The infamous dress code

If you ever had a proper grown up job, there is one thing you probably had to consider when drinking your morning coffee and shuffling through your wardrobe. The infamous dress code. Some workplaces have them – some luckily don’t. Being a guy, there is a big risk that you can’t show up in shorts at your workplace, if your workplace have a dress code.

I used to work for Siemens as a (more or less full time) student worker. I worked there 1 1/2 year, which means that I endured two summers in their offices. The job was amazing, and the experiences I got from the job has been fantastic – but there was one thing I hated. I hated having to dress up. My IQ is not located in my pinstripe suit – it’s located in my head. As a student worker wanting to save up, I had no interest in buying a big and expensive wardrobe. I couldn’t care less. I would work more efficiently if I had on the clothes I wanted to. I’m certain that I could maintain manager positions in a pair of shorts better than some of my colleagues did in a suit.

But on the other hand, I get the fuzz. You can’t stand and greet a project manager from Statoil in a pair of shorts. I’m not that stupid. First hand impressions stick, and it sends a somewhat disrespectful and immature image to a senior project manager to say hi in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. So I complied with the minimum standards – for the most of the year. The first summer I was employed, I asked my project manager if he would kill me if I showed up in shorts, to which he answered that since I officially was a student worker, and most people were on holiday, I could “get away with it” – but if I ever showed up in sandals he would kick me out of the second floor window. We agreed, and I came to work in a pair of shorts feeling fresh as phuck – accompanied by a pair of Converse shoes (no J’s on my feet). I remember him laughing and telling me I was something else – but I also remember him letting his guards down and joining my side when I stated that I felt it was stupid with the dress code, since my IQ was based in my head – not in my clothes – and that I would be much more comfortable working as I looked that day (and the rest of the summer), than had I had a suit on. I think he ended up feeling jealous.

If you are further interested in the impact of dress codes and the showcasing of authority, you should see this clip done originally by the famous Dr. Philip Zimbardo and Stanley Milgram.


Do your workplace have a dress code, and do you happily comply with it? Am I the stupid young buck, or can you relate?

4 thoughts on “The infamous dress code

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  1. I can relate to that Mathias as I started out as a journalist in an era where women were expected to wear skirts and heels in the office. Luckily I worked for the national broadcaster and my job was largely spent outdoors with farmers, where jeans and boots were the norm. But I did a stint with a newspaper where even if I was attending a sheep sale I was supposed to wear a skirt. Crazy. I’ve worked for myself for 21 years now and other than when I’m in the city meeting with bureaucrats and politicians, I tend to wear what ever I’m comfortable in (even pyjamas!) and is appropriate for the job I’m doing at the time. My 16 year old struggles to understand school dress codes probably for the same reason. I can’t see her ever working somewhere with strict uniform or dress codes.

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    1. Glad I’m not the only one. Luckily I didn’t have to wear a school uniform when I were in school, and somehow I guess that this is all something that is pushing me in the direction of starting something myself 🤷‍♂️😊

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  2. When I was looking for my first “real” job I said I wouldn’t work anywhere that required dress pants because I hate them so much. I agree that intelligence is not represented in clothing, as long as you look decent and not slovenly that’s all that should matter for a dress code.

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