The Well-Dressed DBA

You may not be aware of this fact but DBAs (database administrators) are actually world renowned for their impeccable display of sartorial savvy. What the average man knows about fashion would fit nicely within a CHAR(4) field. What the DBA knows about fashion requires a VARCHAR(MAX) field. At least.

By the way, the author would have you know that he can speak with total and complete authority on female DBA fashion as well as male. But he will let a female DBA tackle her own sex. Today he will tackle only the male.

We will begin at the bottom and work our way to the top.


The discerning DBA accepts only the finest shodding. He is always careful to balance the need to optimize for cost and speed vs the effort required for maintenance.

Shoe laces should be made with a material that facilitates speedy lacing to accommodate the DBA’s nimble fingers. If the DBA can get velcro, even better.

The sole should be thick and sturdy for kicking the shit out of servers. The shoes should fit snugly so they don’t fly off during these frequent maneuvers. The color, texture and material of the rest of the shoe is of absolutely no concern.

As everyone already knows, the first DBA was Herman Munster. So the respectful DBA will often try to find shoes that honor Herman’s memory and our shared DBA heritage.


The sock of choice for the well-dressed DBA is the white knee-high tube sock.Stripes are preferred but the careful DBA will observe that too many stripes will make him look the dandy.

Tube socks are low maintenance and the color white is compatible with any color pants or shoes. This sock is also on the compatibility matrix for most versions and editions of Microsoft Windows Server.

A bonus is that tube socks hold their shape well and can be pressed into service as puppets when the DBA is elucidating DBA concepts to the non-DBA.


It is important for the DBA to always present a professional, polished look. The appropriate pair of pants is one of the keys to achieving this look.

The green, pleated, creased, elastic-waisted, stain-resisting, no-iron, no-wrinkle, tumble-dry-on-high khaki is the obvious pant of choice: green pants go well with white socks. They go well with everything else for that matter.

All professional pants are creased. The DBA is not going to be caught behind the curve so his pants will also be creased. Pleats and an elastic waist give the DBA a large degree of freedom and maneuverability, both necessary for communicating with his storage engineer and accommodating the digestion of late night pizzas.

After a few washings, the pants will become fasionably distressed. The edges of the creases will start to turn white giving the pants that “I live in these pants 24/7/365″ look. This is exactly what the DBA wants. And he will consider himself lucky if he can get there after just a few washes. This is a subtle way the shrewd DBA demonstrates a commitment to hard work and thus boosts his worth in the eyes of his manager.

A belt is entirely optional. Bits of lashed together twine, rope or USB thumb drive lanyards are acceptable substitutes as they help the DBA convey his “I can fix anything, just like MacGyver” attitude.


The DBA’s shirt is the second mainstay of his professional look. To make sure his arms always stay cool, the pragmatic DBA chooses short sleeves, always. This also keeps his arms and hands moving freely while typing and making wild gesticulations to his storage engineer. Other details such as color, stitching, pattern, fabric and texture are entirely immaterial.

Otherwise, the DBA will choose a short-sleeve polo shirt. They require some prep work before they can be worn however. Most polo shirts are made with too much material. Therefore it is crucial that the DBA run it through the washer and dryer on high heat multiple times to remove any billowing. It’s important that superfluous shirt doesn’t get in the way of getting the job done.

But how to know if the shirt fits properly? If the arms are lifted straight overhead, approximately 3 inches of belly should be showing in the space between the bottom of the shirt and the top of the belt.

In certain circumstances it may be necessary for the DBA to wear a clip-on tie. In this case, the button up short-sleeve shirt is often the best choice. A polo will certainly do just as well in a pinch.

Above and Beyond

It is hard to improve upon this look. It is vintage DBA. However, there are a few touches that can add that extra bit of oomph to the DBA’s look:

  1. Calculator watch for instant storage calculations.
  2. Cell phone holster.
  3. A second cell phone holster for a second phone.
  4. Several pens for the shirt pocket (button up only).
  5. Cheetos crumbs sprinkled liberally on shirt and pants.
  6. A moustache. Just a moustache.
  7. Cheetos crumbs sprinkled liberally on moustache.


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