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Professional White Guys And The Blue Blazer...

Stereotypes. Sometimes they're out there because they're true.

The safest place to talk about stereotypes in the workplace involving race and gender is to to talk about the demographics you belong to. Judge_smails

I'm a white guy, so I'll give you a workplace stereotype that is 100% true - and curious - about white guys.

White guys who have reached a certain level in their career ALWAYS have a blue blazer as a core part of their wardrobe.

Book it, Dano. It's true.  White guys buy blue blazers in their 30's and 40's like most women of the same age watch the Lifetime and Home & Garden channels on TV.  Which is to say early and often.

Why do white guys matriculate to blue blazers? I'm basically a workplace anthropologist, and here's what I've learned about white guys and blue blazers:

--Younger white guys buy blue blazers as a form of modeling the behavior of their older white guy elders...

--At a certain earning level, people of all genders and races start becoming customer facing - either in a sales process or in client work. The blue blazer represents the lowest common denominator in corporate dress - you can put a tie with it if necessary or you can dress it down. Nobody ever got fired back in the day for buying IBM - and no one every gets fired for showing up with the blue blazer.

--The blue blazer is a staple that allows for flexibility across companies.  Look at any private equity or venture capital firm on the high end of the earning tree and you'll see the blue blazer.  Look Danny1anywhere on the lower end of the services and consulting chain and there it is - white guy in the blue blazer.  Check.

--You can show up to any meeting and immediately adjust.  Blue blazer in play as you walk in and find everyone is wearing jeans? Just pop that blazer off and... wait for it... I was prepared for this because now I'm sitting there in a dress shirt with no tie and my shirts sleeves rolled up.  I did that before I walked into this meeting.  I'm just like you guys and gals - except for the fact that I have a blue blazer - which is now on a side chair.  

--There are some subtle differences across ages.  Old guys love a blue blazer with gold buttons and generally have it tailored. Younger guys generally go blue buttons and make fun of the gold button crowd.   

Nothing says professional white guy like a blue blazer. If you're a white guy and see another white guy in a blue blazer, give him a nod like the members of Project Mayhem did to each other in Fight Club. If you're not a white guy, just grin when you see one of us doing what we do.

It's in our DNA. And we'll never change.



Or you can be on the West coast vibe and not own a jacket at all.

Love the Caddyshack shots. Maybe Phil Silvers in the Boatniks, too?

Johnny Nyk

For the "Post-Preppy" Crowd you go to Ben Silver and get you some custom gold blazer buttons...

Dan Johnson

Bought my first blue blazer last month. Timely article for me. Silver buttons though....Boom.

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