D-Wade — and others — come up short when dressing up

'Pedal pushers' aren't even the worst thing men wear to work now

Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade is leading millions of American men along the path of career destruction.

It wasn't his play against the Bulls in the NBA playoffs. It was his ridiculous suit, a purple polka dot number featuring skinny capri pants, showing plenty of leg.

That's right. D-Wade — the pride of H.L. Richards High School — wore capri pants, or "pedal pushers," if you will, baring much of his naked calves to a national TV audience.

TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley ridiculed him, and as a proud Richards Bulldogs alumnus, I was horrified. At least Wade's pedal pushers weren't velvet (I hope). But still.

This terrible episode looms large because it's getting warm outside and the last thing America needs are men following D-Wade's lead by showing leg at the office.

Jobs are scarce. But every summer, if you watch the front door of any office building, you'll still see men walking in, wearing shorts.

And sandals.

"Not in the firms I'm aware of," said Lou Dobbs, host of "Lou Dobbs Tonight" on the Fox Business Network, when I asked him Wednesday about the shorts thing on the WLS-AM 890 radio program I co-host with Lauren Cohn.

Shorts at work, said Dobbs, are "usually the attire for people working in tech companies, to show how different they are from us, and how they don't give a damn."

"And the rest of us come up a little short," said Dobbs.

I couldn't see what Dobbs was wearing, but I figured he was in a dark suit, starched shirt, tie and hard shoes.

"And I shined them myself, by the way," said Dobbs.

That's the kind of attitude American business needs, because it seems American business has become dangerously casual.

Let's face it. Most Americans dress for work as if they're going on a picnic, and they won't give up their Fall Out Boy T-shirts unless you pry them from their cold, dead fingers. My casual shirts of preference are those comfy ones you don't tuck in, because we chunky fellows hate the tuck-in thing.

At least I've never worn shorts to work. If there's one thing that drives me crazy, it's guys wearing shorts and sandals at the office.

There are worse things of course. Let's be realistic. Say you're sitting on the "L" and the person in the seat behind you is quietly eating chicken, and later you realize to your horror that the chicken-eater deposited the bones in the hood of your hoodie.

It proves you should never wear a hoodie to work, either. Or ride public transportation with a chicken eater seated behind you. But shorts are an even more frightening harbinger of the apocalypse.

"Shorts are just not appropriate business wear and I think flip-flops aren't business wear," said Peter Post, of the Emily Post Institute.

And yes, his great-grandmother was Emily Post, the world-famous etiquette coach. Men wearing shorts in the office would have horrified her. She even hated the wearing of white after Labor Day.

"If people look at your clothes and think, 'What are they wearing that for?' you wore the wrong clothes," said Peter Post. "Really, it's a question of what's the company's norm and try to adhere to it. Don't try to push the envelope, and that's where I think people get into trouble. They try to push the envelope."

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