By Tracey Lomrantz, Glamour magazine
Forget the power suits of the 80s or even the business casual khakis and sweater sets of the 90s--if you want to get filthy rich on your own these days, dressing the part means untucking your shirt and kicking it in a pair of Nikes, at least if you want to be taken seriously.
As the Sunday Styles section of The New York Times tells it, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his contemporaries have ushered in a new era of casual in the workplace, and the rules have been rewritten on what passes as acceptable attire for a business pitch. "Lately it seems as if Mr. Zuckerberg's famously anti-fashion styling"--he's know for wearing T-shirts, sneakers, and even pajama pants in public--"is spawning imitators, or at least has come to symbolize success for a new generation of would-be billionaires.
'It seems that if you dress up too much, you run the risk of not being taken seriously,' said Erica Zidel, a Seattle-based Web entrepreneur who attended Harvard around the same time as Mr. Zuckerberg. 'There is an unspoken rule in entrepreneurial culture that your look should be laid back.'" She goes on to tell a story about attending a competition to get investment for her start-up, where all four of her competitors wore suits and she wore jeans--and won. "Not only did the audience look past my outfit, I actually think it helped convey the confidence I had in my company," she tells the paper.
The new dress code seems to be a mix of anti-establishment rhetoric (AKA, "I'm not a suit!") and plain old-fashioned Twitter generation laziness. Since so much of their work can be done from the confines of their homes, in front of a computer, internet entrepreneurs really see no need to dress up, and in turn, that's become the new normal. Although I'm a blogger who spends plenty of mornings writing in my pajamas, I still find certain things to be sacred, and I think attending a business meeting in shower shoes (anyone who saw The Social Network knows that Adidas flip flops are Zuckerberg's footwear of choice) is just plain uncool.
What do you gals think of the new trend towards super-casual attire in the workplace? Do you think web billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg are setting the tone for a new kind of laziness, or is it welcome after so many years of stiff-looking suits? Do any of you work at web upstarts? Is the atmosphere--and the dress code--significantly more casual than in other places you've worked? How does it affect your attitude and productivity? And do you miss the old days when suits were standard? Discuss!
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Photo Credit: Condé Nast Digital Studio