Dress codes are hot right now, whether you’re a banker or a cab driver. And since all of those who take cabs deserve to be driven by a man or woman with impeccable style, the Taxi and Limousine Commission is stewing over how, exactly, to “instruct” cab drivers on their attire. There’s been a loose dress code of sorts since the 1980s, urging cabbies to look “clean and neat in dress and person.” Today, the TLC votes on whether to append to that the instruction “and present a professional appearance.”
What is “professional”? That’s a good question. At one point, the dress code lingo included no-nos on, for instance, “underwear as outerwear” and tube tops. The TLC says those extra instructions aren’t really necessary these days (thank God) and want to delete “A driver must not wear, as outer clothing, underwear, tank tops, tube tops, body shirts, swimwear, bathing trunks, or cut off shorts” from their guidelines.
Well, it’s way too cold out there for tube tops. But the Taxi Workers Alliance thinks “professional appearance” is too subjective. Given the highly specific USB dress code for Swiss bankers, they may have a point. One man’s professional is another man’s “I want to kill myself — especially if I have to sit in navy pinstripes all day.”
The TLC says that dressing appropriately is important for drivers since they are “ambassadors for the city,” but we suggest that as ambassadors for the city, they simply know how to take us where we want to go as quickly as possible without terrifying us and stop complaining when we attempt to either go to Brooklyn or pay with a credit card. As for what they’re wearing, well, they’re sitting down and in the front seat. We’re far more concerned with “clean” than “neat or professional,” and also that we can turn off the annoying TV as soon as possible and get to where we’re going alive.
Currently those who violate the dress code are fined $25 and risk the combined ire of Stacy London and Clinton Kelly.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 16, 2010