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Ask Slashdot: Is There a Professional Geek Dress Code?

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the pants-optional dept.

IT 432

First time submitter KateKintail writes "I'm being promoted to be a director of a computer/web services department at work with staff members (not yet hired) working under me. My workplace doesn't have a dress code 95% of the year. Is this the end of my days of jeans and enjoyably geeky t-shirts? Is there a way to dress professionally in the workplace as a boss (the kind that doesn't need to be defeated at the end of a level) while still showing my Browncoat or Whovian love as I crawl under cobwebby desks to check that equipment is properly plugged in?"

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Yeah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844193)

The rumors are true. Five minutes ago, I expelled flatulence directly out of my own (read: my own) asshole. Such a thing! What a day! I can't believe such an occurrence happened to one such as I!

Better learn to dress well because..... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844215)

now that you have been promoted to executive management you'll be completely unable to use a computer with in 6 months.

Dress Code (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844219)

Yes there is, use common sense. It is that simple.

Re:Dress Code (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844397)

If he had common sense do you really think he would be asking a bunch of nerds for fashion advice?

Re:Dress Code (0)

cyberspittle (519754) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844505)


Re:Dress Code (4, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844845)

If he had common sense do you really think he would be asking a bunch of nerds for fashion advice?

No, I believe that the lack of common sense was not making explicit a particular detail [] which Slashdotters almost never never assume.

Re:Dress Code (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844891)


But seriously...being a leader and dressing at least a little more cicely than your subordinates, does help keep things in order strangely enough.

I'd say go with what many of us do...dress casual for days you're not crawling under 'cob-webby' desks....nice cotton slacks, nice polo style shirt, or even a comfy button down one with the sleeves rolled up would be nice. Polo 'brand' of either of these, would be nice....they're a little $$, but I find they are quality made and do hold up to a lot of wearing/washing cycles. And they look nice and classic.

For days you may be crawling around...wear a decent shirt, and jeans.

If your going to be public facing at all....try to get a feel for the customer's/vendor's dress level coming in, and try to match that....if you are business casual, when speaking to them, tell them that it is business casual there when inviting they will know they don't have to go the jacket/tie route that is often expected in those situations.

Re:Dress Code (4, Informative)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844907)

If he had common sense do you really think he would be asking a bunch of nerds for fashion advice?

You are assuming it's a He. You fail common sense (see submitter's name for reasonable doubt).

Re:Dress Code (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844495)

The same "common sense" that might tell you the Earth is actually flat. What is "common sense" to you is not to another. Dress codes are superficial.

Re:Dress Code (3, Funny)

dcsmith (137996) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844983)

... What is "common sense" to you is not to another. Dress codes are superficial.

That's just common sense.

It's the little things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844221)

I work in academia... I dress professionally most of the time but occasionally bust out the geeky t-shirt or wear a pair of Converse in leiu of dress shoes. My office also screams geekery.

boxers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844223)

Boxer shorts and a pocket protector.

easy (1)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844227)

Wear Tevas. Doesn't matter what else you have on. Fridays don't wear any shoes at all. For better or worse you'll fit right in.

Re:easy (2)

AshFan (879808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844807)

Personally, I have noticed that wearing pants of some sort really says, "I am a confident leader". Also, consider "Garanimals". The trick, is to match the animal on the shirt, with the one on the pants.

Does it really matter (0)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844237)

If your interactions are only with people from the company then who cares what do you dress like ?

Re:Does it really matter (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844415)

Agreed. If you've got clients visiting and for some reason they might see you, then dress up a little. Otherwise wear what you want. It's not like being choked by a tie will make you perform any better.

Re:Does it really matter (1)

AshFan (879808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844915)

This is why I keep an outfit in my filing cabinet.

Re:Does it really matter (4, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844645)

Pretty much this.

Dresscodes are simple.

Manual labor (packing off boxes, crawling under desks, racking servers), jeans are mandatory. If you command someone to crawl around on a rough cement floor or mess with pointy server racks in slacks, you better give them hella paycheck to pay for expensive new pants all the time. Jeans take a beating, so you let your employees wear jeans if their pants are gonna take a beating.

Everything else, business casual. Go ahead and put on a good show when you're out dealing with other execs, if you want to wear casual do it. A suit is normal, but only so you don't frighten CEOs who can't dress themselves. Why should I match my shirt and pants and belt when I can just wear a white button shirt and a $200 monkey suit? (Belts are always black, by the way) Wearing business casual to a meeting full of suits is taboo because it makes the suits think about the uncomfortable fact that some people don't need their mommy to dress them in the morning.

If you really want to have some fun, put bare feet in your dress code. Like, really, put in that gaudy shoes like knee-high boots with six thousand buckles are not business professional, but that unshod is acceptable attire within the office.

Re:Does it really matter (3, Interesting)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844965)

I'll never forget when I was a 20 year old intern at a financial firm, and I was invited to a meeting with a CEO from a medical services company we were considering investing in. The analyst I reported to was in his late 20s, a business school graduate, who was admittedly a cocky bastard. First, he let me show up on time to the meeting and talk with the CEO for 15 minutes before he bothered coming. Probably just to put the CEO in his place, letting him know he was on par with an intern.

When the analyst finally showed up, he was wearing a button down shirt, slacks, and no shoes. He said to the CEO "it's casual Friday, hope you don't mind that I took my shoes off". The CEO, looking only slightly flustered, then said, "no not at all", and proceeded to take his shoes off for the meeting too.

Some things are just too weird to make up. But yeah, nothing says I've got a sack too big for words like walking around the office in business casual, or even a suit, and no shoes.

Re:Does it really matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844851)

This is stupid, most people will tell you it doesn't matter but it really does. How bad can it be? It's not even that expensive to dress nice and your don't have to wear a suit or a tie, just dress nice (means no jeans). I know people as soon as they see a manager sloppily dressed they do not take them seriously and treat them rudely. If your getting more money and prestige whats the big deal? Grow up and play the part, dress like your dog on the weekends and evenings.

Geek boss dress code (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844251)

Yes. You must be dressed when you come to work.

Re:Geek boss dress code (1)

cyberspittle (519754) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844497)

Not if you work from home.

Look to Gene Kranz (5, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844253)

Mission control, 1960's, shall forever be the exemplar of true nerd fashion. However, in a bow to modernity, the pocket slide rule could probably be replaced with a smartphone.

Re:Look to Gene Kranz (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844407)

...but only if the smartphone has the slide-rule app installed

Re:Look to Gene Kranz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844837)

Those thick glasses, man.

That's the look of a man who knows what he's talking about.

Your staff (2)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844263)

shouldn't need to derive its judgement of your professionality from your clothing -- as long as you provide professional work, wear whatever you want. If you have meetings with other directors that can't tell if you're good (Dunning-Kruger says hi), wear something similar to what they wear.

Re:Your staff (4, Insightful)

captaindomon (870655) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844613)

But the key thing to remember is that people WILL judge you based on what you are wearing. So don't dress on how people should act, dress on how they will act, if you care how they act toward you.

Re:Your staff (4, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844761)

shouldn't need to derive its judgement of your professionality from your clothing

In an ideal world, I suppose looks should not matter, but in reality appearance accounts for a lot. "Wear whatever you want" is very dangerous advice, given people have very different ideas about where the boarder lies between appropriate and inappropriate, but we all have a pretty clear idea about what conservative or work dress is. I think The Office (US Version) had a pretty good take [] (NSFW) on this.

The way you look can have just as much an impact on your professional image as your actions, especially with people you don't interact with often and therefore don't get to witness your professionalism. If someone sees you constantly in a Hawaiian shirt and sandals, they are going to form a judgment about you in their head, whether it's justifiable or not. Also consider that you never know what day you're going to meet someone important to your business... a new client, an investor, a new key employee. The first impression these people make of you will be based on your appearance, and could lead to them making a critical decision not in your favor.

I know the nerd crowd isn't known for their hygiene and fashion sense. Maybe instead of socks and sandals, go for a pair of loafers. Maybe instead of cargo shorts, go for a nice pair of slacks. Someone else mentioned NASA Mission Control circa. 1960. Look at those pictures and you'll see everyone is clean shaven, has a nice haircut, and is wearing a tie. That's probably want you should be shooting for if you want to create a professional image before you even open your mouth.

Re:Your staff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844895)

It's not about "judging" you, they can tell whether you take them seriously or not by whether you bother to dress yourself properly. Check out the "Try This On" podcast (especially the suit episode).

Au naturel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844265)

In pants, surrounded by discarded Cheetos packets

who cares? (1)

kungfuj35u5 (1331351) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844279)

For day to day operations does it really matter? I do not find a person's dress code at all reflects their abilities and I am damn sure not distracted by what someone wears. Then again I am looking at code all day, not people.

Crawling under desks (3, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844289)

If you're still crawling under desks, then you obviously don't want to be wearing a suit. I just wear my jeans and t-shirt, and occasionally throw an shirt on over the top when I want to be a bit more "professional". The dress code here is "anything with a collar". I got into trouble for wearing awesomely comfortable sweat pants one time, so now I stick with jeans :p

Re:Crawling under desks (3, Insightful)

mrmtampa (231295) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844975)

Do not crawl under desks; delegate! I once worked at a bank where our IT manager was an extremely competent programmer who had been promoted to AVP. One day the VP, his boss and mentor, caught him going through some code with us and he hit the roof. He actually promised to fire him if he ever caught him at it again.

As far as clothes go, keep in mind that your visibility is now vertical, not horizontal. Dress for your audience. Or follow the consultant guideline, dress one level above your constituents.

I know its BS, but its also reality.

You can't go too wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844291)

If you adopt Mitt Romney's look [] .

Re:You can't go too wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844883)

If you adopt Mitt Romney's look.

I don't know, the continual glazed look of incomprehension can be off putting.

Re:You can't go too wrong (1, Offtopic)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844941)

I don't know, the continual glazed look of incomprehension can be off putting.

Yeah..kinda like Obama, when the teleprompters go blank.....

Don't crawl (3, Interesting)

jdigriz (676802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844293)

Your staff members should be the ones crawling under the desk. You're the department head for God's sake. Act too busy or something. Rank hath its privileges. Personally, as a self-employed consultant, I wear a button-down with the collar open and black Dickies work pants (non-cargo) as ordinary dress pants rip too easily and get snagged on stuff while crawling under desks.

Of course. (0)

Quakeulf (2650167) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844301)

T-shirts, jeans and sneakers. There you have it.

The best is when people break the stereotype. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844305)

Cargo pants, muscle shirt and a utility vest full of unfathomable gizmos. Fedora.

Yes. (2)

o_ferguson (836655) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844319)

Just a middle finger held high, motherfucker.

Appearance matters (3, Informative)

pudding7 (584715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844321)

That said, you don't have to wear a suit and tie. Black/Brown shoes, nice jeans, and a long sleeve shirt (untucked).

Re:Appearance matters (4, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844635)

That said, you don't have to wear a suit and tie.

I don't think that "First time submitter KateKintail" was planning to wear a tie. I mean, she could, but...

Kate: consider a geeky mug on your desk (I have ":w! saves") and geeky accessories (earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc - I even have a purse made of computer-keyboard keys). You can also totally geek out on your fingernails with nail pens. Mine right now have the Pirate Party logo.

Re:Appearance matters (5, Insightful)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844713)

Look at your peers. How do fellow managers dress? If you are meeting external people (clients, vendors) how do they dress. How does your boss dress? I had a point haired boss who gave me 1 good piece of advice, don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.

Be neat. Clean, well-fitting cloths go a long way. Some people can pull of a professional look in jeans, t-shirt and jacket. Some people can’t pull this off, but there are a lot of geek polo shirts floating out there.

Be subtle. Be more like Howard Wolowitz then Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory. Sheldon’s t-shirts tend to scream. Howard always a little geek around him (belt buckets, pins, etc.)

Re:Appearance matters (2)

Anomalyst (742352) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844949)

belt buckets

Does one hang them next to where the onion is tied?

Geeky yet classy (2)

gerald626 (197224) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844331)

dress like The Doctor all the time. Bow ties are cool! 8]

Re:Geeky yet classy (1)

eternaldoctorwho (2563923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844583)

It's a Stetson. I wear a Stetson now. Stetsons are cool.

Re:Geeky yet classy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844801)

[bang as the Stetson flies off your head] Hello Sweetie.

Re:Geeky yet classy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844667)

dress like The Doctor all the time. Bow ties are cool! 8]

Just make sure it's not like the 6th Doctor!

Re:Geeky yet classy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844841)

Don't dess like Matt Smith. He dresses like a duffus. Bow ties are not cool.

Dress like David Tennant. A nicely tailored suit and sneakers. In the winter you can pull off a nice Tom Baker to keep you warm.

A paradoxical situation (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844355)

When it comes to computer work, if you're high enough in the department to be expected to follow a dress code you're high enough to not have to adhere to said dress code.

Problem solved.

Depends if you want to be a code monkey forever (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844357)

If you want to move up in your company it doesn't hurt to dress the part. I've seen people who dress in jeans and ratty t-shirts languish in their positions while better dressed sleeved shirt and nice pants (nice shoes too sorry) pass them. I hate to say the truth here but good looking people do better than sloppy looking people. That said it's by no means a reflection of your abilities or aptitude

Depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844373)

Are you going to be meeting with upper level management like the CEO or CFO a lot? I have monthly meeting with the Board of Directors and the CEO. The expect business casual. were slacks and a polo shirt, with black dress shoes and a belt.

If I could have it my way all I'd wear would be t-shirts, shorts, and sandals. You really need to look whom you will be interacting with on how you should dress.

Functional over fashion (2)

Infernal Device (865066) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844385)

I've been considering that. Polo shirt w/cargo pants (darker, rather than lighter) is probably the easiest solution that bridges the gap. If you need to dress up more, just keep an pressed Oxford shirt handy and you should be good.

Re:Functional over fashion (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844717)

I was thinking the same, though I would advise regular khakis over cargo pants for work. Just as comfortable (a bit more in my opinion) but they look a hell of a lot nicer. If you need extra space for tools, put 'em on your belt. Of course, that certainly depends on the company as well. If it's all internal work and you aren't going to be meeting any high-level managers, cargo pants would probably be fine. But yea, keep a shirt and possibly tie handy in case they're needed. And probably better pants if you're wearing cargo pants, though that's a lot harder to change.

First rule of geek dresscode (5, Funny)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844401)

The first rule of geek dresscode is that you don't speak about geek dresscode.

Contractor wear (5, Informative)

Papa Legba (192550) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844409)

In the computer contracting field, which tends to be semi-profesional dress, what you are shooting for is bussines casual Slacks, black shoes, button up shirt (short or long sleeve) with no patterns on it.

Remember two things, you should not be climbing under things anymore. Directors direct others to do this work. Secondly you are now going to have to play interdepartment politics. this means you are going to have to make sure people take you seriously. this, unfortunatly for humans, means a dominance display in the form of your clothing. You are not going to win a budget fight and be taken seriously wearing clown shoes no matter how correct your argument is.

So accept that in your new world clothes still donates status and ability. You need to adapt because you are not going to change the course of human evolution overnight.

Re:Contractor wear (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844879)

>> means a dominance display in the form of your clothing

See here [] for some suggestions.

General rule of thumb ... (5, Insightful)

Spectre (1685) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844417)

... for any workplace when it comes to dress:

Look at how your boss dresses. Your normal, "I'm not meeting with clients" work wear should NOT be dressier than your boss on a typical day, but shouldn't be significantly trashier either, unless you have filthy work duty* that your boss doesn't participate in.

Actually this rule of thumb applies to behavior, handling of issues, manner of answering the phone, all kinds of things. Check how your boss and your peers around the company do something, assume it to be the corporate norm, and adapt that corporate norm to your specific situation.

*poking around through a raised floor/dropped ceiling and the like

Polo shirts (1)

pierreboulez (864938) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844419)

Depends on the corporate culture. Definitely wear polo shirts or similar collared shirts; no T-shirts. In some places IT middle management wears jeans; in others it's Dockers or similar khakis. I've been a contractor for a few years, formerly in IT management, and I've seen this dress in many, many places.

Facial hair? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844425)

Neckbeard? ;)

Betteridge Strikes Again! (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844427)


Im the only IT guy at an insurance company.. (1)

jpedlow (1154099) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844431)

As the only IT guy here (120 users, 9 servers), they make me wear dress pants/shoes/shirt at all times.

It's a bit frustrating, but they are very stuck in the 70's that way...but they give IT a decent budget so I cant complain too much :)

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844439)

If you think your 'look' doesn't effect your ability to get promotions your wrong. For IT involving physical labor the generally accepted dress code (by upper management) is jeans and tucked in shirts with collars. For IT focused on programming and software fixes the general dress code is same as other desk workers (ie sectaries, HR, AP, etc). Just remember as a boss you set the standard for your employees, you show up in jeans and a t-shirt, they show up in shorts and a wife beater (extreme example).

FYI this comes from round table discussions with division supervisors of an enterprise level oil and natural gas company.

Dress for the role you want next (5, Insightful)

anjrober (150253) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844453)

Ignore all the "it doesn't matter what you look like" comments you are bound to receive on slashdot.
Dress like the role you want next
Yes, you can wear t-shirts and jeans and stay exactly where you are today.
Dress like an adult. This generally means khakis and a button down shirt or polo shirt.
Sure, sometimes you can slide in jeans, but have nice ones.
No t-shirts. no sandals ever.
go to jcrew, banana republic, etc.
and stop asking slashdot for clothing advice

Re:Dress for the role you want next (1)

alphax45 (675119) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844701)

Best advice so far!

Re:Dress for the role you want next (1)

mulvane (692631) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844893)

I am so going to start dressing like a male porn star...For straight films of course!!! I know you sick bastards would think otherwise..

Hoodies optional as CEO (1)

cyberspittle (519754) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844455)

How you dress sets the tone in the office.

geeky tie (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844463)

Put on the dress shirt and pants but throw in a geeky binary tie or something

Well... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844465)

Bow ties are cool.

Business Casual (1)

The Dancing Panda (1321121) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844467)

Nice Jeans/Khakis and a collared shirt. It's not hard, and you look like a respectable but casual person.

You set the tone (4, Insightful)

undeadbill (2490070) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844485)

As the Director, you get to decide the dress policy for you staff, aside from whatever HR may demand. At least, that is how it is in most workplaces. So, expect your staff to take a cue from you and dress slightly down from whatever you may present. If that ends up being the case, some monogrammed polo shirts might not be bad to keep around (you know, Horde logo, Tardis, etc). For interviews, I would consider wearing the minimum of whatever YOU would expect someone would come to an interview in. Based on what little you wrote, I would guess a polo or bowling/tropical shirt?

Aside from that, I would doubt that dressing up matters much at your workplace if you were promoted to Director and like dressing in t-shirts and jeans.

Sport Coats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844487)

Wear nice jeans.. not ratty ones. Pick your favorite geeky shit, then slap a nice, earth tone jacket over it. It gives you the professional looking edge over the others, while showing your geek pride.

Speed Suit (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844489)

Re:Speed Suit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844723)

At a prior job as a server admin at a research university, I bought two special outfits: one jumpsuit, and one lab coat. I had my name and university logo on both and added some vendor logos and patches. I'd wear the jumpsuit to the IT staff meetings and the lab coat to Research staff meetings.

Polo shirts and khaki pants (1)

rmmeyer (84419) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844507)

In general, most places that I've been in during my 30 year career have had managers and supervisors generally wearing golf shirts and khaki pants or something similar. This is for places that have no real dress code other than clean, in good repair and not offensive.

I would take a look around the company and see how the rest of the team leaders dress. Regardless of how the geeks dress, you're going to need to peddle influence in order to get your budget and policies passed. The better you dress (without overdressing your higher level managers, the more respect you can garner from people that have no clue about IT.

Check out what your manager and his peers wear and go even with that or *one* step lower. If the company president wears jeans and band tee shirts, it don't matter none...:-)

You could go for the NV pimp look (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844509)

Especially if you are handling security. I deduce this not from experience, however; I deduce it from Verizon [] .

Yeah, I keep dropping that link. Can't help it.

go packers! (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844511)

There was 1 guy who 100% of the time worked in IT on phone support and never worked in the field so he usually came in grey sweatpants and a Packers jersey. You could actually show up to a million dollar job interview in a Packers jersey in Wisconsin and it'd still be acceptable but not the sweatpants lol.
I'm the head IT manager at my company and I just wear khaki or otherwise tan colored shorts, usually with sort of poofy utility pockets since I carry stuff all the time and I'm definitely not carrying a man purse. For the top, I wear something with buttons and usually lines up and down it. It's sort of a technician look or architect. It's a tiny bit geeky but still would look normal on a non-IT worker and looks pretty good overall. My other 2 jobs had the exact same dress code as well. If any job told me to wear a suit every day just to work in IT, regardless of the position level, I'd tell them to shove it up their ass. I'm pretty skinny but I'd sweat like crazy in something like that, let alone having to crawl under a desk with it to hook up a monitor.

I hate how casual the work place has become (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844521)

I'm a systems engineer and I dress very nicely for work. There, I said it.

When I first started here about 6 months ago, I got constant (almost snide) remarks from those who were in the extreme side of the casual camp that I was dressing better than everyone else. Well, yes, I am. I care very much about my appearance and being a professional, thank you. When I first started, people didn't dress the part. Within a few weeks of my arrival the office in general started dressing better. Now even those in the casual camp are dressing better and putting in some effort to personal appearance.

No, you don't have to wear a suit or a tie, but if you're in some position of authority/believability I believe you should dress the part. T-shirts and jeans are fine for a college campus, not a company.

Depends on Dress Code (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844533)

If your dress code is full on tux, well, there's not much you can do about that. If it's everything from birthday suit to space suit, then have a riot, HOWEVER...

Jeans are nice and durable, not that you really need it, but some people like crawling in something tougher than dress pants. But jeans aren't really easy to match up with a nicer top. While you don't have to wear a button down (except if your dress code states it), wearing a t-shirt with a decal or something that does not look nice is probably a bad idea (management will probably regard it as unprofessional), but monochromatic black shirts can be your friend.

There's also a khaki cargo pants option. I've always enjoyed this personally because of the extra storage space. And they complement an every day dress shirt very well. If you need to spice things up a bit more you can always wear a tie as well.

If you do choose the t-shirt option, I'd bring a dress shirt and tie in the case you have a meeting or something.

Swap out the tee shirts for golf shirts (1)

gti_guy (875684) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844537)

When I made the move from worker bee to director all I did was ditch the tee shirts for (mostly vendor-supplied or company) golf shirts and made sure to have a denim overshirt or corduroy sportcoat handy for improtu meetings w/ CxO-level mtgs. Levis 501s and sneakers were still mandatory for geek cred.

Sod this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844543)

Shit like this is why I got out of computing. Being an office monkey just aint for me.

Mismatched socks (5, Funny)

khendron (225184) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844547)

To quote the new VP of Development at my company, on the day of his promotion: "I stand here before you wearing one brown sock and one blue sock, demonstrating that you do not need to know how to dress yourself to get ahead."

Might be time to put some big boy pants on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844559)

Basically, it all depends. Do the other department heads look like an advertisement for J. Crew or for Hot Topic? Remember who is signing your checks, and who has the ability to select or pass you up for further promotions. When climbing up within management, you want to stand out, but in a good way. (As in through your work, initiative and leadership skills.) However you also want to fit in. And while wearing a Han Shot First t-shirt might get nods of appreciation from your WoW guildies, unless your entire office is geek-chic, you'll be seen as an immature kid by the other department heads.

On the flip side, if all the other heads wear suits, that's not practical. I've ruined many a pair of dress slacks crawling around on floors.

You should always wear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844563)

T-Shirt and shorts, no other option is acceptable!

Not ready yet I think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844579)

What is the world coming to. If you have to ask slashdot what to wear maybe you aren't ready to have people working under you. Just a thought.

Depends on the circumstances (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844581)

In a non-tech company, if you have less than 10 people working under you, you can probably get away with polo shirts, dockers, and casual shoes (probably not sneakers) and always be willing to get dirty helping out. If you have more than 10 people working under you, dress slacks and shirt and tie and never get dirty. In both cases, make sure that when your people are responding to a disastrous incident or on a death march that you're there in the office for them and are doing what you can (picking up lunch, coffee, etc.).

This is how my boss runs things, and I admire him a lot.

First Party (3, Informative)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844599)

Penny Arcade has been starting to put out professional clothing under the "First Party" clothing like. They have polo shirts and ties, I believe. You'll look professional but still show that you aren't a stuck-up suit-wearing ambercrombie-douce wannabe. And they do look spiffy. Just get some kahkis to go with it. You don't really need the tie unless you're meeting with clients and want to wear a button down shirt which I think they have now as well.

My preference (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844601)

If you want to dress up a bit wear khakis. Most of your geeky shirts will probably go with them and they hide under-desk dust well.

Casual is the only way to go (1)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844637)

If your company agrees, that is.

As for me, Black Flag t-shirt and jeans is how I roll.

you need to wear orange* (5, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844693)

1. cheetos stains are ok on an underling's t-shirt, but as a manager, when you wipe your cheetos hands on your shirt, it should blend in, so you appear professional. therefore, ultraviolet orange is the only shirt color you can wear from now on

2. you should not wear the same jeans more than 3 days in a row. it is ok to set them out and allow the bacterial mass to age for a day or two, and then wear them another day later

3. when you take your shoes off, the sock odor whiff from the cubicle next door should not exceed 220 ppm particulates of fungal matter. this level for managerial positions is more strict than 660 ppm particulates of fungal matter for underlings. so socks must be changed at least weekly. if you have a your own office now, then by all means, you do not have to change your sock policy, private offices are allowed mushroom growth

(* you are asking slashdot for clothing advice. SLASHDOT. what do you expect?)

Director... (2)

crashumbc (1221174) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844777)

Depends on the company, but generally, yes being a "director" mean you dress business professional(i.e. suit tie or equivalent).

If you want to be taken seriously, you need to dress the part.

casual (1)

danbuter (2019760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844797)

I go with khakis and polo shirts. Comfortable, but still sorta classy.

Tux T-Shirt (1)

Westwood0720 (2688917) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844803)

Obviously its one of those t-shirts with the tux imprint on it. Casual Fridays is the shirt that has Carlos wearing aviator glasses.

Fashion geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844815)

Fashion's not just another avenue for showing off your expertise. Even in the humblest styles, wearing nice clothes is a service to others.

Dress to the role. Apply your expertise with the internet to this -- you can avoid a lot of the cost of shopping by buying from retailers such as or, and scoping our sales from major retailers.

Your appearance to others is a worthwhile investment.

I believe in good Hawaiian shirts (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844835)

The quality level where the pattern matches across the pockets and the front. Abstract or floral patterns. Plain tan khakis. If there's any safety hazard in the area, closed shoes.

Bow ties (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844843)

Bow ties are cool.

Dress like a hipster.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844859)

but you probably would't know what that is....

Geek dress code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844881)

Now that KateKintail will have staff/budget a professional style of dress will be required for dealing with the non-technical staff, which probably means collar shirts, durable slacks/tidy jeans of some kind and dress shoes
I experimented with this in a previous position; most people outside tech support/programming dens treated me better when I dressed better.
This includes people who "knew better" and the people who approved budgets or signed cheques.

What do the clothes say about you? (4, Insightful)

HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844899)

If you are being promoted to "Director" level, you have more to think about than simply "is this appropriate?" or "am I going to lose my geek cred?"

You need to determine if your new position is going to be one of true decision making authority, with high level direction and little or no socialization with your team (more of a high level director role), or if the position is more of a classic on-hands leadership role where you can walk amongst your team as sort of a "team captain" (more of a manager role).

If you feel like you'll be among your team as a leader, but still considered a peer (albeit a "boss" peer), then business casual is probably fine; maybe even the same way you've always dressed. However, if your new position enforces that weird disconnect between your employees (they are no longer peers, but valued employees) then you need to dress as professionally as possible, and leave all of your "flair" out of the deal. Save that for your office trinkets, or leave it at home. Who are you "one" of now? Dress like those people do.

I don't envy the move to a "director" position for these reasons; while it's an interesting career move, you really do have to set yourself apart through dress and behavior. Your peers will become the other directors, not the team you're managing, and you need to come across as competent in their eyes, too.

Whatever you decide to do, take care of your new team and be a good boss. That's more important than clothes.

Yes. (1)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844923)

Parachute pants.
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