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Style change from programmer to small business exec

oldprogrammer

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I'm in my mid-30's and I have spent my adult career so far as a software developer/manager. In a couple of months I'm "retiring" from that career and switching over to run Operations for my father's industrial manufacturing company. It's a very small company, less than 30 employees, split evenly between office and plant personnel. Though I will spend most of my day in the office, I will be spending a lot of time in the lab (with a lab coat) and a little bit of time in the plant.

The typical dress for men in the office is khakis or jeans with a tucked in polo/golf shirt, and a pair of loafers (or similar dull leather shoe). My usual style is similar to House MD (not saying it's good), preferring untucked button-down shirts, nice jeans, and leather shoes. I'm a small guy: 155 lbs, 5'8''. And I'm bald, so I keep my hair very short. For what it's worth, I've always felt that I looked best in a collared, button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

I've been reading through this forum for a couple of days now, and I'm feeling like I have no idea what I'm doing now. I look at this as an opportunity to re-define myself. I want to look "managerial", but not stuffy, while still being comfortable. My gut is telling me to go with Khakis and decent shirts from Brooks Brothers, and to invest in a good pair of leather-soled shoes. And then maybe have a couple of nice blazers to dress it up a bit more if we're meeting with a big customer.

Any advice?
 

Harold falcon

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Originally Posted by oldprogrammer
My gut is telling me to go with Khakis and decent shirts from Brooks Brothers, and to invest in a good pair of leather-soled shoes. And then maybe have a couple of nice blazers to dress it up a bit more if we're meeting with a big customer.

Any advice?


This sounds perfectly reasonable as a start. Consider ties, and eventually move away from khakis to wool dress pants.
 

oldprogrammer

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Thanks for the help. Which shade of brown shoes would be more versatile, particularly considering that I'll primarily be wearing khakis and dress shirts? Something darker like Tribeca Brown or something lighter like Tribeca Walnut?
 

ganziyama

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I think darker is more versatile than the walnut colour
 

Harold falcon

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The brown would be more versatile than the walnut.

Consider a burgundy shoe though, as that is even more versatile than brown in my opinion.
 

SkinnyGoomba

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I agree with the above but I'll add that this discussion is clothing centric so it really shouldnt say much for performance. There is enough time in the day to consider both to be important.

I've worked in manufacturing while in school, most of the shop owners were reasonably well put together, the best being one boss who wore sportcoats/slacks daily and a necktie for meetings.

Remember you're running the show, so everyone will be fallowing your lead. It's impossible to be overdressed when you are the owner.
 

Reevolving

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For $150, SF will tell you the CH's are not worth it, and you're better off spending $200+ for a pair of AE's. A little more $ will get you a lot more shoe. I have never owned CH's, so I can't vouch for this logic. Also, for the same $150, you can go to Ebay and find an overstock and/or barely worn pair of AE's (used shoes are a highly personal decision) But, the point is, you'll get a lot more for that same $150, supposedly. http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline...40000000001_-1 Clearance http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline...40000000001_-1
 

Archivist

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Originally Posted by oldprogrammer
Would these Burgundy Cole Hann's be a nice general purpose shoe to dress up khakis?

Not a huge fan of Cole Hann. Allen Edmonds and Alden are going to be much better quality better leather, better construction) that those. Look at Peal at Brooks Brothers. Will you be on your feet a lot? You mention spending time in the lab. Pick up at least two pair, let the things rest after wearing them. Use shoe trees.

Sounds like you are moving in the right direction dress wise. I think your plan to fit in at the office, but maybe step it up a notch is a good one. Don't over do it, at least not at first.
 

forsbergacct2000

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Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba
I agree with the above but I'll add that this discussion is clothing centric so it really shouldnt say much for performance. There is enough time in the day to consider both to be important.

I've worked in manufacturing while in school, most of the shop owners were reasonably well put together, the best being one boss who wore sportcoats/slacks daily and a necktie for meetings.

Remember you're running the show, so everyone will be fallowing your lead. It's impossible to be overdressed when you are the owner.


It's entirely possible to be overdressed. Unless there is a compelling reason to wear suits in the OPs situation, suits would probably be over the top and be an obstacle for the OP to overcome in communicating with his employees. (If there was a good reason to have the staff dress up, he could "lead by example" but if there is not, he would just be a "weirdo.")
 

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