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"The jacket-and-tie requirement at my job is a pain in the neck. Help!"

Getty Images
Getty Images

I just switched to a corporate gig, and the jacket-and-tie requirement is a pain in the neck (pun intended). Should I convince my bosses to adopt Casual Mondays-through-Thursdays? Wear a T-shirt with a tie on the front? Help!


Here's some advice, Travis: Stick a cashmere sock in it! Let’s take a quick look at the agonizing history of men’s clothing to give you some perspective. (I’ll save the horrors of women’s wear for another time.)

Let’s start with the classics. Think the Roman toga was Italy’s precursor to the Snuggie? Not exactly. The toga was, as scholar Barbara McManus puts it, “costly, heavy, and cumbersome to wear.” A proper toga required yards of wool, an expertly trained slave to help with the elaborate folding, lead weights in the hem, and your left arm holding it all in place. I’m guessing 90 percent of your average orgy was spent getting in and out of clothes.

And you want me to pity you for the tie? Try wearing an Elizabethan ruff, those decorative lacy neck braces that made your head look like it was on a platter. Not only did the collars reach nearly a foot in radius, but they required starched linen and a wire contraption to hold them up. Puritans cried that the neckwear—worn by men and women alike—was invented by the devil in the “fullness of his malice.” It’s a sure sign that something’s seriously uncomfortable if a Puritan is complaining about it!

Also, be thankful that you can oversleep and still be ready for work in a hurry. Beau Brummel—the early-19th-century dandy who is often called the father of the suit and tie—claimed it took him five hours to get dressed in the morning. That routine included polishing his boots with champagne, making his footwear drunk but never disorderly.

Oh, and one more thing: Be thankful that you are even allowed to wear fancy clothes. Throughout history, the ruling classes have issued stern dress codes preventing lower classes from sporting certain finery. The John Q. Aztec who dared to don cotton faced a quick execution. And Elizabeth I forbade a long list of duds, including purple silk, sable fur, and velvet coats—though she did say silk buttons were acceptable. What a pushover.

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ATM Fees Reach a New Record High

You have good reason to flinch every time you withdraw cash from an out-of-network ATM. The cash machine operator and the bank each hit you with a separate fee for these withdrawals, and both types set record highs this year, according to a new Bankrate survey.

In Phoenix and Atlanta, grabbing cash from an out-of-network ATM will set you back more than $5. But even the cheapest metro area isn’t actually much less expensive: In San Francisco, the average fees are now $3.90. “The national average is $4.57, which means stopping at an out-of-network ATM for $20 will cost nearly 23 percent in fees,” says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate's senior vice president and chief financial analyst.

To skirt the fees, stay in network. Virtually any bank will let you withdraw money from its own ATMs, of course. But if you want easy, low-cost access to more cash machines, ask your bank if they participate in a larger ATM network. Some do, to provide their customers with more widespread access.

While ATM fees climbed higher in 2016, one type of bank fee actually broke its 17-year streak of increases: overdraft fees. The average is now $33.07 (yikes!), but that's 0.1 percent below last year’s average. It’s probably too soon to celebrate the downward trend, says McBride. Overdraft fee increases still outnumbered decreases by 5 to 1 in the national survey.

McBride’s best advice for avoiding the hefty penalty? “Sign up for email and text alerts that let you know when your balance is getting low, so you can proactively move money into the account,” he says. “And keep tabs on your available account balance through online and mobile banking—particularly before initiating transactions.”

Which State Has the Most Millennials Still Living at Home?

Escaping your parents’ home doesn’t seem to have quite the same urgency it once did. According to Time, recent Census data indicates that a substantial number of Millennials—typically considered to be those 18 to 34 years of age—are choosing to remain in their childhood residences, with one state in particular crowding out the rest.

The winner? New Jersey, which has just under 47 percent of that demographic living at home. Eastern state neighbors New York and Connecticut each have roughly 40 percent choosing to stay in the nest, a significant spike from the national average of around 33 percent. That’s up from 23 percent in 2000. (The state with the lowest percentage of Millennials rooming with their 'rents? North Dakota, with just 14.1 percent.)

It can be difficult to extrapolate why some states have more clingy kids than others. The price of real estate might be one explanation (rent is much more expensive in New Jersey and New York than it is out West); the trend of Millennials getting married later in life might be another. Without the need for their own mortgage, utility bills, and consumer spending, it’s possible that the homebodies may even be contributing to an economic downturn.

Then again, who can resist free laundry? “There’s the comfort of someone to help you out at all times,” college student Irsia Khan told in June 2016. “Having your meals ready and your laundry done for you takes the load off on the rest of the things you go through in college.”

[h/t Time]


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