An article in today’s NY Times got me thinking: Should VCs have a dress code? The article cited a 2005 paper in the American Journal of Medicine that showed patients responded better (and confided more) to doctors dressed in traditional white coats than to doctors dressed in business attire, or jeans and a t-shirt.
Does something similar hold in venture capital? Okay, cynics might argue there already is a dress code in venture capital — blue oxford cloth shirt and beige khakis — but there is a huge variance. Some East Coast VCs tending to show up in shirt and tie, and some West Coast VCs (yo, Brad!) showing up in a t-shirt and jeans. And some, entertainingly enough, change what they’re wearing depending on which portfolio company they’re meeting with.
So, does any of this matter? Do entrepreneurs disclosure more and accept direction better if VCs dress like them, or if they dress more formally? Are you better to show up at a startup’s board meetings dressed in jeans a t-shirt, or in a power suit, or in something inbetween? Inquiring minds want to know.