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Apart from the brain-dead flirting efforts, that heels-and-skirt-suit effect doesn't sound any different than my reaction to men in suits. If I want to find a clue, I look past the guy whose job involves showing up in a costume chosen in hopes I'm easily manipulated. But then I don't frequent trade shows, so I don't know how many nerds have enough clout to show up dressed normally but not enough to just stay home.

I wear a suit because it shows I give a damn, and occasionally to look a little older.

Many people in startups wear costumes too, just a different sort for a different purpose.

I realize that people in tech generally avoid "suits", but there is a time and place for dressing up and there are certain industries where you need to wear the uniform to play the game. Maybe it works to show up in flip flops as the founder of Facebook, but if you're trying to sell someone a mission critical product and they're going to spend tens of thousands of dollars...

...oh man, I digress, this thinking deserves a blog post of its own.

I like wearing suits. I even like wearing ties.

I don't mean anything by it, I just like tailored stuff. It looks good! It's highly evolved to maximise what men have got. But: if I wore one to most of my meetings, or to work, people'd ask questions or make a bunch of unfounded assumptions, so I don't.

It's a myth that technical communities don't care about clothes. They do - it's just they send a very particular set of signals and, what's more, they're the signals common to countercultures. That's fine: it's just another code, no more or less than any other. It'd be discourteous to go against it. I'm still going to be thinking wistfully of the ties in my wardrobe, though!

A tailored well fitting suit is also extremely comfortable.

I bought a suit when I was in Syria two years ago and its probably the most comfortable piece of clothing I own.

Sounds like it'd be worth a read. I found an example I remembered from The Big Short, finance rather than tech: "Their clothes told you a lot, too. The guys who ran money dressed as if they were going to a Yankees game. Their financial performance was supposed to be all that mattered about them, and so it caused suspicion if they dressed too well. If you saw a buy-side guy in a suit, it usually meant he was in trouble, or schedule to meet with someone who had given him money, or both. Beyond that, it was hard to tell much about a buy-side person from what he was wearing. The sell side, on the other hand, might as well have been wearing their business cards: The guy in the blazer and khakis was a broker at a second-tier firm; the guy in the three-thousand-dollar suit and the hair just so was an investment banker at J.P. Morgan or someplace like that."

Some years ago I had a brief consulting gig. I showed up in my standard t-shirt and jeans. There was another consultant there, whom I hadn't previously met, in a suit. When he sat down at the computer, I had to stifle an impulse to offer him assistance. Then I had to laugh at myself.

Since then I have tried to be more aware of my assumptions and less swayed by appearances, but I haven't always succeeded. Heh, I recall another incident where I roundly ignored an attractive woman at an entrepreneurship meeting, only to find she was a CEO and one of the panel speakers.

Look who you'd miss out on talking to:

The three-piece suit has become sort of my trademark. You don't see them much anymore. It has several benefits: You may be overdressed on some occasions, but you can manage to fit into a huge range of circumstances.


Touché. Though he has such gravitas in our community that he could show up in assless chaps and be taken seriously.

Since dmor mentioned the telecom industry, let me just say that when I attended the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, everybody (except booth babes) was wearing suits or other "business attire" - technies, sales, marketing, whatever. (I was very clearly an engineer and was there to answer technical questions, and I wore a suit).

[OT: after having been to the trade show, I still don't know what CBOSS do, besides hire lots of models to man their stand...]

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