Ditch the suit
I worked in Amsterdam last summer at a programme called Start-Up Boot Camp, based in Vodafone HQ there. It was a very casual, young, energetic workplace.
There is a tendency among designers to be more relaxed or adventurous with clothing. But I’ve never worn a suit for a job before. In this industry, I would question its necessity. It would show a misunderstanding of the ethos. Design is people-oriented. User experience design is about exhibiting an understanding of people. It’s not about putting on a tie and looking down at them.
Fashion communications executive, ThinkHouse PR, 23
I’ve worked at Thinkhouse for two years. When I first came in, everyone was dressed so well, but nobody wore suits. It wasn’t what I expected. At the interview, I wore a piece from an NCAD graduate – a black cape-jacket with loads of different buttons on it. Wearing something with a story behind it was a great talking point for the interview.
We are encouraged to never change outfits for work. If I’m meeting clients I’d never dress more formally. If anything it’d be even crazier. I’d wear anything from a studded suit to platform shoes and a cape. My colleagues really like my style. Some are amused by my outfits, but a lot of people here have a crazy sense of style – one guy loves his vintage Hawaiian shirts, for instance. I couldn’t work somewhere with a strict dress code. It’s a massive part of who I am. I buy a lot of stuff from NCAD graduates because I think it’s so important to support them. You get good value, hand-made stuff, made in Ireland. It’s a win-win situation.
Barista/wholesale, 3FE Espresso, 23
3FE is quite an international company. We have staff from America, Norway, Spain, and Scotland – me.
I split the week between working as barista and doing wholesale deliveries, but I dress the same throughout the week.
The aim is to be smart but functional, so I wear shirts, dark trousers, and comfortable shoes, as I stand a lot. It’s looking presentable, but in clothes that I don’t mind getting covered in milk. It’s important to look smart. For us, it shows that we take coffee seriously. We’re not just trying to pass time until payday. We’re really passionate about coffee. I used to work in a cafe in Berlin. We were aware of what we wore and how it sets the tone for the cafe, so it was similar to 3FE. I couldn’t see myself in a job where I had to wear a suit. Without wanting to generalise, I don’t think I would fit in well with a suit-heavy environment. Even with 3FE’s business side, it isn’t the kind of environment that would necessitate a suit. You can be presentable without having to wear a suit nowadays.
Accountant, Grant Thornton, 22
It’s important to be presentable in this industry. If you look untidy meeting a client, they won’t take you seriously – it’d be like you went to the doctor and they came in wearing tracksuit bottoms. It’s not the right tone. But I do try to change it up, so at least I stand out a little bit among the average suit-and-tie guys. Decent shirts help a lot, so I end up spending a good bit of money on shirts. It makes you stand out, even in a regular suit.