Dress To Impress, Or Do Actions Speak Louder Than Clothing?

Dressing for work, an interview, an internship, a networking event, etc. is a source of anxiety for everyone at some point in their career. Each company and event is different, so it can be nerve-racking not knowing what the proper dress code is, what you can and can’t wear, etc. You want to make the best impression and your clothes say a lot about you and who you are!

There’s also the question of what season it is, what city you’re working in, whether you walk to work or not, and whether you’ll be sitting or standing most of the time, among other concerns! That’s a lot to think about, so it’s no wonder so many people feel frustrated with this kind of thing.

The way you dress can play a big role in your professional career. Part of the culture of a company is the dress code of its employees. Some companies prefer a business casual approach, while other companies require a business professional dress code. But does this affect those of us working in IT or even start-ups?

Most of us in IT have managed to climb the ranks with a simple wardrobe of jeans and promotional t-shirts. Those with larger disposable incomes even have the luxury of stretching to polo shirts. That’s because IT generally has a looser dress code than most other occupations—depending, of course, on the company you work for.

This causal approach to clothing may even be the reason most of us go into IT, subconsciously at least! Heck, it’s not uncommon to see some younger IT workers walking around in their bare feet in the summer.

Those who went to business school probably had tips on this every other day. But for the rest of us, how casual is too casual? If we want to move ahead in a company, do we have to look the part? If we turned up at a doctor’s surgery or a lawyer’s office or a surgeon’s consultation we would expect them to look professional. Is it the same with IT staff in server rooms? Personally, dressing up “smart” for work takes me well out of my comfort zone—I’m definitely a jeans and t-shirt guy.

Tuck that shirt in and stand up straight! Should scruffy IT staff be ordered to smarten up in the office? I’d like to hear your opinions on the topic!

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Christian Harris is editor and publisher of BCW. Christian has over 20 years' publishing experience and in that time has contributed to most major IT magazines and Web sites in the UK. He launched BCW in 2009 as he felt there was a need for honest and personal commentary on a wide range of business computing issues. Christian has a BA (Hons) in Publishing from the London College of Communication.