How important is fashion and personal grooming in the startup world? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
For most startups they want a relaxed culture. And so for most people it's about taking care of your appearance so as not to offend others. So you don't wear a cologne that makes your neighbor cough every morning and shower and so forth.
Here are some points of reference for what people wear to work-it's a few years old, but doesn't seem so outdated:
Unfortunately there is still a double standard in the startup world. The idea that everyone can wear wear jeans, a t-shirt and a hoodie every day doesn't necessarily translate to women, who in my experience have a harder time with what to wear.
But you're still judged on your appearance.
I remember hearing the founders of Rent the Runway speaking on a panel. They spoke about how they were told early on to get their nails done and that once they started dressing differently they were treated differently. I've searched some of their articles (as they give out a lot of good advice), but can't seem to find a quote, so perhaps they only said it at the speaking engagement. But the bottom line is that these are two very smart women, who graduated from Harvard and they were told to change their style in order to get more funding and for their company to be taken seriously.
I've also read a lot about women who try to wear the same thing every day spurred on by this article, where she insists (to millions of readers) that men are treated differently and from what I've seen in interviews for candidates, it's true.
This article documents how the differences between men and women's clothing made such a difference to her once she started wearing men's clothing:
I know that these articles aren't about startups, but I haven't found one that articulates some of the difficulties that I've seen female job seekers face. Women who dress casually and then are hit on - or people think that they're only at a conference to pick up men. Women who dress too professionally and then people assume that they don't know anything about startup culture. Men have problems too, but there aren't as many knee-jerk reactions to what men wear to a job interview or on the job.
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