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# 204455 2-Oct-2016 14:07
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I sometimes wonder if I am just amongst the really, really small minority that's aghast at how people in professional roles (in places without formal dress code) dress in NZ. And I'm talking about the men especially. It also seems that the dress sense gets worse the further north of 35 or so one is.

 

When I was in traditional legal practice, full suit and tie was obviously compulsory for going to court and for the bigger, more traditional firms. You might get away with no tie on a Friday and during summer. Aside from the formal nature of the dress code, the thing that always struck me was that everyone's shirts were always tidy, the proper size for their bodies, ironed properly, and never looks excessively garish. Certainly nobody wore anything with frayed cuffs, stained collars and the like. Once I moved on to risk/compliance in the financial sector, I went to work in mostly a dress shirt, leather shoes and a blazer or bomber jacket (the latter is more towards the serious end). My clothes were always the correct size, new/newish, tidy and so were my team's. We are/were all under 35. But we (mostly ex-lawyers/accountants) would notice how some people seem to interpret smart casual as meaning really casual jeans and there were many people who seemingly hadn't bought a new shirt for 10 plus years. And quite a few people would wear print shirts that are much more suited for Loud Shirt days to meet with external people.

 

I've recently moved into a role with a listed entity in another sector and the dress standards there are even worse. Many people (all in non-field roles) come in with dirty shoes that have never seen a bit of polish, shirts are often barely tucked in, and the odd person who wears a tie to meet external parties don't bother to tie up the top button because the shirt doesn't fit.

 

I am personally not a huge stickler for how people dress but the sort of stuff I described doesn't seem to me to be very professional. And despite my generally pretty relaxed attitude over the years I have excluded people from client meetings and so on because I deemed their dress standards unacceptable. It's often been a source of conflict as a younger manager. Ironically, some of the younger guys who "down dress" a bit are actually far more tidy and professional in appearance. Their t-shirts are clean, in good condition, and their jeans don't look like the sort that tradies wear but I have seen people pulled up just because they are wearing a t-shirt despite otherwise looking far better than older colleagues.

 

How do other people see this issue? 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  # 1644165 2-Oct-2016 14:17
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Dress sense doesn't worry me nearly as much as personal grooming and cleanliness standards.


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  # 1644173 2-Oct-2016 14:36
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My wife never goes to work or work events without wearing a suit even so called casual Friday. I feel the same.





Mike
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The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

There is no planet B

 

 


 
 
 
 


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  # 1644181 2-Oct-2016 14:39
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Dress sense in NZ is very different to any other parts of the western world. Eg i can tell kiwis apart from visitors quite easily from the way they dress, groom, and carry themselves.




Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.


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  # 1644183 2-Oct-2016 14:54
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Our office is heated to >20C - I call that singlet temperature.  No way I'm wearing a tie and my jacket spends the day on the coat rack.





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  # 1644185 2-Oct-2016 14:59
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I'm with you. Dress smart, work smart.

 

In a former life, the expressly stated rule was that we were allowed to go wild: we were allowed to take our ties off, as long as no clients were on the floor! We had a bell (a literal, clanging, cow bell) that indicated a client was on the way up and ties needed to be put on. Some just slid the same knot off and on. This totally gave me the heebie jeebies. Who knows what kind of crumbs were moldering away in the depths of a knot that hadn't been untied in years?

 

Standards are slipping though. The vast majority of our clients are now wearing open-necked shirts at best. 


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  # 1644186 2-Oct-2016 15:01
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And I feel like waving my cane and cursing the damn kids skate boarding on the sidewalks! Casual Friday does not mean its okay to wear a t-shirt and hoodie to work! Though I appreciate in some industries that's standard attire Monday to Thursday too.


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  # 1644191 2-Oct-2016 15:32
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Personally I think if the dress code isn't completely defined it's hard to judge someone for wearing something inappropriate for the office.
Your version of office casual may be very very different to someone else's, that's just human nature. 

 

If your office is "office casual", then the employee handbook/office guidelines/contract etc should define exactly what that is. E.g.:

 

  • No jeans except on Fridays (clean, no rips or stains, black or blue only)
  • No t-shirts with prints
  • No open toe shoes
  • Suit and tie for any meetings with external parties. 

 
 
 
 


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  # 1644278 2-Oct-2016 16:56
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It is up to the work environment to set the standards..but it is almost 2017 not last century and things have changed. The circle will go round again as it always does..watch this space.

 

I remember many people having ashtrays on their desks and using them......


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  # 1644281 2-Oct-2016 17:19
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I have always strongly felt that dress codes are demeaning nonsense, like the idiotic obsession with stamping children into identical school uniforms. I detest this practice. I have always felt that people who worry about appearances do so because they lack the brain power to deal with more serious matters.

 

At the same time, I also think there are minimum standards that must be adhered to. I hate bad manners and poor taste. My dress code is clean and tidy, nothing else. What people wear says nothing about who they are, only who they are trying to pretend to be. 

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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  # 1644283 2-Oct-2016 17:27
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Rikkitic:

I have always strongly felt that dress codes are demeaning nonsense, like the idiotic obsession with stamping children into identical school uniforms. I detest this practice. I have always felt that people who worry about appearances do so because they lack the brain power to deal with more serious matters.


At the same time, I also think there are minimum standards that must be adhered to. I hate bad manners and poor taste. My dress code is clean and tidy, nothing else. What people wear says nothing about who they are, only who they are trying to pretend to be. 


 



In business if you dress like a gumboot you will treated like one. If it's my business it's my standards, if someone does not like it then ta ta.

Expecting standards has sod all to do with my brain power.




Mike
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The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

There is no planet B

 

 


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  # 1644284 2-Oct-2016 17:32
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Like @Rikkitic our workplace is more on what people achieve not what they dress like.  Clean and tidy is the minimum standard and there are odd exceptions such as when meeting externals or special events, but otherwise reasonably flexible within generally acceptable social standards.  Tidy pants and collared shirt is the norm. I present myself and expect my team to present themselves in accordance with the circumstances.  If I rocked up to my primary customers with a suit and tie on I would be laughed out of their work-sites.

 

      





Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then always be the Batman



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  # 1644285 2-Oct-2016 17:34
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At my last workplace - an Auckland software development company (50 seats) - we were requested NOT to wear suits except at Board meetings. (I was the CIO.)

 

Neat and tidy dress was expected at all times.

 

As somebody who hates suits with a passion, I was very happy with this dress code.   smile





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  # 1644296 2-Oct-2016 18:12
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I worked for a US-based software integrator/consulting firm for 16 years. Early on suit and tie were required (late 80s through mid-90s). Around the mid-90s that was relaxed a bit and I worked in jeans and tshirts. When getting into a lift someone from the finance practice asked how come I worked in tshirts (I was in the telco practice) and my reply was "when your practice is making money no one looks at what you are wearing").

 

Reality is that people do look, still today. I joined the workforce again about three years ago, after running Geekzone full time for almost ten years (work from home!).

 

Initially wearing jeans and shirt. But in the last couple of months I decided to change that. I actually bought three suits in the last two months. And about ten shirts. And new shoes. And I polish older shoes every weekend. Not wearing ties but that's ok. People look at me and ask if I am going to a job interview. But that's fine. I am older now. I can be a parent to most of the other people in that company - even if I am not in the senior team.

 

On another note, dressing up is not easy. There are plenty of crap options around, like those black $150 suits at Hallensteins (seriously, 50% polyester and 50% recicled plastic? No wonder their posters show the models underwater!) and wearing that during the day. With brown shoes. And grey socks. And flower shirt.

 

There are very few places that can recommend some good clothes and give sensible advice. Unfortunately clothes cost quite some money. Fortunately common sense and some good advice are free. And people can still dress well for cheap if they're good at creating combinations.  

 

/rant over, lots of disconnected ramblings but you get the idea





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  # 1644298 2-Oct-2016 18:20
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gehenna:

 

Dress sense doesn't worry me nearly as much as personal grooming and cleanliness standards.

 

 

Don't get me started on the guy who hops on the morning bus at 8am smelling of garlic and curry.





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  # 1644306 2-Oct-2016 18:33
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I am a manager for a global corporate. I wear jeans and a shirt if I am in the office - who am I trying to impress? If I have a meeting at a customer whichis more formal I'll wear a suit but I don't do ties. The number of customers should wear ties now is minimal, this includes at C level of major listed companies. The exceptions are lawyers and real estate agents.

When I go to Australia I wear a suit but only because the office over there is more formal. It doesn't reflect in their performance.

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