"Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak," American fashion designer Rachel Zoe once wrote. The way this idea could be interpreted is that clothes and other kinds of fashion pieces we choose to wear send abstract and pretty obscure signals to people around us about who we are as people: our occupation, mood, personality, colors we like, and so on.

Though apparently, some fashion pieces speak exceptionally loudly and the signals they send are far from abstract or obscure. Recently, a redditor asked fellow users to share some hidden dress codes people wear to identify themselves that one has to already know about to notice. And of course, Reddit delivered. Without further ado, Bored Panda invites you to find out about some of the most intriguing secret dress codes people use to send signals about themselves.

#1

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit Not wearing a mask means you’re an a******.

pizzamassage , Wikimedia Commons Report

The Differently Wired Girl
Community Member
5 months ago

AMEN!

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#2

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit So this is probably a very spesific Norwegian thing, but the colour of your hat is signalling your availability when hiking in the mountains. Red hat means taken, green means available (and orange means that you're open for a chat). This is important knowledge if you're trying to pull a Norwegian, because hiking is the only (non alcoholic) activity where a Norwegian will ever talk to a stranger. Ever.

DreamersVoid , olle svensson Report

Mimi M
Community Member
5 months ago

I wish there was a custom like this in the US!

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#3

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit Red shirt means you're expendable and aren't coming back from the away mission alive.

WaitMysterious6704 , Gregg O'Connell Report

Andres Tejeda
Community Member
5 months ago

There is an exception to that rule, Scotty never died on missions.

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#4

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit Cat hair means I have a cat

michelleholman , Sarah Marriage Report

Zophra
Community Member
5 months ago

Who loves me enough to make sure everyone knows it.

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#5

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit Socks with sandals means you’ve pretty much given up

Westnile84 , Wikimedia Commons Report

Zophra
Community Member
5 months ago

Or you are very secure and just don't give a damn.

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#6

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit If you see someone with a tattooed on wedding ring it's usually because they work with machine tools or electricity where having something metal and or conductive on their hand while working can lead to very bad things.

ChefRoquefort , Ophelia219 Report

Zophra
Community Member
5 months ago

Or in research/medicine - the ring gets caught in the gloves and rips them.

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#7

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit Its an old sailors tradition to wear a golden earring. (Dont know if its just the netherlands or worldwide) but some of the mainly fishermen towns here have their own specific type of golden earring. So if you see a dutch guy wearing a big golden earring with a detailed design, you know he comes from a fishermen town.

(Golden earring tradition was historically done incase a fishermen would fall overboard, the golden earring could cover the costs of a proper burial)

justalittleprickly , Unknown Report

Cynner
Community Member
5 months ago

I am Dutch and i didn't know this, thank you! :)

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#8

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit Hawaiians wear flowers behind left ear to signify married. Right ear to signify single.

RunnerDee , iHula Hawaii Report

Elaine Mattingly
Community Member
5 months ago

Thanks for the tip.

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#9

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit Two lighting bolts on a ring mean your great grandfather wasn’t a war hero, thanks Opa...

Fatdognonce , antiq24 Report

Jayne Kyra
Community Member
5 months ago

For those unaware, the lightning bolts refer to the letters SS - Schutzstaffel, which worked directly under Adolf Hitler and were by many considered his private military enforcers. Responsible for killing more than 5 million Jews and millions of other people during WWII.

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#10

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit Sunflower lanyards means the wearer has a hidden disability. Some places like Heathrow train staff to recognise them and offer assistance.

Vusys , Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyards Scheme Report

Mariza
Community Member
5 months ago

I wear one as my disability prevents me from wearing a mask. I had the lanyard already and continue to wear it if I HAVE to go out. I try to send my partner but there are times when I must go somewhere alone. People who wear these to claim exemption who actually could wear a mask make it very difficult those of us who actually can't. I feel it also makes me feel like my disability isn't worth anything

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#11

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit In China, your zodiac year is your unlucky year (so your unlucky year occurs once every 12 years). The way to mitigate the unlucky-ness of the said year, is to wear some form of the color red each day. Doesn’t need to be a complete red outfit, just something that has red as a part of the pattern.

But wearing red everyday is a dead give away for their age (24, 36, 48, 60) in the workplace, thus explaining the phenomenon of the red underwear gift. The red underwear is a way to beat the unluckiness of your zodiac year while blending in.

So some water cooler talk could go like, “Hey, did you notice that has worn red 3/7 days this week? Is she 24 or 36?” Fascinating stuff!

dtanmango , joan!ta Report

K.
Community Member
5 months ago (edited)

(EDIT: kids scroll right down) ..........

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#12

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit Small stainless steel or iron pinky ring on your dominant hand is an engineer, specifically an engineer whose pledged an ethics oath. Not exactly a secret, but not well known either

UltimateAnswer42 , Furious Pete Vlogs Report

Elaine Mattingly
Community Member
5 months ago

Did not know that. This is turning into the learning channel. Best of both worlds.

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#13

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit Red ball caps have become a signal that they are d***** bags. Fred Durst started it, but MAGA solidified it.

hanginonwith2fingers , Unknown Report

Aj Grimes (them/they)
Community Member
5 months ago

I thought my dad was wearing a MAGA hat, turns out it was a Salvation Army one.

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#14

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit I used to wonder why certain people in my office would wear the same colors as each other sometimes. Turns out they were listening to a radio station here in NYC that would suggest a color for you to wear that day.

Offthepoint , Unknown Report

Elaine Mattingly
Community Member
5 months ago

Bonding in an informal way!

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#15

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit I grew up spending a lot of time in the Great Lakes and overall sailing culture.

The height of manliness is a pink “Mt. Gay” baseball cap. No, I’m not joking.

The caps are given out at major sailing races, since Mt. Gay rum has a sponsorship. The caps are originally red but if you’ve used and had one for a long time, it fades to pink. You want one.

You can also tell, in port, who is a local and who boats, by their dog. Locals like BIG doggos for guarding against animals and pulling sleds (huskies and husky crosses) and sailors like medium sized, water friendly doggos. Don’t like to get very big ones because they’re hard to lift in and out of boats, eat, and poop out more, but don’t like toy dogs either, because they’re not tough enough to stand the weather and the water. Mostly Aussies, small retrievers, and the occasional tough terrier.

SchnarchendeSchwein , Jerry Tom Report

Elaine Mattingly
Community Member
5 months ago

You are a google. Wow. Very informative and interresting. Thank you. Seriously, I try to learn someting new every day and that was refreshing.

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#16

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit If you’re actually rich, you’re not flashing brands. The rich rich of California wear subtly expensive workout or hiking clothes as much as humanly possible. Patagonia, north face, Columbia, etc. Logos are gauche. Also, for women’s jewelry, you’ll see a lot of subtle wealth and minimalism- nothing big or clunky or super sparkly. My experience mostly in LA, Santa Barbara and SF!

Time-Box128 , sage.waltonn Report

jevais
Community Member
5 months ago

This so true also with old wealth in Europe. Only the nouveau rich are bling bling. Some of the richest people I've have met were very low key. It's considered vulnerable to spread your wealth.

Aunt Messy
Community Member
5 months ago

You. mean vulgar? Yes, it is. The most popular vehicle among millionaires in North America is the Ford F150 pickup. People who are truly wealthy know that rich people don't stay rich if they burn through all their money trying to look like it. They have nothing to prove.

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
5 months ago

If you have to flaunt it, you don't really have it ---- my grandma

Susan Stead
Community Member
5 months ago

Two examples I can say reflect this: Queen Elizabeth wears classics, only wears the big & gaudy stuff when required, and for the most part dresses rather sedately, short nails with natural colored polish, etc. But the absolute prime example is French fashion, which I'm pretty sure the very wealthy know about. French fashion relies heavily on classic pieces coupled with with a few latest-fashion pieces, and jewelry is minimal, like small hoop earrings and a gold chain. Flats are typically preferred over f***-me pumps. It's well-done, but not gaudy. And I've seen that style all over Europe.

s. vitkovitsky
Community Member
5 months ago

Queen Elizabeth has her own dressmakers/tailors. She does not wear designer clothes bc these are, in part 'aspirational' in nature, meaning many people wear them to feel associated with some self-proclaimed statusy luxury brand. The Queen, being royalty, aka top of status heap, has no reason to aspire to be assoviated with, basically, a merchant.

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miten sasmita
Community Member
5 months ago

People who have been rich for decades are usually humble and lowkey, especially if the worked from the bottom. The obnoxious flashy ones are mostly new millionaires or children born into riches.

Dilly Millandry
Community Member
5 months ago

They haven't realised that you make yourself vulnerable to mugging or even kidnapping.

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JayWantsACat
Community Member
5 months ago

Warren Buffet. Bill Gates. Etc. All dress unassuming despite the insane wealth.

Rannveig Ess
Community Member
5 months ago

I've never understood why people pay a lot of money just to wear free advertising for some brand, which impresses no one, ever

Jaana Kaurisalo
Community Member
5 months ago

Yes. The so-called old money does not flaunt, and chooses brands that most of us commoners have never even heard of. And their handbag might look plain, but it's not something you can purchase without connections and/or a year's salary.

🇨🇦 Clementine 🇨🇦
Community Member
5 months ago

This might be true until you get into the category of celebrities

Deal _Anneal
Community Member
5 months ago (edited)

Yh like the rich ppl i have met weren't flexing on me with their Louis Vuitton

dido74
Community Member
5 months ago

Reminds me of a story years ago when a “cowboy” went into the new Neiman Marcus in Dallas Texas. He was dressed in jeans with a cowboy hat. The employees (commissioned) ignored him because they figured he couldn’t afford anything there. At the end of the day, they were all fired. Turns out he was a billionaire! Never judge a book by it’s cover🐼

M Kate McCulloch
Community Member
5 months ago

all I can say is If I win the big payoff in the lottery, I'm still buying most of my clothes at garage sales.

Suzanne Dunne
Community Member
5 months ago

It is considered vulgar to show your wealth in England, not vulnerable.

Toea Muresan Iulia
Community Member
5 months ago

It's common sense not to show off. only the stupid show off their wealth

JessG
Community Member
5 months ago

Yup, old money vs. new money. You can always tell

Shelby P
Community Member
5 months ago

Seems that way in Annapolis too

Danieletc
Community Member
5 months ago

The majority of hikers here in SoCal "dress up" for a trail, like it's a dance club where the dress code is spandex-y.

AlmightyOne
Community Member
5 months ago

I can confirm

Meyer Weinstock
Community Member
5 months ago

ah, the new-money vs old-money argument....

Ana
Community Member
5 months ago

Patagonia, North Face, and Columbia are rich people brands? Whaaaat?

Dilly Millandry
Community Member
5 months ago

Worn by rich people because they're not flashy.

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Anna roberts
Community Member
5 months ago

Only with old wealth, Kartrashian types were all of the flashy...everything

backatya
Community Member
5 months ago

stupid people made those companies big by coping others and wearing them. large gold chains is just dumb black people trying to say they have money or being ridiculous like with other things weird they have that's abnormal

Stannous Flouride
Community Member
5 months ago

They pay for quality and wear them until they fall apart. (the clothes, not the people)

Steven Swann
Community Member
5 months ago

Yea....that has nothing to do with quality or good stuff...

btaglln
Community Member
5 months ago

Check how Bill Gates dresses, probably worth more then your entire wardrobe, still looks normal

Elaine Mattingly
Community Member
5 months ago

YES.YES. YES.

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#17

I'm Jew(ish). I live in Scotland, and there's not many of us around, but I've been to synagogue and lived in Israel, and I can easily spot a married Orthodox Jewish woman out of a crowd, mostly by her wig, but also her dress style to an extent.

It's such a natural distinction for me that I didn't realise it wasn't immediately obvious to others until I was driving with my friends by Loch Ness and we saw a big gathering, (mostly behind trees) and someone said something along the lines of "I wonder what's going on there" and I replied "looks like an organised Jewish event" because I saw several mothers and their kids by the road and I instantly recognised them as Orthodox Jews. My friends looked at me as if I had a supernatural Jewdar because there weren't any obvious men in sight wearing heavily recognised religious clothing (think kippahs- headcaps, or payot- hair curls, ect.)

Biriniri Report

AbbiTabbi
Community Member
5 months ago

"A supernatural Jewdar" I laughed out loud.

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#18

Handkerchief in the back pocket is something the gay leathermen (or women) wear to symbolize they are on the hunt for a "date". Or it was used to symbolize a sexual fetish or --

Right pocket meant you were a top or dominant.

Left pocket meant you were a bottom.

Yes, I've been to some interesting parties.

jenskal Report

The one and only
Community Member
5 months ago

*slowly puts handkerchief in left pocket*

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#19

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit Horseback riders know that real riding boots have the zippers on the back or outside.

fourteendogs , Neeta Lind Report

Melissa Boatman Linebaugh
Community Member
5 months ago

Unless we ride western! Ours don’t have zippers!

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#20

If someone is wearing a belt but have the buckle on either side of their hips instead of the middle it means they spend all day leaning over engine bays of hot rods and don’t want their belt buckle scratching the paintwork.

PcGamerSam Report

M O'Connell
Community Member
5 months ago

They could also play guitar.

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#21

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit Anything with pineapple print on clothing while on a cruise means you are swingers

Rhegarty44 , Coscom Store Report

Elaine Mattingly
Community Member
5 months ago

Are you sure? My Daddy was a pinnapple wearing decon who wore it because I bought it for him because I thought it was beautiful. we thought women were being overly friendly and disrespctfull of my Mom. I have so much to learn.

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#22

Military uniforms tell you a lot about the person wearing them beyond their name and rank. You can tell what campaigns they've been involved in, what professional military education courses they've completed, their proficiency with weapons, their occupational specialty and their level of proficiency, how many years they've served, and (at least in the USAF), their MAJCOM, wing, and possibly squadron of assignment.

Another little secret of the military dress code has to do with hats. A person in uniform wearing a hat indoors indicates that they are armed. The weapon may be concealed or carried openly, but it is a fast way to determine who in a room has weapons.

GGayleGold Report

Aragorn II Elessar
Community Member
5 months ago

Yep. Can tell a whole lot about a military guy by their uniform. But the cover indoors could also mean they forgot to take it off or had their hands full when they came in the door.

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#23

Here in Japan tattoos are related to the Yakuza. Meaning, whether you are a Yakuza or not, people with tattoos are not allowed in numerous establishments like public baths, etc. Yakuza don't generally flash their tattoos to the public so they generally use long sleeve shirts. Sometimes when they use short sleeves clothing they would use arm sleeves to cover up the arm tattoos. It's a dead giveaway that this people are, or have been, mafia related.

Belums Report

Ayra
Community Member
5 months ago

Prohibiting tattoed peopled from certain businesses was the workaround to forbid Yakuza to without explicitly saying so

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#24

Head coverings vary among observant Muslim women from different countries. The kind many people think of is the Saudi Arabian style that has become more popular in the last decade or so. A cool one is the different traditional head coverings between Kazakhs (white scarf with a part tied back like a nurses cap), Uighurs (colorful scarf and tied in front or behind the neck), and the Hui (a cap with cloth coming down the sides) — all groups found in China (depending on how you feel about groups leaving to be independent). I think it’s like people from different countries tying knots.

Concentrate83 Report

Susan L. Miller
Community Member
5 months ago

Very informative!

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#25

Oftentimes student nurses will wear one color of scrubs to stand out from professionals during clinicals. My color was hazel grey.

BlackRoseBundle Report

Elaine Mattingly
Community Member
5 months ago

I like that.

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#26

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit Reminds me of when I was in elementary school and we were told not to wear red or black to school because they were associated with certain gangs.

Marise20 , Skinny Guy Lover Report

Elaine Mattingly
Community Member
5 months ago

Sad that people can claim colors.

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#27

Stagehands wear black. Check for a crescent wrench in the back pocket to confirm.

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Stille20
Community Member
5 months ago

but that's a functional thing

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#28

When I was a teenager a lot of the working-class, multi-generation in the area kids from the very rural West Virginian area I moved to wore these, to my teenage eyes, very funny looking polka dot caps with downward pointing brims.

At the time I just assumed they got them at this store that still had a lot of 70s deadstock and it was a trend because they were cheap and it was the 90s and we were irony poisoned. It was pretty widespread across a few counties though. They were mostly worn by the kids who already had decided they were not going to college, whether by their own choice, or their own circumstances.

They were welders' caps. Welder is an aspirational job in the area, if you plan to stay there after graduation. They were signifying they planned to stay and work in the same field their dads did. It didn't even occur to me what it was all about until some high school reunion.

PrincessDianaFPlus Report

Jaguarundi
Community Member
5 months ago

Where I lived, Eastern CT, USA, welders, ironworkers and farriers (horseshoer/blacksmith) wore these caps. Mostly red or blue with white spots.

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#29

Hidden-Dress-Codes-People-Wear-Askreddit Silver Crocs = I have multiple bottles of Soda in my fridge

Jorts = I'm stone cold steve Austin

Bandana + Eyebrows = I ride a motorcycle

Bandana + No Eyebrows = I am receiving chemotherapy.

T shirt with ripped off sleeves = my kids will jump on your furniture and my reaction will be inappropriate.

SomeSuperMegaNiceGuy , Wikimedia Commons Report

Logic and Reason
Community Member
5 months ago

So when I step out wearing silver crocs, jorts, a t-shirt with torn off sleeves, and a bandana with one eyebrow I’d be an irresponsible parent Steve Austin with multiple bottles of soda, a motorcycle, and undergoing chemotherapy? Good to know.

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