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Thread: Staying Dapper(ed) When Your Office Is Not

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    Super Moderator DocDave's Avatar
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    Staying Dapper(ed) When Your Office Is Not

    So here's a question for you. How are you guys holding the line when your office is not very stylish? Are you holding the line on your own, or are you letting your style slide to meet your peers?

    In my office we used to wear suits and ties. So everyone, dressed accordingly. Then a few changes happened and people are allowed to dress business casual. The slide has been dramatic. Not as bad as this, but close.



    My question is, if your office has gone casual, how are you doing at holding the line? Any temptation to say the heck with it, and just dress the same as the group? I am routinely asked "why are you dressed so well? Job interview" when all I'm wearing is a pair of chinos and an OCBD. Of course I like dressing well, and that might be the difference between me and my colleagues. Anyway. Just a thought.

    Cheers.

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    Varsity Member JT10000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocDave View Post
    My question is, if your office has gone casual, how are you doing at holding the line? Any temptation to say the heck with it, and just dress the same as the group? I am routinely asked "why are you dressed so well? Job interview" when all I'm wearing is a pair of chinos and an OCBD. "
    I view people asking me why I'm dressed nice as being a good thing. YMMV.

    That said, I enjoy dressing business casual - the nicer end of it. If I were you I suggest you continue with that. And if people think you're dressed nicely, say "Thanks."

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    You can dress "dappered" in casual clothes. There's a big difference between the baggy walmart polo, baggy pleated dockers pooled around the ankles, and square toed slip on shoes that most wear when "business casual" and a nicely fitting polo, slim chinos of proper length, and nice shoes.

    I actually think nailing casual clothing is more difficult that more formal attire. Your average joe with a credit card can walk into a Brooks Brothers (hell, probably even a Jos Bank), and if there are any reasonably competent employees there, walk out (after free tailoring) with a reasonably well fitting suit, reasonably well fitting dress shirt, and passable tie and shoes. No knowledge required.

    Nobody is helping said average joe when he buys dockers and polos at Walmart. Hence, well, what most guys dress like.

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    Our office has the entire spectrum of dress since we deal with a lot of radio technicians and engineers and oversight managers. I just tow my line. I don't agree with wearing jeans to an office when I am a contractor and like the look of dressing up.

    So M-Th I am in a suit or sport coat and wool trousers with a tie. Friday's if no meetings I skip the tie but still a button down. Never a polo, etc.

    I was shocked the other day when the head of our Department was coming by (an SES-er) for an introductory meeting since he was now overseeing us, and one of the technicians wore the same thing he does every day ... a sports team logo'd polo shirt and chuck taylor's. His manager should've pulled him aside and said at least wear a button down. If he worked under me I would've.

    I used to get asked but now people just know that's my level of dress and "uniform".

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    Whenever I do succumb and dress down a bit, in some sort of cosmic coincidence, I always seem to suffer some indignity. I just sit there and think "not only do I have to sit through this but I have to look like an asshole too."

    It kinds of creates a feedback loop where I use clothes a bit like armor. I am constantly overdressed in comparison to my friends, family, dates, and co-workers. Ultimately, I dress for me and IDGAF what others do. That way when I experience successes I feel like a movie star and when things do go south, at least I look good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hockeysc23 View Post
    Our office has the entire spectrum of dress since we deal with a lot of radio technicians and engineers and oversight managers. I just tow my line. I don't agree with wearing jeans to an office when I am a contractor and like the look of dressing up.

    So M-Th I am in a suit or sport coat and wool trousers with a tie. Friday's if no meetings I skip the tie but still a button down. Never a polo, etc.

    I was shocked the other day when the head of our Department was coming by (an SES-er) for an introductory meeting since he was now overseeing us, and one of the technicians wore the same thing he does every day ... a sports team logo'd polo shirt and chuck taylor's. His manager should've pulled him aside and said at least wear a button down. If he worked under me I would've.

    I used to get asked but now people just know that's my level of dress and "uniform".
    I'm surprised that his manager didn't say anything! You would think your employees' presentation, attire included, speaks for the level of professionalism of the team you manage, which directly speaks of your ability to manage the team.

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    I go with the "1 step above" rule. If everyone else is wearing polyester pants and polos, I wear a decent pair of wool slacks or "fancy" chinos and button up. If its a jeans office I do casual chinos and an OCBD or something. And decent shoes like a wingtip derby or some penny loafers. Maybe a dress boot. I dont want to be the peacock but i don't mind standing out as better than the rest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by idvsego View Post
    I go with the "1 step above" rule. If everyone else is wearing polyester pants and polos, I wear a decent pair of wool slacks or "fancy" chinos and button up. If its a jeans office I do casual chinos and an OCBD or something. And decent shoes like a wingtip derby or some penny loafers. Maybe a dress boot. I dont want to be the peacock but i don't mind standing out as better than the rest.
    Same rule here. I wouldn't go 3-piece suit in a situation where everybody is wearing traditional 2-piece. But having a couple extra pieces that are just a touch nicer than the others', enough for them to notice in a positive way, but not too much to make you "Andy Bernard" of your office, is what makes you a stylish dresser.

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    I work in state government, and the dress code is very lax, to the point where once in a while there will be an email reminding people to not wear shorts to work and to make sure to bathe regularly (I wish I was joking; I'm not). The big wigs in the bureau usually wear suit and tie, but rarely very tailored, and most other employees vary from one who almost always wore a suit down to plenty who go with the dad jeans and polo look with sneakers or something similar. I only started getting into style in the last couple years, and I'm basically holding my own line and experimenting with looks. Nothing as strict as some of the above comments, but I try to look nicer than the average, whether wearing chinos and a button down or dark denim and a polo. Today, it's a short sleeve henley, oxford pants and nice boat shoes. Not necessarily dressy, but I'd say it's still a step above what most here are wearing.

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    Many people have the need to conform and blend in with the mainstream. I did, too, until about 5 years ago.

    In general, to me, what other people wear doesn't dictate what I wear. I look better in a suit or a sport coat, so that's what I wear. Just do your job well.

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