Dress Code where you work


Super Moderator
I remember back in my Copper days that people would show more respect/preference to a Detective (same rank as a Patrolman) in a coat & tie than to a Captain (me) in a uniform. It was all about perception. They thought I was a 'regular' cop and that the plain clothes guys were in charge.

The news media was the best of the lot. When I would try to assist them I would be ignored for the plain clothes guys. What was I supposed to know? I was in uniform.;)

Talk about eggg on the face when people found out who really made the decisions:biglaugh:

This didn't only happen to me, it's happened to others.

Clothing and dress have meaning in our culture. There is no escaping it, and it will endure.


Fully vaccinated are you?
> Sometimes the absence of a suit by one of the parties
> leads to an immediate assumption that the person sans the
> suit is somehow inferior and subject to some disdain!

I think this happens, but if the group is 'real', it won't make a diffrence as long as the business gets done. Heck - every time I walk down the street I know there's someone who sees me and thinks "...hey - what a fatty..." or something. Some people won't go to class reunions because they're afraid they'll be looked down upon because they didn't 'make it big'. I guess I couldn't care less what people think (and there's much evidence of that in these forums) and I would venture to say you don't either, really, energy.

I have been in the same situation - when I'm in doubt I over dress. But - I believe there is a perception issue and whether coat and tie or jeans it doesn't matter to me except that I take my 'good' clothes to the cleaners for a good press job so it costs.

To me, the perception issue of importance is one of professionalism. When I interviewed at Motorola I wore a suit. I shined my shoes and such as well. When I got the contract and was there in the offices I wore a tie and sports jacket because that was their 'facility norm'. When I met with the head honcho I wore a coat and tie. When on the floor I wore 'medium' clothes, but no tie - clothes can inhibit people and I need to be able to communicate with them. When in the fabs - well, we all wore the 'space suits' so there was no issue in so far as clothes, but people still saw us as 'special' because we weren't part of the regular team. Sometimes, you can't win for loosing.

At a Borg-Warner job, other than the initial meeting, I always wore jeans and old shirts with no tie. They processed powered metals (scintering) and then forged the part to top it off. You couldn't even go in the offices without getting dirty. And - it was the plant norm.

I don't know - I don't think I would have apologised for being over dressed and making people feel uncomfortable. Maybe because I've been in so many 'mixed' meetings where people wore so many different things that what they're wearing doesn't concern me personally. I probably wouldn't have thought of anyone being uncomfortable. I thought only girls coordinated stuff like what everyone will we all be wearing and that was years ago. I only see 1 'black tie' invitation a year any more and last year many of the fellas just wore suits instead of tuxes. The year before only a couple did. The RSVP clearly states Black Tie...

All that said, how many folks have seen the old IBM dress standards from the 1950's and 1960's? Jeeeez.... What was it - dark blue or gray jacket and pants, white shirt, solid colour, thin-width, dark tie. I remember one fella's story of not being admitted to a meeting because he was wearing the 'wrong' color socks and (gasp!) no garter to hold them up! Old Ross Perot was the same in his organization - EDS (when he owned it).

We've come a long way! Be happy and don't let people who wear ties get to you... I think you're just looking for something to complain about! :thedeal:

Jim Biz

took a class a LONG time ago on "non verbal communication and a very big part of it started with dress/style choice alone as a marker for "first impression" .

Don't remember the IBM codes - but do remember well that there was a private school here in the area that demanded black dress pants - white shirt daily - for guys - girls were allowed black skirt or blue plaid but white blouse long sleeved only.
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Fully vaccinated are you?
The old (?) saying 'Clothes Makes the Man' bears more truth than many folks may like to believe in so far as perception goes. A doctor's smock in a hospital is a perception maker - it sets an 'attitude' in a person seeing that other person with the smock on. I spent year at a school in Britain where it was light gray pants, white shirt, school tie and blue blazer with school emblem on pocket. Every day. No exceptions. My little sister's school also had a 'uniform'. In my hippie days it was tie dye t-shirts and blue jeans with holes and patches (maybe a few bleach 'stains as well).

I see: "...realize that human value and intellectual aptitude can never be equated..."

I'm old enough to know better than to judge a person on the clothes they wear, but clothes (with consideration to the context - i.e.: a boardroom meeting vs. troubleshooting at a production line) will always influence my perception - at least when I first meet a person. As do many factors (tattoos, hair cut and style, shaved or not, shoes shined - all sorts of stuff. :thedeal:

Al Dyer

Believe it or not, I once worked for an owner that all but banned suits and ties. He believed that the spoken word and performance were more important. I was with him when he walked into G.M. headquarters in Warren MI wearing a pair of dockers and a levi shirt. He came out with a contract and good reviews for his candor.

Casual, but not sloppy!


Quite Involved in Discussions
Good topic!!!! I believe that dress down days should be gone. As a customer(point of view)if I go into a company and the top management are not in suits and others in the office are not in ties,this gives me a bad first impression. I went to a company for an interview and the Pres.was in jeans and old shirt. I believe floor employees should be provided with uniforms. First impression is important. I guess I am old fashion. There good and bad companies, regardless of how they dress.

Laura M

I wear suits...

....when I need to and jeans (like today) for machine shops.

When GM went to dress down, unfortunately some people took it too far. I saw an 8th level manager in torn jeans. And everyone thought working on a Saturday meant you could dress in clothes that I wear to clean out my garage. But even in the "old days" with ties required, some people just threw a dirty tie on a wrinkled shirt. Bottom line, clean and pressed, whether its a suit, or khakis or denim, golf shirt, or sweater is appropriate. Unfortunately some people looked like an unmade bed no matter what the outfit is. It just makes sense that if you look sloppy, your work is probably sloppy. I had a closet full of "nice" clothes after dress down, and when I'd wear a suit people wondered where I was interviewing.

It all depends on the business. I know the admin folks at the school district still all wear suits. I haven't figured out if that's intimidating to teachers, or not. But I think for the public image its great. The public sector is different.


I'm with you, Bud!

Originally posted by Randy
The wearing of a tie today is strictly (as far as I'm concerned)a matter of perception. "If its gotta a tie on, it must be a professional under it". Also ties have become a symbol of power, position and status in many organizations as well as to the public in general. "If he wears a tie to work he has to be important".

All good posts, but I think that Randy said it best. When you stand in the mirror and slap that tie on, you are putting on your "badge" that sets you apart from the rest of us non-achievers.:biglaugh: I'm talking employees everyday dress, not meeting customers or suppliers. And, if it's not a requirement in your workplace and you choose to wear it anyway, you have a motive. Not respect for your co-workers because of the special time you took to get ready to come to work. It's a reminder to them that you are special, even if it just the "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall" thing.

When I want the "facts" about anything, I ask the person who comes to work to work. Usually an Assembler, Electrician or an operator who doesn't normally have this fixation for the "uniform" and the "power trip".

I interviewed for a Quality Engineer position a few years back and was dressed to the max. The General Manager said "Nice Suit. A little over dressed for this place, though. In fact, you can get fired for wearing a tie around here." Then he laughed, we both did. He was looking past the suit. I have worked for him going on 10 years.
He dresses for potential customers and when the CEO insists he does. Other than that, you could not tell he was the GM. But, make no mistake about it, we all know who he is. No tie required.
My problem is with those that "think" that they can hide behind a tie to distract the viewer from what they are really thinking. Like, what a pompous ***!:smokin:

Ken K

Personally, I'd rather do business with someone who is dressed sloppily that's a straight shooter than someone dressed to the max who thinks his **** don't stink.

I'm sorry, but to me clothes don't make the person. It's more important what's inside the head and heart. Does it really matter to you if I wear jeans and a tee shirt to sign a billion dollar contract with your company instead of a Armini(sp?) suit? Do I need to pretend I'm something I'm not just because someone perceives cloths as important?

And do you really judge a person by the first impression (clothes) he/she makes? Before he/she evens open their mouths, do you already feel slighted because they are not dressed up?

Now I'm not knocking anyone here, but I think it's time we all sit back and concentrate on whats important...what's inside those clothes.

As for me, very casual. As I sit here typing, just below my office mezzanine, there are two extruders processing wood flour. My suit would spend more time in the cleaners than on me. At least I think I own a suit. I'll have to look tomorrow.

Please don't take this wrong, but does it really matter?

Michael T

This tie is killing me...

Greetings all...

A very timely thread... we're going through this debate right now. Currently, all inside customer service personnel, managers, & VP's must wear appropriate attire... ties for men, and skirts or nice slacks for women. The management team is currently divided. Approx. half want to keep it this way, half want corporate casual (nice shirts w/company logo and Dockers (or similar slacks)). No jeans, no t-shirts. It is hotly contested.

When I was a Program Coordinator for a law school teaching Litigation Skills (practical trial exercises - aka putting the fins on those sharks... :biglaugh: ) we used to require all our students to wear dress clothes when doing their weekly mock trials. We found that students who wore dress clothes tended to perform better/more professionally than those who did not. If they felt the part of a lawyer, they acted the part of a lawyer.

Having served in the military, I have seen all the sides of this issue. Personally, I like the corp. casual look. It is smart and presents a neat and tidy appearance. When customers visit - dress appropriately - it makes a statement. But for everyday wear... I think comfortable gets more mileage.

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