, dressed in something fabulous.
You don’t have to be a Michelsberg customer, just a like minded soul, who loves style and laughs in the face of hoodies and sweat pants.
Follow the @michelsbergtailoring Instagram account, post a photo of yourself at home dressed in your finery, use the hashtag #threadsofisolation and tell us your preferred poison (mine’s Caorunn gin, or, Hine Rare VSOP cognac).
On the first Saturday of every month, whoever’s post has the highest number of verified likes, wins a Michelsberg bespoke shirt. Please see T&Cs below.
So, as another weekend of home based frolics lies before us, I implore you to dress to the nines and show Gatsby whose the Daddy.
Stay Safe. Stay sharp.
Terms and Conditions:
Entrants must be able to attend Leeds fitting room to be measured (by appointment once we’re no longer locked in)
UK based entrants only
Shirt value up to £165
No cash alternative
Winners will be selected at 10am on the first Sunday of each month up to and including 7th June 2020. Once verified the winner will be notified via @michelsbergtailoring Instagram account.