Microspeak: Suited and booted


At Microsoft's consulting divisions, customer visits are a part of the job. A shorthand has developed to describe how formally dressed you should be at the meeting with the customer.

  • Suited and booted: Business suit including necktie.
  • Business casual: Collared shirt and trousers (no jeans).
  • Microsoft casual: Jeans and a t-shirt.

(I leave it as an exercise to develop the comparable attire for women.)

Note: This Microspeak entry was submitted by a colleague from the UK, so it may be peculiar to the UK dialect of Microspeak.

Comments (14)
  1. Troll says:

    How do you say "boring" or "lame" in Microspeak?

  2. Someone You Know says:

    Does "suited and booted" also specify a type of footwear? Or are they using "booted" in the computing sense?

    Come to think of it, since I hear the trunk of a car is called "boot" in the UK, perhaps it refers to the fact that with some hackers it would take being kidnapped and stuffed in the trunk to get them to put on a suit…

  3. Grant says:

    Someone You Know,

    Seriously.  Do you really need to ask what type of footwear goes with a suit?  I know engineers don’t have a lot of fashion sense, but c’mon!

    To me, the "booted" part seems like saying "dress nice from head to toe".  Look good all the way down to your "boots".

    I was thinking it could have originally been military slang, but a quick search on wikipedia shows that it’s a Snoop Dogg song.

  4. James Snape says:

    "Suited and booted" is a general English phrase to mean wearing your Sunday best. I think it’s quite an old phrase hence the reference to boots.

    At MS UK, customer visits are nearly always business casual but if that customer comes to TVP then Microsoft casual is fair game so I guess it’s more about the location than the customer.

  5. lf says:

    I’d like to think someone, somewhere tried to use Google for this.

    The first definition it finds is from Urban Dictionary: "All dressed up, most likely in a purple suit, purple shoes, purple hat, big shades, rolly bling, bling teeth, and cane."

  6. Someone You Know says:

    I’d never heard the phrase "suited and booted" before — guess you learn something new every day.

    I was thinking it was some kind of clever pun on the word "boot", i.e. that consultants should be both properly attired ("suited") and awake/caffeinated ("booted") for client visits.

  7. Rob says:

    At all of the companies I have worked, dress code does not seem to apply to the women. My favorite is when we need to dress up and you have ladies who show up in a track suit.

  8. Alan Dean says:

    It is common practice in English Public schools ( as opposed to State schools, see http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_school ) to have terminology for each ‘grade’ of required attire, or at least it was when I was at school.

    Typically the grades would be ‘best’, ‘smart’, ‘smart casual’, ‘casual’ but colloquially ‘best’ was referred to as Sunday Best, ‘smart’ as Suited & Booted and ‘casual’ as Sloppies. Boys will be boys … Oddly, ‘smart casual’ had no colloquialism that I am aware of.

    For example, when we had the Queen visit for the School Quatercentenary, we got instructions to dress in ‘best’, naturally.

    As a boarder, you would even get a School List setting out what was expected in each category, including what was to be bought at the School Shop.

    I would not be surprised if the practice was exported to other private and ‘preparatory’ schools around the world that sought to emulate the English system, including in the US.

  9. "Suited and booted" is a British term for sure. I’ve been hearing that in India from my Grandfather (who picked it from the British rule era).

  10. DaveK says:

    Guess I’m lucky :) In twentytwo years as a professional coder, I’ve never been obliged to accept the principle that the employer has any right to dictate how I dress.

  11. Morten says:

    I like to say that it’s a choice between being competent or dressing up. If you can do one, you don’t need to do the other. ;-) Oh, and I’m definitely somewhere below "MS casual" – I work from home almost exclusively. No pants…

  12. Aaron G says:

    So "suited and booted" means "suit".  Another victory for the Department of Redundancy Department.

  13. Brooks Moses says:

    DaveK: Yes, well.  Regardless of whether the company gets to "dictate" such things, when I’m representing my company (or, for that matter, myself) to others, I prefer to do a good job of it.  And that includes dressing appropriately, which on some occasions has required my asking the company for guidance on what’s considered appropriate.

    Whether this explains the fact that my everyday dress involves a collared polo shirt (and, yes, Morten, it includes pants too!), despite my working from home, is perhaps best left as an exercise for the reader.

  14. Davidson Corry says:

    AaronG > So "suited and booted" means "suit".  Another victory for the Department of Redundancy Department.

    I’d say for the Ministry of Pun-ditry, meself. I enjoy a good bit of linguistic whimsy. (But then, I’m a Perl fan, therefore hopeless re sensible language…)

    Aside from rhyme or alliteration (alliteration is the car to rhyme’s cdr), the connotational overloads of this ancient phrase in this context delight me: "suit" as "appropriate to the occasion", "boot" as "freshly initialized and running"…

    (Although I admit that Someone’s hint of "developer in trunk" has me worried…)

    <grin>

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