The Entrepreneur Wardrobe

wardrobeEntrepreneurs today can have rock star like fame and recognition. When names like Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, and Sergei Brin are front-page names, what business founders wear can get as much attention as what superstar actors wear on the red carpet.

 

The Traditional Suit and Tie

suit and tie

The business standard for men (and a growing number of women) traces its roots to King Charles II in the 17th century. In 1666, Charles decreed that men on business in the King’s Court were required to wear long coats.

That means of dress evolved over time, and in the 19th century the Regency suit rose to prominence. Through a series of fashion changes, including the Victorian, Edwardian, Inter-War, and Post-War eras, the men’s suit became what is well known today.

A suit is the standard of formal business. When meeting with investors, bankers, lawyers, clients, and business partners, the suit is the preferred outfit for the modern businessman (or woman).

 

The Casual Look

business casual

While the suit is the standard for meetings, casual apparel has emerged as a daily wear favorite in offices around the country.

Business casual has a loose definition, but generally includes anything ranging from dress shirts to polo style shirts and nice jeans, khaki, or dress pants. Mixing and matching is allowed.

The idea behind wearing casual clothes is that they are simply more comfortable. I would rather head to the office in a polo shirt and jeans than a suit and tie. If I have an important meeting on the calendar, I upgrade to a dress shirt and dark dress pants.

I am not alone. A 2002 poll indicated that 32% of workers dressed casual daily. In 2007, that jumped to 43%. I couldn’t find anything newer, but I imagine the number is even higher today.

 

The Zuckerberg

techie casual

At Google, the idea is far from today’s banks.

At Google we know that being successful has little to do with what an employee is wearing,” says Jordan Newman, a spokesman for the company. “We believe one can be serious and productive without a suit.” (Bloomberg)

The same trend can be found all over Silicon Valley. No business executive’s choice of outfit has drawn more attention than Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. Zuckerberg is famous for his trademark hoodies and t-shirts. Rumor has it that he only owns one color t-shirt so he doesn’t have to decide what to wear in the morning.

Particularly for engineers and software developers, a casual workplace is becoming more commonplace. Just remember that it is still not the norm to wear shorts, a t-shirt, and sandals to the office.

 

You’re The Boss, But Put Your Best Foot Forward

As an entrepreneur, you can pull a Zuckerberg and wear whatever you want. Whether it is a suit or a t-shirt, you are the boss.

Just remember, you probably didn’t start a fancy new company with a $60 billion market cap, so you still can’t be like Zuckerberg all the time.

How do you dress for work? Share your company’s dress code in the comments.

About Eric Rosenberg

Eric is a finance blogger at Narrow Bridge Finance and a serial entrepreneur. He runs a media company, flash mob company, and DJ business from his hometown in Denver, Colorado. You can read more about his finance background and connect with him around the web.

Comments

  1. Heck, Zuckerberg’s dressed up! Some days, I wear PAJAMAS!

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