Also if I'm at any sort of business or social event and someone is comes up to me and says something like: "Hey bro, I've been sitting on this great idea for a startup that I came with when I got my MBA at Oswego College, and I need a cofounder. Here, sign this NDA and I can tell you about it. Okay fine, don't sign the NDA, bro. It's called 'Fratastic.com,' it's like frat-oriented humor videos. It's gonna totally be the next youtube, it's ridiculous how much money it's gonna make, bro. I have the domain name and everything, I just need someone to actually do all the coding and I'll do the marketing, bro. How does 4% equity sound to you?"
... well, that person is almost always wearing a shirt, coat, and tie.
So why would I want to dress up beyond a t-shirt and jeans? It makes me uncomfortable, it has nothing to do with my production, technical or otherwise, and I'm less likely to be associated with the expensively educated clueless douchebag I described above.
Also, I know a lot of hackers who do go to the gym or otherwise keep active and look just fine in a t-shirt.
I know that, like with the "frat boy" you described, there are also stereotypes with the stereotypical programmer in the black shirt with the stupid text on it. How do those people make you feel?
I own a a single silk tie and one nice dress shirt. I never wear them unless business needs require it. I don't even have a suit that still fits. I'm normally dressed in a T-shirt/collared shirt and either jeans or slacks -- IIRC, that's what I got married in! My clothes fit properly, they're simple, (I usually only wear solid colors) clean and comfortable. As far as I'm concerned, I'm well dressed, if informal. What exactly is wrong with that?
* You used the language of "better", not "different", of "honest self-improvement" and "challenging yourself", leaving implications hanging about people who decide not to do these things
* You literally say you can't see an "excuse" for developers not to dress differently.
* "You're building the future, so dress like it" (also note that in addition to being condescending, this is also an ineffective rhetorical strategy, since it begs the answer "we are dressing like it, dude")
* You argue that most hackers can't wear their single most common article of clothing because of body type.
You reference _Put This On_ twice in your post. _Put This On_ is, not to put too fine a point on it, a hobbyist blog. These are people who spend their weekends at thrift shops hunting for specific brands of clothes. It's also a blog that routinely finds ways to write takedowns of celebs who clearly spend time and effort dressing themselves; the blog advocates a distinctive style. I read and enjoy _Put This On_ (they're great writers), but you might concern yourself with the fact that you're effectively inflicting your hobby on other people.
It had a dramatic effect on the people that I worked with. It changed the conversation. It was at least faintly intimidating to those I worked with. Now, times are different, and we are
So there are some occasions that I would do it again. (I mean besides my nephew's wedding.) But amongst developers, it will send the wrong message. It will make you seem like one of the Ross Perot employees where imagination was selectively bred out.
Wearing a suit in most circumstances today will suggest the opposite of technical competence.
I disagree, at least for off-the-rack clothes. I have a 17.5" neck, and looking at me you wouldn't think I'm a no-neck football player. When I get a fitted shirt that is correct for my neck, it means that I've got to fold in at least 4" extra fabric around my waist. It seems that all clothes here in America assumes that some people are obese, and the rest of the population is merely fat.
I think the only way to get a dress shirt that's anywhere near the right size is to have it tailor-made.
Alternately, have your shirts taken in by a tailor. Most will do it for about $8-12, hardly an imposition for a developer who probably makes 2-3 times that per hour.
Holy mackerel! They're $79.50 each!
The way i understood it, that was his point as well. Unless you mean to say "...who don't go to the gym..."
In some contexts, putting on "whatever" sends the signal that I'm a slob, in other contexts it sends the signal that I have better / more important things to think about. In some contexts, dressing well sends out the signal that you are conscientious and trust-worthy, in other contexts it sends the signal that you are a vapid tool.
Your job is to tailor your message for the audience you are trying to reach.
(For guys) Girls like guys in ties. Show me a young woman who doesn’t like a well-dress guy and I will show you a liar. This doesn’t mean putting on a suit every time you step out of your apartment, but just putting on clothes that make you look good.
For long-term relationships, men are just as picky as women. Many men probably don't want to date the kind of woman who will be impressed by wearing a long string of cloth that symbolically represents the cutting off of bloodflow to the brain. Rather, men want to signal to women that they're looking for someone who will look beyond the surface appearance of fancy clothes and towards something more substantial.
Show me a young woman who finds the wearing of a tie the marginal tipping point at which she'll sleep with a guy in a tie and I'll show you a young woman who probably makes me think, "I can do better over the long term." And, even over the short term, I'm not convinced the tie is all that important.
Pick any girl you like and show her some pictures of well dressed men wearing ties and then ask her if she thought about the level of blood flowing to their brains. She might think about other things, but that won't be one of them.
Clothes, by nature, are superficial. Trying to signal the deeper aspects of your character by your clothing is like trying to signal your literary tastes by the type of car you buy. That is not how it works.
The problem is that a lot of introverted and geeky types automatically associate the word "superficial" with (and only with) negatives. nhashem's post about the "clueless douchebag" is a good example. But the Venn diagram of people who wear suits and people who are superficial douchebags does not have nearly as much overlap as a lot of technically-minded people think it does.
Clothing simply doesn't tell you a lot about a person's character. However, a well dressed man or woman does signal that they are at least (1) able to afford nice clothing, (2) aware enough of their social environment to know that wearing such clothing leaves a positive impression on most people, (3) actually care about the impression they give others (which is not vain, but practical--the extreme opposite of this, not caring at all what others think about you--is not far from hubris) and (4) capable of taking care of themselves (getting rid of neckbeards doesn't hurt either).
For better or worse, people HAVE to judge you by what they first see: the superficial. You can't signal depth of personality by wearing or choosing not to wear a tie. It's really not that difficult to dress well for special occasions or professional events.
By dressing well you de-obligate others (fellow casual-dressing geeks excepted) to not immediately judge you when they see you. That gives you the opportunity to show them your personality and character when you actually get to speak to them. Words convey thoughts better than clothes. Clothing is just a daily-revised resume: it helps you get to that point.
Shortcuts are important to social interactions, and outside physical labor, much of work is social interactions. (yes, even in software).
But I also had an informal role in sales. Our VP of sales, very much a "suit" (but by no means technically illiterate) was also our "closer", i.e. he was very good at getting sales closed, whoever was the lead salesman. Every once in a while he'd take me to a meeting at a customer's site, me wearing my normal Oxford shirt, black jeans (not ratty) and gray New Balance 90x running shoes.
And I would talk with all the people the customer brought to the meeting, suits and geeks, and convince them that, yes, we can do this. Now, I'm pretty sure what I said was the most important part of that ^_^, but we were very cognizant that by not wearing a suit or even a tie I was signaling "geek cred" or whatever you want to call it. And it worked beautifully.
(Well, being an introvert I wasn't good for anything the next day, but that's a small price to pay for a mid to high six figure sale.)
Come to think of it, I can see another non-dress signal that this sent. In talking to the customer, I would take ownership of some or all of what we were selling to them (the stuff I'd program or sometimes build (I like to build computers occasionally)) and I'll tell them who had ownership of the other stuff and implicitly that they could do it. I also signaled that I was pledging to deliver to them the whole thing, whomever did what.
This also had a good backend/after the sale function: our salesmen never sold something we "geeks" didn't think we could deliver (and we were experienced enough not to get into trouble unless some third party software we hadn't had experience with yet failed on us).
90% of the "guidelines of society" is cargo cult thinking. The best developers are wired to avoid this kind of thinking. With respect to clothing, they optimize for comfort and individuality rather than looks. There's no big political statement going on here (and I'd argue that dressing casually is a practical choice rather than a sign that one is misinformed, sloppy or lazy).
I'm writing code this morning in my pajamas. This evening I'll go out to a mixer and I'll throw on a nice sport coat. Clothes are tools, and you need the right tools for the job. This is why electricians and plumbers don't wear neckties.
It is trite to observe that hackers don’t like fancy clothes. Avi has learned that good clothes can actually be comfortable—the slacks that go with a business suit, for example, are really much more comfortable than blue jeans. And he has spent enough time with hackers to obtain the insight that is it not wearing suits that they object to, so much as getting them on. Which includes not only the donning process per se but also picking them out, maintaining them, and worrying whether they are still in style—this last being especially difficult for men who wear suits once every five years.
And from a PG essay http://www.paulgraham.com/bubble.html
"And what would be wrong would be that how one presented oneself counted more than the quality of one's ideas. That's the problem with formality. Dressing up is not so much bad in itself. The problem is the receptor it binds to: dressing up is inevitably a substitute for good ideas. It is no coincidence that technically inept business types are known as "suits."
This is perhaps a little strong, but I did think about this when I read this line from the original post:
You are building the future, so dress like it.
No. Engineering is about the things, not the people. Our goal is to draw attention to the work, not the worker.
There's a reason why Steve Jobs became famous for always wearing the same, very neutral uniform on stage. He does this because it really isn't about him. It's about the product. The product is the star.
Engineers dress like stagehands because that is our aspiration. The message we're sending is: Don't watch me. Watch the product. I'm focused on the product and you should be as well.
I thought that term originated back when working people had to wear uniforms, and that it was more of a class separation thing.
However you dress, you should look good, if you're confident in t-shirts and khakis presenting to a room full of suits then do it, if you're more confident in a suit then wear a suit.
> You should put on the best version of yourself when you go out in the world because that is a show of respect to the other people around you.
I try to dress well (note that there is a difference between dressing well and dressing formally) because I want to show respect to those around me. I find poorly dressed people almost as off-putting as catching a scent of someone who didn't put deodorant on seeing too much of someone who doesn't have the decency to wear a belt. Again, it's not about level of formality: someone wearing an ill-fitting suit isn't dressed as well as someone wearing properly fitting jeans and a polo.
Developers value elegant code as an indication of programming skill, so why not value elegant dress as an indication of interpersonal skills? (The answer is that a lot of developers don't value interpersonal skills at all).
"Why This Matters" from Jesse at Put This On is a good read: http://putthison.com/post/665640307/why-this-matters
I find not agreeing with someone else's sensibilities (in fashion, in art, in cooking, in coding, or what- have- you) to be passive and innocuous.
I find "taking disrespect" from someone else's choices to be something other than those things.
(It's the sentiment I'm remarking on, not you; I do not find you to be offensive.)
Much the same way I would find it disrespectful if you were talking on your phone too loudly in close quarters or if I overheard you making a racist comment to your friend, I would take offense if you're clothes showed me too much of you or if they gave off some sort of smell. A lack of care of how one's behavior affects those around them is, by definition, disrespectful.
Are you fucking KIDDING me?
I'm sitting here wearing a polo shirt, a pretty nice pair of slacks and leather shoes. And yes, a belt. I couldn't imagine being upset because someone showed a bit of belly or lower back because they didn't have a belt on. That's just the height of ... something I can't find a word for!
I value elegant dress as an indication that someone wants to look elegant, nothing more, nothing less.
You may believe that dressing "poorly" implies disrespect for others, but you're in the minority. Being offended over other peoples mode of dress is pretty lame.
If I'm going out to dinner with my girlfriend, and I dress like crap, yeah, I'd argue that's frankly disrespectful to her. It sends the message that I don't care what she thinks, or I don't think it matters. I'd dress up on a first date when I hardly know her... to not do it now, years later, would send the message that I don't care as much as I did that first day.
Also, he's not talking about dressing to the appropriate level to the social task at hand; he's talking about dressing to the appropriate level, but "poorly". That's a lot like a gym-goer looking down his nose at anyone whose abs aren't as ripped as his.
People as superficial as that don't even get the time of day from me, let alone respect.
He doesn't make any judgement (that I see) about people who choose to ignore his advice. (About the closest he comes is saying that "the days of t-shirts and hoodies are over.)
He's not coming to rip off your t-shirt and put a tie around your neck.
Sounds pretty judgmental to me.
That said, in your view is there simply no relevant standard for personal maintenance? Is everything relative? If I show up to your wedding in a t-shirt and ripped jeans, is that ok as long as I don't mean any disrespect?
The unfortunate fact is that you don't have to intend to be disrespectful in order to be disrespectful or inconsiderate. It's generally the reverse - one ends up being disrespectful, offensive or inconsiderate because they didn't adequately consider the sensitivities of other parties. It's about cultural norms.
If you're in a society where folks expect you to wear deodorant, and you don't, you're going to have to be willing to be judged for it negatively, right or wrong.
Similarly, if you dress like you don't care, don't be annoyed if some folks think you don't care. That's your right, but I'd argue it's also his right to judge you for it.
Some people are better dressers than others. Getting offended simply because someone's shirt "clashes" with their pants is as pathetic as ripping on someone because they can't do math in their head.
I don't think that's what he's talking about. I think he means things like holes, rips, stains, or a complete disregard for fit. If you make developer money and you wear clothes that fit that description that's a choice you're making. If you wear a striped shirt with striped pants because you don't know how to match patterns nobody is going to judge you, because at least you're trying.
It would be pathetic to rip on someone because they can't do math in their head, but it wouldn't be pathetic to rip on someone who refuses to try because they think they're too good for math.
We're not talking about high fashion here, we're talking about neat clothes that fit well. As far as fit, there are trained professionals who can help: tailors. Nor is it expensive if you have a little knowledge. Having a shirt fixed or pants hemmed costs about $10. A decent button down shirt from a place like Land End can cost as little as $15. Great leather shoes (that will last a decade) can be found on eBay for $100-$150.
I've known folks who were totally color blind and had not problem with dressing well - they just had a thoughtful system and wardrobe that allowed them to pick things without having to worry about the color.
This kind of basic knowledge is just like knowing the rules of the road so you're a better driver. It's not complex, it's highly useful and it's readily available. The OP was trying to provide some pointers for folks who want to learn.
I see a lot of fairly well dressed farmers wearing suspenders. Must be an region thing.
Dress for the situation but wear high quality clothes with the right fit. Just because its business attire doesn't mean its good clothing or that you're dressed well. Stand outside the local courthouse at lunch time and watch all the dumpy ill-fitting suits pour out and you'll see what I mean.
Fit and Quality are far more important than type of clothing.
One of the worst fashion sins are cheap ill-fitting 99$ suits. Man...
My recommendation guys, buy some nice shoes and a coat.
I'm still mystified as to how people decide that one piece of clothing "goes" with another, or looks bad with such-and-such.
Embracing new things can be intimidating and downright scary. I remember the first time I heard about the benefits of lifting weights, I was apprehensive. I thought I could just call others 'meatheads' and use my advanced degrees in computer science as a shield. But life does not work like that; we must continuously improve ourselves, in all aspects of our lives: social, personal, physical, intellectual. Learning to buy clothes and put together outfits is just another part of growing up, just like learning how to work out, or how to apply design patterns to a programming project.
On a more practical note, there are tons of resources on the Internet that can help you with figuring out what 'nice' clothes are, or how to put together outfits. Maybe start with this: http://www.kinowear.com/blog/science-of-style-introducing-th... . Or check out reddit's r/malefashionadvice guides, or maybe go on styleforum.net, or try putthison.com . Good luck!
Yes, you should wear clothes that fit. For instance, if your suit is too large, it will make you look clumsy. Rather than buy a suit for 99 bucks, I'd rather buy a good quality shirt. Invest in quality, I guess.
Secondly, I think you should wear clothes that make yourself feel comfortable not just because they fit from a physical point of view. They should be appropriate to your persona, don't wear something that you are not.
Also, men's fashion has deep roots in tradition and function. For example, did you know that the little holes on wingtip shoes were originally added to allow the water drain out when you were walking in the country? That history is part of the reason that wingtips are considered "less formal" than plain-toe shoes - they were meant for wearing in the country. I find that kind of thing interesting, it's not all about superficiality.
If you're really interested in learning these things you're in a golden age, there are a ton of people sharing information and ideas about men's fashion online. http://reddit.com/malefashionadvice is a good starting point.
I've made countless attempts at fashion over the past 20 years, but it's always ended in failure. The fact that people say my father dresses poorly (and I can't tell why) has been incredibly discouraging.
Another poster mentioned that striped shirt with striped pants is a no-no. Why is that? Also, why are certain colors considered to "match" and others not? It seems completely arbitrary.
In terms of colour matching, that's more of a personal thing. The biggest thing you need to remember is don't put a brown item next to a black item (ie brown shoes with black pants). This post on reddit covers the basics: http://www.reddit.com/r/malefashionadvice/comments/ginj6/in_...
As with all aesthetic disciplines the rules are made to be broken, but it's good to know them first.
Ok, so he mentions "warm" and "cool" colors. Since I burn within 30 seconds of encountering the sun, I'm "cool".
Then he mentions seasonal colors, all of which he says go with "cool" complextion, which means any color goes with cool? I think I'm missing something here.
I had someone once tell me I should wear "autumn" colors, so all of my stuff is yellow, orange, and brown, but apparently that doesn't work (or at least not always... There are some browns that work and others that don't apparently).
My eyes shift between light blue, green, and grey depending on the season. So that means I should wear those colors, right? Are my eyes considered to be "contrasting" or "non-contrasting"? How do you even decide what colors are "contrasting" or not?
Some other things:
"Blue shirt + yellow tie is pretty classic, but disastrous if done wrong. A deeper,darker yellow more akin to goldenrod and a lighter blue is the ticket here." - Is there an official matrix of acceptable color combinations available somewhere?
"Anything black at all should be a rough texture." - And yet I see so many people wearing smooth textured black things. Are they just poorly dressed?
"Grey flannel trousers are the shit" - Umm... ok. Why?
"One madras element per fit." - What's a madras element? Google didn't turn up anything useful.
"Be cohesive and holistic. The whole should be better than the sum of the parts. Build an outfit, don’t just toss together flair." - Great, but HOW do you do that?
"Don’t be overly matchy. “Close enough” is more charming and better looking than fabric shade OCD." - So don't wear colors of similar shade, then?
- Casual: Dark blue jeans, nearly any colour shirt, brown leather shoes
- Charcoal slacks, black leather shoes, nearly any colour shirt
- Khaki chinos, light blue shirt, brown shoes
>"Grey flannel trousers are the shit" - Umm... ok. Why?
Because epicviking thinks so. I happen to like them too, they've got a great texture and they go with almost anything. You can wear black or brown shoes with them and any colour dress shirt pretty much.
>"One madras element per fit." - What's a madras element? Google didn't turn up anything useful.
Madras is like a big plaid pattern.
>"Don’t be overly matchy. “Close enough” is more charming and better looking than fabric shade OCD." - So don't wear colors of similar shade, then?
Try to avoid it yeah.
>"Blue shirt + yellow tie is pretty classic, but disastrous if done wrong. A deeper,darker yellow more akin to goldenrod and a lighter blue is the ticket here." - Is there an official matrix of acceptable color combinations available somewhere?
Nope but if you're in a bind you can always google "what colour tie goes with a ____ shirt" and get some input.
If you want advice specific to yourself I'd post a picture of yourself on malefashionadvice, people there are very helpful (although you have to be okay with getting criticized, don't take it personally)
"Second, how often are you putting together complex colour profiles?" - What would be considered a complex color profile? I have a closet with clothes of various colors, and I need to choose which shirt to wear with which pants/shorts/whatever. And I guess which shoes. So I know that not all reds are the same, and not all oranges are the same, and some reds go with some oranges. Problem is I don't know which is which; That's why I was asking about a color matrix.
Then there's patterns, which are even more dangerous, because it seems that most mixes of colors don't go at all with most other mixes of colors. I don't understand how people decide that certain ones "match" and others don't. If there's no color matrix to show what works and what doesn't, how can you even know?
Probably because it made no sense! What I MEANT to type was "Fit is KING and much easier to understand."
Don't worry about a colour matrix, just try to buy clothes that go with everything. Nearly everything goes with dark blue jeans. Nearly everything goes with grey flannel slacks. Most things go with khaki chinos. I wouldn't try to match patterns but there's really no need to. How often do you really need to wear more than one patterned item at a time? Or even more than one coloured item at a time (not counting neutrals that go with everything like greys, beiges, browns, and really dark blues)
However, all of that aside none of it matters if your clothes fit poorly. Most 'bad dressers' are just wearing clothes that are far too big for them.
"Fit is KING and much easier to understand." - Ok. I've ordered a copy of "Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion". So hopefully that will explain fit.
If your face is ashen gray and pale because you are a programmer who hates the sun with an icy passion, wearing a black shirt will only accentuate your paleness. If you wore a white shirt, people would notice it much less.
If you're in good shape, you can find t-shirts and jeans that look pretty good, but even that isn't easy. If you're out of shape, it's nearly impossible. Conversely, oxford shirts, sports jackets and trousers have about 100 years of evolution in providing a good fit for all kinds of men's body shapes, and they're also far more amenable to alteration by a tailor (does anyone actually tailor their t-shirt?)
"Unless you’re going to the gym twice per week, you probably won’t look good in a T-shirt."
Fuck that. We live in a society that is constantly telling us we look bad, unless we are skinny, unless we have "good" hair, unless we have clear, light-colored skin...
Fuck that. People are fucking beautiful. All kinds of people are fucking beautiful, even if they're wearing a t-shirt.
It's one thing to encourage people to take pride in their clothes. It's another to call them ugly, and feed into our culture's (literally) deadly skinny-worshipping obsession.
Saying that isn't skinny-worshipping. In fact, it's almost the opposite of skinny-worshipping, because people that try to squeeze into Hot Celebrity's fashion are going to feel the need to skinny up in order to make it look good.
Rather, the OP's advice is to find something that fits you and is flattering to you; tight T-shirts typically don't really look good unless your chest measurement >= your waist measurement, but there are other things that will. That's a lot different than just saying "you look bad".
I also grew up in an area where wearing a suit indicated that you were probably here to take money, land, or rights away. Suits were really the first sign not to trust that person. This belief is very hard to shake (along with the thought that anyone calling a noon meeting without providing food is sending a clear insulting message).
I hated my time in places that required a suit and tie and believe that culture is corrupting ( http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3015969 ).
Ira Glass was once asked about how he became a great radio host . His response was that he continued to work on his craft even when he knew it was terrible. Knowing your work is terrible is crucial because it means that you have taste - you know what needs to be done, and you know what would fulfill it, even if you don't have the ability to execute it.
Style is about taste. And note, style is not equivalent to 'dressing up'. Style is knowing what pieces go together to create an aesthetically pleasing form. Style is knowing your body type, your personality, and your needs and putting together outfits that compliment and combine those strengths.
When developers get made fun of for not dressing up, it's not because you're wearing a t-shirt and jeans. It's because you've put no thought into which t-shirt with what jeans. There's no thought about how the pieces fit together. There's no taste.
Taste is critical for us because it's what makes or breaks a product. What makes Apple great? Taste. What let Instagram beat out the plethora of other photo apps? Taste. What allowed Facebook to take over MySpace? Taste. Taste is what will give me confidence that when you are on my team, you will do exactly what is necessary to make us win.
Taste is imperative. Take every chance to show that you have it.
What makes Apple great? Taste.
The casual clothing trend, at least in Silicon Valley, has roots in 60's-70's counterculture. The idea that you need to wear a suit in order to do your job, or to dress like an IBM drone, was explicitly rejected, along with a whole slew of other ideas which were perceived as needing reexamination. Apple was one of the companies which best represented that counterculture influence and its success in shaking up entire industries. To tie them to some notion of stylish dress equaling success is ludicrous.
"And note, style is not equivalent to 'dressing up'."
The manager said: ``I should have never sent you to the conference. Those programmers live beyond the physical world. They consider life absurd, an accidental coincidence. They come and go without knowing limitations. Without a care, they live only for their programs. Why should they bother with social conventions?
``They are alive within the Tao.''
2.3 - http://www.canonical.org/~kragen/tao-of-programming.html
"You are building the future, so dress like it."
If we're building the future, we'll build one where we can dress how we like.
"Even Zuck has been sporting a suit more and more. He’s the last person that needs to impress someone based on how he dresses."
Tell that to his shareholders.
"It’s a “my talent supersedes my necessity to follow the guidelines of society.”"
If people like you are going to speak the way you do on behalf of society, maybe this society thing isn't for me.
My favorite part of the Zucks mythos is the flip-flops. What he wore didn't matter, because what he and Facebook were doing was so amazing.
Most people just happen to want to wear t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops.
Yeah. My problem with what you're saying is that if you're putting out great code, you can probably wear whatever the f you want.
But if "good" represents average, and you tell any competent employer that you can wear whatever the f you want, you're just telling him/her that you've got an attitude problem.
Suits and stuff are fine for everyone else, maybe even for developers at BigCo Inc. But, the OP was in the context of YCNYC...
i'll take someone with that attitude problem over a doormat any day.
If you're just average, you can't insist on rock star treatment.
And what I was trying to say is that a rock star (insert profession here) is more likely to be able to get away with saying "I'm going to wear whatever the f--- I want to wear" than someone who is just good, especially in a workplace where wearing jeans and t-shirts is not an accepted norm. And that's usually the case outside of the tech startup and creative worlds.
You don't have a wear a 3-piece suit to be taken seriously. But when you wear faded/ratty jeans and a t-shirt it's hard to be taken seriously. Look at the pictures of the Great Depression: every man on the street waiting in line wore a suit. Not just business shirts, a suit. And these were guys like dock workers, laborers, &c.
I think it's because of a counter-cultural movement of preferring ratty, grungy, grimey-looking things. And, lets face it, people do judge you by what they see.
I don't want to look like a 20-something guy in ratty pants and a t-shirt with some obscene rockstar; I want to be taken seriously, just like I try to take others (even a weirdo in a t-shirt) seriously.
I think in the '30s a suit was just what men owned - a durable, practical, all purpose set of clothing. They'd wear the same to the beach, because that's what they had. It probably cost them a lot of money, and owning any more clothes would cost a lot more. It didn't mean the same thing it does now.
Imagine if someone showed up for a swim race in a suit and tie!
That said, I'm not against people dressing however they want. I don't roll into the office looking like a slob, but I definitely don't obsess about my outfit for the day.
I obsess more about the thought and effort put into the products I'm creating..
Maybe you underestimate the importance of feeling like you fit in. Being ostracized from your group is painful and can even lead to being left out of new information, like the up-and-coming programming languages, etc. It can lead to people saying, "He's not a team player" and it actually affecting your job.
Another problem is that you've defined 'better' as you see it, and not as your peers see it. You think you're better than them, but you aren't really. It's all an ego trip for you.
I think for these "dressing up when their social situation doesn't really demand it" people, dressing up is a hobby. They'd (a) like it people shared their hobby, because that's more fun, and they'd (b) like not to be judged based on that hobby, which is what happens to developers who show up in ties.
The traditional adage is that when you dress for success, people take you more seriously. I'd like to believe that this particular industry is beyond that, which may or may not be true, but the truth is that when you dress up, you take yourself more seriously.
The benefit of having everybody at the company know who I am is pretty nice, too.
but the truth is that when you dress up, you take yourself more seriously
It just makes me want to get home as soon as possible.
Being taken more seriously is a goal of some people. I take the opposite approach -- I try to take myself as un-seriously as possible. I encourage others to do the same.
I am, however, very serious about my work.
Why would I want anyone to take me "more seriously"?
Either I'm someone they'll trust, or I'm not. My clothing choices aren't going to make an ounce of difference after I open my mouth. I either know my shit, or I don't. And people will know.
If you really have to dress up to take yourself more seriously, then that's just sad. I'm sorry.
Anyway, the entire article is silly. Grownups know that some people will judge them based on how they dress. Sometimes we care, sometimes we don't, and so we dress accordingly. I'm not going to give a presentation to our Senior Business Team dressed in a Linux User Group t-shirt and ragged jeans, but don't expect me in a suit at any other time if I don't have to be.
I've recently taken an interest in upgrading my wardrobe after a very long time of not caring. Frankly, without the internet I'd be totally lost. I dislike browse-shopping, and still have limited understanding of what makes things look better than others. I've found that the worst things are generally just ill-fitting, and I can't rely on size information (as any woman would tell you). A medium tshirt from one place might fit me perfectly, and look like a giant sack from another place. Same for pants, 30x30 jeans can be loose or too tight depending on the maker, the factory, etc.. Even men's clothing is getting vanity-sized which is frustrating, and makes me want to go back to "Whatever, I'd rather be doing something important!"
With that said, it would be nice to wear a jacket/tie over jeans without feeling overdressed and negatively judged as a "suit" among developers. I agree with the sentiment that developers should wear whatever the fuck they want, but does that not include dressing well?
I felt really confident about what I was wearing until someone told me I looked like I didn't belong there. Now I'm left wondering if this suit stigma applies to females.
b) I sweat in dress shirts which makes me less productive
c) I stay seated a lot changing posture constantly, which makes shirts look wrinkled
d) My job does not depend on how someone perceives me physically or socially so... Occam's razor.
It's not just developers, it happens with many people who work in science. I know a guy in a biology lab who only dresses in suits, and i 've heard his supervisor say that he sometimes can't give him real work to do for the fear of ruining his suit.
It's just as disrespectful to wear a suit to, say, RailsConf, as it is to wear a t-shirt and wrecked jeans to your sibling's wedding.
Casual workdays used to be an employer granted privilege, but in this day and age, casual everyday is an entitlement in a lot of companies. The definition of "workplace casual" has become more lax in the past 20 years too.
Being middle aged myself, I'm not a fan of the shift towards casual dress every day, but times change, and that's just how it is.
I was asked recently why I always choose to come to work dressed smartly and my answer? "Look smart, think smart"
Now, that being said, if you expect to go into a business meeting with a government or enterprise client you had better not roll into the meeting in flip flops and a t-shirt if you expect to win their business. But that is a far cry from having to dress up to some old fashioned standard every day.
Basically, there are two worlds when it comes to business. There's the old, entrenched, formalized business world and the new, scrappy, meritocratic startup world and you need to know how to float between them as necessary to be successful.
Dismissing it as nonfunctional or damaging to your well being is the same as ignoring the utility of a new programming language because your old ones get the job done or because using traditional languages is "hardcore."
I had no style for the first 20 years of my life, regarding it as simply vanity and not worthwhile.
Turns out it can be fun to develop your own style. It is a lot more than 'wearing a tie three times a week'. It means moving beyond Dr. Who tees and thinking about colors and lines; and looking in a mirror once in a while.
It doesn't take too much time or money, and is great when you get complements from strangers.
It is correct that fit is important. I would say the most important. Get rid of the too-large t-shirts and too-short pants.
And never ever buy an uncomfortable dress shirt.
Ultimately, I'm not a peacock, so I have little interest in human plumage.
I´m a developer and I´ve been atempting to code better for the last few decades. ( Never got me unemployed/bad employed, by the way )
"For a group of people constantly trying for improving development ability, I’m surprised more aren’t trying to develop their dress."
Maybe they´re to busy with the kernel to mind the shell. I´m glad inteligence gave some people power to chalenge traditions, prejudices, judgments...
"You are building the future, so dress like it."
Suits are the future ? Silly me, I always thought they´ve been around for a loooong time.
Maybe the future will be more about substance than appearance.
Maybe the future will be about respect for diversity.
Maybe some people are just afraid of change.
Maybe having to really conect with somebody else for what he/she IS and not the uniform he/she wears is too frightening.
I´m not religious but I think Christ said something about the big bosses of the time looking like tombs: very fancy on the outside, rotten on the inside. It´s somewhere in the bible.
Ah, last but not least, being comfortable makes my mind really free to go. Probably releases some neurons to more pleasant/significant/important tasks.
Different jobs have different norms. Wear a suit to your job as a software engineer at Apple or Microsoft or Google and I guarantee you'll get lots of attention... the WRONG KIND of attention. People will think you're demented. But even then, if your engineering is good, they'll simply think your a good engineer with an odd style of dress.
I can't emphasize enough that it's about the ENGINEERING. Working as a dev isn't making an impression at fashion week. You sit in your office all day long, and some days you might not even TALK to another person except to say "excuse me" when you push you way to the coffee pot to refuel.
If your engineering is on point, nobody is going to give a flying fuck how you dress.
Also, slacks are just not comfortable. I much prefer a nice pair of dark, well-fitting, ironed jeans.
I don't often wear dress slacks, but when I do they feel more comfortable than my usual khakis or nice jeans. Hm...maybe I should wear those dress slacks more often.
Oh yeah, dry clean only.
That said, the peak of summer comfort is seersucker, but I won't even don that often because it does make you look like an anachronistic dandy.
Got it in one.
Kidding aside (or maybe not, its a dilemma sometimes, first world problems).
As a sysadmin by trade, that actually attends not a small number of social events, I often dress in a suit. I feel great wearing them and get complimented often. But i cant imagine myself sitting in my office, in front of my screens wearing the latest fashion, it just doesn't work, I will feel overdressed and uncomfortable.
Oh and i love my t-shirts, I go to some lengths to find cool ones, silly and geeky. I know.
I think programmers in general find clothing to be arbitrary and stupid, it's simply not important compared to code or what we're doing.
I'm a lady software dev and pretty much just wear jeans, t-shirts, and hoodies. Some of the developers at my company wear slacks and a button-up shirt, some don't. It's personal preference over any sort of nonexistant obligation to do so.
That must not have included all of your nice clothes.
His body of work is infamous for being poorly researched, counter to a quality that technical people, like software engineers, value.
T-shirts and jeans are comfortable, versatile, and inexpensive.
I thank the lord I am no longer employed in a place that feels it's doing its employees a favor by instituting such policy.
What shoes have you found to work? I'm usually in nice jeans and a button-down shirt (no tie or blazer, most of the time), but haven't found shoes I really like. Thoughts?
Edit - better link: http://www.b-74.de/out/pictures/1/red_wing_101_postman_oxfor...
Since I've started using a standing desk really comfortable shoes like eccos are a must.
Super comfortable (almost as comfy as sneakers to me) and reasonably dressy. Not a true "dress shoe", but I've taken to wearing them nearly every day.
They're a great way to class up your typical "jeans + x" wardrobe.
I eventually replaced them with Doc Marten Javan Kurts, which are larger, about as comfortable, and hopefully a bit more durable.
Even at retail / discounted retail they're a good price for the quality.
You can sometimes get lucky and pick up a nice pair for cheap at Nordstrom Rack.
For dressier shoes, I think everyone has their own preference.
"To score a ten would be just fine, but I’d rather be dressed to the nines. It’s a truth you can’t refute, nothing suits me like a suit."
Suit up, Men!
There is, historically, a significant divide between hackers and suits. A classic example is the Jargon File's entry on "suit": http://www.catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/S/suit.html . Whether or not you subscribe to the hacker philosophy, it would be good to understand that many of the people odious to hackers, such as marketroids and PHBs, wear suits regularly, and hacker dislike of their clothing is ingrained.
"You’ve got nothing to lose, save for some 'geek cred.'" For some of us, this amounts to a betrayal of culture. It's not about looking nice -- I own a tuxedo and wear it when appropriate (opera, weddings, etc.) but I would not wear a suit to work. I am not a suit. I'm a hacker. I write code. I eat crappy pseudo-Chinese with all the spice, get 44Oz drinks at the Circle K because they run out of 64Oz cups, grok more programming languages than spoken languages, and I am not a suit.
I'm not offended, but I just want to impress on you that this idea is far older than either of us and, as such, deserves at least some recognition on par with the idea that hackers should dress in more professional or formal clothing on a regular basis.
I could have mentioned things like my beard, glasses, and hair longer than any female coworker, but I felt that that might be antagonistic or countering the point I was trying to make about fashion.
Incidentally, I hate jeans. I wear lots of cargo pants and keep them carefully patched up, mostly because my mom's a seamstress and I get obsessive-compulsive about things.
My policy is to dress at the same level of my clients, but I never dress below a dress shirt and dress pants.
If you have two people in front of you with equally good talent and good attitude, but with one dressed down and the other dressed up, who are you going to give your money to?
Personally, I'm going to hire the guy who took the extra effort to dress up.
And as I said above, my instinct would be to hire the guy who doesn't look like he's overcompensating. But I recognize that such a superficial judgment either way is a foolish bias.
I don't consider it superficial. Someone who takes the effort to spend a few extra minutes iron an outfit and make himself (or herself) look a little more professional might actually be the type to do the same with his/her work output too.
Outside of people that are equally mediocre, this literally never happens.