Fashion disasters and guidelines for the solopreneur
Dressing the part
How we dress is so much more casual today than it was in the past. For many people jeans and a t-shirt are perfectly acceptable options for the workplace.
However, it isn't always the case, especially when you are meeting with a customer.
Why is that? How did a dress code even develop? I don't know how but I do know that it goes far back in history, remember the Toga was symbolic of Roman citizenship and members of the Roman Senate wore special Togas to distinguish themselves from the mere citizens. In fact, non-citizens were barred from wearing them at all.
More recently in western civilization there are fewer outright restrictions on wearing the garments of the upper crust. In fact, formal dress has often been required in a business setting. The rules are fluid and we have largely (though not exclusively) opted for a more casual approach to office dress these days.
So why wear anything beyond business casual? That depends on the situation, really. The only hard rule here is to make it work for you and your client. Use your clothing to help communicate your message, and be intentional.
What does it tell your customer if you are wearing cutoff jorts and a hoodie?
Why would you wear a suit? Pant suit, skirt suit, kilt suit? In some situations nothing beats the smart look of a well tailored suit, but try not to accidentally match the groom...
Does it make your prospect comfortable, make them see you as "one of us"? Or is it bonding over shared misery?
Often what we are wearing has more implied significance to the observer than was intended. You wore it because you liked it, but the human brain is busy looking for patterns and attempting to explain them. Dress codes simplified things in a way, if we followed along we had less to be concerned with in how others interpreted our clothing choices.
I tend to dress up a little from the average. I'm generally not trying to make a statement about anything, I just prefer how I look in a long-sleeved collared shirt. Pair that with some chinos and your engineering co-workers will be certain that you have a job interview or funeral to attend that day (I learned accidentally).
What is a freelancer to do?
As a solo-entrepreneur working out of your home office anything goes, as long as your cat is ok with it. Something covering your lower half is mandatory at the coffee shop (no matter how much you hate pants). Outside of that, use your judgment, or share your question below and we'll find someone to help.