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duke
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Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:08 am

We live in an age when many workplaces that in the past would have required employees to dress up either have no dress code at all or at any rate allow the wearing of jeans and generally casual clothes. However, it is still common even in such places for people to be expected to (or to expect themselves to) dress up at least to the level of "business casual", if not to put on a suit and tie, when meeting clients, especially for the first time. I was wondering if anyone here works somewhere where "jeans allowed"/"no dress code" applies in practice even to client meetings? Do any of you have personal experience meeting your company's clients for the first time and scoring deals while wearing jeans or other totally casual clothes? (Obviously, I'm talking about employees who hold white collar-type jobs).

Just for the record, I used to have a (very small) side business as an immigration consultant. In general, my clients were the people who needed residency permits - typically other young ESL teachers, not people for whom one would expect to dress up. I did have a few "corporate clients" in language schools that I cooperated with, in the sense that they referred teachers who needed residency permits to me, so people who knew me and didn't pay me directly. However, once I did have a meeting with a true potential corporate client to offer my services, I.E. the managing director of another language school. Out of personal principle, I did not dress up above the level of the best clothes that I would wear on a normal day; I wore jeans (and probably a collared sweatshirt or polo shirt; this is also what I would normally wear to a job interview). Although I did not get the contract, they did ask me to prepare some potential materials for instructing teachers about residency permits, so perhaps they gave me some serious consideration. Interestingly, I now teach in this school and I get the impression that the director, with whom I have remained familiar, appreciates me.
 
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BartSimpson
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:40 am

I work in the renewable energies industries. I haven't had a tie or a business suit in ten years. And I love it. A tie just keeps your blood from flowing into the brain.

95 % of those I work with have no ties, either. (The remaining 5 % were bankers, you guessed right...)

Lately I had a job interview, more or less just for fun, with a big company. I wore a gray jacket and black jeans and still was overdressed.

Remember, 95 % of all white-collar crimes were committed by men in fancy suits and with ties.
 
B777LRF
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:46 am

Our dress code says we'll have to, at least, wear jeans when meeting customers. Nobody's wearing a tie in our part of the group, and the only person from the conglomerate I've seen in a tie is Monsieur Fury when he appears on videos. Not even our bean counters or law weasels are wearing ties any more, and yesterday our CEO was in jeans, a somewhat tatty old shirt and a pair of trainers.

Wearing shoes at this place sometimes feel like dressing up, and I love it!
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tommy1808
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:50 am

BartSimpson wrote:
I work in the renewable energies industries. I haven't had a tie or a business suit in ten years. And I love it. A tie just keeps your blood from flowing into the brain.

95 % of those I work with have no ties, either. (The remaining 5 % were bankers, you guessed right...)

Lately I had a job interview, more or less just for fun, with a big company. I wore a gray jacket and black jeans and still was overdressed.

Remember, 95 % of all white-collar crimes were committed by men in fancy suits and with ties.


I have to think very hard to remember when the last time was I didn't feel overdressed by having a suit coat over shirt and Jeans when meeting a customer, regardless of who the company was or the position of the people I met ... I haven't worn a tie since an exhibition in 2013 for work.

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JJJ
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:41 am

Haven't worn a dress in years. Back in the day I was required to wear full dress and tie which led to quite a few anecdotes in places like California or Australia where my correspondent (we're talking purchasing managers for companies with hundreds of million $turnover) were wearing cargo pants and T-shirt or, at most, a company polo shirt. That was in the building materials industry.

Now I'm in agrochemicals the only ties I get to see are invariably with Japanese companies. And even them are ditching ties for everything except in CEO-to-CEO meetings.

Coloured jeans and polo shirts in summer, or long sleeve shirts in winter. Casual fridays with blue jeans.
 
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ER757
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sat Oct 12, 2019 3:25 pm

if/when a customer is scheduled to come in or the corporate big wigs are in town, it's business casual (no jeans, no tennis shoes, collared shirt). Otherwise jeans are fine. Used to have to wear a collared shirt even with jeans - but that's pretty much not enforced any longer. About half the folks wear T-shirts or sports jerseys and no one cares. Since our interactions with customers are via phone and email and not in person (except when we do have a visitor scheduled) it doesn't matter if we're in a T-shirt and jeans. One thing that is not allowed though is shorts or sandals. We are quite that casual.
 
DTVG
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sat Oct 12, 2019 4:14 pm

Savile Row suits and Hermes ties here. Not because I have to wear them, but because I like to wear them.

Company SOP states to wear a tie with customers, but who really cares about that.
 
anrec80
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:22 pm

In vast majority of places in IT industry?
 
zrs70
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:35 pm

I always require a tie/ more formal attire of my interns (when they are leading a worship service). I dress up as well.
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Aesma
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:44 pm

I'm not selling anything, if I work for a client that isn't my own company they will have met sales people, account managers etc., I'm the tech guy, sometimes I won't see anyone above the tech guy in the company, sometimes I will see the CEO, but I'm not required to wear anything special. In truth, jeans are kind of the most casual thing you can wear though, what is below, board shorts, a tracksuit ? Board shorts are not permitted (I have asked), I hate tracksuits so don't know.

My company (or my company's parent company) is in construction and plenty of people wear suits day to day, clients or no clients. Personally they'd have to double my salary before I would consider wearing one.

Meanwhile women can wear anything, sometimes skirts so short they can't bend one inch without revealing something, but I'm not complaining, as long as they don't pretend we must not watch.
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NIKV69
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:13 pm

I am lucky my workplace has a strict dress code to be on property. No jeans. cargo or any of that crap. It makes the decorum so much better. We have to tell the millennials we hire to constantly tuck their shirts in until the point we tell them to leave it's funny,
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casinterest
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:17 am

i wear shorts to work as often as possible. However due to the AC, I usually wear jeans or Khakis. If i meet customers, I wear a polo or button down and some Khaki's, but for a day spent behind a PC pouring over code and traces, my boss and i would just prefer i am comfortablr enough to concentrate.
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Kno
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:28 pm

NIKV69 wrote:
I am lucky my workplace has a strict dress code to be on property. No jeans. cargo or any of that crap. It makes the decorum so much better. We have to tell the millennials we hire to constantly tuck their shirts in until the point we tell them to leave it's funny,


Maybe I’m from the wrong generation but isn’t this whole notion that the fabric of your pants or whether or not your shirt is tucked in looks better or worse kind of silly?

28 years old checking in and I do believe in having a put together outfit that doesn’t look sloppy for work, particularly id wear a fitted pair of non ripped jeans, perhaps Clark’s or a fresh new pair of sneakers, a button up or polo of some sort untucked but at an appropriate length. Sweaters and chinos might be in the mix as well. We suit up for client meetings.

Of course my sample size is relatively small but I find that most millennials dress like this and frankly were looking a lot better than than the frumpy old timers who think loose fitting khaki pants and square toed dress shoes is ever a good look.

I will admit the amount of IT guys I see showing up to work in sandals cargo shorts and anime T shirts is a bad look but if they’re happy and do great work more power to them.

While I do believe in dressing in modern business casual for work I am grateful to work somewhere where I choose it and it’s not forced on me.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:09 pm

I am self-employed, so no real dress code. My philosophy is to dress to the occasion. Whatever gets me the most in the situation: suit, suit with tie, just a sportjacket with jeans, jeans with blouse, but mostly jeans with a t-shirt or a sweater.
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frmrCapCadet
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:32 pm

Consultants typically wear one step above whatever typical workers at the clients shop, or so I was told. On the other hand 'oneupmanship' is always avoided. Promotions may involve slightly higher dressing.

Oddly women have not evolved a standard informal dress code.

At my local gym, a Y, there seems to be a standard dress code, be somewhat on the modest side. Some are more 'fashionistas' than others.

It is interesting to look at all of this from an evolutionary point of view. One can explain certain conventions that high powered women show a whole lot more skin than high powered men at some levels. On the other hand Merkel, May and Thatcher etc all seem to avoid having their clothing draw extra attention to themselves. The Queen of England famously seems to dress fashionably, but definitely avoids 'fashionista' as do her DILs. But their hats often strike this US guy as a little hilarious.
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fr8mech
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:13 pm

What is or is not considered acceptable dress, for any occasion, is a social construct. As such, what is acceptable is subject to change.

Personally, I prefer to do business with folks who dress “professionally” for the given job. That doesn’t mean “suit” for business folks, but it does mean “well-attired”. It means clean and kempt. And, to be truthful, it means someone that looks and is comfortable with the look he’s presenting.
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einsteinboricua
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:15 pm

I have a coworker whose regular outfit is shorts and a tshirt...every day, even in winter. When a customer is in the building, he wears jeans but still wears a tshirt.

As for me, I wear polo shirts and jeans to work. Occasionally, if it's hot I'll wear a tshirt and if it's cold I'll wear a long sleeved shirt (not dress shirts though).

For jobs like software development, there's just no true dress code. Granted, that doesn't mean you should come with ripped/soiled jeans and worn out tshirts. There ARE limits. But as the work is behind the scenes, the managers and product owners are the face of the team and therefore should be the ones to be dressed up.
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duke
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:47 pm

Kno wrote:
Maybe I’m from the wrong generation but isn’t this whole notion that the fabric of your pants or whether or not your shirt is tucked in looks better or worse kind of silly?


I entirely agree. That's why I'm asking the question, to see if practices are evolving in a direction away from this prejudice. Like wearing clothes you want instead of condescending to wear some kind of pre-determined style of dress really shows disrespect for your client, or deems you incompetent to sell a product or service. What nonsense. That's why (with a grand total of three minor exceptions in my life), I have always insisted on wearing jeans (nowadays with a polo shirt, in the past even more casual) to job interviews, and even to the aforementioned potential corporate client meeting. I want both to be hired for who I really am and for my credentials over my appearance, and to help lower the social expectation, i.e. with my appearance to contribute to getting the interviewers used to seeing people come in jeans, which will hopefully make them more prone to hiring other people who choose not to dress up in the future. Thank God I have stayed employed by someone for most of that time.

Here's an interesting experience from my past. I had a brief stint at a part-time HR position in a language school I worked for about 13 years ago. I helped hire other native speaker teachers, and would always tell them before they came to interview with me that I didn't care if they dressed up or not. One of my interviewees, a young French-Canadian girl, nevertheless came well-dressed, in a skirt, boots and with her hair pulled back. I deliberately asked her what she thought of my comment to her that she could come dressed as she pleased. She replied that she thought it was appropriate to dress up for the interview (which IMO she was at complete liberty to do - I hadn't told her that she had to wear jeans :D ). I proceeded to ask her if she would refuse to hire someone who came to an interview that she conducted casually dressed. She replied that she would care about the person's qualifications rather than their dress, but that speaking for herself, she thought it appropriate to dress up for an interview. I did hire her one way or the other.

anrec80 wrote:
In vast majority of places in IT industry?


I wouldn't assume that the vast majority of people working in the IT industry don't have to follow a strict dress code when meeting clients. In some places, this may well be the case (see einsteinboricua's reply just above), but I'm pretty sure that in others there would be an expecation to dress up for this occasion. I obviously don't have any statistics, but here's a recent example right from my surroundings. Once a week, I teach an English as a foreign language class in a company that produces digital document storage programs and the like. When I first saw my students, they were typical IT guys dressed in devil-may-care casual clothes. The young receptionist was also wearing jeans that day. However, I later saw at least one of my students come dressed in a very noticeably good business casual getup and I once saw the receptionist very dressed up. I deduced that they were expected to dress up when meeting clients. After a few weeks, the managing director, an older lady and very matter-of-fact, joined the English class and every time she came she was always dressed to the nines in high-street business wear typically including a jacket and skirt. Two lessons ago, we discussed the topic of "appearance" in the general sense. To the question "is it ever okay to tell someone to change something about their appearance", the managing director answered that it's okay for her, as the boss, to tell an employee dressed very casually and on the way to see a client to go home and change into something more appropriate, which confirmed what was already obvious to me.

Interestingly, when I came there on Wednesday, I noticed that everyone was dressed up; they had obviously had some kind of meeting. However, one of my students, a middle-aged fellow who in the past I had always seen in something like jeans and a nerd T-shirt, was clearly doing the bare minimum possible, as he was still wearing jeans, and not, say, good dark jeans, but one of those low-waisted, washed-out turquoisey jeans that were in style in the New Tens, and while he was wearing a white dress shirt (with pinstripes and epaulettes), this was all wrinkled as if he had just rolled out of bed! I can only imagine what his boss thought about this. I'm guessing that she had gotten tired of warning him and was just barely tolerating him. Coincidentally, he told me on the same day that he would shortly be leaving that job to work for the city transit commission. Perhaps a conflict in ideas of how one should be attired contributed to his decision to leave that place?
 
NIKV69
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Mon Oct 14, 2019 2:00 am

Kno wrote:

Maybe I’m from the wrong generation but isn’t this whole notion that the fabric of your pants or whether or not your shirt is tucked in looks better or worse kind of silly?

28 years old checking in and I do believe in having a put together outfit that doesn’t look sloppy for work, particularly id wear a fitted pair of non ripped jeans, perhaps Clark’s or a fresh new pair of sneakers, a button up or polo of some sort untucked but at an appropriate length. Sweaters and chinos might be in the mix as well. We suit up for client meetings.

Of course my sample size is relatively small but I find that most millennials dress like this and frankly were looking a lot better than than the frumpy old timers who think loose fitting khaki pants and square toed dress shoes is ever a good look.

I will admit the amount of IT guys I see showing up to work in sandals cargo shorts and anime T shirts is a bad look but if they’re happy and do great work more power to them.

While I do believe in dressing in modern business casual for work I am grateful to work somewhere where I choose it and it’s not forced on me.


We had a couple of guys from the IT world work for us since jobs in their field are few and far between and not only did they dress horrible but they never shaved or even paid attention to hygiene it was amazing. From your post and interaction with many millennials it's clear decorum has gone out the window with your generation and that's fine. I am just glad my workplace hasn't embraced it and won't anytime soon.
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jetblueguy22
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Mon Oct 14, 2019 2:16 am

Within the last year we've gone from more formal to business casual in my business. Almost to the point where if you didn't wear jeans initially your manager would make a point of saying you were overdressed. It was kind of their was of trying to appeal to millennials IMO. Still no t-shirts, especially if we are customer facing, but it has become much more relaxed.

When we meet with customers, however, it is kind of a mixed bag based on who we are meeting. I had a meeting a few weeks where I met with a big client where it was expected you dress up, minus the tie. But with others, who are in more dirty warehouse type atmospheres, jeans and a button up shirt will suffice.

There is also the other side. My best friend is in sales for the same company, in rural ND. When he first took the job he would go into these rural, small town businesses dressed to the nines, and he struggled. He kept saying it felt like they didn't trust him. He pivoted over to more jeans and a nice button up shirt and he said overnight his sales went through the roof. They just didn't trust the guy in a suit. They wanted to feel comfortable with the person, not feeling like they were less than he.

I think work is becoming much less formal, and I think that is a good thing. It creates comfort in one's environment. I know I felt uncomfortable meeting with the customer in a suit. What I struggle with is when people take a more casual atmosphere as an opportunity to dress like a slob. I worked out of one customer's facility last year for about two months. There were managers walking around looking like they just rolled out of bed. I just couldn't understand it. I believe dressing the part is important, but it also doesn't require dressing in a suit when everyone else is in jeans. Find a balance.
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LAXintl
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Re: Workplaces that have no dress code (or allow jeans) for when meeting clients

Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:40 am

Appearance still matter very much in my book so don’t underestimate the power of a first impression.

People make assumptions based upon your appearance especially at your first meeting, so its important to dress, act, and speak appropriately for the surroundings. As an employee your appearance should be consistent with the company message imo.
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