Business Attire

I saw last week that Mark Zuckerberg made the headlines for wearing a hoodie to a major business presentation. Of course my ‘geek hero’ Steve Jobs wore his black turtleneck tops, jeans and trainers (sneakers that should be?) for most of his latter keynote talks.

When I joined a professional office in the early 1980′s a suit and tie were de rigeur. Then we seemed to go through a series of ‘dress down days’. And then back to the suit and tie.

Now we seem to again be in a state of flux. I probably wear a tie less than I wear one. But I always wear a suit. Jeans would not be acceptable in the office. I will generally put on a tie where I know the client will do. Some clients don’t wear ties and so I probably wouldn’t. If I were presenting though – I would wear a tie.

A wise old friend (and client) of mine once asked me why this was. Why did I need to wear a tie? His view was that it was about ego. That it made me feel important. It gave me an edge. It put a marker down that I was in control – and occupied a higher place.

I can see his point to an extent, but I’m not sure I totally agree. I think it shows respect. I think it also gives an impression that I have made some sort of effort. That I was bothered.

He would always say to me that my advice (to him) is no different if I am wearing a suit and tie or jeans and tee-shirt though – and this is right. It isn’t different.

Fair point?

2 comments on “Business Attire

  1. It is different. Its not just about the words we say, but how we present them…and being “booted and suited” adds weight to words. I seem to recall a partner at a leading London architecural practice looking as though he had been dragged through a hedge backwards… and this certainly affecting his credibility, however good his content


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