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What do you wear to work?

by jcwren (Prior)
on Sep 08, 2000 at 01:49 UTC ( #31498=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Ovid's excellent Why do monks put up with it? and elwarren's RE: RE (tilly) 2: Why do monks put up with it? bring a question to mind:

What do you wear to work?

In my 20+ years, I've *always* worn jeans and T-shirts, and tennis shoes or flip-flops, with 2 exceptions. One was a tradeshow, the other was a customer (of the company, not mine) in Boca Raton.

I have always believed that people should be judged on merit, not whether they've managed to choke off the oxygen supply to their brain with a tie. While I don't think people should be wearing swimtrunks to work, I think people that don't have to interface to the public should be given a lot more leeway. You're more effective if you're comfortable, and I've never found a tie comfortable. In fact, I don't even own one. I don't even own a dress shirt and slacks... So if you're going to plan a wedding or funeral and are gonna invite me, let me know so I can rent a tux...


e-mail jcwren

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
(kudra: whatever I feel like wearing) RE: What do you wear to work?
by kudra (Vicar) on Sep 08, 2000 at 09:46 UTC
    My choice of clothing is pretty much the same as it was when I was attending college: a t-shirt and jeans or shorts in the summer, and jeans plus a sweater or sweatshirt in the winter. I do have some t-shirts I won't wear to work because of what they say on them, but this doesn't affect many of my shirts--I still wear 'Johnny the Homicidal Maniac' to work, for example.

    Perhaps twice a week I'll wear a shirt which isn't a t-shirt or a sweatshirt (women's clothing doesn't fit into the same neat categories that men's does), and about once a month I'll wear a dress or skirt if I feel like it. I actually dress up less for work than I sometimes did for school, because at school I'd sometimes show up in evening dresses if I was completely bored. Although I'm pretty sure my boss wouldn't say anything if I were to dress like that, I haven't had the urge to test that.

(Ovid) RE: What do you wear to work?
by Ovid (Cardinal) on Sep 08, 2000 at 08:11 UTC
    I'm supposed to wear something to work? I wondered why everybody looked at me funny.

    Seriously, sometimes I am in jeans, sometimes I wear slacks and a tie. As bastard pointed out, quality is everything. If you expect to pay the same for a dress shirt and slacks as you pay for a jeans and a t-shirt, you're darned right they're not going to be as comfortable! If I have a nice button-down shirt, with a tie and a nice pair of slacks, not only am I comfortable, I look better, too (I need all the help I can get, as my monk pic in the upper right demonstrates).

    In fact (I'm almost embarrassed to admit this), before I met my last girlfriend, I didn't own a single pair of jeans and I only had one short-sleeved shirt (which was a gift from another girlfriend). I've loosened up a bit.

    Mostly, though, I think feeling comfortable is a matter of attitude. If you're comfortable with your clothes, you'll be comfortable in your clothes.


RE: What do you wear to work?
by isotope (Deacon) on Sep 08, 2000 at 02:17 UTC
    Well, I used to work at the college I attended... and I could wear whatever I wanted. Most of the time I was hacking away right next to the PBX in a back corner of a basement, so it didn't matter anyway (probably only a dozen or two people even know that room exists). Now that I actually have a professional career, there is a formal dress code (pants of some sort and a shirt with a collar), but our R&D division is thousands of miles from management, so here, anything decent goes, as long as you're not meeting with anybody. I usually wear a polo shirt and jeans (the air conditioning is pretty cold). Others wear really ratty T-shirts, cargo shorts, and sandals. Technical management usually dresses up more, but you'll almost never see ties here.


      One summer I worked at my college as a "terminal room assistant" (yes, it was a terminal room, not a computer lab -- this was a few years ago). We requested an air conditioner in our little "office" and were told "no". So I felt justified in wearing clothes appropriate for the temporature of the room.

      It wasn't uncommon to find me sitting in shorts and nothing else with the televideo terminal and attached keyboard at the edge of the desk with my legs up on the desk to the sides of the terminal.

      Since then I usually wear long pants (usually jeans) and a shirt (sometimes a T-shirt), both in good repair. Socks are very optional and shoes are somewhat optional.

      For a couple of years one small company tried to get us to make a good impression on customers so I had to buy a bunch of dress shirts and ties. I still have the ties that I don't even bother to wear to job interviews anymore.

              - tye (but my friends call me "Tye")
        > Socks are very optional and shoes are somewhat optional.

        I never wear shoes in the office unless I'm walking inbetween departments. Of course, since I smoke, it's a bit of a hassle when I want to go for a quick bit of nicotine relief, but it's worth it. Besides, how else would I get to show off my Darth Maul socks?

      My previous job as a programmer/sysadmin for an ISP was somewhat more casual than my current job. It wasn't unknown for me to show up in shorts and t-shirt; usually removing my shoes quite quickly.

      At my current job - where I'm a sysadmin - when I'm only in there for a part day (which is currently whenever I'm there - I'm part time) I can wear smartish casual which equates to cargo pants and whatever t-shirt I'm wearing. During the holidays when I'm there fulltime I'm expected to wear a shirt and tie. However they've seen the light and it looks like we're either going to move to a smart casual regime or a corporate uniform (which at least will hopefully be more comfortable than a shirt and tie).

      Oh for the days where I could were shorts and t-shirts and when the customers came in they didn't think anything of it...

RE (tilly) 1: What do you wear to work?
by tilly (Archbishop) on Sep 08, 2000 at 02:46 UTC
    Officially I wear business casual but have to keep a suit handy.

    Unofficially I lost the shoes that went with the suit last month, and I am not in a hurry to get a replacement, and I am somewhat closer to casual than business...

    I hear you about ties. Studies of pilots found tight ties resulted in measurable vision loss due to reduced blood supply, and I believe FAA regulations say they have to loosen (or remove) their ties before takeoff. I own, but do not wear, ties.

    Other than disliking ties, I am not religious about being casual. However anywhere near finance in NYC tends to be fairly formal.

RE: What do you wear to work?
by bastard (Hermit) on Sep 08, 2000 at 03:22 UTC
    Personally I think the comfort depends on the quality of the clothing. With incremnetally more leeway being granted as the clothing gets more casual. (but not all t-shirts are made equal either, its just harder to screw them up)

    For example I am at home (just got here from work), and wearing trousers and a button down collar dress shirt (Geoffery Beene rules!). I probably will wear aforementioned attire nearly until I go to sleep. Quite comfortable. I think the problem arises when someone goes out and just buys the first dress shirt and trousers they see (spending as little as possible) and are duly unsatisifed with the fit/comfort level. Most of what i've tried i hate and would never wear. What I am wearing now is just fine tho.
    (For reference I wear Geoffery Beene shirts and Slates trousers.)

    BTW- my tye wearing thing was ended when i was told to to come into work the next day not wearing one (perhaps i'm ill, but sometimes i like them)

RE: What do you wear to work?
by Maclir (Curate) on Sep 08, 2000 at 04:05 UTC
    Well,like jcwren I have 20+ years of work experience. For the most, I have worn a suit, (with the tie), black leather shoes and so on. This for a number of reasons, mainly the dress code (when I worked for IBM), or the expectation that senior managers look like they are senior managers.

    One thing I find very useful about wearing suits to work is that as soon as I get home, I take the work clothes off, have a nice shower, then put on some old (preferably torn / frayed / paint-splatters) jeans, or shorts in summer, a t shirt or warm top - and look like crap. All the work problems are removed at the same time - hey, they will still be there the next morning.

    I personally find doing that has kept me sane (at least I think I am sane) all these years. Having a clear distinction between work time and my time is critical. The delineation between the clothing helps.

RE: What do you wear to work?
by j.a.p.h. (Pilgrim) on Sep 16, 2000 at 09:02 UTC
    Well, I'm (much to my surprise) the VP of Opperations for a currently very small (and very new) DSL ISP.

    One would think that I'd have to wear a suit. But lucky for me, even the CEO wears just a polo shirt and slacks. The CTO usually wears jeans and a polo shirt. I usualy wear slacks and a nice shirt with a collar.

    However, the ISP shares a building (which is mostly one large room) with another business owned by our parrent company. That other business is a telemarketing firm. Enough ink in the tattoos write a novel and enough metal in the piercings to make a small car (okay, not really, but you get the idea). To get to the point, I could probably get away with a t-shirt and shorts. =)

RE: What do you wear to work?
by mdillon (Priest) on Sep 08, 2000 at 06:20 UTC

    same thing i wore last week (and for the previous month before that) 8^)

      /me holds nose and drags mdillon down to the lake next to the monastery with a box of laundry detergent...
RE: What do you wear to work?
by mischief (Hermit) on Sep 09, 2000 at 01:29 UTC
    Personally, I've always worn whatever I want to work. I totally agree that "people should be judged on merit" and not their appearance - at least, if their appearance has nothing to do with their work (sales staff and management should definitely be smart at least, as they have to interact with people who care about that kind of thing). I worked at one place where I was required to wear a suit and tie (Tesco in Prague as an AIX admin) for three weeks before I quit. This is not just because I had to wear a suit every day - that was just a symptom of the underlying attitude of the place. It's because of all the rest of the ideas that go along with wearing a suit - things like not being able to dye your hair purple or wear earrings or come in at odd hours of the day because you've been working until 2am the night before. If you're in a job where you're not allowed to do this kind of thing, especially where it's in no way related to what you're actually doing, you are having your freedom taken away for no reason.

    (btw, Ovid, if you're reading this - I'm not saying that people should quit their job because they're required to wear a shirt and tie; I just that it's sad that it's ever the case that people should have to do this for no real reason.

RE: What do you wear to work?
by jeorgen (Pilgrim) on Sep 08, 2000 at 13:47 UTC
    Anybody else having a problem with jeans? They are just uncomfortable, unless they're really baggy, in which case the heavy denim make you feel like your walking in a paper bag.

    No, a good pair of wool/synthetic trousers with lining in the inside down to the knees, and deep front pockets that can hold whatever you put in. Then something synthetic (thick shirt or a shiny sweater) on the upper body. You never need to iron again in your life.

    Never a tie but a good 60's style suit goes well with the synthetic black shirt or polo.

    Buy expensive cloth and expensive clothes. They look so much better wrinkled than poor stuff.

    Rockport shoes (looks like dress shoes, feels like Ecco), loafers, with vibram soles so that you can scale rocks for shortcuts.


      yep. jeans suck. i am almost exclusively a corduroy man myself, although i have got some of those flannel-lined cotton trousers with a lining like you describe as well.

      i'm also in agreement with respect to the Rockports, though i usually only wear mine when it rains, typically opting for my worn-out, holey clogs (hemp of course).

RE: What do you wear to work?
by KM (Priest) on Sep 08, 2000 at 17:15 UTC
    I am currently wearing a pair of cargo shorts, and a worn and faded Phish tour shirt (Clifford Ball shirt). I wore sandles, but take them off when I get here. And, of course, my BSD hat. I also haven't shaved in about 3 weeks, so I am scruffy.

    Personally, I believe that a hacker does the best work, at work, when they can be made to feel that they are working at home.


(jeffa) RE: What do you wear to work?
by jeffa (Bishop) on Sep 08, 2000 at 18:55 UTC
    My first two jobs required the dreaded 'business casual'. My current job and the one before allow me to wear torn jeans, a t-shirt, and flip-flops.

    And they don't mind that I have 9"x9" tattoo on my back.


RE: What do you wear to work?
by PotPieMan (Hermit) on Sep 08, 2000 at 04:55 UTC
    I'm probably the exception, especially seeing as I am relatively young, but I really don't mind wearing dressier clothing. A tie isn't exactly comfortable, but it sometimes feels nice to dress up.

    I remember as a kid I would come home (from preschool, actually), and get dressed up as a businessman. I don't know why I enjoyed it so much--I know it surprised my mother. Maybe I liked it because it impressed the ladies. :)

    Nevertheless, I think, like jcwren, that people should be allowed to decide what they want to wear to work, especially those who don't deal directly with people. The casual dress that puck describes is being allowed in more offices.


RE: What do you wear to work?
by t0mas (Priest) on Sep 08, 2000 at 10:20 UTC
    As a roaming consultant I'll have to adapt to the clothing style of the company for which I work. When I show up for consultant interviews (before I get the contract) I'll usually wear a shirt and tie (and pants :), but when I start working, I adapt in a couple of days.

    Thinking of Ovid's post, I don't quit a job for what I must wear, I adapt.

    At home (if anyone cares) I usually wear a pair of old torn jeans and a t-shirt saying things like "Prolifics. Better performance, breakthrough productivity", "Panther. Components unleashed", or having a big picture of Mickey Mouse...

    /brother t0mas
RE: What do you wear to work?
by OzzyOsbourne (Chaplain) on Sep 08, 2000 at 17:19 UTC

    I have to wear "business casual," which is the same as business choked, but without the tie.

    I think that showing up in a cape (it's not against the dress code!) would be really funny, though. If I only had a cape...

RE: What do you wear to work?
by BastardOperator (Monk) on Sep 08, 2000 at 21:14 UTC
    I agree completely. I used to be able to wear jeans and a collared shirt, but then we had a guy coming in with those Teva flip flops on and overalls, big ole' Fred Flinstone toes hanging out, one overall strap undone. He basically single-handedly ruined the whole jeans thing, and now I have to wear dockers or the like, I find cargo pants to be a nice compromise ;).
RE: What do you wear to work?
by Malach (Scribe) on Sep 13, 2000 at 04:01 UTC

    Fortunately, I can wear pretty much what I like.. and do, unless meeting with board members or the like (not too often).

    I do, however, have a serious objection to ties, and pretty much refuse to wear them. For those situation where a suit and tie is appropriate/expected, I tend to wear a mandarin collared shit, under a suit. Dressy, yet still not a tie. It also differentiates me from the hordes of suitandtie wearing drones out of marketing and accounting.

(crazyinsomniac) RE: What do you wear to work?
by crazyinsomniac (Prior) on Sep 08, 2000 at 03:16 UTC
    Well at my first job i wore a t-shirt 'n' jeans.
    At my second job i wore a t-shirt 'n' jeans.

    Now I wear my underpants, and possibly some socks, depending on where i came to from, school or sleep.
    I also dress casual for Fridays, when i have to actually come in to work.

    I am a Web Designer/Graphic Artist/CableCaster for a local community access tv station.
    I usually work for home, unless I have to come in, which is usually just to CableCast(play tapes over a cable channel).
    It's a part time gig, not bad for a 19 year old Sophmore at a Community College.


    "cRaZy is co01, but sometimes cRaZy is cRaZy".
                                                          - crazyinsomniac
Re: What do you wear to work?
by Anonymous Monk on Jan 07, 2003 at 20:33 UTC
    I work at a place where it's pretty much anything goes as far as dressing goes but my work attire is pretty basic. It's usually the upper side of business casual. Skirts, knee to calf length or dress slacks. Always stockings with skirts or trouser socks with pants. Low to mid heel pump or mule and sometimes dressy sandals or slides in the summer. Chuck
RE: What do you wear to work?
by TStanley (Canon) on Sep 08, 2000 at 23:30 UTC
    My first I.T. job required me to wear a uniform. Since my employer was
    the U.S. Air Force, this is quite understandable. The Battle Dress Uniform (BDU)
    is fairly comfortable to wear. After I separated, the job I was in required me to deal with
    customers on a daily basis as a Field Service Technician, so I wore
    shirt,slacks, and tie. I now work for a different company, that has a casual
    dress code (I showed for the interview, and my boss was wearing denim shorts
    and a polo shirt and sneakers. Dress codes vary wherever you go, so just go with the

    There can be only one!

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