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Tech Casual - Dos & Don'ts For Men

Updated: Apr 28, 2019

We have come to the end of our series on fashion in tech. So, let's look at why we started this series!

I consult with a lot of tech companies across the US and I still gasp at some of they way people "dress". This has been going on since tech immemorial, it's not a new thing or a generational thing...and I've been know to gasp at myself on occasion too.

The Assumptions

So, let's start with these assumptions:

  • You come to work to get paid

  • You'd like to be seen for your brilliance

  • You'd like to rise up the ladder and increase in project complexity, responsibility and pay

There are 3 things that affect people's perception of you:

  • Your tech skill

  • Your communication skills

  • Your visual cues


The biggest mistake you are making is not paying attention to how you dress. You can be casual and comfortable, wear jeans and a t-shirt and yet do it in a way that shows style.

If your goal is indeed to rise in the ladder. Take a look at the C-Suite, the VPs, the Directors. Are they putting thought and care into what they wear? Maybe not every day but definitely when they meet with investors, the board or external vendors.

Why? Because your visual cues speak before you do. What you wear communicates your success, your intelligence, your drive.

Don't believe me? Try an experiment. Do it at a restaurant first, then try it with your team. One day wear your normal wear without any thought. Observe how people look at you and interact with you. The next day put some care into your grooming, choice of pants, shirt, shoes, jacket. Again observe.

Notice any differences in how:

You carried yourself?

People looked at you?

People interacted with you?


What Defines Style for Men

Last week Kate had a great blog with a ton of tips for men. That's a great resource.

Ryan Reynolds good colors

Color - what colors look good on you? Wear those. Often men will

wear a beige or a grey that washes the color out of their face. Do you need more color? At the store try on the same shirt in white, beige, grey, brown, dark blue, black even pink or light blue or purple.

If you can't tell which colors are best ask a woman or go to Nordstrom or Saks and consult with one of their team stylists.

Textures - wearing something with a couple different textures is

tweed and leather jacket

visually interesting.

In the photo above of Ryan Reynolds, not only are the colors good for his skin tone but the corduroy jacket texture works well with the t-shirt and the colors on the shirt pop nicely.

In the photo above the model is wearing cotton sweatpants, a cotton shirt, a tweed jacket trimmed with leather. Notice how cool the leather is, it really pops and makes this look.

Shoes - There's so many choices now. Sneakers, boots, loafers etc. Find a couple pair that are comfortable and help you define your personal style.

Grooming - I know Kate mentioned this and I'll second it. Get a good haircut and take care of your hair and your skin.

Your job is about attention to detail. If you aren't paying attention to your appearance - what does that say about the amount of attention you are paying to your work.

Remember the way you visually present yourself is what people "see". They extrapolate your care and attention to detail with yourself to your code.

Layering - I'm going to give you some links below so you can scan images of tech casual. Notice that the looks that really pop also include a jacket. It's not always a sport jacket, it's often more casual.

A jacket (on men and women) just pull an outfit together.

Get Help

Kate had some fabulous tips for you last week for the dos. My top 2 are:

The Style Boxes - (Nordstrom Trunk, Stitch Fix etc). Big help for busy people - especially if you hate to shop.

GQ- This blog on tech casual office wear has several examples. Notice they layer items, use different textures, complete the look with watch and shoes.

Here's to your career success!


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