Dress advice for software developer in corporate office
June 20, 2013 5:57 AM   Subscribe

I am starting a new job soon. It's my first job in a corporate office, instead of a startup. What should I wear?

At the interview, the woman from HR with some sort of a jacket. A manager who wasn't a developer was dressed in a dress shirt and pants. The developer was wearing a casual sort of plaid shirt, but I forget what kind of pants.

Should I just follow the developer's lead and wear something pretty casual? I was thinking something like khaki chinos and a polo shirt.
posted by adgl to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Button down shirt and chinos seems like a safe bet if that's what the dev was wearing and you will be a dev. What was the manager wearing?
posted by oceanjesse at 6:01 AM on June 20, 2013

For your first day, dress one "step" better than you think you'll have to. Go with dress shirt and pants -- that won't be so formal that the other devs will make fun of you, but it'll give a first impression of professionalism to all the people you meet on the first day. From there, you'll be able to judge what all the other devs are wearing and adjust accordingly.
posted by Etrigan at 6:03 AM on June 20, 2013 [5 favorites]

I agree, get a bit more dressed up. Slacks, nice shoes and a blouse should be fine. This will allow you to see lots of people, and to decide where to take your wardrobe.

I came from a suit, heels and hose environment, then to an office attached to a warehouse. I was pretty flummoxed about my clothing options at my now business casual office. I came in a bit dressed up, but have found my stride.

I find that I miss dressing up to be honest.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:06 AM on June 20, 2013

I would dress a little nicer for the first few days. Once you get a feel for it, you can take it down a notch but it's better to be extra-respectful at first to make a good impression. However, it may be worth asking or just trying to notice at some point if they observe casual Friday. I started my job at a hectic time and I don't think I noticed for a while that many of my colleagues wore jeans on Fridays. It wasn't a big deal but it just took me a while to notice and, well, I would have been okay having learned that information earlier.
posted by kat518 at 6:56 AM on June 20, 2013

I agree with dressing closer to the manager on the first day (so slacks, not chinos, and a dress shirt). You don't know if the developer was unusually casual compared to other devs or not, especially if he was more senior (he may have more leeway institutionally or just care less about his career promotion). We have an engineer who regularly wears ripped khakis and those Nike slide sandals, but he has a measure of institutional good will that a new employee wouldn't have. After the first day, you will have a better sense of what others in your group are wearing, and can adjust.
posted by muddgirl at 7:21 AM on June 20, 2013

If you're already where you want to be career-wise, dress nice the first day, then dress like your peers do.

If you have ambitions, dress nice the first day, and then dress like your boss and her peers do.
posted by kythuen at 7:22 AM on June 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

a blouse should be fine

While I'm not against men wearing blouses per se, I think this might be pushing corporate dress code a bit.

Slacks + buttondown shirt first day.

Congrats, and good luck in your new gig.
posted by nacho fries at 7:26 AM on June 20, 2013

I'd ask HR about the dress code prior to your first day.
posted by insectosaurus at 10:09 AM on June 20, 2013

Avoid the polo until you've been there a while and know if it's culturally accepted - in a lot of places, it's not.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 3:21 PM on June 20, 2013

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