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Old 11-06-2019, 09:01 PM
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Have you ever deliberately worn jeans/NOT dressed up for a (white collar) job interview?


My first query on this website was whether those of you who held white-collar jobs that allowed jeans or had no dress code around the office were also allowed to dress that way when you had face-to-face client meetings. A few responders answered that, in fact, they were allowed to do so (or in one or two cases, that they deliberately did not dress up, in order to present a certain impression to the client), though quite a few responders indicated that they would dress up at least for a first meeting with a client or that they would vary their dress accoding to the kind of client they were meeting. Now I would like to ask a related question. How many of you have gone to a first job interview (again for a white-collar job, not for general labor, an industrial job or trade, etc.) wearing blue jeans or other utterly casual clothes? Did you get the job? Was there any reaction to your choice of attire or did it go over smoothly in all respects? Was there an ideological reason for your doing this or did you simply not want to bother dressing up or have no time to change out of your normal work clothes?

The standard advice for going to a job interview for a white-collar job is that it is an occasion for which it is appropriate to dress up. In the not-so-distant past it was advised to always wear formal business attire (suit, tie, etc.) and the standard advice was that it was better to overdress than to underdress. Nowadays, though, with many companies having no dress code or a generally casual corporate culture, the advice given varies more; some sources suggest that it is not appropriate to wear a suit to such a place as it may give the impression of going against the company culture. Still, it is commonly advised to dress a notch up from what you expect the standard dress would be, thus to wear khakis and a polo shirt to an interview for a job in a company where jeans and t-shirts are standardly worn, for example. Many sources will still say that blue jeans are not appropriate for a first interview, at least in a white-collar job, but I have found some opinions in recent sources on the internet to the effect that e.g. clean solid blue jeans are OK for an interview in a company where the standard dress is very casual, so perhaps things are changing.

I will share my own experiences with this issue. I am living proof that you can be hired for some kind of white-collar work somewhere wearing jeans. My practice throughout my adult life was, out of principle, to go dressed to interviews no differently than I normally dress. I have worn jeans in all but three interviews in my life; two of these were for summer office jobs while I was still a student and I dressed up for these at my mother's behest. The third I will return to later. Once I left home, I went to teach English abroad. At first I made no attempt to dress up as 1) it was very important - almost a dealbreaker - for me to be able to work somewhere where i can wear jeans; 2) out of principle - I wanted to be hired for who I am and not for presenting some fake image of myself based on some kind of artificial etiquette. Furthermore, I wanted to lead by example and fight the discrimination against someone who would interview in jeans. If someone saw me in jeans and was willing to hire me, that would keep their standards lower for the next person they would hire. If, however, they saw me dressed up, that would increase the chance that they would be used to people dressing up and would consider the next person to come to be interviewed by them in jeans eccentric. This was not an obstacle to my being hired. In fact, in those days (2003), it was beyond casual with me: I actually looked, in retrospective, quite sloppy (I actually went to some interviews in sandals and socks; today I would never do that. In fact, I stopped wearing sandals to work years ago and recently stopped wearing them altogether). Later, I would make a little more effort to at least look put together, but was still completely casual in my dress. Various language schools did hire me. C. 2006, I briefly held a part-time HR position at one of these schools and when I interviewed prospective teachers, I would always tell them over the phone that I didn't care if they dressed up or not. In 2010, I returned to Canada and after looking for a job for several months was hired wearing jeans, a clean t-shirt or sweatshirt, and leather shoes for an SEO job for which there was no dress code. However, the work in that company was exploitative and I ended up going abroad again and getting work with language schools. While I always wore jeans to the interviews, this time around there were no sandals and I think I had already adopted the custom of wearing a polo shirt - I.E. of presenting my best self, but my real best self, and not some fake version meant only to "dress to impress" and that would not reflect how I would actually dress for work. As I explained in the other thread, I also started a small side business, and when I had a meeting with a potential corporate client (IIRC this happened only once), I.E. the managing director of another language school for which I did not work, I wore jeans again out of principle. I did not get the contract, but the director seemed to take me seriously and he did not end the dealings with me with that first meeting. Thus I hope my lack of business attire was not the decisive factor in their decision not to use my services. I actually returned to Canada one more time and easily got a tutorial job, again wearing jeans and a polo shirt.

This year, however, I decided to go abroad again and this time for good (in short, things have moved on in Canada to such an extent that almost nothing of what I had twice returned there for remains for me there; it just wasn't worth staying). I applied to various language schools already from Canada; I ended up agreeing on cooperation with four of them, two of which I had already worked for and two of which were new for me. For three of them, I had to have a face-to-face interview upon arrival before they finalized their cooperation with me. As always, I wore jeans and a polo shirt. But for one of them - incidentally the same one that I had tried to get as a corporate client when I had the business, I got very lucky. The hiring manager, a wonderful person whom I hold in high esteem, did a Skype interview with me and immediately sent me an offer of cooperation based on my experience. She also sent me a handbook that all teachers get; in it I discovered a section about something which was not much of a thing in the other schools I had cooperated with: a dress code. In brief, they wanted their teachers to present a professional appearance when they went to teach in companies. At first it said that you are fine if you are as well dressed as the student sitting across from you, suggesting the dress code was on a sliding scale. However, it ended with a definition of "business casual", which specifically stated "no jeans". At a younger age, I might have flaunted the dress code and hoped no one would catch me doing so, but at this point, I thought it would be better to respect it. I figured OK, I will be cooperating with several schools and maybe it won't be necessary to dress better than usual every day. I went out and bought some khakis and unlike the other three interviews, I wore them to the demo lesson that I gave the hiring manager (a mere formality; I was presumed hired at this point). At this effective second interview, she asked if I had any questions. One thing I thought to ask was if what I was wearing - khakis and a polo shirt - were sufficient for their dress code or if I should get anything better. And it's a good thing I asked. She smiled and said that it was completely sufficient, that I was dressed better than half their teachers dressed, and that nobody actually monitored adherence to the dress code. She indicated that it was more of a guideline that it was good to have and advised dressing better for a first lesson and then dressing to the level of the students' dress; thus by implication, there is nothing wrong with being in jeans if the student is also wearing them. (Meanwhile this is quite a conitinentally elegant young woman - always has on a nice blouse or other good top; very neutral nail polish and just a touch of well-applied makeup). This is good to know as I ended up having the most lessons with this particular school (and I feel very lucky to have gotten the opportunity to work there; on various points it is definitely a step above some of the other places where I've worked). In the end, most of my in-company students do wear jeans on at least some days, and in practice I wear (good dark) jeans on most days. I do put on the khakis once or twice a week when going to certain companies, also so I can get some use of them since I bought them already, and the hiring manager and the aforesaid managing director have seen me in both jeans and khakis around the office. Since this school, and to a lesser extent another of the ones that I work with, do encourage something like a professional appearance, I have worn a shirt with a collar, though, at all my lessons since I came back.

Though I now own and intermittently wear khakis, I intend to continue my practice of wearing jeans if I ever go to another job interview (again, I would make an exception and wear something better in the event that I was interviewing for a job where I thought jeans could go against the eventual dress code; e.g. if I had an internal interview for some higher position at the aforesaid highly esteemed language school for which I acquired the khakis in the first place). This would again be out of principle: if I am to work somewhere where jeans are allowed, I would want the employer to again have the statistic of seeing someone come to the interview in jeans and be used to that, which would hopefully contribute to their not being prejudiced in this regard when interviewing other candidates.

BTW, around 10 years ago, I saw a man come for an interview in a bank wearing jeans, during one of my in-company English lessons. One of my students received him (and may have also interviewed him). He did have a suit jacket or good sport coat on, though; I don't know, perhaps this dress combination is a European thing. I don't know how he would have fared with such attire in a North American bank or if there would have been any difference to the practice in Europe, but I did see the same man come back later for a second interview, so it seems the jeans didn't hurt his prospects. However, this time he was wearing a full suit or something so he had likely become aware of their dress code at some point.
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Old 11-06-2019, 11:35 PM
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I have. But it was for jobs that, while white collar, would have been in a factory or a research lab, and for anybody whose head is in this century, the rule is "dress for the job". Anybody who expects the engineers to wear pencil skirts around a factory or researchers in suits under the white coat is someone I don't want to work for (the people stuck in the 1950s consider pantsuits or "good trousers" as unacceptable as jeans). I got hired for several of those jobs (left one due to Visa expiring and employer wanting me to work illegally, got promoted up in another, others finished when the contract did).


Quote:
Originally Posted by The Maple Leaf View Post
BTW, around 10 years ago, I saw a man come for an interview in a bank wearing jeans, during one of my in-company English lessons. One of my students received him (and may have also interviewed him). He did have a suit jacket or good sport coat on, though; I don't know, perhaps this dress combination is a European thing.(...)
Perfectly normal business attire in Europe and in many non-European countries.

Quote:
(...) it seems the jeans didn't hurt his prospects. However, this time he was wearing a full suit or something so he had likely become aware of their dress code at some point.
During the first interview.

Last edited by Nava; 11-06-2019 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 11-07-2019, 01:50 AM
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The last time I interviewed was 22 years ago, for an engineering job (reasonably high level) in Silicon Valley. It was a change jobs, reduce my commute kind of deal. I wore exactly what I wore to work that day. Not jeans, but I never wore jeans.

Pretty much anyone working in the Valley already would not dress up for an interview. College students get a pass.
As I said in the other thread, even salesmen and tech support people who called on us stopped wearing suits years ago.
I wouldn't not hire someone dressed in a suit to an interview, but I'd consider it rather clueless.
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Old 11-07-2019, 01:57 AM
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Yes I did.

It was an interview for a job I was sure that I would dislike. So, to be sure that I did not get the job, I showed up in blue jeans & a collared t-shirt. Imagine my surprise when I got the job! It turned out that I was the only one to show up on time. All the other interviewees either were no-shows, or they were at least ten minutes late.

I found that I liked the job. White collar work can be fun, who knew?
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Old 11-07-2019, 04:30 AM
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Yes I did.

It was an interview for a job I was sure that I would dislike. So, to be sure that I did not get the job, I showed up in blue jeans & a collared t-shirt. Imagine my surprise when I got the job! It turned out that I was the only one to show up on time. All the other interviewees either were no-shows, or they were at least ten minutes late.

I found that I liked the job. White collar work can be fun, who knew?
LOL good one
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Old 11-07-2019, 08:48 AM
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The job wasn't really white-collar, but was kind of managerial. I biked to the interview (it was the kind of place where that would be a plus), so packed nicer-than-biking clothes (not a suit but better than T shirt) in a bag and brought them. I went in to ask for a bathroom to change in. First guy I met turned out to be the one interviewing me. I looked at his T-shirt and jeans and ragged sneakers and decided maybe I didn't need the bathroom after all. (I actually told him I could change before the interview if he wanted, but... he agreed I shouldn't bother and subsequently hired me)
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:15 AM
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I interviewed for a job in a Supergirl costume. It was a last minute call by the Chief of Staff and we were having a Halloween party at my current position.

I got the job.
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by 48Willys View Post
Yes I did.

It was an interview for a job I was sure that I would dislike. So, to be sure that I did not get the job, I showed up in blue jeans & a collared t-shirt. Imagine my surprise when I got the job! It turned out that I was the only one to show up on time. All the other interviewees either were no-shows, or they were at least ten minutes late.

I found that I liked the job. White collar work can be fun, who knew?
I did that. One time I did more than just wear jeans and a t-shirt to dissuade them. That was an unusual situation. Another time I wore jeans and a flannel shirt because that was the style for old programmers at the time (along with an onion on my belt). I had suits, and jackets for the traditional work environment, and various shirts to wear when I was in the movie biz and had to look creative and artistic.

Then one day I attended an impromptu business meeting with a couple of soon to be billionaires wearing jeans and a black Megadeath t-shirt. That day a legend was born. The moral of the story is this: Don't become a legend, it just leads to people annoying you.

Last edited by TriPolar; 11-07-2019 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:48 AM
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In the game industry, it's not really expected for anyone to dress up.

Years ago, when I was getting into the industry, I had two interviews in one day- one was a normal office job, the other was as an artist at a newly-formed game company. I knew I had the art job in the bag- the interview really was just a formality- but I went to the normal job interview just on the off-chance that the game job fell through.

I dressed up nicely for the normal job interview- I wore my suit. An hour later, I went to the game job interview wearing the same suit. They thought it was hilarious.
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:54 AM
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No. Always worn a suit. My current job, I was specifically told to wear a suit to the tour and interview, even though once I had the job, nobody cares what I wear, including the person who interviewed me.
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Old 11-07-2019, 03:20 PM
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I wore jeans and went tie-less to the interview for a software development job at a university (not a student job, a full-time permanent position) - and I got the job. But I guess I was actually "dressing up" for the interview, since my usual dress at that job ended up being t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. (Hot climate, no harm in dressing like a student when everyone else is a student, developers are notoriously casual anyway...)
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Old 11-07-2019, 03:43 PM
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Not me, but a girl staying in the same backpackers as me in Australia went to an interview- as a nurse -in a bikini, and got the job.

She'd been just passing the employment place on the way back from the beach, noticed the ad and poked her head round the door to enquire...
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:41 PM
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You'll find a lot of people in IT, especially at software companies (whether in Silicone Valley or not) don't need to dress up for interviews. Generally they are going to focus on your technical ability and your interpersonal ability, and not care about your dress code. You should make sure you're clean, though...no one wants a smelly co-worker.

There are still a lot of hold-outs who think it shows respect, deference, professionalism, etc to wear a suit to an interview. It took me a long time to convince myself not to. But more and more industries are becoming comfortable with the idea of a casual workplace. And the ones who aren't either have good reasons (ie front-office staff must always look professional and well-groomed to deal with customers) or are stodgy and indicative of an older-thinking, often hidebound corporate culture.
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:54 PM
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Not me, but a girl staying in the same backpackers as me in Australia went to an interview- as a nurse -in a bikini, and got the job.

She'd been just passing the employment place on the way back from the beach, noticed the ad and poked her head round the door to enquire...
I've mentioned my grocery store pharmacy job many times. I applied for that job in shorts, flip-flops, and a wrinkled t-shirt. I happened to be in that town to check out an antique store, having just been fired from a job that was such a terrible experience, I briefly considered surrendering my license. A friend from an old job worked at that store; he was off that day but I was told that they needed someone to cover an upcoming maternity leave, so I filled out an application (and later came back appropriately dressed for an interview). That job turned permanent when her husband was offered a promotion in another town, and accepted.

I left that job 3 years later when we got a new manager, who (among other things) refused to do a scheduled interview because she was "too busy."
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:46 PM
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I once interviewed in jeans and a T-shirt when I was in grad school. A representative from a high-tech firm came to the campus unannounced and I heard he wanted to see me, no matter how I was dressed.
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:14 PM
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The culture in Computer Science was very anti-suit when I started out. When job hunting as I was finishing my PhD, I wore jeans and a dress shirt. Visited 3 places, got 3 offers.

The next time I did a round it was slacks and a dress shirt but I think that was mainly because it was for a more senior position than anything. (Which means spending more time with Deans and what not who aren't CS types.)

I think all told I wore slacks less than 20 times professionally. Jeans or, in summer, shorts if I wasn't teaching.

Never wore a suit on a college campus or anything remotely professional.
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:19 PM
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Nava, I suspect that for the folks who are really stuck in the 1950s, a pencil skirt is the last thing they'd expect an engineer to be wearing.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:04 AM
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re:OP, too long, did not read. Good luck figuring it out.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:44 AM
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I've often found myself dressing for the workplace rather than just 'dressing up' for the interview. While I didn't wear jeans, I also 'dressed down' a bit for an interview at an animal rehabilitation hospital - no one else there was going to be wearing a tie, so dressing up would have seemed really out of place.
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Old 11-09-2019, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Maple Leaf View Post
At first I made no attempt to dress up as 1) it was very important - almost a dealbreaker - for me to be able to work somewhere where i can wear jeans;
Why? You're not the only one I've heard echo this sentiment and I just don't get it. I've never sat at the office thinking to myself how much better I'd like my job if only I were in jeans.

Quote:
2) out of principle - I wanted to be hired for who I am and not for presenting some fake image of myself based on some kind of artificial etiquette.
What's so artificial about this compared to the rules of etiquette in another context? All rules of etiquette are social constructs.

I work in an industry where it's expected that candidates dress up for an interview. We typically give a bit more leeway for our non-professional entry level positions but the odds of a candidate wearing jeans and a t-shirt to an interview getting hired is pretty slim. Our general dress code is business casual, though we're expected to dress up when the occasion calls for it, and we're only permitted jeans on Fridays though t-shirts are still against the rules. I've never seen an external candidate interview in jeans before but I did see an internal candidate whose interview was scheduled on a casual Friday show up in jeans. He didn't get the position and while his choice of clothing wasn't the deciding factor it did leave a poor impression with the interview panel.

But I would agree that people should dress according to the standards of their industry. If they don't expect you to wear a tie then don't wear a tie.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:12 PM
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I fly planes for a living - that’s not white collar, but you are generally expected to dress up for interviews. I was an airline pilot for a while and then decided to go into charter. Got an interview, took the day off and jump-seated down the morning of.

Having worn my airline uniform on the flight I arrived at the interview not as early as I’d hoped, and decided not to change clothes. I figured an airline uniform wouldn’t be out of place, it would signal my qualifications and I could change later on (it was an all-day interview process). Wouldn’t be surprised if a few others did the same.

So pulling my roll-aboard behind me, I open the door to the swanky meeting room and find... a dozen guys in very nice suits, looking at me as if I’d just shat in the punch bowl. For the rest of the day I was clearly “THAT guy”.

Not everyone got hired that day, but I did. For good or bad, I definitely stood out from the pack.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:43 PM
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I've never worn jeans, but I've also never work a dress and hose and heels, nor would I take a job that required that attire. But then engineers aren't typically known to be fashion plates anyway.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:47 PM
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For my current job, I dressed down as far as I ever have for an interview that wasn't for a job swinging a hammer. Which meant side-zip boots, khakis, and a dress shirt with no tie.

I didn't expect to get the job. Just goes to show that you never know.
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Old 11-09-2019, 02:50 PM
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re:OP, too long, did not read. Good luck figuring it out.
-I know my post was very long. It's just that I have a lot of experience with the issue and I wanted to share it.


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Why? You're not the only one I've heard echo this sentiment and I just don't get it. I've never sat at the office thinking to myself how much better I'd like my job if only I were in jeans.
-Well, to each their own. But to answer your question, it's rather simple. First of all, a ban on jeans or other causal clothes is yet another rule one has to follow. Who would want more restrictions, rather than less? This is a rather arbitrary restriction on nothing less than one's personal style and, potentially, comfort. Speaking for myself, I want to project a certain image of myself, and being casually dressed is part of it, though as I hinted above, while I still want to be able to wear jeans to work - and in practice still do 70-80% of the time - it's not quite the dealbreaker for me today that it was a decade and a half ago.


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What's so artificial about this compared to the rules of etiquette in another context? All rules of etiquette are social constructs.
-My criticism of "proper interview attire" applies equally to any rule of etiquette which doesn't serve a good purpose. While all rules of etiquette may be social constructs, some are more useful to society than others. For example, observing basic rules of personal hygiene and not smelling of BO, not passing gas in public, etc. serves to not to affect others others with things that, viewed objectively, are annoying and unsanitary. Saying "Please" and "Thank you" serve to acknowledge, at least formally, that we appreciate that the person who is doing something for us or giving us something is making an effort or sacrifice on their part. A handshake, while a somewhat arbitrary and culture-specific form of greeting, doesn't require much of one. But being expected not to wear jeans or other casual clothes to an interview (especially if I will be wearing casual clothes at the workplace afterward anyway) or to a client meeting does nothing to make the world a better place. I am not somehow infringing on the interviewer's or potential client's rights or comfort by not dressing up. I can teach English as well in jeans and a T-shirt as I can in dress pants and a button-down shirt. I want to be hired for my skills and experience and not for having presented a fake appearance that doesn't reflect who I am in real life, and I want, by my example, to encourage employers not to discriminate against candidates on the basis of such artificial and arbitrary standards as the kind of cloth they put on their legs that day. Note that we have done away with many standards of appearance and other rules of etiquette that used to be standard in polite society and the world is no worse for it. For example, we (at least the more progressive of us) no longer frown on men with long hair (something that was a big no-no for much of the 20th century). We no longer expect people whose family members have died to go into mourning and spend a period of time wearing black or other dark colors and avoiding happy social events (in the case of widows, they were once required to do this for a full two years). IMO if a rule of etiquette goes beyond good manners and doesn't give society any real added value, it should be consigned to the dustbin of history.


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Originally Posted by Odesio View Post
I work in an industry where it's expected that candidates dress up for an interview. ... Our general dress code is business casual, though we're expected to dress up when the occasion calls for it, and we're only permitted jeans on Fridays though t-shirts are still against the rules.

...

But I would agree that people should dress according to the standards of their industry. If they don't expect you to wear a tie then don't wear a tie.
-And that is, in fact, what I have been doing. The jobs I have been taking tend to allow jeans and other purely casual clothes. So while I have not been dressing up for the interviews, I have been wearing exactly what I expected to be allowed to wear at the place of work at which I was applying. While my position is that people should not be expected to dress better than usual merely because they are at a job interview, and that they should not be judged for the mere fact that they put casual clothes on for this occasion, I would agree that there is not much point in wearing jeans to an interview in a place where you can reasonably expect to be required to dress up once hired. I myself would not apply to work at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, but if I did have a mind to do so, I would certainly wear a suit and a tie to the interview. Just to clarify, I do recognize an employer's right to establish a dress code if they so choose. What I'm trying to achieve is for society to move away from arbitrary standards of judging workers by their appearance in hopes that one day, the concept of "appropriate business dress" would be obsolete and that employers would no longer find strict dress codes necessary (I am not referring to things like uniformed jobs, e.g. the police, or jobs that require workwear and safety gear, e.g. construction, merely jobs requiring intellectual work not practically dependent on one's clothing, e.g. office workers, teachers, account managers, etc.) I hope the day will arrive when two CEOs will have an important meeting to discuss a joint venture and it won't matter that the one is wearing a three-piece suit and that the other has a mohawk, torn jeans and a safety pin through their nose.

Last edited by The Maple Leaf; 11-09-2019 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 11-09-2019, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by The Maple Leaf View Post
-Well, to each their own. But to answer your question, it's rather simple. First of all, a ban on jeans or other causal clothes is yet another rule one has to follow. Who would want more restrictions, rather than less? This is a rather arbitrary restriction on nothing less than one's personal style and, potentially, comfort.
Personally, I like have some degrees of separation between work and personal time. I don't want to dress or behave at work in the same way I do in my social life. I've also been wearing business casual pretty much my entire adult life and am quite comfortable doing so. When I made a presentation to our executives and switching to a dress for your day policy I even told them that I would continue to wear business casual on daily basis because that's what I'm comfortable with.

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Speaking for myself, I want to project a certain image of myself, and being casually dressed is part of it, though as I hinted above, while I still want to be able to wear jeans to work - and in practice still do 70-80% of the time - it's not quite the dealbreaker for me today that it was a decade and a half ago.
I'm just quoting this because I plan on circling back.

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My criticism of "proper interview attire" applies equally to any rule of etiquette which doesn't serve a good purpose.
You want to project a certain image of yourself which is certainly understandable. But a company's dress code exists because they wish to project a certain image of their organization.

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What I'm trying to achieve is for society to move away from arbitrary standards of judging workers by their appearance in hopes that one day, the concept of "appropriate business dress" would be obsolete and that employers would no longer find strict dress codes necessary
I think we'll always have some sort of standards and other than the ones for safety they're all arbitrary. We're trending towards more casual these days but at some point in the future it'll trend to more formal I'm sure.
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  #26  
Old 11-10-2019, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Odesio View Post
Personally, I like have some degrees of separation between work and personal time. I don't want to dress or behave at work in the same way I do in my social life. I've also been wearing business casual pretty much my entire adult life and am quite comfortable doing so. When I made a presentation to our executives and switching to a dress for your day policy I even told them that I would continue to wear business casual on daily basis because that's what I'm comfortable with.
-Nothing wrong with that if that's your sort of thing. Not my cup of tea, though [still referring only to the dress aspect - I do behave in some ways differently at work than in my social life; this is a no-brainer example, but some of my best friends are rather, shall I say uncouth types, and at this point in my life I know full well not to use the kind of language at work that we use among ourselves in off hours.]


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Originally Posted by Odesio View Post
You want to project a certain image of yourself which is certainly understandable. But a company's dress code exists because they wish to project a certain image of their organization.
-I am fully aware of that. My comment about wanting to project a certain image was in answer to your question of why it is important for some people to be allowed to wear jeans to work. I know that many employers want to project a certain image (some actually want to project a casual image rather than a formal one). What I can do is 1) decide if I want to work for an employer who wants to project an image that is at odds with the one I want to project 2) lead by my own example in discouraging such superficialities in society at large (viz. my comments above to the effect that, with a recent exception that doesn't contradict the rule, I have not only consistently worn jeans to job interviews, but even wore them to a face-to-face meeting with a potential corporate client when I had a business. And this is in part ideological). Not likely to happen anytime soon, but if I ever had a company of my own, the professional image that I would want to project is one where employees' individuality is respected and where the onus is on the added value of the services we provide, not on the superficial visual image of our employees. Not only would my office staff be allowed to dress essentially any way they want (those who wanted to wear jeans and a T-shirt could, but those whose personal style it was to wear a suit could do so as well), but they would explicitly not be required to dress any better when they went to meet clients either (OK, maybe not look like you just rolled out of bed or crawled out from under a bridge). And I would hope that this would not drive away enough clients to bankrupt the company. I would simply not want to do business under other circumstances. This is, of course, speaking only for myself, though again, I hope the day will come when requiring specific business attire will be obsolete even for the purposes of "making a good impression" on clients.

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Originally Posted by Odesio View Post
I think we'll always have some sort of standards and other than the ones for safety they're all arbitrary. We're trending towards more casual these days but at some point in the future it'll trend to more formal I'm sure.
-I'm sure there will always be some standards, but the trend today is to be more tolerant and some industries encourage or even require a more casual appearance (a very interesting example: this summer, before I went abroad again, I went to my local branch of the Royal Bank of Canada, to settle some affairs. The branch had recently been renovated. Prior to the renovation, the tellers were all wearing standard business attire. But on this visit, not only was the standard line counter replaced with separate little workstations beside which the tellers were standing, but every single one was wearing jeans. Maybe a nice top, but otherwise nothing but blue jeans as far as the eye can see. Looks like someone decided that it was time the bank presented itself as being more close to the people or something???). Anyways, you may be right that a time will come when the trend will shift to more formal, but if this happens, I would consider such a trend to be an undoing of progress and hope I will not be alive then. Not only progress, but also reaction, can happen in a society (for a more grave example than the admittedly rather light topic we're discussing here, there was a time well within living memory where Iran and Afghanistan were actually progressive countries, and not fundamentalist hellholes - see what happened there), but some of us would like to preserve what progress we have made before such backward trends.

Last edited by The Maple Leaf; 11-10-2019 at 07:36 AM.
  #27  
Old 11-10-2019, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by crazyjoe View Post
You'll find a lot of people in IT, especially at software companies (whether in Silicone Valley or not) don't need to dress up for interviews. Generally they are going to focus on your technical ability and your interpersonal ability, and not care about your dress code. You should make sure you're clean, though...no one wants a smelly co-worker..

I can't speak for all of the tech industry, but it's a bit of an exaggeration that you can just show up dressed like Gilfoyle from HBO's Silicon Valley. A suit may be a bit much, but for my current management job at a Palo Alto tech company, I wore a jacket and dress pants/shirt.
  #28  
Old 11-10-2019, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
College students get a pass.
Yessssss. I turned up for the interview dressed the way I wanted to dress for work (no tie, no jacket, m/c boots) and got the job, only to find that they'd given me a pass because I was a college student.

When I told them I'd have to wait a couple of weeks before I could afford to buy business shoes, they issued some company shoes.

This was the same job where, when I got into the elevator, everybody body else pressed back against the wall because I was wearing a tie. which struck me as insane, because my whole function in the company was as a 'perk' for my manager. Even the cleaners added more value to the company than I did.

I stuck with the job, because the money was good, but the single worst moment of every day was the moment I put my tie on.
  #29  
Old 11-11-2019, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Nava, I suspect that for the folks who are really stuck in the 1950s, a pencil skirt is the last thing they'd expect an engineer to be wearing.
I've encountered several of those as well.

To me a particularly poignant detail in Hidden Figures was that sometimes the job titles would be different for people doing the same job depending on whether they wore skirts or not.
  #30  
Old 11-11-2019, 08:29 AM
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I've decided fairly early in life that I wouldn't ever wear a suit-and-tie. Childish, possibly, but to me the whole thing encompasses a wide gamut of automatic assumptions and symbols and arbitrary traditions that I had and have no interest in taking part in. I don't like the look, I don't like the feel of those clothes or shoes, and I feel like I'm doing awkward cosplay whenever I wear one. Not my jam at all. Besides, if a job strictly requires one I'm almost certainly not interested in (or qualified for) that job to begin with, so no big loss. Or, well, pretty much exactly what Maple Leaf is saying.

The one exception I've ever made to that rule of living was a live interpreting gig in a heavy duty corporate setting, in which case I did borrow a monkey suit to blend in unobtrusively in the background as is fitting for that particular job. I didn't like it, but the money was good, but I felt like a sellout and a fraud to my core.

So, yeah, I have gone to job interviews in casual shirts or polo shirts with or without a blazer, in (black, fitting) jeans and discreetly tucked over Doc Martens'. Generally clean-cut and freshly shaved, but no Yer Dad costume (which is itself a distinct look from how I dress in "real life", which is a kind of grunge-y metalhead-y black-and-skulls-but-mostly-first-thing-on-the-pile type thing).

Got some of those jobs - probably because the tech field in general isn't too hung up on the penguin look, all the more so when it comes to the basement dwelling IT guys . In other cases also probably because they really don't care how you dress for remote work positions which, why the hell should they ? They *must* know we're all working in our underpants, right ? Got refused for others, but nobody ever told me or even hinted that it was because of the way I looked.
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