How Do Web Developers, SEO Workers, and Digital Marketing Professionals Dress?

Jim Dee
Jim Dee
Mar 15 · 4 min read

Wearing cat t-shirts and rock & roll t-shirts into executive offices.

On my way to an online meeting this morning, my wife stopped me. She seemed downright concerned and asked, “You’re not going to wear that cat t-shirt on video, are you?”

I definitely, 100%, going to wear it, I assured her. “I mean, it’s an job, isn’t it? What kind of internet guy would I represent myself as if I wear a cat t-shirt? That’s the real question.”

The actual shirt in question. Image from Amazon.

She rolled her eyes and made some remark like “it’s your funeral.”

Truth be told, I don’t always wear cat t-shirts to video- or in-person interviews. Most of the time, it’s rock & roll t-shirts, as I’ve made a dedicated effort to amass quite a collection over the past half-dozen years. Though, for meetings, I try to at least wear my ones.

That’s kind of where I’m at style-wise these days: And this cat t-shirt was brand-spanking new. (See pic!)

I admit this sounds a little crazy, and even counter-intuitive, but ever since I founded Array Web Development in late 2010 / early 2011, I decided that the superficiality that I always ascribed to business suits had to go. I never felt comfortable suits and/or ties, to be honest — not at Prentice Hall, not at Deloitte, not in any of the management roles I’ve held. For better or worse, I’m just not a suit guy.

So, when I struck out on my own in 2010, I tossed 100% of my suits and ties. My own mother died later that year, and I had to borrow a suit for her funeral. (And, even there, I kind of didn’t like the fact that I was wearing one.) I swore, after that, that I’d just never wear one. And by now, I think most people know me well enough to not invite me to places where I’d need one.

Anyway, when my first big meetings came up in Portland, I felt downright hesitant about my ultra-casual dress (basically a t-shirt and a hoodie), but was resolved to dress on my own terms (“comfort first”) from then on out.

But guess what? The clients I met either (1) didn’t care, and/or (2) were just as often dressed more informally than I was. And I landed the work dressed like that, time and time again. And not insignificant gigs, either. I’ve walked out of board rooms having inked $40k deals wearing Beatles t-shirts!

To me, this verified what I’ve long believed — that At least insofar as web design, web development, SEO, and digital marketing were concerned. Your mileage may vary!

And sure, why not? After all, I may never have been a particular fan of Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, but they got away with the same thing — Jobs (formerly) with his signature black shirt and jeans, Zuckerberg with his painfully plain gray shirt and jeans. Of course, no one knows who the hell I am, but why not “Jim and his t-shirts”?

I didn’t get the gig today, though.

Maybe it was the cat; maybe not. That’s the thing with informal dress.

If I’m being honest, I probably just flubbed something else (stumbled over my words or something). But if it the cat t-shirt, would I have really been happy doing that work? I think not.

✍🏻

Web Designer / Web Developer Magazine

WDWD Magazine features articles on web site design /…

Sign up for Array Observations

By Web Designer / Web Developer Magazine

Sign up for alerts when new web design / web development (and related) articles appear on this site. Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Jim Dee

Written by

Jim Dee

Web guy at ArrayWebDevelopment.com; author of books & blogs. See: JPDbooks.com.

Web Designer / Web Developer Magazine

WDWD Magazine features articles on web site design / development, internet marketing, social media, SEO, and topics like marketing, communications, business development, etc. Editor: Jim Dee of Array Web Development — jim@arraywebdevelopment.com.

Jim Dee

Written by

Jim Dee

Web guy at ArrayWebDevelopment.com; author of books & blogs. See: JPDbooks.com.

Web Designer / Web Developer Magazine

WDWD Magazine features articles on web site design / development, internet marketing, social media, SEO, and topics like marketing, communications, business development, etc. Editor: Jim Dee of Array Web Development — jim@arraywebdevelopment.com.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store