Dress like a Mess

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Most IT professionals have a reputation for being tragically un-hip when it comes to clothes. (Well, when it comes to a lot of things, really.) From the high-waist slacks, taped thick-rim glasses and pocket protectors of the nerds to the untucked flannel shirts, stained jeans and worn-out sneakers donned by the geeks (a subtle distinction to the uninitiated), IT pros are stereotyped for their fashion sense as much as anything. And instead of being ashamed of this, they wear it on their sleeve (pun very much intended). I’m with them on that one: My interest in keeping my wardrobe in style died when I actually had to start paying for clothes. (Hey, I’m still wearing stuff from high school!) Although I occasionally have to put on the old Sunday best for work or some social function, as country outlaw Waylon Jennings sang, “This coat and these ties/Are just a disguise/This ain’t really me.”


A pseudonymous (I think) writer named Otto K. Stern over at one of my favorite IT news sites, The Register, recently wrote a column denouncing this practice, and argued that organizational leaders should follow the National Basketball Association’s example of a suit-and-tie-only wardrobe mandate its non-active players sitting courtside and enforce a similar dress code for tech staff. Needless to say, the reader letters poured in, and while a few of them agreed, most wrote in to give the figurative Bronx cheer to Mr. Stern’s suggestion.


We here at CertMag may give you a lot of advice about a lot of things, but we’ll never try to tell you how to dress. We appreciate your idiosyncrasies and non-conformity. It’s part of what makes techies interesting, and it’s also your right to express yourself in whatever way you want. As Voltaire might have said, “I may not agree with what you wear, but I’ll defend to the death your right to wear it.” And besides, these days, geeks are in style.

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