A recent article published in MSNBC, talked about Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg and how his “casual” way of dressing was losing his company investors on Wall Street:
Mark Zuckerberg’s shaggy, baggy, haute-hoodie Manhattan appearance this week to launch the campaign for his company’s initial public stock offering didn’t induce any “likes” from Wall Streeters or fashionistas — only the kinds of catty critiques that typically season Facebook’s chatter.
But some style gurus believe Zuckerberg calculatedly donned his normal dorm-frumpy garb to send New York’s financiers a crisp message: “The West Coast techies truly fuel this economy, and you will now live by our rules (and our dress codes).”
“He sort of thumbed his nose at that establishment, essentially saying that high tech is now moving into Wall Street. They’re young, they’re hip and they’re here,” said Joseph Rosenfeld, a San Jose–based “image mentor,” who helps rising dot-com stars and established Silicon Valley tycoons carve out personal styles.
But Zuckerberg is not alone. There are many high-profile CEO’s that dress down and don’t sport a business suit.
The Facebook CEO’s scrappy duds certainly reflect a wrinkled “we’re-typing-code-all-night!” look common at the hustle-and-sweat startups of Silicon Valley and beyond. Other notable followers include entrepreneurs like Craig Newmark (founder of Craigslist), Dennis Crowley (co-founder of Foursquare), Andrew Mason (founder of Groupon) and Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn).
The untucked look has been the high-tech fashion norm since the days when Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak tinkered with their first prototypes in Jobs’ garage. When Apple hit the big time, Jobs didn’t change his look. For major launch events, he always strolled stages wearing his trademark black turtleneck and blue jeans.
“At one time, that black turtleneck was a very striking, nonconformist look,” Bryant said. “But if we leap from business suit to black turtleneck to hoodie, you can easily see that Mark Zuckerberg’s cohort doesn’t feel that dress makes a strong statement. (Hoodies, T shirts and jeans are) just what they’re comfortable wearing. That’s really become their uniform.”
What do you think? Do you think dressing casually is okay today or does business dress still matter?
In all my experience, I can safely say business dress does count in the corporate workplace. How you dress affects how you are perceived. Understand that the people mentioned above ‘want’ to be perceived in a certain way. But show up like that for an interview and it won’t be perceived well.
Although business casual dressing is accepted by many companies today, there are still some rules to follow at work, and I can guarantee you’ll be taken aside by your boss for a one-on-one if you sport a “don’t care” attitude and don’t adhere to those rules.
The bottom line is if you’ve made it then you can get away with ‘casual’ or whatever your preferred style is. But if you’re still making your mark (like most of us) business dress plays a critically important role in getting ahead in the business world.