A long time ago when the earth was green and internet startups were the newest thing, I had a boss who preferred a casual dress code. Perhaps “preferred” is putting it too mildly: I once heard him threaten to cut a reporter’s tie in half if he didn’t remove it immediately. He was holding scissors at the time, so we all took him very seriously. That was the last time I saw a coworker wear a tie at that office.
In fact, it’s only a small exaggeration to say it’s the last time I saw a writer wear a tie, in general. Thanks in part to the tech industry and its focus on creativity over conformity, it’s now pretty rare to see so-called knowledge workers wearing a suit … or clothing that’s seen an iron. In other words, outside of a few industries like finance and law, today’s white-collar workers are often more likely to be collarless, wearing a t-shirt, and wiping their Cheeto-dusted hands on their cargo shorts. You’re lucky if we’re wearing shoes.
That’s not just a liberating development to workers who dread dressing up – it can be a big money saver. The average American household spent $1,846 on apparel in 2015, and those in the prime of their career, aged 35 to 54, spent about $2,600 on clothes plus another $500 on footwear — more than $250 a month. It’s not hard to imagine that figure dropping dramatically if you could just wear jeans and t-shirts every day.
Of course, not every job allows this kind of latitude when it comes to attire. If you’re really committed to getting some use out of your collection of band t-shirts, you need to target the right occupations. At these jobs, it’s A-OK to dress like a slob almost all the time:
Whether your official job title is reporter, blogger, copywriter, or contributing editor, if you work with words – especially in an online environment – you probably don’t need to worry about keeping that suit pressed. Generally speaking, creative jobs are more likely to allow you to wear super-casual office attire. When your thoughts matter, your appearance often doesn’t.
2. Software Engineer
Highly technical jobs are also likely to be perfect for folks who proudly fly their slob flag. Software engineers, analysts, and developers are famously lax about their personal dress code. They can afford to be: companies who rely on the smarts and skills of these workers can’t afford to be picky about what they’re wearing. They’re lucky they can afford them at all – unlike most of the other jobs on this list, these super-techies command salaries that easily reach six figures.
3. Graphic Designer
At the intersection of technology and art, we find these creative workers. While their attention to aesthetics can make them more appearance conscious than, say, your average software engineer, they’re still unlikely to turn up at the company picnic wearing a tie – and, more importantly, not expected to.
4. Tech Support Specialist
Quick: Who’s the one person in the office everyone has to suck up to, no matter how imperious they are with everyone else? If you said tech support specialist, you’ve probably recently seen your sharply dressed CEO groveling in front of an IT person wearing Tevas with socks. When you’re the person who knows how to get things working again (as well as everyone’s browser history and chat transcripts), you can command respect, even when dressed for gym class.
Perhaps the ultimate job type for people who don’t want to dress up for work, telecommuter has the added advantage of being an entire category of gigs as opposed to one specific job. You can work from home full-time in nearly any field that requires workers to spend the bulk of their hours on the computer or on the phone.
In fact, FlexJobs, a job search site for telecommuters and part-time workers, says that work-from-home jobs are now available for workers at every point in their career, from entry-level to executive. The industries with the highest concentration of telecommuting gigs in 2016 were medical and health, HR and recruiting, computer and IT, and education and training, according to the service.
In other words, it’s not all customer service and virtual assistant jobs. So, if you like what you’re doing at work, but would prefer to do it in pajama pants, now’s the time to see if you can trade up. You could score a full-time work-from-home job – or at least convince the boss to let you try a day or two a week from your home office.
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