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The Coffee Run: 5 Office Fashions For Men

October 6, 2010

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Today, I thought we’d start going over some of the fashion (or lack thereof) you’ll likely encounter from your male colleagues during an internship. Remember: Office fashion for men is NOT about looking good. It is about intimidating or otherwise subverting the competition.

The Sweater Vest: The sweater vest instantly adds a scholarly air to almost any shirt you put beneath it, except maybe a tuxedo T-shirt or a holiday sweater. Really, wearing any kind of sweater underneath a sweater vest is not recommended, because the tectonic interaction of wool on wool is notoriously dangerous. Bosses will view you as responsible and hard-working if you don this attire regularly, even if your greatest achievement at the company is raising a Cape Cod Guest House in Farmville.


Socks: Men spend a lot of time fretting about their sock selection nowadays, especially for an article of clothing that is visible for maybe three percent of the day. (This calculation is based on a desk job.  If you work in a crouched position on top of a table, I admit it’s not that accurate.)

There are four types of socks: White Socks, which should not be worn to the office; Mostly Solid Dark Socks, which are acceptable for a wide variety of office wear; Argyle Socks, which are fashionable if matched correctly; and Socks You Should Never Wear for Any Reason.


The Green Suit: There aren’t a ton of internships that ask you to wear a suit regularly to the office, but if your workplace kicks it old school,you can disarm older co-workers by dressing like a Spanish olive (bonus points if the pants are pleated). This look was really big with the Michael McDonald crowd in 1998,and has the overall effect of lulling people into a false sense of security. At the end of your internship term — after you’ve demonstrated superior technical knowledge and work efficiency — you can dance on their pink slips in slate Dior.


Loafers: In a sense, loafers can be considered timeless, because there was never a time in which it was cool to wear them. The perfect marriage of comfort and tastelessness, they succeed in making people who are too lazy to even tie their shoes look professionally boring. But being as that is the ultimate goal of Workplace Fashion, you should probably have at least three pairs.


Cowboy Boots: My dad tells me that in the high-flying boom years of the ’90s, cowboy boots were the hallmark of a powerful executive, even in urban environments; a sign that you had lassoed the American dream and corralled it into a rusty pen, whereupon it was eventually processed into meatloaf. This makes sense if you think of your office as a windswept plain, your pleather chair as a trusty steed, your co-workers as cattle and your competitors as restless Natives. Obviously, that also would mean something is seriously wrong with you.


Coffee Run AlexDid I leave any out? Leave your favorite office fashions for men in the comments below.

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