There is a big difference between the real world, and SF. Re: Negative reactions to our more, ahem, committed style of dress. These words of Clay Shirky's have stayed in my mind. They have wide applicability, although, obviously, they may be a little less applicable in situations involving bosses. It's tempting to imagine that [you] could be forceful and self-confident without being arrogant or jerky, but that's a false hope, because it's other people who get to decide when they think you're a jerk, and trying to stay under that threshold means giving those people veto power over your actions. To put yourself forward as someone good enough to do interesting things is, by definition, to expose yourself to all kinds of negative judgments, and as far as I can tell, the fact that other people get to decide what they think of your behavior leaves only two strategies for not suffering from those judgments: not doing anything, or not caring about the reaction. Not caring works surprisingly well.