Ah, the startup life… From “flexible schedules” to “mandatory ping pong tables” to “office dogs,” there are plenty of myths that come with striking it out on your own. One of the most prevalent? The standardization of the hoodie-jeans-flip-flops style.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg
Your traditional nine-to-five friends may think it’s your daily attire, but in the startup game, it’s anything but. Actually, delving into the startup world means having to don an even wider array of attire choices. Since you’re doing everything, you’ll need to look a number of parts.
Fortunately for you, we’re here to help. Being in the fashion/tech startup space, we thought we’d run down a few of the different “looks” you’ll likely be needing:
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The lean-startup approach is definitely our mantra. However, there comes a day when you will need to go out and fundraise.
One thing we have learned over time is that investors come in all shapes and sizes. Whether they are dressed in three-piece suits or ripped jeans, when pitching, we always default to professional attire with a spin. It’s only smart. When trying to prove that you are the right team to take your business from an idea to a multi-million-dollar company, a professional attitude is only complemented by professional attire.
That means no jeans, no tees, no flip flops. You don’t have to be completely buttoned up, however. This is the startup world after all.
We often find ourselves wearing formal attire with a pop like, say, a suit dress with a colorful necklace or heels. For the guys, aim for a set of great suit pants and a tasteful tie. The goal is to stay professional, while also showing your personality.
This activity demands something close to the hoodie-jeans-flip-flops ensemble mentioned above. The key here is comfort. From track suits to zip ups and jeans, this is what you’ll wear when you and the engineering team are pulling an all-nighter to push out code.
For us, we shoot for comfort when having to spend long hours in front of the computer (sporting our trusty Warby Parkers so we can still see straight). Still, it’s always good to be prepared. For instance, we never know when a fashion blogger might let us know via Twitter that they’re in the neighborhood and want to get together for a drink. So, we’ll often wear jeans to the office over what we all used to wear on those lazy Sundays in college.
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Similarly, we’ll sport flip flops or sneakers, but we’ll always have a nice pair of dress shoes at arm’s length just in case.
Every smart founder keeps some gym gear close at hand. When you’re putting in 16-hour days, you’ll need to blow off some steam (if for no other reason than to keep your sanity).
We each keep work-out attire in the office: our favorite Lululemon () ]shorts, Hukkster branded hair ties and tees so we can grab and go whenever we have to get a quick endorphin boost. Bonus tip: If you schedule your days in a way that’s accommodating, you can pop out to the gym midday, when it’s a little less crowded.
So, all of you would-be founders out there hoping to shuffle around in sweats all day, every day, know that you need a closet that covers a variety of scenarios.