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IT Workers Worst Dressed Employees 959

Posted by Zonk
from the sometimes-i-even-wear-pants dept.
Poorly Dressed Anonymous Coward wrote to mention are article run in the Syndney Morning Herald saying that IT workers have been dubbed the worst dressed corporate employees. From the article: "Help-desk staff were named as the worst offenders, followed by those working in technology start-ups, many of whom had continued to wear T-shirts to work as a consequence of the casual web culture of the '90s. 'The internet is now such a massive industry but people haven't caught up in terms of their dress'."
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IT Workers Worst Dressed Employees

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  • by gbulmash (688770) * <semi_famous&yahoo,com> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @07:56PM (#14058001) Homepage Journal
    What ya need is Nerd Grranimals.

    Who would be best poised to offer this? Which computer manufacturer has the best design/style sensibilities? Apple of course. Steve Jobs should put out a line of fashionable nerdwear with photos of electronic components on the interior labels.

    Each line (named after cool-sounding components like "Capacitor", "Resistor", "North Bridge") has its own signature style and contains a 3 or 4 of each type of item (pants, shoes, shirts, sweaters, coats, blazers). Any combo within the line will look good. Buy two complete lines and you have a week's worth of outfits. Capacitor shirt, capacitor pants, capacitor shoes... you're color coordinated, looking good, and it took you no time at all.

    Furthermore, they should have no complex care instructions (wash in warm, tumble dry regular), be seriously stain resistant, and be wrinkle resistant so they don't show the wrinkling effects of all-nighters. And most importantly, make them comfortable.

    - Greg

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:04PM (#14058083)
      ... while another survey concluded that marketing is the most "Ghey" or "Metrosexual" (76%) of all departments. "I don't know what it is but the way those guys in marketing call eachother "bro" all of the time and complement eachother on their shoes and accesories is a bit ... yeah" said shipping supervisor Randy Beatty.
      • by Simonetta (207550) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:58PM (#14058592)
        C'mon, it takes a lot of money to look good and to develop the style to know when you look good. People in tech support don't get paid enough money to look good.

            Plus,...well,...their brains work differently.

            It could be worse. Lip Shit Ralph Lauren forced the people working in his stores to buy the company clothes from his company at full retail cost. And then he paid them minimum wage plus a few points commission on what they sold. How's that for suck?

            Plus how about filling some of the cubicles with beautiful young women? Tech support guys know that they are zeros and will most likely always be zeros. They realize that they will constantly have to be studying new technologies in order to remain employed at chump wages. They know that they will never have the social status that their counterparts in Bangalore and Chennai have with the general public. They know that they will be working for the rest of their lives in dead soulless drab cubicles. They know that the only difference between their lives and the lives of those who are serving (in USA the same verb is used for being in the military and being in prison) 20 years for killing record company lawyers is that they are less likely to be raped after 'work'. So they figure, why not where whatever I feel like wearing.

            What difference does it make to anyone?
        • Brains work different?
          I would tend to think the difference is in the ego.
          Your average marketing dweeb tries to sell their assets with a pretty package. (Not that package you sickos.) Your average geek relies on their mad computer skills, which last I chacked was a lot less tangible.
        • Tech support guys know that they are zeros and will most likely always be zeros. They realize that they will constantly have to be studying new technologies in order to remain employed at chump wages. They know that they will never have the social status that their counterparts in Bangalore and Chennai have with the general public. They know that they will be working for the rest of their lives in dead soulless drab cubicles. They know that the only difference between their lives and the lives of those who
        • by Loco3KGT (141999) on Friday November 18, 2005 @09:23AM (#14061807)
          The only thing in your post that you established as a point is that you have zero confidence in yourself. Almost all of my friends started out in tech support and while they may not have the most fashion sense, they atleast sport a style and don't mourn their own lives like you do.

          Maybe you should take the time to re-evaluate your position in life and your satisfaction with it.

          If you're not happy, you're not likely to be confident in yourself. And it's that right there that is more apparent to other people, especially women, than your dress style.
    • by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans&gmail,com> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:07PM (#14058104) Homepage
      I think you have something there. Between reverse engineering embedded devices, and studying obscure languages, I just don't feel much reason to try and study fashion. If somebody sold a simple low-maintenance fasion line with a guide to how to mix and match the pieces, and a simple explanation of what was appropriate at which location, I would buy in. I do my best with fashion, but I'm told that my best isn't anything to brag about.

      If I could get office-appropriate wrinkle resistant shirts A-F, and pants 1-3, and consult a simple n-dimensional style-matching matrix on the website, I might finally get to talk to a girl.

      and, the website should have an easy to query API for style-match checking.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:08PM (#14058115)
      they should have no complex care instructions (wash in warm, tumble dry regular),

      Whoa, whoa, whoa there. (*writing*) wash..in..warm... what was the next part?

    • by halowolf (692775)
      My choice of attire as a contract programmer is:

      1. Stylish non jean pants
      2. Stylish comfortable shoes, with matching belt and socks
      3. Polo shirt

      Looks good, is comfortable to wear and management doesn't have a problem with it. Honestly i'm sick of suits and ties and just let my quality of work do the talking.

      And from what other workers tell me, they seem to appreciate my relaxed attitude when it comes to crunch time, because I don't look like i'm getting stressed out.

    • Combining a shirt from the 'Inductor' line and pants from the 'Capacitor' line is an ensemble that will keep you bouncing all day long.
  • by Empty Yo (828138) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @07:56PM (#14058003)
    forces their IT folks to wear clothes. Shouldn't the fur be enough?
  • How strange. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @07:57PM (#14058006) Journal
    The Herald seems to think that allowing workers to dress comfortably is a *bad* thing. How strange.
    • Re:How strange. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gbulmash (688770) *
      You can dress comfortably and fashionably at the same time. A pair of Old Navy khakis, a pair of rockport walking shoes, and a decent button down shirt is not a difficult ensemble to throw together and it looks more stylish than jeans and a t-shirt.

      I've lived in/near Seattle for the last 6 years, working in the tech industry, and I've regularly seen people come to work in sweats or wearing shorts in the dead of winter (and it gets cold up here - we're only a 3 hour drive from Canada). The most disconcer

      • Re:How strange. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AuMatar (183847) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:13PM (#14058181)
        Yes, but who really gives a shit? Will dressing up make me code better than if I come in shorts (or sweats)? Will it magicly make me produce fewer bugs? No? Then I'll dress how I want- cheaply and comfortably. You don't like it? Too damn bad. I really don't give a shit.
        • Re:How strange. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Lord_Dweomer (648696)
          It may not make you code better, but if you EVER have the possibility of being in the line of sight of a client or potential client, your dress code can have a HUGE impact on that person's impressions of your company, which could in turn affect your companies revenue or potential revenue. So while I personally agree with you that it is in general a stupid thing, the fact of the matter is that in today's world the majority of business decision makers like professionalism, and people make stereotypes about c
          • Re:How strange. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Unordained (262962) <unordained_slash ... @pseudotheos.com> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @10:24PM (#14059275) Homepage
            ... it is in general a stupid thing, the fact of the matter is that in today's world the majority of business decision makers like professionalism, and people make stereotypes about certain types of clothing ...

            The social world has inertia, though watching fashion shows, you'd be hard-pressed to prove it. People take forever to change their opinions on such things, but conforming to the existing de-facto standard only reinforces it, making change take even longer. Every IT worker I know understands that people feel this way about dress -- and that it's stupid. Yet they'll continue to please customers, customers won't be exposed to different dress, and will never come to associate good service with awkward dress, just as they won't associate good service with tattoos (because they're hidden), abnormal hair (again, hidden or prohibited), etc. People will only associate good service with the 'business look', and will jump to conclusions about otherwise-groomed/dressed/modified service providers.

            No business is going to take a chance on this for the sake of re-educating the public. And the social norm doesn't change as quickly as generations die off -- your parents may die, but the habits and stereotypes they gave you will be with you, and your children, and even your grandchildren, long after. Every generation overlaps with several others, and we all try to cater to each other. (Which is why I fail to understand political leaders who think there's actually a risk of society suddenly changing itself to be radically more or less permissive. What's actually happening is merely a question of threshholds as people get fed up with pretending.)
          • Re:How strange. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Dahamma (304068) on Friday November 18, 2005 @02:38AM (#14060605)
            if you EVER have the possibility of being in the line of sight of a client or potential client, your dress code can have a HUGE impact on that person's impressions of your company

            You obviously don't work in the SF Bay Area - most of the customers I know are frankly worried about the talent of the engineering staff if they are dressed too well... in fact, in general I have seen a startling REVERSE correlation between attire and overall technical competence :)
        • Re:How strange. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Auckerman (223266) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:43PM (#14058990)
          Yes, but who really gives a shit? Will dressing up make me code better than if I come in shorts (or sweats)? Will it magicly make me produce fewer bugs? No? Then I'll dress how I want- cheaply and comfortably. You don't like it? Too damn bad. I really don't give a shit.

          This misses a very important point. Impressions. I'm up there with you man. I miss having purple hair, but as first boss out of college explained: "I don't care what you look like, your coworkers don't care what you look like, but some of my collabarators will care when they come to visit. I need them more than I need you."

          Even if the people you work with and around every day know you're good at your job, in the end that isn't enough. Clients, collabarators, customers, and anyone else from a different work envrioment will take your lack of due care for you appearance and apply it to the entire workplace. That's a real impact. You can wear comfortable cloths that don't look like they came out of a basement for the time your at work, and go back to your t-shirts and hole filled jeans when you get home. They pay you, not the other way around.
          • Re:How strange. (Score:3, Insightful)

            by avajadi (232509)
            > They pay you, not the other way around.
            True, but not true. They make money on you, so the dependency goes both ways, though not in equal shares.
            I expect people I work for, and with, to be professional. If someone judges me professionally by what I wear, he simply isn't professional enough for me to want to work for him ( or her ).
          • You know, I'm surprised the boss objected to your purple hair. I think I would have kept it, and just made sure it coordinated with my tie. A guy with purple hair dressed like a punk is one thing, but who's gonna argue with a guy with purple hair dressed in a suit? ; )
        • Re:How strange. (Score:3, Interesting)

          I've known people (humanities) who had a telecommuting job, and they dressed up in work clothes before walking across the hall to their office. It was part of the whole mental-prep to do work. Personally, I think it has some effect. I used to seem to get underway in the lab faster when wearing my lab-coat.

          In my last job, I made the conscious decision to force myself to wear shoes. I used to wear a nice long-sleeved oxford, twill pants with pleats, and sandals to work. (from early march through novemb
        • Re:How strange. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Builder (103701)
          Actually, dressing smartly HAS made me code better. Because I changed the way I dress (metal t-shirt and jeans to business smart) my whole life changed.

          Even though I wore suits to interviews, changing my day-to-day dress code really made a difference. Suddenly people who never looked at me twice before noticed it, and before I knew it I had moved jobs to a large enterprise based on contacts I had recently made. Since being here, I've been given the opportunity to work on projects and do things that I never
      • A pair of Old Navy khakis, a pair of rockport walking shoes, and a decent button down shirt is not a difficult ensemble to throw together and it looks more stylish than jeans and a t-shirt.

        But the thing thing is, that's not more stylish than a pair of designer jeans, a t-shirt from Threadless and a some limited edition Nike AF1s; what you're describing is just the generic blue button-down and khaki clone that women find (and hate) in every after-work bar in existence.

      • by Propaganda13 (312548) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:04PM (#14058654)
        Why should I wear (and wear out) good clothes when there's no single women where I work?
      • by erice (13380) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:05PM (#14058663) Homepage
        If you aren't the average size.

        My relevent dimesions are 32, 36, and 36. Those are waist, inseam, and sleave length measured in inches. It is near impossible to find clothing that fits, even at big and tall shops. Actually, big and tall shops are much more consistant. They never carry anything that fits.

        Long ago, I mostly gave up. I could find and buy short sleave shirts and jeans without major effort so that's what I wore. More recently, I am finding that I can't even find jeans without a multi day cross town search. After the last such search, I found two pairs at the largest of several GAP stores in my metro area. I bought them both. After I left the store, they once again had nothing in my size.

        Some say the Internet is to blame. Brick and morter clothing shops think they can avoid the expense of carrying a full range of sizes but telling odd size people to buy online. Never mind that fit can not be verified through a web browser. Whatever the reason, it takes all the fun away. It is hard to get excited about fashion when even the basics are denied.
      • Re:How strange. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by macshit (157376) *
        You can dress comfortably and fashionably at the same time. A pair of Old Navy khakis, a pair of rockport walking shoes, and a decent button down shirt is not a difficult ensemble to throw together and it looks more stylish than jeans and a t-shirt.

        It makes you look like a fratboy. More "businesslike"? Yeah. More "safe"? Yes. More stylish? No.

        A typical businessman knows well how to fit in and look like all the other businessmen, and this helps him succeed in business -- but he knows bugger-all about s
    • Re:How strange. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by s20451 (410424)
      Dressing comfortably and dressing well are not mutually exclusive. It's possible to look great in jeans and t-shirt, if the jeans and t-shirt are stylish, just as it's possible to look like a dork while wearing a suit and tie, if the suit and tie came from Wal-Mart.

      Geeks shouldn't be afraid to put thought into their clothes. Style is not completely mysterious, and though the rules can sometimes be subtle, they are learnable with a bit of effort. What's more, looking nice does wonders for your self-confid
    • Re:How strange. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Denyer (717613) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:15PM (#14058210)
      At a guess, the Herald has accepted (or thinly reworded) a press release from a PR firm paid to pass such things on to media such as TV or newspapers. In this instance, the PR firm will be working on behalf of a manufacturer that produces suits.

      It's unlikely the Herald is engaged in any active thought whatsoever.
    • Re:How strange. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sedyn (880034) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:27PM (#14058324)
      It isn't about comfort. It is about looking professional!

      And, according to the profession I'm in, jeans and t-shirts are appropriate. It is called "culture", we have one, and, like all cultures it should be respected. (I am joking about this)

      If you really want to be in a culture that not only encourages but rewards being (as many in western society would call it) well dressed that is fine, have fun at your glorified dog show that you call a career.

      If I was required to dress differently for the sake of being professional by stereotypical standards, I'm coming in with a lab coat, reflecting the "scientist" part of my title.
    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:27PM (#14058329)
      The Herald seems to think that allowing workers to dress comfortably is a *bad* thing. How strange.

      Sure, why not? After all, we're the first to get "downsized", first to have our budgets cut- this despite the fact that IT workers have the highest attrition rate of virtually any other job category. We're often the only people in an entire company "required" to carry a pager. Our managers won't stick up for us, we work in a job which we're visible only when something is wrong (so no matter how good a job we do, the question is "why did this break in the first place). We spend all day listening to people whine and have little "chats" with the boss when we don't bed over far enough. We're the #1 excuse of why business doesn't get done ("oh, I didn't get that out for fedex by 6 because my laptop stopped working right before I was going to save it! Those IT people can't do anything right!").

      Tell you what? Give me that salary review I was promised when I signed up. Give me a competitive wage even half that of the slick-haired assholes in sales, or the ditzy bleached bimbos in marketing. Take me out to lunch when the mail server crashes and I get everything back up and running in record time, yet again.

      I'll be more than happy to dress nicer in return.

      • Why did it break in the first place?

        The one question an IT geek can never answer. At 5pm email is working fine. At 8am the next day email is not working. No-one has been in the office from 5pm to 8am, so why did the email break? Oh, the disk was full, or there was an influx of spam or some other reason. So what does the IT geek do? He frees some space on the disk or he configures the spam filter to drop messages with a lower score. Two days later the email server is down again. What's the problem th
    • by DrCode (95839) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:07PM (#14058685)
      Besides... if we male technical types dressed better, the women would be all over us, and we wouldn't get any coding done.


  • I'm a project manager at an architecture firm. On my best day i can muster some black jeans and a polo shirt with boots. All my coworkers have horn rimmed glasses with silk slacks and pastel colored shirts. Plus they wear trech coats in the middle of summer. maybe I should get a job in help desk that way I woudl fit right in.
  • Eewww. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Limburgher (523006) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @07:59PM (#14058024) Homepage Journal
    And if you must wear jeans and thongs in to work,

    If I wear jeans, how can anyone tell if I'm wearing a thong? :)

  • Hmmm. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by croddy (659025)
    Methinks it the fellows in suits the ones who are behind the times.
  • Goddamn right (Score:3, Interesting)

    by confusednoise (596236) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @07:59PM (#14058026)
    You bet your ass. It's a great thing about being a developer that (usually) it doesn't matter what I look like. Sure, when dealing with clients face to face it's important, but otherwise it doesn't matter.

    I guess the real question is why do IT workers get that freedom when others don't? There's certainly lots of other positions in the world where appearance matters as little. Is it because we've successfully trained the world to diminish their clothing expectations of geeks?

    • by Dr. Evil (3501) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:13PM (#14058183)

      There's an upside and a downside.

      If you don't dress well, you won't get promoted to management.

      I forgot what the downside was.

    • Re:Goddamn right (Score:3, Interesting)

      by daikokatana (845609)
      Sure, when dealing with clients face to face it's important

      Awhhh... And just when I was agreeing with you.

      It does not matter all that much what you look like or dress like, IMHO. I always dress in a single colour T-shirt, jeans and Caterpillars, and I have had ONE remark so far during all those years.

      The remark came from a client, who said to me I'd (quote) "better dress in some kind of suit instead of whatever the hell I was wearing" if I was going to work in "his" building.

      I told him without hesitati

  • by Geekboy(Wizard) (87906) <spamboxNO@SPAMtheapt.org> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @07:59PM (#14058029) Homepage Journal
    I move servers around, and get dirty regularlly. If I rip a teeshirt, I'm not too upset about it, but if I rip a dress shirt, then its gone. Same thing with pants.

    Thats not to say I go to work in ripped clothes. I get clean and decent looking stuff, which is also sturdy.

    And its kinda silly to give me shit about my clothes when I have my labret (lower lip) pierced. (Yes, I kept it in during the interview process.)
  • by Daleks (226923) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:01PM (#14058042)
    After Christmas last year I got a bunch of nice clothes. Black leather ankle boots, cashmere & wool sweaters, dress shirts, etc. You could say I was mildly metrosexual. When I started a new job the following January I was heckled by quite a few people in the company. One woman always said, "Hey that's a nice shirt... are you gay!?" The best part is the people who were actually gay in the office felt left out because no one was noticing their dress.
    • I feel the opposite. A year and a half ago, I ran out of clean clothes and wore a suit to work. My boss was mildly intimidated and quit treating me like his child. So I continued dressing more nicely than anyone in IT and he continued treating me like an adult... for a month or two. Still wear the slightly nicer clothes though.
    • One woman always said, "Hey that's a nice shirt... are you gay!?"

      Heh. I am gay, and I don't get asked that. Instead, I had one guy -- a customer -- ask once, "You always dress so nice. Are you English?" (We're in Ohio.)

  • Translation (Score:5, Informative)

    by Psionicist (561330) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:01PM (#14058043)
    Translation: I work for a PR firm and I would really like you to buy more different clothes so my employer will get more money. Be a good consumer and buy a real shirt, not a polyester one. Then the firm will be happy, and you will perhaps get laid!

    Seriously, Paul Graham has an essay about this (sort of) here: http://www.paulgraham.com/submarine.html [paulgraham.com]

    "Suits make a corporate comeback," says the New York Times. Why does this sound familiar? Maybe because the suit was also back in February, September 2004, June 2004, March 2004, September 2003, November 2002, April 2002, and February 2002.

    Why do the media keep running stories saying suits are back? Because PR firms tell them to. One of the most surprising things I discovered during my brief business career was the existence of the PR industry, lurking like a huge, quiet submarine beneath the news. Of the stories you read in traditional media that aren't about politics, crimes, or disasters, more than half probably come from PR firms.
    • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sl3xd (111641) * on Thursday November 17, 2005 @11:09PM (#14059592) Journal
      I'm personally wondering how many people read TFA, and noted the choice quote:

      Ms Moss believes money should be no object when it comes to dressing well.

      Ms. Moss was the event's host. She's a "Corporate Stylist" -- corporate clothing is her business.

      News Flash! Salesdriod sees a demographic that generally doesn't wear (their) expensive clothes, tries to make those people feel ashamed that they're not spending their money on her wares. More at 11!

      They don't make clothing that works out equally well when running cable through walls, poking around above suspension ceilings, crawling under subfloors, and inside the corporate boardroom. What's next? Construction workers the most poorly dressed in the world!

      II see plenty of construction workers in offices; but nobody expects them to dress in a way that is anything but utilitarian. Guess what? Plenty of IT workers aren't doing work that is any less hard on clothing.
  • Bait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrynM (217883) * on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:01PM (#14058044) Homepage Journal
    From TFA:
    Ms Moss believes money should be no object when it comes to dressing well.
    So this basically boils down to "These damn geeks don't spend like we got those 'bling' kids to". I was soooo hoping for some pictures of the most daring/oblivious of our kind. Oh well. If my company dress code says I can wear tee shirts, then I can. What the hell is so wrong with that?
  • In my 10 year career as a techie, I've noticed something about technical people: Those who are the most honest, the least hype driven, have horrid dress sense; where those with the best dress sense are the .bomb millionaires who will leave the country still owing you unpaid paychecks.

    This seems to hold true in insurance, real estate, used car salesmen, etc. If somebody is wearing a suit, it's because they're trying to distract you from some other deeper, more important character flaw.
  • I used to work at a school, and I was easily one of the better-dressed people there.

    I was an exception, however, as my co-workers were kind of weirded out that I didn't wear shorts or T-shirts to work.

  • Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:03PM (#14058061)
    If you work in a cube all day and never see a client, whats the problem?
    I hate these beaurocratic types that have nothing to do but invent stupid rules, such as expecting everyone to dress to their standard even though there's no practical benefit.
    Its what I DO when I'm at work that should matter, NOT what I wear.
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ragnar (3268)
      Its what I DO when I'm at work that should matter, NOT what I wear.

      Part of what you do at work is to interact with others. IT is increasingly becoming a more social career, requiring cross functional interaction. I wrote the following [duanegran.com] some time back, which may clarify things a bit:

      Many of the very people who argue that they shouldn't be judged on appearances at work are often among the most fastidious when it comes to dressing for a night on the town. So, appearances shouldn't matter, except when they sho
  • Our help desk staff is worse dressed than anyone in the company, but they are
    1. crawling underneath desks
    2. paid less

    so who gives a shit?

    Ms Moss believes money should be no object when it comes to dressing well.

    Either Australians use that phrase differently than we do, or Ms Moss was misunderstood, or she can curl up and die. Money's no object when it comes to feeding your kids. That is, oddly enough, a higher priority for our help desk staff. Sorry if that means the folks at Gap have to fleece a few more idio

  • by Marrow (195242) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:03PM (#14058068)

    Who woulda thunk it!

  • Not too surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by demonbug (309515) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:04PM (#14058082) Journal
    In general, IT workers are not the ones interacting directly with clients in-person, but instead are mostly interacting with people within their own company. Because of this, first impressions really don't matter that much. And, I'm afraid, first impressions are the only reason to get dressed up for business (that, or lack of imagination and fixation on inconsequential things, which is admittedly somewhat descriptive of middle and upper management).

    Of course, dressing nicely does help some people focus, and I think it can be beneficial for many to have "work" clothes and "non-work" clothes in order to better differentiate between work and home, but (in another sweeping generalization) I'd say tech nerds (obviously the whole of the IT industry) feel less of a need to discriminate between home and work than some other groups.
    • by rusty0101 (565565)
      When you consider that the tech nerds are the ones who are 'on' 24x7, carrying a pager and liable to be called in at any time of the day or night to fix whatever failed, I do think that the attitude of 'at least they are wearing clothing.' is a more realistic attitud to take than 'why isn't he in a white shirt and tie, with good slacks, a blazer, and highly polished shoes?'

      The answer to that of course is 'because he was paged at 2:30 by the panicked help desk who needed him to come in to fix the core router
    • by jayloden (806185) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @11:57PM (#14059864)
      Amen brother!

      Seriously though, I work for a startup company, and as such my job ranges from supporting our software products to development, scripting, and system administration. When I started at the company I wore khakis to work every day, jeans on Friday. Then I started wearing jeans for my commute to work (say what you will, I just don't find khakis as comfortable, especially when driving). Eventually I realized nobody really gave a crap if I wore jeans while I sat at my computer, and I stopped wearing khakis all the time,

      Sure, when I have to go to a customer site or on a business trip, I break out the button-down shirts and dress pants. Then it actually matters, because customers impressions of our company will be based on me, our company's representative.

      When I'm sitting at a computer writing code, answering emails, and making phone calls, it makes no difference what I'm wearing. I'm sure there are people out there that work more focused when they're dressed up, or whatever. Well, I'm not one of them. I work best when I'm comfortable, so I can relax and think. All I can say is if I ever have employees, there will be no "business" attire in my place of business.
  • by bgog (564818) * on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:07PM (#14058109) Journal
    corporate stylist, Melanie Moss

    OMG if your job title is corporate stylist you must immediatly proceed to kill whomever gave you that title and then yourself.
  • What an..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by demachina (71715) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:11PM (#14058154)
    ... assanine article to put on the front page.

    Most IT workers aren't dealing with customers face to face most of the time. They are sitting in front of computers, and oddly enough, barring big advances in AI and machine vision computers don't care how you dress.

    Quick tip #1. If you are sitting in front of a computer all comfort trumps fashion sense evertime.

    Quick tip #2. Wearing a stiff buttoned collar with a tie is a pretty bad idea for comfort or probably even good health. I suspect managers do some of the dumb things they do due to the constriction of blood to their brain.

    Quick tip #3. Formal dress is expensive and time consuming. Anything that requires dry cleaning is expensive, and ironing or pressing clothes likewise is time consuming or expensive. Most IT workers want to do more productive things with their time and money than going to the dry cleaners or shopping st Nordstrom's.

    Quick tip #4. If you are a geek and meeting geeks from other companies chances are they will be in shirts and tee's too and they are going to conclude you are a noob or a phony if you wear a shirt and tie to the meeting. Only time you are gonna do it is if you are meeting executives from a customer because they wrongly place value, and make judgments, on how good or bad the tie you are wearing is. On the plus side ties are a top subject for casual chit chat among air headed executives.

    People who deal in person with customers on a regular basis do have a motivation to dress well. Customers will judge you on it and get first impressions, rightly or wrongle.

    People who don't deal with customers shouldn't be wearing expensive uncomfortable clothes on a daily basis.

    A twist on this argument is people who do dress well are probably some of the least trustworthy:

        Politicians .... check
        Lawyers .... check
        Salesmen .... check
        Executives .... check
        Stock brokers .... check

    You see these are all people who are spending big money to create a facade partially based on their wardrobe. They seek to impress you with their clothes to distract you from their substance.
  • by Sebastopol (189276) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:17PM (#14058232) Homepage
    I'm gonna wear 3-piece tweed suits with a bowler and a handlebar moustache to work every day!

    Just like physicists in the early 1900's. Seriously, ever seen how neatly employees at Bell Labs, Bayer, IBM and other famous places dressed back then?

    (This coming from a person who's summer wardrobe consists of 18 black Haynes t-shirts from WalMart.)

  • by peacefinder (469349) <alan.dewitt@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:19PM (#14058258) Journal
    I walked into the local pharmacy the other week to fill a prescription. Behind the counter, next to the pharmacist, I saw a large florid-faced and bearded man wearing a polo shirt. I thought "That must be their IT guy. I bet he's wearing shorts." I stepped up to the counter and peered over. Yup. Shorts.

    He noticed my glance and I could see him size me up. He too saw a large florid-faced and bearded man wearing a knit henley and shorts. Our eyes met and I knew that he knew were were of the same tribe, shamans to the silicon spirits. We smiled an went about our business.

    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers
    For he to-day that sheds his tie with me
    Shall be my brother; be he e'er so vile
  • by Shanep (68243) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:30PM (#14058352) Homepage
    We poor bastards have to work ridiculous hours, crawl around under and behind peoples desks, fuck around under server room floors, sometimes even do shit around dusty cable runs. It gets bloody uncomfortable. We even cut ourselves on bloody computers for our thankless companies and staff. Hello? We BLEED for those bastards! My mother always complained about how much *I* made her bleed during my birth. Well damn it, we bleed too and want some recognition for it! You know that saying? BLOOD, sweat and tears? It was a skinny nerd with thick black framed glasses, held together with a bandage that coined that phrase. I'm sure one day he just got sick of wrecking business shirts with blood and ink stains from the pens in his BROKEN pocket protector and decided, "To hell with pocket protectors, to hell with my own pens and to hell with uncomfortable business shirts! From now on it's t shirts, no more pocket protectors and fuck it, I'm just going to use whatever pen I find in this damn war zone".

    Actually, I don't know what's worse. Getting blood on a $70 business shirt or getting blood on one of my most excellent and beloved OpenBSD t's.

    Hmm, I wonder how many OpenBSD t's I could buy if I claim workers comp?
  • by jtwJGuevara (749094) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:38PM (#14058431)
    She also recommends looking through magazines to get a feel for what suits you. "This is about thinking about what suits you instead of following trends," she said. Someone please explain to me how looking through everyday magazines for clothing advice is *not* following a trend. I honestly fail to see what the article writer is talking about here. I can think of nothing more trendy than browsing magazines to gain fashion advice of any kind.
  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:43PM (#14058458) Homepage

    I had the CEO of a company I was working at start to gripe about my ignoring the dress code. I pointed at the pile of dirt and dust and dead insects that'd fallen out of the ceiling tile I'd pulled aside to work up in there and asked him if he was willing to get into that wearing his suit? He said no way, it was too expensive to ruin. I asked him if he was going to pay if I ruined my good clothes in there? He said no. "Then why should I? Now, can I get back to finding and fixing this wiring problem, or do you want the demo you're doing this afternoon, the one you said was critical to the company's success this year, to flop when none of the stuff you want to show off actually works?".

  • by mulcher (241014) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:57PM (#14058589)
    What the unwashed masses here miss out on is that if you start dressing nicer, people will treat you better, and you will get promoted and or paid more... Sure, you can be judged objectively
    on your work, but most of your work is presentation and communication. Those should be as neat and professional as possible. Do you go to
    the doctor expecting him to walk in wearing flip flops, with greasy hair etc... no... why?

    It is the expectation of professionalism. Dress for success is a common factor that really holds its value. But you should only dress just a little bit less than as good as your boss, or your bosses boss (if you want your bosses job and you think your boss is an idiot).

    Seriously. You will be surprised how quickly you get promoted or well treated and taken more seriously.

    If you dress like a student, you get treated like a student. If you are 40 and still dressing like a student, people think you are weird. If you dress better, you get women or men whichever is your fancy.

    Many grad students also go through this phenomena. The start off wearing the same old same, and then as they get closer to graduation they start dressing nicer and nicer until one day the boss no longer thinks of them as a student in training, but as a credible scientist.

    God help you if your boss dress like a slob. I would take another job seriously.
  • by RembrandtX (240864) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @10:47PM (#14059445) Homepage Journal
    Quite honestly, I'm with everyone else here on this. [Of course, this is slash-dot.]
    Dress doesn't matter in IT.

    Several jobs ago, I was a sales-man. Selling toy soldiers. I wore suits, but when you were selling $10-$20k of product to a small independant retailer, you needed to make an impression.

    I then worked for a cable giant, and was told to wear kakhi's and a polo to work. I did, there were a *LOT* of cute girls in that office, seemed easy to comply - especially with lunch dates in mind.

    I left that job to go work for another fortune 500, where Jeans were expresly forbidden. I wore jeans every day. Once a director asked me [infront of a vp, and a department head] why i was allowed to wear jeans. This man, ironcally - the head of it/ecommerce, and 2 years later, my boss - was told by the VP of marketing : "Oh, thats cause he is one of those programmers, who wants to do all that math in a tie ?"

    The two or three times I pulled an armani out of the closet (remember, i was in sales!) and wore them to work, I made people VERY .. VERY nervous.

    That being said, in a fortune 500 environment, I noticed that on the days I wore a $1500 suit, people stepped out of my way .. made sure to say 'Hi' to me, and [bluntly] I had a lot more 'package glances' from co-workers. Maybe I just look 'nicer' in an expensive suit (who doesn't ?!) but I think, in a professional environment where you interact with outside departments who *NEED* to dress nicely to deal with clients - it can help them feel more comfortable. Job advancement is mainly based on other people's perception of how you do your job. I've seen *AWESOME* coders get shafted again and again, but jr. guys who know how to play the game - get given better projects, raised, and recognition.

    Now I am the V.P. of IT at a smaller company, and all upper management actually tells me all the time to 'dress edgy' when I ask if I should wear a suit.

    In the small co. / startup / under 50 million a year industry. Venture Caps *LIKE* to see the crazy IT guys, it provides them with an oddly inverted feeling of comfort - NO ONE who dresses like that could be hired by such a small company if they were not REALLY good at their job .. i mean .. 'look at them'.

    Like it or not, we actually *HAVE* fostered the belief that good programmers really *don't* wear suits. And the tighter we hold on to that conviction, the more truth it gains :)
  • by Starbreeze (209787) on Friday November 18, 2005 @02:14AM (#14060523) Homepage
    Oh please. I try to dress neatly, even if I'm not dressed super nicely for work. But I have to say, as a female Systems Engineer who tries to be fashionable... it's inevitable that if I'm trying to break in my newest pair of heels, or wearing an expensive sweater or blouse, I'll have to head to the data center and deal with something. I've torn blouses on racks, bled on nice clothes, and also, rack grease doesn't come out of clothes... they don't pay me enough for that.

    Also, have you ever had to crawl under a desk for cabling... in a skirt?? Yeah, it sucks, though I'm sure that employee had a nice view that day.

    IT workers rarely deal with customers, though I try to look decent when I know I'll be meeting with vendors.

    It's just not entirely reasonable to ask anyone in IT to dress up. We think on our feet, deal with hardware on the fly, and deal with various environments.
  • by herbierobinson (183222) on Friday November 18, 2005 @03:13AM (#14060690) Homepage
    Everybody knows that any non-manager who wears a suit at a tech company is incompetent. Even the smarter customers won't believe anything unless they hear it form somebody dressed in ratty jeans and an old shirt.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Friday November 18, 2005 @09:12AM (#14061752)
    Noone will ever criticize your sense of fashion. You are automatically haute coture.

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