Banana Republic Dresses the Start-Up Guy

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Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Facebook.
AlamyMark Zuckerberg: this man is not a style icon.


What should a man wear to his start up job? Apparently a lot of guys have been scratching their heads on what "business casual meets professional meets start-up culture" even means. Banana Republic has decided to fix this problem and take the guesswork out of the question for men in these lax office environments.

In August the preppy clothing brand will debut an online boutique where, Banana Republic spokesperson Liz Nunan states, "Our stylists will style head-to-toe outfits best suited for different professions. We want our men shoppers to look at us as a resource for easy styling so they can get back to work--all while looking great."If you can't wait until August to see what Banana Republic has in store for you, perhaps it's time to point out what not to wear. Clearly, the Silicon Valley set needs help. If Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg's iconic fashion style of a hoodie sweatshirt and sneakers tells you anything, it's that these guys need fashion direction. Speaking from experience, I've witnessed shirts with stains, holes, bleach spots and obscene phrases. Admittedly, some of that was just one guy.

Don't wear a suit. They say dress for the job you want, but if you wear a suit and your CEO is in flip flops and shorts, you'll stick out like a sore thumb. Start-ups have casual work environments so that people can feel more relaxed and approachable. If you put up a wall and wear conservative attire, it will translate to people that you are above the company and possibly your fellow colleagues.

There's no word yet on if Banana Republic will launch a female version, "The Start Up Girl," any time soon. But from my own start-up experience:

Don't overdo it: I recall falling into the start-up fashion trap several months into my start-up job. A few months in I wore light jeans, a baseball-style shirt and light blue sneakers. Needless to say, I did not look professional, and I knew I had a problem. My attire fit into the culture, but it was far too relaxed.

You can play it too casual at start-up environments. You want to wear something that shows off your personality but also displays a sense of authority and professionalism. If I could do it all over again I would have planned out my outfits as much as I do for my current job. I'd switch out my pencil skirts for dark jeans and high heels for solid flats, yet still have a pulled-together look. A look that says, "You can trust me, I know what I'm talking about." As opposed to, "I just graduated--and no my name is not Jilly."
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