Casual Dress Fridays, Yoga Class Wednesdays, Ping Pong Tables on the second floor.
These are just some of the ways that tech companies have revolutionized office culture. But there’s one subtle yet obvious change that separates these cultures from those in other industries.
That’s right, you guessed it. It’s the dress code.
understanding the unique nuances of business casual attire can be crucial.
Importantly, it is necessary to get a sense of what constitutes a business casual dress code in your specific environment, as there is often a great deal of flexibility inherent in this dress standard.
For instance, business casual dress typically straddles the line between informal and professional; it’s not uncommon to see a CEO in a navy blazer paired with a crisp, clean shirt and smart trousers, and perhaps even a pair of stylish sandals in more laid-back offices.
Clothes, in this setting, can convey a sense of professionalism without seeming overly formal, underscoring the innovative and approachable nature of the tech industry.
How to Dress in the Tech Industry: The Simple Answer
To summarise how to dress in the tech industry in two simple words would be smart casual. Something along the lines of dress slack or chinos, a button-down shirt with dark socks paired with dress shoes. Jeans, shorts, and athletic socks are a no-go.
For our female readers, this would be something along the lines of dress slacks and a skirt, blouse, sweater with an optional jacket or hosiery.
Closed-toe shoes are normally best, but peep-toes may be suitable as well.
Except for all the glitters just isn’t quite gold. Because there is one drawback.
The one drawback is that it is tricky for employees to know what is included in the guidelines of their dress code. No-one wants to have an unexpected meeting with HR, which is why we have got you covered, in this inclusive guide on how to dress in the tech industry!
By the end of this guide, you’ll have everything you need to choose the best outfits for your workplace.
How to Dress in the Tech Industry: Broken Down
This is the closest link to the ‘traditional’ element of the dress code.
It’s here to remind us that yes, underneath all of the ping pong tables and yoga classes that we are, indeed, still at work.
Normally depending on the company itself, there should be a button-down shirt. There is still an endless variety of prints, folds, and colors that you can choose from. If you’re closer to the business or sales side of things, then a blue, grey, white, or black option might go best.
They’re normally worn over the jeans with an optional sweater available to wear over it as-well.
It probably goes without saying, but the collar should be folded down, too. T-shirts are a possibility depending on the company, but you should opt for solid colors for interviews.
For women, the button-down shirt isn’t as popular, since it can be a little bit awkward for women’s body shapes. Other possible alternatives besides shirts include blouses and silhouettes, but nothing too fancy.
Sweaters are perfect, as are cardigans but blazers are a little too formal.
Most companies are happy for their employees to wear jeans. But that doesn’t mean just any pair of jeans.
I don’t think that the management at say Google would be too happy if their employees turned up wearing washed light blue jeans with rips at the kneecaps.
Jeans normally refer to dark blue or black jeans without any cuts, decorations, or any other kind of fashion trend.
This generally applies to both men and women, but of course, women will have the entire other option of skirts or a dress. Women should wear whatever they feel comfortable in.
The only thing they need to be aware of is that the dress isn’t too short.
At least to the knee area, and you’re fine. The last thing you need to be aware of is that there is often a stigma about dressing up too fancy for ladies. Sometimes it’s best to dress so that you don’t stick out.
Of course, the outerwear will depend on your geographical location and your climate. Of course, you’ll have different outerwear during a hot summer in Silicon Valley than a cold winter morning in New York City, or anywhere in Europe.
In warmer climates, fleeces and sweaters are popular. As long as the colors aren’t anything too eye-catching, then it should get the green light.
In colder climates, slim-lined black coats are all the rage. Classic overcoats and trench coats are equally as popular. Black is extremely popular since it can offer a hint of chic and sophistication without screaming “I just casually threw this on”.
But no matter what you choose, just make sure that it fits your workplace and the look that you’re going for without drawing any attention to yourself.
When you’re in doubt, try to go for a classical style over any trendy outfit.
For men, the best option is some kind of formal sneaker choice or just simple tie shoes. Of course, sneakers come in every shape and color underneath the sun.
It’s on your own company’s dress code and strictness that you can judge which sneakers are acceptable and which ones aren’t. I don’t think we should have to mention but flip-flops are a no-no.
For women, flats or more formal sneakers are best. Wedges or any small heel is OK too. High heels however are considered a little bit more formal and aren’t suited for tech companies.
Just make sure to choose colors that you like, and you will be okay. After all, it’s the silhouette that matters most.
When it comes to the final touches in your outfits, accessories make big difference. This means you need to be just as cautious when using them.
When it comes to makeup, perfume, and cologne you have to be careful.
Not only can things go wrong for you when you put on too much, but some people may be allergic to them. So either go easy with it or don’t go at all.
Make sure you keep in mind how close people will be to you before you put it on in the morning.
When it comes to jewelry, men should probably go easy. For women, a minimal style isn’t bad either just keep in mind that it’s better to go without than too many.
How to Dress in the Tech Industry: Extra Tips
We hope that the above advice has given you a pretty solid idea about how to dress. At the end of the day, smart casual isn’t simple, and like all fashion styles, comes with a strong degree of subjectivity and ambiguity.
Just to offer some extra advice, take a look at some of these simple tips which can go a long way in helping you look your best.
Look Before the Leap
If you are new to the company, make sure you get a fair idea of the company’s dress codes before you start experimenting. Until then, it’s best to stay on the more conservative side of things until you get a fair idea.
Even for the interview itself, it’s normally best to go for a more formal version of smart casual. It doesn’t matter whether the interviewer opposite you has shorts, flip-flops, and a Hawaiian shirt. You want to make a good impression in the interview, and the best way to do so is by dressing professionally.
Keep a Level of Consistency
This one is quite obvious again, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. If you have a dark blue button-down shirt on Monday, don’t swap it for ripped jeans and a red t-shirt on Friday. While most workplaces have a ‘casual Friday’ theme, it doesn’t mean you should go overboard. Stick within the guides outlined above and you won’t run into any trouble with HR!
A good rule of thumb is that no matter what you wear, it should be suitable enough for a meeting with your boss or best client. If you wouldn’t wear it to see them, then it may not be the best choice to wear to the office at all!
What’s a Tech Company Anyways?
Tech start-ups have become well-known in the United States for their especially relaxed attitude towards the dress code of their employees. It was the first real shift away from the classic business shirt and tie. One review even found that a whopping 60% of companies in the tech industry have a ‘casual’ dress code (https://theundercoverrecruiter.com/tech-dress-code-lowdown/)
It seems to work, too! With 60% of employees claiming that they want to work at companies that promote a casual dress code! (https://www.changerecruitmentgroup.com/knowledge-centre/should-your-company-adopt-a-casual-dress-code) There are seemingly endless upsides to it! More attractive work environment, happier employees, more diversity, and greater productivity.
Wrapping it up
In today’s fast-evolving tech industry, it’s important to consider the dress code when aiming for success.
Many companies still expect candidates to dress in business attire for interviews, even those conducted online.
Despite the casual wear-to-work styles promoted by some tech CEOs, the majority of employees in the tech industry, from developers to managers, benefit from a more professional dress code.
This includes khakis, button-ups, and even neutral-toned business professional clothing.
Dressing like a business professional may feel unusual, especially for those used to the hoodie and drawstring pants typically found in a tech employee’s closet.
However, a candidate’s dress during the hiring process influences their hiring decisions significantly, serving as a reflection of their potential fit into the company culture.
Despite the tech industry’s luxury of casualness, it’s still a good idea to dress formally if you’re unsure. In addition to looking polished, this also creates a cohesive first impression.
While the company may not explicitly enforce a professional dress code, it’s beneficial to dress appropriately and avoid clothing that may distract from your effectiveness.
The aim is not to adopt an entirely new wardrobe but to find a balance between functionality and formality.
Whether you’re applying as a tech CEO or working a similar job, remember that your attire, like your skills and experience, can play a vital role in convincing your prospective manager that you’re the right fit for their team.