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
). 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.
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?