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Why Is It Ok for Techies to Dress Down for Work?

4 weeks ago - Mark Ashton

When I think about techies and work attire, style isn’t always the first thing that springs to mind. That said, there is something quite endearing about wearing comfy clothes to work, and I’m not the only one who seems to think this.

But does what you wear to work really matter that much? Goldman Sachs seems to think so.  It has been widely reported this month that is a bid to attract top tech talent, they have just relaxed the dress code for Computer Engineers and in a leaked internal memo that was released by the 5th biggest US bank , they stated that people within their technology department could not “exercise judgment in determining when to adapt to business attire.”

Where Did It All Start?

Silicon Valley of course. As you would expect with anything that is linked with this place, it keeps on getting better and better.  According to Business Insider, the modern worker requires clothing that is multifunctional and fits in with an active lifestyle. Brands such as Betabrand have made in their mission to design and create clothes that speak to techies and millennials alike.   Some of the products they have unleashed into the marketplace include their super-successful Cordarounds, Yoga Pants, and the Executive Hoody.

Techies are renowned for non-conformance to standard business attire. Traditionally, techies, were the members of staff that were hidden away, never to  venture into the public domain or meet with clients and as such, there was an unwritten rule that they could pretty much wear whatever they wanted. However, even now, those who visit with customers and perform on-site services or pre-sales meetings have still kept true to those principals and very seldom will rock up to an interview or a customer meeting dressed in the same formal attire as their colleagues in sales.

Movies and Drama’s such as Silicon Valley or The Social Network depict the typical techie as wearing hoodies, jeans, and of course, let’s not forget the company-T.  To quote an article in the Business Insider, a software developer will get up and grab whatever is clean from their wardrobe without a thought as to what image they are presenting.  The choices they make are reflective of the culture they work and live in.

The whole concept of a tech uniform is predominantly male orientated. This is purely to do with the fact that tech giants and the tech community, in general, have traditionally been associated with men.

David Newman of GitHub summed the whole topic up perfectly in just a few words.  The attitude of a techie is intentionally casual.  Newcomers will want to brand themselves up by wearing a logo-T.  Those who have been with a business for a long time will wear heritage branded clothing as a marker to show just how long they have been with a business and for those in between these two phases, they will just simply wear what is comfortable for them, as this matches their level of comfort within a business.

What do you think about the techie-dress code?

Why do you wear what you wear?

Do you agree or disagree with some of the statements made, and do you think Goldman Sachs has made a wise move allowing their techies to have a more relaxed business attire?