I am a software engineer intern at a small company. My manager and I are going into the office tomorrow to get some work done. Should I dress formally as I normally do, or should I dress casually because we will be the only ones in the office? Any help would be much appreciated.

EDIT: I normally wear dress shirt and dress pants. It is a pretty chill work environment. Casual being jeans and tshirt? (and about 30 sweaters because I live in Canada)

  • 3
    You may need to define “formally” and “casually” for us. Gym shorts and a tank top are right out. Nov 30, 2019 at 1:30
  • 8
    At least this one is not about a Christmas party
    – ig-dev
    Nov 30, 2019 at 2:12
  • I would wear whatever you would normally wear in your off-time. It depends a little on your company environment, I'm a software engineer and most everyone here wears a collared shirt and jeans every day. On weekend, shorts and t-shirts are not unusual, but then I'm in Florida and they don't turn on the a/c on weekends.
    – bluegreen
    Dec 2, 2019 at 18:25
  • I had the same situation at my first job. Occasionally my coworkers and I would go in on a Saturday if we were near a deadline. Everyone dressed casually in jeans and whatever else we wanted to wear. Normally it was business casual with dress pants, nice shirt, no tennis shoes.
    – Rich
    Mar 10, 2020 at 13:02

3 Answers 3

  • Chill work environment, small company
  • Weekend
  • Only ones in the office
  • Canada

Yes, you'll be more than fine wearing jeans and t-shirt. Very formally dressed up you'll possibly even look a little bit out of place - as you'll see, there is a different atmosphere on a quiet weekend meeting like this, compared to the usual weekdays.

Casual appears a lot more down-to-earth on the weekend, compared to formal, which in your situation, I'd perceive as stiff, if not insecure. Everyone likes it if the tension if off a little bit over the weekend, including (most likely) your manager. It will contribute to a more relaxed atmosphere, which can be helpful in building a positive work relationship.

On a more controversial note, I think you should avoid asking your manager about this. There is no reason to ask. Asking here can be seen as a lack of confidence/independence that you can't even decide for yourself if casual clothing on the weekend is OK. Even if my boss came formally dressed up (maybe, in turn I would find that a little bit weird - "just for me?"), I'm sure my choice would still be seen as reasonable/normal/down-to-earth.

  • 2
    Regarding your last paragraph, while your only meeting may be with your boss, you don't know what the boss gets up to on the weekends. For all you know they have something else dress up for and it would be inconvenient to dress down just for you. ;)
    – JJJ
    Nov 30, 2019 at 8:54
  • @JJJ You are right, I didn't think of that. I guess I leave it there, because it might still be what I had thought.
    – ig-dev
    Nov 30, 2019 at 9:03
  • Casual, yes, but not what you might wear at home -- no stains or rips, no rude/funny saying on the shirt, and make it a Tshirt not a muscle shirt or other gym wear, not sweatpants etc. I have a section in my closet for "professional casual" because it is subtly different from your mowing-the-lawn clothes. Nov 30, 2019 at 13:12

I would ask your manager in this situation.


If you're working, you're representing the company. Dress accordingly.

I wouldn't go fully to t-shirts and jeans, personally, because that implies a degree of slobbiness and thus a lack of professionalism - you might think that you'll be the only ones in the office, but that might not necessarily be true. While you certainly won't go wrong wearing your normal dress shirt and pants, if you wanted to "dress down", you'd probably be better off wearing a polo shirt and khaki or dress pants.

  • 2
    +1 If you go to work regularly on an additional day (not being called in on short notice from the beach) then wear, what you typically wear. If T-Shirt and jeans was regular dress then wear that. Nov 30, 2019 at 18:08
  • 1
    No. Saturday is my day. If I'm going in to work on what should be a day off then I'm wearing comfortable. I used to work for a very conservative brokerage firm (back in the 90's). At the time it was business professional coat and tie every day. Going in on a night or weekend it was acceptable that we could wear jeans/polo's, etc. Just keep it acceptable. Eg, no ripped jeans or Metallica t-shirts (and I like Metallica).
    – JazzmanJim
    Dec 2, 2019 at 20:48

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