February 16, 1995
A couple of items caught my attention the other morning while page-surfing the Daily Oklahoman. One was on the Fashion page and dealt with what they called "a new agenda for corporate wardrobes." In other words, casual dressing. The gist of the article was that modern businessmen and women are rapidly converting to casual attire as a new dress code. Dressing down, or causal wear, is catching on everywhere for both men and women. Neckties are out.
As most of us here know, that has been the policy at our biggest industry, Ditch Witch (the Charles Machine Works, Inc.), since day one. None of the men there wear neckties; casual clothing is encouraged for both men and women, and always has been. The late Harold Chesnutt used to prowl the CMW office areas each day looking for unsuspecting new male employees who may have shown up wearing a necktie. Armed with a sharp pair of scissors, Harold would snip the tie off just below the knot and hand it to the startled victim. That was to impress upon him that such airs were not acceptable, and it pretty well worked.
At the other extreme, IBM's male employees for years have been easily identifiable in their dark business suits, white shirts and dark neckties. IBM's women were similarly attired in corresponding feminine apparel. Now IBM has relaxed its rules and allows its working people to wear comfortable casual clothing. The company's conversion to that point of view made national news.
The other story of interest that day in the Oklahoman was in the Weekend (entertainment) section and had to do with Louise Mandrell's date with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic last week. Louise, of course, is the younger sister of singer Barbara Mandrell, and she is a very popular entertainer in her own right. Tickets for her performance with the "Philharmonic" were priced from $27 to $12, and they had her booked for two shows.
What makes that interesting is, again, that our own industry giant, the Charles Machine Works, Inc., once more beat other folks to the draw. Louise Mandrell, her backup dancers and six-piece band were the entertainers for the annual Ditch Witch family Christmas party held for CMW employees last December at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.
And the ticket price for the Ditch Witch folks was very reasonable, i.e. free, thanks to the company's generosity. Miss Mandrell did indeed provide a fabulous evening of entertainment, including an impromptu number featuring Perry's own Jim Edgar, the former Roadrunner, who for several years now has been a loyal Ditch Witch employee. His display of talent that night was equal to any of the other professionals onstage with him. He most definitely impressed Miss Mandrell.
So, the emergence of casual wear in the nation's offices and the appearance of bigtime entertainer Louise Mandrell in Oklahoma City certainly are newsworthy events. It's nice to see the rest of the country trying to catch up with the pacesetters herein Perry.