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IT Business Casual?

vexxed13vexxed13 Registered User regular
edited August 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I just landed an IT job and I don't quite get the "IT Business Casual" dress code.

It's not exactly business casual because most IT people wear un-tucked polo shirts and get away with it. They can even wear "athletic" type shoes (provided they aren't old or beat up).

I want to impress people (managers, maybe even ladies) by dressing up, but so many of the IT guys around me are so laid back about fashion/style. I feel like I'd be looked down on for dressing up.

Any fashion-forward guys in IT have a work-around for this strange little dress code? How do I look cool and fashionable while dressing down?

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Posts

  • fuelishfuelish Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Pajamas and house shoes?

    fuelish on
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  • RaereRaere Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I just wear a polo and colored jeans. Just get loose-fitting. Loose-fitting kinda dressy clothes are the best in my opinion.

    Raere on
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  • DeShadowCDeShadowC Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Khakis with a polo shirt tucked in and blue/brown belt with matching shoes. Don't worry about dressing better then your co-workers. You're new its expected of you.

    DeShadowC on
  • FletcherFletcher Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    You might get looked down on by who? Others in similar jobs to you?

    I don't see why you care what they think, really. If wearing a proper shirt looks good and the higher-ups notice that you present yourself better than everyone else, it can only help you as far as I can see.

    Being "laid-back" about fashion and style doesn't affect how well you work, admittedly, but if you want to look good then don't let other people (who can't be bothered doing anything more than rolling out of bed and throwing on a crumpled polo) tell you that you can't

    Fletcher on
  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Depending on the temperature of the office, I know guys that sport a tucked-in t-shirt with a long-sleeved button-down shirt on top, open and untucked. Jeans or khakis on the bottom.

    Quoth on
  • noobertnoobert Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I would wear a nice button up shirt, tucked in. Black business style pants, belt and leather shoes. No tie, no jacket.

    As DeShadowC said, it's expected of you. You can slowly dress more casual as you become more confident with the dress standards of the new work place etc... I don't know why you would tho.

    noobert on
  • Eggplant WizardEggplant Wizard Little Rock, ARRegistered User regular
    edited August 2008
    What type of IT job? Assuming it doesn't involve crawling around server closets:

    Black dress shoes, matching belt
    Decent plain-front slacks, lightweight wool, dark
    Long sleeve dress shirt, no button-down collars, lighter colors, nice subtle stripe or texture in the fabric

    Don't worry what others think. If you want to impress managers, dress like them. That's how they dress, except they're usually old and chubby and therefore prefer pleated pants.

    I've been known to wear a blazer.

    Eggplant Wizard on
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  • bigpandabigpanda Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Might depend on the dress code climate of the office. I've worked in IT in both the midwest and the west coast and they were both quite different. Granted both were for marketing agencies, but the midwest office had a much more old school client that's been around for over 100 years. Dress code was dress shoes, khaki's, polo or button down shirt tucked in. Tie's were not required. Clean shaven, and basically presentable. Fridays were casual days and we could get away with jeans and tennis shoes (although the shoes were kind of pushing it).

    The west coast office is ridiculous even by my standards. I mean I would "probably" get in trouble for wearing a shirt that said "Moustache rides 5¢" but I wouldn't be surprised if no one cared. Normal attire is an untucked button down or polo shirt but I could easily wear a t-shirt if i wanted to as long as it wasn't offensive, old jeans or shorts doesn't matter, and i usually wear a pair of old comfortable running shoes i have. I mean it's seriously laid back. Sometimes I feel guilty about it but even our non-IT staff tend to really dress down too.

    So it really depends on your office. If I was starting at a new office and wasn't sure on the dress code, I'd just wear the same attire that I listed for the midwest office.

    bigpanda on
  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Anyone who is going to look down on you for wanting to look nice at work is an idiot. Wear what you want. You'd probably be fine with chinos (of any color, not just khaki), a polo shirt or open collar dress shirt, and some loafers or oxfords for shoes. Basically anything but sneakers. And a belt, don't for get a belt!

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • Evil_ReaverEvil_Reaver Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    IT business casual is generally khaki pants, polo shirt, and dress shoes. My last IT job (in California) at a private school was IT business casual and I wore khaki or brown cargo pants, an untucked polo shirt, and black Skecher type work shoes. Jeans are usually frowned upon in any business casual situation (unless it's casual Friday or something).

    Honestly, wear what you want as long as it meets the minimum requirements for the dress code. Wear a suit if you want... no one is going to give a shit and you definitely won't be "looked down on" for dressing nice.

    Evil_Reaver on
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  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Dressing more formally than your co-workers is a really great way to look like a dick.

    It makes people think you believe you're better than them, or not one of them, or brown-nosing. All three are bad things to be. Dress the same way as everyone else.

    Lewisham on
  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    And yes, I know most people here don't agree with me. You can maybe take it up a notch (if they wear a t-shirt, you were a polo. If they wear a polo, you wear a button-up) and of course you can look clean and iron your shirt or whatever, but don't be "that guy" who turns up looking like the managers and is desperate to join the managers on coffee dates or what have you.

    Lewisham on
  • OremLKOremLK Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I mostly agree with Lewisham. Dressing up a bit is okay, especially at first, but if you care about getting along with your co-workers it's good not to look like a brown-noser. I'd just wear what they wear, except instead of a polo wear a button-up (long sleeves). Button-up shirts are almost always classier than polos anyway.

    You can also find shoes that aren't quite dress shoes (more comfortable) but are still look enough like them to be suitable. I'd wear something like that.

    OremLK on
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  • Jimmy KingJimmy King Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    IT business casual is generally khaki pants, polo shirt, and dress shoes. My last IT job (in California) at a private school was IT business casual and I wore khaki or brown cargo pants, an untucked polo shirt, and black Skecher type work shoes. Jeans are usually frowned upon in any business casual situation (unless it's casual Friday or something).
    Yeah, everywhere I've worked I think it was officially khakis, pol shirt, etc. In reality, though, it's been jeans that are in good conidition, polo shirt, and tennis shoes.
    Honestly, wear what you want as long as it meets the minimum requirements for the dress code. Wear a suit if you want... no one is going to give a shit and you definitely won't be "looked down on" for dressing nice.
    This is true. If you get friendly with a couple people there quickly, they'll probably jokingly give you shit if you over dress daily (button down shirt and tied when everyone else wears jeans and a polo shirt), but no one really cares.

    When I start a new job, if I'm not 100% certain of the appropriate way to dress, I usually go with khakis and a button down shirt with a tie out in my car in case I need it for the first day or two. Then after I've seen how everyone dresses and possibly asked a couple people what the standard is, I shift over to that.

    Jimmy King on
  • ValkaboValkabo Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    When i started at my current job me and the other guy I started with both got very dressy the first few days..

    then our director just told us "I know you guys want to make a good impression, you did, but please dress normally. It makes us all feel like slackers." so my suggestion:

    Wear black shoes, niec pants, and a tucked in button up shirt the first day. Then just wear what everyone else wears the second.

    Which will probably be this rule:

    No shorts
    Collared shirt
    No toes showing.

    Valkabo on
  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Lewisham wrote: »
    Dressing more formally than your co-workers is a really great way to look like a dick.

    It makes people think you believe you're better than them, or not one of them, or brown-nosing. All three are bad things to be. Dress the same way as everyone else.

    No, acting like a dick makes you look like a dick. Unless these people he's working with are idiots, they aren't going see nice clothes and think, "He must think he's better than us."

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    Lewisham wrote: »
    Dressing more formally than your co-workers is a really great way to look like a dick.

    It makes people think you believe you're better than them, or not one of them, or brown-nosing. All three are bad things to be. Dress the same way as everyone else.

    No, acting like a dick makes you look like a dick. Unless these people he's working with are idiots, they aren't going see nice clothes and think, "He must think he's better than us."

    But they will be going
    "Why does he always dress differently every day?"

    Have you ever worked in an office of gossiping co-workers? Perhaps you were the guy that everyone gossiped about, huh? :lol:

    It's a bad move to be acting that way from Day 1. If he wants to ingraciate himself with middle-management, he should do it through job performance.

    Lewisham on
  • TrentusTrentus Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I dunno... it depends on where you're working. For smaller, more personal businesses, then you could probably get by with jeans and a tee. If it's larger, and they take pride in professionalism, it might be a good idea to dress a little nicer. Maybe take a look at what everyone else wears (not just the guys in your department) and dress similarly, or make it that little bit more casual, or ITish...

    For example, I worked in a school last year as the local tech. Most of the teachers dressed pretty casually, some jeans and a T-shirt, some a little bit nicer. Only the Principal and assistant Principals wore suits. So I was able to wear jeans, a tee and my chucks and not look horribly out of place or anything.

    So I guess, dress a little differently, but don't stand out too much.

    Trentus on
  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited August 2008
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    Lewisham wrote: »
    Dressing more formally than your co-workers is a really great way to look like a dick.

    It makes people think you believe you're better than them, or not one of them, or brown-nosing. All three are bad things to be. Dress the same way as everyone else.

    No, acting like a dick makes you look like a dick. Unless these people he's working with are idiots, they aren't going see nice clothes and think, "He must think he's better than us."

    I've worked in an office environment for about 6 years now and have never heard someone say, "What's up with that guy? He must be a dick, being dressed like that." At the most, it's, "He always looks so nice."

    Unless you're working at Cosmo or something, no one cares what you wear. Just wear a polo and slacks to start out (tucked is always safer), and adjust as you see fit. If you see everyone wears jeans and you want to wear jeans, wear jeans. If you see everyone wears jeans and you like wearing suits, wear a damn suit.

    Sir Carcass on
  • mugginnsmugginns Jawsome Fresh CoastRegistered User regular
    edited August 2008
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    Khakis with a polo shirt tucked in and blue/brown belt with matching shoes. Don't worry about dressing better then your co-workers. You're new its expected of you.
    This is correct

    mugginns on
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  • CyberJackalCyberJackal Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I work in IT. There are a few guys in the office who dress better than average. The rest of us chuckle a bit about it on occasion, but none of us think less of them for it. So dress how you want. If it really becomes a problem (which I highly doubt) you'll get a sense of that after a few days and can adjust accordingly. I've never heard of bitter feuds arising over how well someone has been dressing.

    CyberJackal on
  • RiusRius Globex CEO Nobody ever says ItalyRegistered User regular
    edited August 2008
    IT Business Casual is the best thing that's ever happened to me. Myself, my "team lead" (chuckle), my boss, and everyone in every IT department sideways of us wear jeans and nice tshirts or polo shirts. I wear a belt, I tuck my shirt in, shit isn't wrinkled, etc. Nice black sneakers.

    It's about a zillion times more comfortable than the standard business casual jobs I've worked in. But I'll admit, for the first month or so I wore button-downs, nice khakis or slacks, etc. I wanted to impress, but ultimately I figured out that we get cut a lot of slack.

    Oh, and nobody's mentioned it yet, so I will... impress ladies at work, fine, just don't ask them out or anything. Whole different subject right there =P

    Rius on
  • YamiNoSenshiYamiNoSenshi A point called Z In the complex planeRegistered User regular
    edited August 2008
    A good consideration is if you will be getting face time with clients. There's a dress code where I work, but it gets bumped up (meeting clients) or down (in the lab all the time) depending on your situation, so you'll probably want to consider that when picking clothes.

    Generally khakis/dockers/slacks, dress shoes, and a collared shirt are acceptable to tech jobs.

    Did you not interview on site and see what everyone else is wearing?

    YamiNoSenshi on
  • Gilbert0Gilbert0 North of SeattleRegistered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Depends where you work for what "Business Casual" means.

    I've worked at colleges, paper mill, state/provincial gov't, federal gov't and private companies. All have listed "Business Casual" and they all mean different things.

    Everyone's suggestions are right. My view is that summer/fridays, you can get away with more (jeans, polos, maaaaybe plain/nonoffensive tshirt depending where you work). Currently I program in Java/PLSQL but still work for the "IT" side of my company. I wear Khakis/black pants and polo or collar shirt (long or short sleeved) very different than when I was crawling under desks and moving towers/monitors around at a different company (tshirt and jeans, even shorts during the summer).

    Best advice, wear basically one step down from the interview and adjust to what you see your coworkers wearing.

    Gilbert0 on
  • witch_iewitch_ie Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I would suggest (from a non-IT perspective) going with a closed long-sleeved button down shirt with a t-shirt underneath, a belt, whatever pants are appropriate (jeans, slacks, etc.) and some dark colored shoes (not sneakers). Most of the IT guys I've seen look like they're dressed pretty sloppily and don't impress based on their looks as a result.

    witch_ie on
  • PirateJonPirateJon Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    You can wear khakis and button up shirts, but since the job involves moving dusty equipment and crawling around under floors or behind desks don't wear clothes that aren't up to it.

    Your coworkers wont care what you dress like unless you avoid working so as not to get your shirt dirty.

    PirateJon on
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  • DalbozDalboz Resident Puppy Eater Right behind you...Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    IT casual would probably mean slacks (not jeans) and a collared shirt, so polo shirts would be fine. I'm guessing that IT would probably have a slightly looser dress code because they might be crawling around behind servers or desks is slightly dirty/dusty conditions, or cleaning computer that haven't been blown out for dust in years.

    For me, I tended to dress up a bit, but stayed comfortable. I usually wore black or gray slacks and buttons down dress shirt (usually Van Hausen), a decent belt, and Rockport shoes, which are dressy enough but very comfortable. Note: I did not work in IT.

    Dalboz on
  • ben0207ben0207 Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Every IT job I've ever had: Scruffy skating t-shirt, shorts and trainers. Jeans if it's cold or I'm going into the comms rooms a lot.

    And I'm usually the one who's overdressed :)

    ben0207 on
  • Sunday_AssassinSunday_Assassin Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    You really can't go wrong with a nice shirt. Leave the collar open, untucked, hell, roll up the sleeves if you feel like it.

    You'll still look classy as hell, without looking like you're trying to show anybody up by dressing 'smart'. Some people just prefer shirts to t-shirts. I know I do. I don't even have a dress code at my job, and haven't worn a t-shirt that wasn't ultra-tight sports underwear or safety orientated flourescent yellow in years.

    As long as you look comfortable in what you're wearing, no one should be able to complain. If they do, hell, that's their insecurity and they'll have to deal with it.

    Sunday_Assassin on
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