Each profession comes with its own dress code to help distinguish one from another. While some opt for that casual “Devil May Care” look, others keep it more professional. If the running question on your mind is “What do architects wear?”, in this blog, I will clarify all your doubts, misconceptions, and any theory behind the “who and what” of architect attire.
Honestly, there hasn’t been any set clothing style or fashion attire in the world of architecture. However, one thing that has been seen to be quite popular among architects is the classic all-black outfit with a turtleneck.
With time, the fashion trends keep changing, and the same is applicable in the world of architecture as well. The present-day fashion or dressing style for architects is diverse as well as entirely dependent on the practice culture and work environment.
While some commercial firms are known to promote a crisp formal shirt with a well-ironed tie, others (small firms) tend to go easy with t-shorts or shorts. But, the question here boils down more to the ethical practices that come from well-ensemble attire.
So, let us dive deeper into the architecture dress code.
How Should the Architect Dress?
As an architect, our roles tend to be ever-changing. Architects can be called upon by varying names starting from artists, designers, and managers, to makers, businessmen, and more. That is why the dress-up style opted for in this industry should portray one’s ability to understand the directors, clients, consultants, peers, or any potential customer.
One thing I would like to put up here is the fact that the way we architects dress is actually deemed as a reflection of professionalism and performance, especially when there is a plan to meet a potential client for the very first time.
How Does a Professional Architect’s Uniform Look Like?
In today’s world, architecture fashion can be summarized by eccentrically bold colors, formal suits, black as a dominant shade, and finally, a well-designed garment that is very relaxing to wear.
Whenever one pictures an architect, is it quite obvious that people would presume them to be in an all-black stereotypical silhouette. However, the scenario has changed quite a lot. You can keep yourself away from going for the stereotypical black dress-code.
However, things might go wrong if one doesn’t know which color goes with what. Unless you know the best way to combine different outfits and color tones together, the right way to go is the classic all-black attire. It is especially true for men who do not know what works well in the world of architectural fashion, and they may look like someone who is going out for a party or something similar.
Things to Know When Dressing up as an Architect
An architect or designer is hired to design structures and buildings that should stand strong through time regardless of how small or big they are. Further, their designs should be on par with the trend which needs to reflect in the attire as well.
That is why an architect’s clothing needs to gel well with the trending fashion. I, as an architect, opt to follow the professional styles that are here to stay as opposed to the ones that often come and go. Architects need to opt for practices that make them timeless and consistent, paired with well-considered, good quality clothes.
Here are some things you need to keep in mind as an architect when it comes to dressing up for the job.
Depending on where you are at the moment, your getup as an architect can differ vividly. If you are out dealing with the construction scenario at the site, your attire will include the following items:
- Safety Goggles
- High-Visibility Jackets or Vests
- Safety Boots
Now, if you are about to attend an important meeting, your attire should include options such as:
- Pencil skirts
- Dress shirts
- Dress Shoes
- Formal pants
- Crisp white shirt
- Blazer (Optional)
When at your computer working on your designs alone, you can opt for the following attire (No judgment):
- Polo Shirts
And whatever you feel comfortable in!
2-Dressing for the Office:
Every office, be it small or big, will come with its very own informal/formal dress code. If you are an architect, you should surely comply with these professional rules and regulations. Whether you like it or not, the key is to not be a rebel and wear as your colleagues do. In general, most of the architecture studio owners tend to go with smart casual clothing.
However, every now and then, your company might want you to take things a step ahead for critical meetings like the classic formal. If you are a freelance architect looking for full-time employment, you can outright guess what you might have to wear by taking a look at your interviewer and the employees in the building.
If this is something you aren’t cool with or if you do not want to go with that formal appearance for whatever reason it may be, you can try and look for an alternative job option.
Unfortunately, you need to keep in mind that most businesses rely on the best first impression. It means that apart from taking a look at your personality, your employers will look at the way you dress to ensure they are dealing with a reliable person.
When working with other professionals, you should definitely dress as per the job you are aiming for. You most definitely wouldn’t want your director or CEO coming down to the office in baggy jeans or old sneakers. So, it shouldn’t be your practice either. The way the architects or the firm’s employees dress or present themselves is an indication of how they contribute or handle the company’s reputation.
In order to give the clients, company directors, consultants, as well as fellow staff a favorable impression of who you are and what you represent, your attire needs to be highly professional paired with appropriate dressing sense and good grooming. As you invest time in considering your appearance, it demonstrates your clients and employers that you possess the confidence and skills to achieve the set target or excel at the project.
There is nothing that speaks professional and well-organized than well-kept formal attire paired with classic colors like white and black. Moreover, everything needs to be neat and clean to represent the best “You” as an architect.
3-Make a Great First Impression:
In most cases, it is the first impression that counts. The way you dress like an architect and carry yourself leaves a deep impression on your potential clients, and there is no turning back. Architects are always employed to create attractive and functional buildings. That is why your clothing should be an exact representation of the same.
If you happen to turn up daily wearing a baggy, old jumper with an unkempt shirt, or maybe a hoody, you will fail to sell yourself as an architect. You won’t be selling yourself as someone who is a conscious designer with a knack for creativity.
4-Dress as Per Your Comfort:
Although it is preferred that you dress in a format and sleek attire that manages to impress a potential client, it shouldn’t be something too uncomfortable for you. An outfit that is too tight, too loose, or too flimsy for you is something you would want to avoid at all costs. The key is to opt for the best of what is worn by your colleagues or boss at the office.
Say, for example, if your office dress code is a white shirt with tie and formal pants, try to pick a fabric that fits comfortably and lets your skin breathe. Plus, always go for a reputed tailor who knows how to sew a great fitting cloth.
Architecture Students: The Dress-Up Guide
As an architecture student, you do not have to wear black daily. Architecture students tend to come from different places and backgrounds. That is why you might see a variety of fashion, tastes, and influences. Universities and colleges with regards to style, opt for a casual environment. So, unless you plan to push the boundaries, casual is the way to go with complete comfort added to your getup.
However, just like any qualified architect happens to do, you should keep demonstrating the consciousness you have for design by achieving an amazing aesthetic in terms of style. One thing to keep in mind is that a student might not have the luxury to go for expensive styling options. So, opt for clothes that fit your pocket, yet work as a simple, affordable, yet stylish option.
Outfit Combinations You Could Try as an Architect
If you are confused as to what you should wear as an architect, here are some available options for you to try out.
1-Black and White:
One thing that I often see employees at my architectural firm wearing a lot is black, white, or grey tones. A simple yet classic look will work on any day. Plus, you should also go for a quick mix and match that could help you create a new outfit every day.
Always have a separate pair of handy that could be your go-to option when you might not have the time or the scope to use your creativity in terms of dressing. Have this outfit as a backup. Make sure this is something that can be worn at a meeting or a normal office day.
3-Khaki and Patterns:
For guys, the dressing game as an architect is fairly simple, and easy. A patterned shirt paired with a cool watch will pretty sure set a good example if you happen to attend a meeting with a potential client. While you might want to go for the classic old gray or black pant, try to bring a bit of freshness to your attire with the Khaki pants that introduce a hint of beige to your architecture outfit.
Yes, there is such a thing as business casuals. If you have been feeling a tad bit adventurous in the recent, you could opt for a brightly colored tie with the classic white shirt or go for the ever in-fashion plaid shirt. Keep in mind that everyone, be it a professional with years of experience or an architect that has just entered the industry, will have at least once tried the business casuals. So, this is something you might try out for the next week at your architecture firm.
Safety Is the First Priority: Architecture Uniform
This case and point come into factor when there is a need for a site visit. When going to survey a site or inspecting a building, it is important to follow all the safety instructions. It also applies to your clothing and accessories.
A hard hat along with safety goggles is something that is the standard for an architectural site inspection. Apart from this, you might also go for gloves that can protect your hands from any unruly screws or anything that might hurt you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Regarding the dress code of architectures, many questions may arise in your mind. Do not worry! I am going to talk about the most frequently asked questions related to what architects wear.
The Bottom Line
In simple words, as an architect, you need to follow the golden rule of being comfortable in what you wear while adhering to the rules and regulations at your firm. Keep in mind that you can always draw inspiration from others and try to modify it in your own way. Remember, the first impression is your last impression when it comes to business or especially in the field of architecture. Always keep it crisp, fashion-friendly, as well as professional. The key is to not overdo your getup!