The tech world is well known for being very casual with a "wear what you like" dress code.
However, when you get promoted in a tech job, though you can continue to wear what you want, I find that many men actually want to smarten up a bit - to give them authority and mark the change in their role. It would look odd though if they suddenly turned up to work all suited and booted - so it's smaller, more subtle changes that are needed.
If you've recently been promoted in your tech job (or any job that has a very casual dress code for that matter), here are my ten tips on what to wear to smarten up your wardrobe without looking like you don't belong in the office anymore! Many of these suggestions are things I've bought with clients whilst on personal shopping trips that had this brief.
A blazer is probably your first thought when going for a smarter wardrobe. However, err on the casual side to stay in line with the rest of the office and go for something like this one which is unstructured and in a jersey fabric. Not a million miles from the sweatshirt you've probably been used to wearing, but one step smarter.
Grey unstructured wool blend jersey blazer - Barena at Mr Porter - £360
I've been seeing more and more of these jersey shirts that are a hybrid of a shirt and a t-shirt in my clients wardrobes and they fit really well into that smart casual arena.....super comfy too. Go for plain white or I've also found navy can be really useful, especially to put with lighter coloured trousers.
"Ice Cotton" jersey shirt - Slowear - £240
These chinos are at the casual end of the scale, but still an upgrade from jeans. They're also a great fit (especially if you're on the slim side) and the green adds some colour if the rest of your wardrobe is grey, black and blue. They'd work really well with the white shirt, and grey blazer above and the black brogues below to hit that sweet spot between formal and casual.
"Slim Adam" green chinos - Nudie - £120
When you're used to wearing trainers 24/7 it's hard work getting back into shoes. Cushion the blow with these soft soled wedge brogues - smart on top and more casual underneath, this is the type of shoe I'm always looking for with clients as that "in-between" option.
"Archie" black wedge brogues - Grenson - £270
Not all t-shirts are born equal - anything plain without a logo is instantly smarter than a printed tee, and the construction of this one means it would work under a blazer and with tailored trousers as well as with jeans or chinos. So if you're planning to step up the status of your wardrobe, then I'd suggest getting a selection of plain, t-shirts in a structured style and in colours like this one that you can easily mix in with the rest of your wardrobe.
Burgundy midweight t-shirt - Arket - £12
You may think you already have jeans, but are they worn in, ripped or super skinny? If so, swap them for some dark indigo denim jeans and relegate your others to weekend wear. If you feel you'd like to go even smarter than this, then opt for some navy 5 pocket trousers with no contrast stitching - a jeans shape with a trouser feel.
"Grim Tim" slim straight jeans - Nudie - £100
Leave the sweatshirts to the juniors and get into some knitwear instead. Fine knits without logos are always the smartest option, and this one from Sandro, which has a tiny texture to it is an absolute winner. I've bought it in varying colours with a few different clients as it's perfect to wear with jeans, chinos or tailored trousers and you can't go wrong with navy.
"Bioche" stitch sweater - Sandro - £209
Ban your sporty trainers from the office now you've been promoted and just keep them for actually doing sport. Instead get some sleeker suede or leather trainers. A default white, tan or navy might be your first option but for a second pair add some personality to your outfits with these lilac suede ones. In fact, they're probably more versatile than you think - for example, you could combine them with any of the trousers here - khaki chinos, indigo jeans or the grey elasticated waist trousers.
Lilac suede "Huxley" trainers with natural rubber sole - Paul Smith - £325
Okay, so this is technically (excuse the pun) still a hoody, but you'd be amazed at how much smarter this knitted one looks than your typical hooded sweatshirt. A bit more casual than a cardigan and really easy to wear, it's been super popular with clients.
Zipped cardigan with hood - Sandro - £260
Wearing tailored trousers with trainers and a t-shirt and either a chore jacket or a blazer for a smarter look, is just the look that some clients are after, but often don't realise until they try it. These elasticated waist ones from Sandro are not too skinny or too baggy and would go well with the jersey shirt above, the burgundy t-shirt or the textured crew neck sweater.
Trousers with elasticated waist - Sandro - £209
Have you just been promoted in your tech job and wondering how to smarten up your work wardrobe to fit your new role? Get in touch to enquire about a personal shopping trip:
"I'm loving the information (during a Personal Colour & Style Consultation) you shared with me, it honestly has changed my life."
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