Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

 

CP: There goes the neighborhood. South Nicollet Mall is taking a fashion hit, as Target eases up on its dress code. I’m guessing you find the news devastating.

 

RN: Another reason to put the kibosh on strolling the Nicollet Mall. As if its current hideous state wasn’t bad enough, now we have Every Day Is Casual Day at downtown’s largest employer.

 

CP: Target’s corporate employees are no doubt thrilled. They can “Dress for Your Day” now, wearing jeans or upgrading to suits and dresses in case the agenda has a big meeting with a Small Appliances client. Still.

 

RN: The skyway suit-and-tie nattiness factor just plunged lower than the congressional approval rating. A tragedy.

 

CP: It was fun to observe the Target-trons during lunchtime strolls. They weren’t in dull banker drag, but more of an entry-point, dress-up-for-work mode.

 

RN: It helps that the average age of Target HQ employees — I’m sorry, but “team members,” the Targetspeak term for those on the payroll, makes my flesh crawl — is roughly I-finished-college-yesterday.

 

CP: The dress code did punch up the fashion quotient downtown. As opposed to downtown St. Paul, where on a recent afternoon, I observed that camouflage duck-hunting jackets were all the rage. Oh, and hockey jerseys.

 

RN: There you go again, picking on the Saintly City. I wonder if Target’s embrace of the jean is a ploy to unload more Mossimo bootcuts to its employee-discount-card-carrying populace.

 

CP: Seems unlikely, since price points on the dressier togs would be higher. But the dark-wash-jeans-and-a-sportcoat look can be a very good one, right?

 

RN: True, but it’s no well-tailored suit. That’s the problem with relaxed dress codes. Eventually there’s no difference, sartorially speaking, between spending a day at the office and making a Menards run. Our workplace is a prime example. I’m trying to remember the last time I wore a tie here at the plant. Oh, yeah. Never.

 

CP: I didn’t want to say anything.

 

RN: Perhaps Target’s workforce, freed from its apparel constraints, will set new standards in stylish climbing-the-corporate-ladder sportswear.

 

CP: To pull that off, Target needs to keep up the collabs with designers, such as its 3.1 Phillip Lim line. Lim’s stuff was way cool, super-affordable, and it remained on shelves for approximately 90 minutes. Do I hear Mark McNairy?

 

RN: I’d settle for Robert Talbott. Now that would get me into a tie.

 

E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib