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Ask Slashdot: Is There a Professional Geek Dress Code? 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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Ask Slashdot: Is There a Professional Geek Dress Code?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:54PM (#40844215)

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

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:47PM (#40845191) Homepage Journal

      To the submitter: 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?"

      You shouldn't be crawling under desks. The people you will be supervising should.

      I'd say, ask you boss what is required for you to wear. If he's ok with jeans and tshirts, go for it.

      • by Defenestrar ( 1773808 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @03:19PM (#40846753)

        I'd say, ask you boss what is required for you to wear. If he's ok with jeans and tshirts, go for it.

        No. If you boss recommends jeans and t-shirts, because that's a company culture thing, then and only then go for it. Otherwise dress at least one step up from those you supervise, or better yet at an equivalent step to what your new supervisors are wearing.

        People are visual animals and a very large portion of behavioral queues are completely sub-conscious. The phrase "clothes make the man" may be disturbing from an intellectual standpoint, but it's entirely accurate from a human-reality standpoint. Do some experimentation - attend various service locations in differing levels of dress and pay attention to the body language and other sub-conscious queues you're given.* You should want those you supervise to unconsciously look up to you, and you may also want your new supervisors to think of you as one of their peers. It's the uniform of the professional - it's not very different than the blue coveralls a mechanic wears in the shop. Sorry, but the days of this [] are gone.

        * You might want to check your jurisdiction's laws before experimenting much with a negative control.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gspear ( 1166721 )
          Good post, but it would look more professional if you had used "cues" instead of "queues".
        • by nude_noot ( 1548137 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @07:06PM (#40849765)

          Otherwise dress at least one step up from those you supervise, or better yet at an equivalent step to what your new supervisors are wearing

          What if his new subordinates take that advice too? Then they're trying to dress equivalent to him, while he's trying to dress one step up from them.

          It's a vicious cycle that'll see them all wearing Gucci tuxedos (or whatever is the highest in style).

      • by gd2shoe ( 747932 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @06:17PM (#40849161) Journal

        You shouldn't be crawling under desks. The people you will be supervising should.

        Woah! BUZZ! Wrong.

        A low level manager (team leader) should do the work that he expects his team to do. It is the only way to earn their respect, and the best way to set a high standard of expectation. Even if extra responsibilities and meetings prevent him from engaging everyday, he should be participating for a couple of hours, several days a week.

      • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:59PM (#40852037)

        You shouldn't be crawling under desks. The people you will be supervising should.

        Correct. The grand poobah of an IT department with more than four or five employees may get his hands dirty with things for others even as lowly as rackmount switches and servers, but should generally not stoop to the PC repair level. He needs to be seen as someone who sees the big picture, not the little picture. He can program, he an administrate user account privileges, he can administer an application, or can deal with network routing and administration, but he shouldn't be doing entry-level work. Even for board meetings or other officer meetings he should bring an underling if anything more complicated than hooking a laptop to the projector is necessary, for others. For himself, he needs to be never seen needing outside assistance by employees outside of the IT department.

        I'd say, ask you boss what is required for you to wear. If he's ok with jeans and tshirts, go for it.

        Probably not, in my opinion, at least not for four days a week. Clean, non-stone-wash jeans in dark colors are about as far into denim as I would think are acceptable, and minimally a polo shirt or short-sleeve button-down shirt.

        the IT director doesn't just interface with the geeks, and has to make a different kind of impression. He has to show that he leads to others, and in part that means having the look. It also is important to help start the department off with a modicum of discipline and self-restraint. Once the department is established and has something of a culture, then maybe perhaps the director can cut loose a bit, but until then, no. If he doesn't build it right from the start then it could be dysfunctional from the beginning.

    • by Razgorov Prikazka ( 1699498 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:57PM (#40845353)
      What my girlfriend used to do cheating her way trough highschool: write imortant stuff on your upper leg, about an inch or so up the end of the skirt. Move the skirt a little up and get your info. Move it back when the teacher comes around patrolling. The teacher (M) cant search you there for that would be inappropriate ;-)
      So, first up on the leg: 1 check all cables 2 try turning it off and on again. Now no one will ever know she forgot how to use a computer!
      Kate is a female name right??
      • Hahahahaha! Best advice yet! I'll definitely remember that when I forget how to troubleshoot. And then I can use the other leg for HTML cheat codes. And look at you being so observant and reading names. I think you're the only one. Not that I don't like wearing ties... I just don't have more than a couple for costumes/cosplaying. Then again, I don't have too many skirts either...
        • by ffejie ( 779512 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @03:27PM (#40846897)
          My advice for you is to look at how your bosses dress and emulate it. Yes, he might be a male, but it'll give you an idea of what he/she expects. Is she in a suit every day? Is it because she's always visiting clients? Does she expect you to visit clients? What about days when she's not visiting clients? If your boss is male, just do the female equivalent. If he's in a suit and tie, you should probably wear blouses and pants (not jeans) or a skirt/conservative dress. If he's in jeans and a polo, you can be in jeans. If he's in a t-shirt and cargo shorts, you can wear whatever the hell you want.

          Sure, you might be overdressed some days, but more likely than not, you'll always feel appropriate.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @04:47PM (#40848005)

          Nothing says YOU WILL BOW DOWN BEFORE ME quite like black leather and stilettos. :)

          • Not bad, but you're forgetting that accessories are key.

            For starters, I suggest a riding crop, a Persian cat, and a vaguely Eastern European accent.

        • by Macgrrl ( 762836 )

          Replying and trashing all the mods I'd done on this thread already.

          Have a look at what your colleagues at a similar level in the organisation wear. Use this as a starting point.

          Female specific advice:

          • Trousers are your friend if you think there is even the remotest possibility that you will have to crawl under a desk, make sure they are cut so you can crouch and bend in them comfortably.
          • Keep a blazer cut jacket hung up somewhere, it can cover a multitude of sins if you need to meet someone new and have to
      • by RaceProUK ( 1137575 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @02:40PM (#40846127)

        Kate is a female name right??

        It's short for Bob.

  • by Anonymous Coward

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

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:02PM (#40844397)
      If he had common sense do you really think he would be asking a bunch of nerds for fashion advice?
      • Re:Dress Code (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rei ( 128717 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:26PM (#40844845) Homepage

        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 (Score:5, Informative)

        by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:30PM (#40844907) Homepage Journal

        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: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Since when does a female, nerd or otherwise, ask a male nerd for actual fashion advice? That's not exactly our strong suit.

        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          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).

          You're assuming that just because the submitter is using a female name they are actually female.

          I could be a dog in Sweden for all you know.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kyont ( 145761 )

        If she had any common sense, she wouldn't have let herself get promoted to management!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:36PM (#40844999)

      It is different for each organization.
      1. Customers: Who are your customers? Do you meet with them? How Do they Dress?
      2. Travel: Are you expected to be seen in public?
      3. Culture: What do others ware in your level of position?

      The place I work is formal, my normal ware is a Dress Shirt and a Tie, Slacks, and black shoes.
      I have worked at places that were less formal where I can get away with a polo shirt or a collard short sleaved shirt.
      But I found a button down collared shirt is the good medium.

    • Re:Dress Code (Score:4, Informative)

      by Homr Zodyssey ( 905161 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @02:31PM (#40845975) Journal

      You said that you were wearing jeans and t-shirts, so we can assume that is within the cultural norm. I would suggest trading in the T-shirt for something with a collar on it. In order to maintain your geek-cred, you could check out the "First Party" line of shirts over at penny-arcade. []

      On the other hand, a tweed jacket and a bow-tie would work. []

      • by ethanms ( 319039 )

        +1 on the collar... that's basically the distinguishing point between "business casual" and "who's that slob?". Think Geek has a small assortment of polo's, and some of those are even reasonably priced once on sale/clearance (~$13).

        If you're a lady... well... as little as I know about men's fashion I know even less about lady's fashion, but I'm thinking a polo might not be a good choice.

  • 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.
  • Look to Gene Kranz (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amliebsch ( 724858 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:55PM (#40844253) Journal

    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.

  • by buchner.johannes ( 1139593 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:55PM (#40844263) Homepage Journal

    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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by captaindomon ( 870655 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:14PM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

        by number11 ( 129686 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @02:14PM (#40845697)

        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.

        That's true. When people dress in suits, I always assume they're going to try to steal something from me, but don't want to get their hands dirty.

        Some will rob you with a six-gun, some with a fountain pen.
        -Woody Guthrie

    • Re:Your staff (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:22PM (#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.

  • Crawling under desks (Score:4, Interesting)

    by somersault ( 912633 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:57PM (#40844289) Homepage Journal

    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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mrmtampa ( 231295 )

      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 kn

  • Don't crawl (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jdigriz ( 676802 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:57PM (#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.
  • Appearance matters (Score:4, Informative)

    by pudding7 ( 584715 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:58PM (#40844321)
    That said, you don't have to wear a suit and tie. Black/Brown shoes, nice jeans, and a long sleeve shirt (untucked).
    • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:16PM (#40844635) Homepage

      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.

      • by alexander_686 ( 957440 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:19PM (#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.)

      • by KateKintail ( 1181377 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @02:47PM (#40846237)
        LOL Thanks for noticing :-) I do own ties... but they're usually for costuming/cosplaying, not business formal. I'm so not a girly girl (I don't think I'll ever have the time/energy/desire to paint my nails) but the Pirate Party logo sounds pretty darn epic :-) And having an excuse to invest in more geek jewelry for a more subtle nod seems like a great route to try.
    • by SuperQ ( 431 ) *

      Yea. I've been slowly growing out of just jeans/tshirts for a while. About 5 years ago I decided to get in better shape and stop dressing like a slob. Of course that doesn't mean dropping the relaxed jeans and t-shirts altogether. I also didn't want to be a boring suit or wear awful business casual crap. I see enough of the cookie cutter kahki-and-baby-blue-shirt bros around. Worse yet is the ones that can't even get button down shirts that fit them properly. It's like they're a baby-blue hot air bal

    • For men, military style tactical boots, kept polished, can be almost indistinguishable from dress shoes, and are an order of magnitude or two more comfortable. In addition, the type with steel toes and non-slip soles are approved footwear for any place I have ever been that required safety boots.

      Add a set of comfortable gel insoles to those and you will have foot nirvana all day.

      For women, stick with comfortable shoes over pretty/fancy ones. Even sitting at a desk all day, your feet have a major impact on your overall comfort. Low heels or flats that match a variety of clothes can be life savers. And don't forget that you too can use the lovely gel insoles to improve comfort.

      In either case, it is also nice to be able to sneak the shoes off under a desk and stretch your feet out while you work. Just keep clean feet and no one will even know. (Except the support monkey checking your Ethernet cables)

      If you are sitting for longer hours than standing and moving around, wear a belt that is slide adjustable instead of one that has pre-punched holes. Remember that the longer you are sitting, the more your spine compresses and the more your girth temporarily increases (no matter how fit you are).

      If you end up having to wear dress shirts and find them uncomfortably hot or cool, Under Armor and similar companies make thermal regulating undershirts in a variety of colors, including black, white, and neutral/tan that work well enough for desert and cold weather troops. They are well worth the investment in my opinion. They also allow you to slip off a dress shirt if you have to do a desk dive, dust yourself off in the appropriate restroom, and return to full dress without missing a beat.

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

  • 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.

  • by sourcerror ( 1718066 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:02PM (#40844401)

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

  • Contractor wear (Score:5, Informative)

    by Papa Legba ( 192550 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:02PM (#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.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      So accept that in your new world clothes still donates status and ability.

      This happens everywhere. When I went for my first technical job, I dressed down.

      I have people not accept me because I was wearing a costume. When I was in all jeans, they did.

      Even people who want to be different from the establishment and complain that they are not accepted because of how they look, will look how you dress and decide if they accept you based on that.

      It works both ways. I would (wrongly) rather have a guy in a black

    • by Skewray ( 896393 )

      Remember two things, you should not be climbing under things anymore. Directors direct others to do this work.

      Your job is to get the work done. Sometimes you have to do it yourself. Once everyone forgets that your know your job and thinks of you as a management drone, you are replaceable. Occasional public demonstrations are beneficial.

  • by Spectre ( 1685 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:03PM (#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

  • 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 :)

  • by anjrober ( 150253 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:05PM (#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

  • Put on the dress shirt and pants but throw in a geeky binary tie or something
  • Well... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Bow ties are cool.

  • Nice Jeans/Khakis and a collared shirt. It's not hard, and you look like a respectable but casual person.
  • You set the tone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by undeadbill ( 2490070 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:05PM (#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.

  • 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
    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      For the top, I wear something with buttons and usually lines up and down it. It's sort of a technician look or architect.

      Yeah yeah whatever we can keep telling ourselves that. More realistically I wear vertical lines because they're "slimming".

      I'm shocked no one has suggested other corporation shirts. That's popular where I live and work. My DEXCS vendor gave me a nice tee shirt. Our SONET vendor gave me a nice shirt. I've got firewall company shirts, "partner" company shirts, seemingly all of the RBOCs IXCs and LECS including the now out of business ones, both major router vendors, Hurricane Electric gave me a nice shir

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:08PM (#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.

    • 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.

      Just so you know: your coworkers hate you.

  • 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

  • by khendron ( 225184 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:10PM (#40844547) Homepage

    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."

  • First Party (Score:4, Informative)

    by sanosuke001 ( 640243 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:13PM (#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.
  • 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.

  • 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?)

  • by crashumbc ( 1221174 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:22PM (#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.

  • by HapSlappy_2222 ( 1089149 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:29PM (#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.
  • by Anomalyst ( 742352 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:37PM (#40845017)
    But I aint gonna wear a dress or even a kilt regardless of how well it hides my throwing knife.
  • by Necroman ( 61604 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:46PM (#40845177)

    A man Tom Georgens was hired on at LSI back in the late 90's as the president of the company's enterprise storage division (about 600 employees in that division). LSI at the time was a business casual dress code at the time (most everyone wore slacks and a nice shirt, some wore nicer clothes).

    Sometime shortly after he became president of the division he was holding a all-hands meeting at their main development center. That day he greeted everyone at the front-door of the building as they walked in. He was dressed in jeans (possibly shorts), sandals, and a t-shirt. From that day forward engineering started to go to a "tech casual" dress code.

    A number of years later, Tom Georgens became the CEO of NetApp.

    You should wear clothes that fit the enviroment you will be working in for that day. If you plan on meeting with customers you should dress for it. If you are going to just be working with your employees, wear the clothes that you feel is needed to express your attitude towards your employees and peers.

  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @02:06PM (#40845531) Homepage

    and insist that everyone call you Captain.

  • Simple (Score:4, Informative)

    by _KiTA_ ( 241027 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @02:11PM (#40845645) Homepage

    No Jeans. Ever. You're not stacking pallets. Unfortunately yes, it is the end of your days of jeans.

    Slacks, not Khakis (except, perhaps, on Friday). Black. Maybe grey, depending on how it looks with the rest of your clothes. Black goes with everything, so if all else fails, go black.

    Shirt: Button down, opaque, no logos. Undershirt should not be visible (white t-shirt works best). Yes, you are expected to wear two layers of shirt. I would suggest solid colors, although some of the HR and Management guys at my job look decent in plaid and other simple patterns.

    The pants and shirt I have in my assigned uniform are a polyester/cotton blend. They don't breathe, at all, but they are nearly indestructible.

    Shoes: Black, polishable. Not sneakers. Ask a buddy of yours in the military to help you pick out a good pair of dress shoes / boots, if nothing else. The military guys I work with always have excellent looking boots that they swear are comfortable enough to wear for 16+ hours without killing you. I'm certain some military slashdotter can reply here with suggestions for good, comfortable, decent looking boots.

    Socks: Black, not white. Preferably not athletic socks, although you can usually get away with them. You can't get away with white socks. Black.

    Tie: Optional for techs, usually. If not, go for a bow tie. Bow ties are cool.

  • by buddyglass ( 925859 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @02:35PM (#40846031)
    At a small startup, my boss (director of development) wears cargo shorts, a t-shirt and those Tom's shoes that look like slippers. Our VP of Product wears jeans and a hoodie and is often barefoot while in his office. Probably the most stodgy place I've worked was IBM, and even there there were several managers who wore jeans, polo shirts and athletic shoes. They tended to stay away from shorts, sandals and t-shirts. As a non-manager developer I wore all three (shorts, sandals, t-shirts).
  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @03:57PM (#40847347) Homepage Journal

    Your options are:
    1. khakis + polo
    2. khakis + short sleeve button down shirt (not hawaiian) - this is my consultant "uniform". boring but functional (comfortable, no dry cleaning required, inexpensive)
    3. black jeans + shirt above - cheating, but works
    4. blue jeans + button down shirt with japanese art on it (Koi or Geshi or something) + sport jacket - basically what non-geek would consider friday night attire.
    5. black slacks + any shirt above

    #4 is a bit geek-chic, but for a boss at a trendy web company it generally works.

    obviously in all cases you wear good shoes. no retro sneakers, skater shoes or sandals.

    if you're a CEO with $100m+ in assets you can wear whatever you want. a pink floyd t-shirt, cargo shorts, and sandals. then people will think you're a creative eccentric.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"