I wish I could dress badly…

Link via theregister.co.uk

I know I push the envelope for what passes as good taste in business casual, but I refuse to label myself as poorly dressed. I’m sad that there is a movement out there that urges us geeks to dress better. My question is why do people dress improperly in the first place. I fear that geeks out there will stand by the excuse that they dress for comfort. The comfort of a tattered hooded sweatshirt (hoodie) will not counteract the amount of discomfort and shame you’d feel if you were wearing such an outfit in a room full of sophisticated business-types.

Now for the sake of full disclosure, I have been known to wear scrub pants and happi coats to casual friday, but that was when my immediate audience were operational. This means, there were no big decision makers looking at my clothing and weighing my capacity as a unix administrator. Now, I’m no longer just an administrator. I interact with people. People factor in my credibility with the way I look and carry myself. Frankly, I do not want to have my customers think that I cannot plan out their projects because I cannot manage to plan out my outfit. Sure, I own geeky t-shirts and perhaps accessories that one may deem to be fan-boy-ish, but they are used as accents. Embellishments if you will, on the otherwise stodgy albeit sophisticated lines of business casual clothing.

Perhaps the geeks out there that want to dress better because the world of well edited reality shows, airbrushed fashion, and cheaply made dressier pieces of clothing are leaking into their peripheral vision. Joseph Abboud, touched upon this in a 2004 interview on NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show”. There is an overall movement of dressing better and I think this causes a cascading effect of competition to look good. In my opinion, I think that yes, there is a healthy sense of competition to look good, but there are people out there who want to buck the trend and look worse. As an avid contrarian myself I understand this, but that mentality is not going to help me get a raise. I’m saving the disestablishmentarianism for the street, and you’ll be sure that I’ll be wearing my hoodie then, but for when I’m in the office… I’m going to stick to wearing the ironic/militant/crude t-shirt underneath my cleanly pressed woven sport shirt.

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