I work a middle class income 9-5 job. Like most of America work attire there is officially professional (no tennis shoes/jeans) yet everyone dresses business casual with about 40% of the workforce dressing in accordance with attire rules.
Anyways my issue is this. I have a coworker who is deeply insecure that I dress nicer than he does. He is visibly insecure over it. I wear button down shirts, belt, khakis and dress shoes every day. This coworker is one of the people who dresses down.
From this guys reaction you'd think I hit him or something. He cannot stand it that I wear quality button downs and nice shoes. The guy has no dress sense either. When he does try and dress up it's shabby, visibly bad form. He'll wear a 10+ year old blue blazer and act like he's a god (which infuriates our boss), and yet he has no idea how silly he looks. The guy avoids me at all cost then if he's in the same room he looks down and gets all red. He's older than me and married with kids. I think this has a lot to do with it too.
I've just never experienced this. A guy being insecure and talking shit about me behind my back kind of thing all because I dress nicer than him. A coworker told me he's under a lot of stress because he married a rich girl and her family complains he doesn't make enough. I get that but still, having his stress and insecurity taken out on me, a younger coworker, just because I dress nice, seems messed up.
My real question is this. How do I deal with this? What is the correct route for me to take? I've been ignoring his petty verbal attempts to bait me but the thing is, and I worry about this, he's starting to lose his cool. Every time I deflect his verbal bait attempts he becomes openly more and more insecure. He actually is to the point where he speeds up in the office hallways to avoid me because he doesn't know how to interact with me anymore. I feel bad for the guy because everyone is noticing it and that too adds to his insecurity I think, the fact that everyone see's it. It's shaming for him. Because he's supposed to be this confident guy and then I walk into the room and he's distilled down to visible discomfort.