Living Entrepreneurship Blog / Babson Entrepreneurs

Work Attire for Entrepreneurs

While we do run a pretty nifty men’s dress shirt startup here in Shanghai, you’d be surprised how we don’t wear dress shirts more than twice a week (that’s when we go out into the city). In fact, I’m working in my underwear right now. It took a few weeks for the roommates to get used to, but we all occasionally work in our underwear. First, it’s hot in Shanghai. Even the lightest dress shirts or the most appropriate summer dress shirts would have me sweating outside. Bright colored dress shirts would not work either.

Also, because we work out of the home office, there is no need for us to get dressed up in our favorite custom made dress shirts, although I have bought a ton of tailored shirts while here (we save quite a bit of money when we don’t have to ship them to the states).

Work dress shirts are usually silly in a startup office. The guys at HubSpot have a sick office, and they don’t require a specific dress code. For a business making millions a year, with $33million in funding, that’s pretty awesome that you can be so laid back in the office and never worry about weird stares or critical comments about your attire.

Entrepreneurs and startup junkies don’t need to dress up. This isn’t investment banking. We work in what’s comfortable because we don’t need to look fancy for anyone. Investors don’t care about their entrepreneurs looking good either. They just need to make sure you are at least taking care of yourself and producing results.

I’m not quite sure how I’d feel if I had to go back into a formal office with a suit and tie. I’d be OK with wearing a dress shirt to work because I know it will look and feel awesome, but no slacks please!

Work shouldn’t be about keeping up appearances. You show up to work, add some value, and build a great business.