Do the Clothes make the Man, or the Man makes the Clothes?

One thing I didn’t expect at this new job was the dress code. Even though it’s business casual, it is more “wear whatever you’d like besides sweats.” I think it gets explained away because the people there are “marketing people”. Now, I am totally cool with this. I like wearing jeans most days. However, those around me are making me judge my own appearance (not in an uncomfortable way, just making me think I need to dress the part, as one should).

Over the past handful of years, I have not shopped for clothing much. In particular, last year I bought two shirts, a pair of jeans, and a pair of shoes. Not much. So when words like Ferragamo and Bruno get thrown around, I am slightly outclassed as I should be for a young urban professional that hasn’t made a ton of money (forgive the fact I was wearing an understated Zegna suit at the time).

I have already broken some of the guidelines I learned from The Millionaire Next Door. Prior to reading the book I had previously spent too much on suits, shoes, etc. Luckily I never bought a really pricey watch. So now I am faced with a dilemma. I don’t need to go to work pimped out and dressed to the nines. But, I do have to fit in at this place (which most of my closet allows me to do so).

I think my wardrobe needs to get livened up (especially as i get rid of the shit I will never wear again).

Is this something that typically happens at a new workplace? Different types of wardrobes for different employers?

6 Responses to Do the Clothes make the Man, or the Man makes the Clothes?
  1. CoffeeCents
    March 30, 2010 | 7:03 am

    While gov’t dress code at my office is jeans-friendly, I have found that I rather enjoy a nice pair of slacks, pants, and blazer. I however, use a South Korean tailor who is very reasonably price (better than Men’s Warehouse, quality of Brooks Brothers).

    How about you come with us the next time he is in town

  2. Evan
    March 30, 2010 | 7:15 am

    I faced a similar situation when I moved from Law to Finance. It went from very conservative to french cuff and those bad ass shirts that have white cuffs and collars (I like them anyway). So I slowly moved towards that as to fit in.

    Regardless of all the frugal PF blogs out there, it is what it is. I wouldn’t want to stand out because I bought a $25 shirt instead of the $50 shirt.

  3. Jeff
    March 31, 2010 | 12:30 am

    I agree with Evan, slowly move toward the norm. Co-workers can make or break you, it sucks but it’s true.

    I’m lucky enough to get uniforms because of the electrical hazards I work with. If I ever get caught in an explosion my clothes will not melt into my skin. Makes me smile everytime I think about it :-)

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