To extend my initial post: I've been in investment banks, and eventhough I've worked and will be working in one in the future, my position in the bank is an internal one which does not require me to interact with external clients. I've never felt that I measured up to those i-bankers. And I think part of it is that they're wearing suits and I'm wearing business casual. Given the chance, I'd like to wear suits everyday to work eventhough my position did not/will not require it, but I know this will not play well with my colleagues/managers. I really can't understand why people like my colleagues are so excited about dressing down/business casual, or why the general public feels that one is stuffy in a suit, or that wearing a t-shirt and a pair of khakis is comfortable. I actually feel more comfortable in my MTM shirt and my MTM light wool trousers. I find it offensive when people ask "Why are you so dressed up?" or "Why do you dress so well?". I find that almost rude ... especially when it is said in a "you're not our kind of guy... you think you're better than us" way. More often than not, I suspect that those who ask such questions are in fact internally embarassed of their poor dressing. If you want to dress poorly, fine, but do not ask me to lower my standards of dress just to make you look "relatively" alright, and thus save you the effort of dressing well.
In some places [colleges come to mind], some people actually think it is cool NOT to care about dressing well, as though one is above that. Dressing up is seen as being "stuck up". I am perplexed; I think it boils down to a lack of respect ... for one self, for the ocassion, for others. A prominent professor invited my seminar class (~12 students) to dinner at his house one night. I thought of wearing a suit and tie but did not. I wore a black shirt and dark wool pants, with a black cotton sweater. I actually was the best dressed. One student showed up in athletic gear, and another one in the typical, awful, I-just-need-to-cover-my-body-with-SOMETHING grey-heather-t-shirt-and-faded-jeans combos. I can't help but ask .... what were these people thinking?
I doubt any one bothered to send a thank you note after dinner. This is not a money/education issue; as the college is of considerable repute. This is an attitude issue.