Fashion Tips for the Pocket Protector Wearing Engineer

April 11, 2017

Let’s face it, engineers aren’t known to be the most well-dressed people. We sometimes wear sandals with socks, and our hair is almost always messed up. For those who need it, here are some fashion tips that may help you land a job, or a hot date.

Note: As I am a male engineer, this post is written for male engineers. There are tons of women in engineering too, I am just incapable of commenting on how they should dress. So, women in STEM, comment your favorite fashion tips below!

Bill Nye the Science Guy at The UP Experience 2010 [Image Source: Ed Schipul via Flickr]

Say No to Ratty Polos

Engineers commonly wear business casual all the way up to more expensive looking suits. For the engineer that works at a firm where business casual is okay, choosing your clothes becomes even more important. When it comes to suits, make sure that it accentuates your body style and isn’t too big. Take some time, get out of your shell, and go talk to the friendly guy at Men’s Wearhouse.

[Image Source: Svein Halvor Halvorsen via Flickr]

Business casual attire, on the other hand, lends a lot more freedom to the often less style-inclined engineer. One big mistake engineers make with business casual is the endless ratty old polo t-shirts. Sure, they have a collar. And sure, they say rugged outdoor man who also happens to know his way around an office. They also mostly scream, “I don’t know how to iron!” or ” “I got this shirt at a garage sale!” Polo shirts can be done right, but they need to be taken care of, be well fit, and be nicely ironed.

Troy from Autodesk suggests that you, “Take it to the dry cleaner if it has a button. Period.” It’s not that hard to get your shirts professionally taken care of and you’ll find yourself looking much better. Iron your shirt collars to keep them from curling as well. As a bonus tip with polos, try to stick to solid colors that bring out your eyes. Lined rainbow polos are not the way to go.

Don’t be afraid to take things up a notch with a dressier shirt. No one in your office is going to make fun of you for dressing nicer than them unless you wear a tuxedo to work as an engineer. Then many people will make fun of you.

Uh… Khakis?

We’re going to address the whole Jake from State farm issue at hand here. When thinking about what to wear with your nicely ironed and taken care of polo, or dressier shirt, your automatic answer should not be, “uh… khakis?”

[Image Source: Robert Occhialini via Flickr]

Khakis can be your everyday go-to pants, but they shouldn’t be your only option and they must be the right style, according to Engineering.com. Baggy unironed khakis make you look larger than you are – they also make you look much less professional. Spend some money and get your khakis tailored correctly to start with. Now, if you want to get away from a khaki wardrobe, you have other options than just jeans.

Black pants are generally a great way to go. They exude a professional vibe and go with most colors – except navy. With that said, the same fit and form rules apply to black pants.

Right in the middle of dressier black pants and jeans, you will find cords. These are corduroy pants that come in many different colors. Stick with neutral tones like gray, blue and tan. They will dress up your outfit compared to khakis, but keep you comfortable compared to dressier black pants.

[Image Source: nrg_crisis (off and on) via Flickr]

Fit and Form

Engineers come in all different shapes and sizes. The worst thing that you can do is to dress in something that is made for someone too small or too big compared to yourself.

One of the easiest ways to figure out what the fit and form you need is, is to go talk to your tailor. The other less extroverted option is to spend some hours on Pinterest searching Men’s fashion. Either way, get a general idea of what complements your body style before you go buy clothes.

If you want to look professional and impress your bosses, dressing in clothes that make you look better is the best way to get there.


Attention well-dressed engineers! What are some fashion tips that you always abide by? Help out your other engineer friends in the comments. Also, feel free to tag any engineer who you think might need this article.

SEE ALSO: Patagonia Looks to Make Recycled Clothes a Fashion Norm

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