I recently lost a lot of weight and as a result, my self-esteem has improved. I work in IT and have been wearing khakis, long sleeve shirts throughout my career. Now I would like to start wearing nicer slack, shirts, and a tie.

The office I work at is officially Business Casual but I have also been told to dress slightly better than the client. The client is mostly business casual with some jeans and collar shirts.

So here is my question: Will I be alienating anyone by deciding to improve my looks and dress? I know this sounds like a strange question but this is a new situation for me.

  • I do not see how dressing slightly differently would alienate anyone. Why do you think that would be the case
    – Layman
    Sep 26, 2019 at 14:15
  • 1
    How do your colleagues dress? Are you worried about dressing nicer than them?
    – David K
    Sep 26, 2019 at 14:57
  • I suggest you wear what you like but don't make it too special. You don't want to be remembered as the average IT guy who dresses better than the boss.
    – Edgar
    Sep 26, 2019 at 15:52

2 Answers 2


As long as what you choose is appropriate for your workplace, dress however you like.

If wearing sharper than you used to, maybe with a tie and/or a vest would increase your self-esteem, go for it.

There's always a chance to alienate people, whatever you do, but frankly, the people who would be alienated by your choice of attire at work are people you should not mind to alienate, even professionally.

  • 8
    I'd add that OP is worried about "alienating" people, they should take care to not look out of place. Dressing sharper is nice and for sure will be appreciated, but if OP dresses in full Business / Business Formal attire, he will look out of place. Some people who never seem him before or don't see him often enough to remember his face (can happen in some offices) might think he's a visitor. Sep 26, 2019 at 14:55
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    This hit the nail on the head, so to speak. I may be making to much of it. My manager also dresses a little better and wears a tie. I am going to wear what I like but not so formal as a business suit. If people don't like it, they can just deal with it. Sep 26, 2019 at 15:29
  • Not a fashion expert but I've heard the saying: ""Better over-dressed than under-dressed". Good answer
    – DarkCygnus
    Sep 26, 2019 at 16:43
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    One thing to be aware of. If you just start dressing up, people will likely think you are interviewing--even if you say you aren't. It'll probably die down after a week or few as people realize it isn't just sporadic, though.
    – user62890
    Sep 26, 2019 at 17:59

These are the general rules:

  1. Dress on the same level as other employees on the same level
  2. Do not dress better than your boss

As long as you follow these, you should be fine.

  • 1
    Could you elaborate on why you think #2 is a 'general rule'? Is this a cultural thing?
    – Cypher
    Sep 26, 2019 at 18:03
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    @Cypher If you’re dressing nicer than your boss, you’re effectively saying that you’re better than them.
    – nick012000
    Sep 26, 2019 at 22:49
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    @nick012000 holy crap, about our whole company are snobs then who think themselves better than the boss^^ So I'd say there are exceptions, but probably if there are meetings with business clients where boss dresses up, this rule holds, otherwise I'd be more doubtful. Sep 27, 2019 at 0:08
  • rule number 3 : if you want a promotion, dress as you'd be dressed in your target role. Fits with rules number 1 & 2
    – gazzz0x2z
    Sep 27, 2019 at 10:30
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    @nick012000 Yes I understand that is what is being stated. Obviously, I disagree because my experience has been different so I was curious as to the cultural or regional context.
    – Cypher
    Sep 27, 2019 at 20:00

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