Thursday, May 21, 2009

WorkPlace 101: Good Clothes Or Hood Clothes?!?

Like any perfectly respectable Corporate Negro, I know and fully understand the importance of appearance. Often people form their (mis)conceptions of you long before you open your mouth. They say clothes make the man. Call this BS all you want, but ask a woman what's one of the first things they notice about a man, and I guarantee wallet bulge shoes will be somewhere in Top 3. So, it's a must that you pay attention to your attire if you want to remain gainfully employed.

That said, sometimes you get sick and tired of this sorta superficial nonsense and just wanna be comfortable. I happen to work for a tech company, and like most, unless we're seeing a customer (which is usually offsite), we are free to dress however we like in the office on the daily. We have a guy who wears shorts 365 days/year. There's a dude at Corporate who wears a dress (not a kilt, as real f*ckin' J. Jill dress. Dis' bama.) all the time, and is protected by workplace discrimination laws in doing so. Every office has the Cougar/MILF who just can't give up the lowcut blouses, although she really should go home to her husband and stop hitting on the UPS guy. And then there's me.

I dress depending on how I feel when I wake up that morning. This could be an button-down and slacks, sweats, a suit, or a polo and jeans. I pretty much do whatever I want, because comfort's first. On the flipside, I hate tucking in my shirt tail (don't ask), and I'm wondering if this is a bad idea.

I've been to our Corporate offices (down South) a lot lately for training. The classes are always employee-only, and the dress code there is just as casual as my regional office in DC. The rest of the folks in there are typically dressed business casual, as do I. But I still do not tuck in my shirt tail, and I get some odd glances as (what I think is) a result. I'm hardly the most self-conscious guy, but even I find myself overthinking this. I realize this is a very peculiar question, so answer simply, please do not overanalyze.

Question: Do you have to tuck and blouse your shirt, or is casual casual? Are untucked shirts tacky/unprofessional, or is work all about comfort? Do you have a co-worker (or is it you?) who is always dressed inappropriately?

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