By Evan Vitale
Modern ideas about dress within the place of work constantly adapt. While “dress down days” have grown to be commonplace in places of work, surveys seem to reveal that higher levels of dress and mimicking the business style of the boss is much may get you ahead and lend to building a far more productive work atmosphere.
But does that which you put on truly influence the ability to succeed at the office?
Dress Down Days
Trend spotters discovered the idea of “dress down” within the place of work in the eighties. At that point, what became fascinating about those dress down days was how different an awareness of “business casual” for males of various ethnicities gravitated towards. Preppie guys still wore ties and collars but replaced a sports coat and pants (not matching) for his or her usual office attire. Once the jackets came off for meetings, it was immediately difficult to differentiate between dress down Friday than any other day.
More progressive or European employees, both men and women tended to favor crisp khaki chinos and pin striped oxford shirts made to be worn with no tie, and normally speaking, looked stylish. Americans really loosened up and looked as if they were going to a fitness center as opposed to the office, wearing tracksuits and Nikes. Did this make a more collaborative or friendly work environment? Probably not. But at least everyone seemed “comfy.”
Lately, with the death of the tie for basically all but formal or more traditional male employees or individuals employed in the financial or sales industry, dressing up or dressing down has become more subtle. Company uniforms have become polo shirts and khakis for both sexes.
Giving a Best Impression
It’s pretty true that people never obtain a second opportunity to create a first impression since most individuals have formed their opinion of our abilities within the first couple of seconds, right down to our physical features. Even without remembering any particularly distinguishing features (except for extremes of height, weight, disability, etc.) dress and grooming makes up a substantial portion of a first impression.
People have a tendency towards conformity, to feel quite confident with those who are essentially much like themselves. Thus, in our search for a Board member, we’ll most likely expect the individual – man or woman – to show up in a flattering business suit. If we’re searching for a partner for our rock-band, then jeans, t-shirts, tats, body piercings and purple hair most likely will not raise an eyebrow. But when an applicant appears in response to a want ad wearing completely opposite attire to our own, it will probably have negative hiring implications.
Once within a consulting engagement, my client was searching for a brand new CEO. After performing multiple rounds of screening, I gave the candidate list to their board. As this was round one, one candidate thought that since this organization was “unique”, that they might want to dress down for the final meeting. However, he took it to the extreme wearing torn jeans and enormous gold jewelry. He did not obtain the job primarily because he had no clue as to appropriate attire for a business meeting.
Dress for achievement
It’s been stated that you ought to dress not to do the job you are in but for the job that you aspire to have. So if you wish to be marketable, it’s generally easier to be outfitted too nicely rather than too informally. Sometimes dressing above your pay grade may help people take a second look and assume you are already a manager when you might just be a junior accountant. It will help groom them to accept you eventually in the role you aspire.
Stepping into “work mode”
Many people clearly think that the things they put on influences how they work. If they’re smartly outfitted, their thinking is more business ready. A friend who was laid off had me recalling how he always put on a suit and tie to walk to his home office to make phone calls in the back bedroom. He firmly believed that formal dress got him more ready for serious work. In his mind, his sales work would not have been as strong had he stayed in his pajamas even if no one else could see him.
So even if you are working from home, you may want to reconsider at least putting on tailored pants and a clean sweater. But no one on Skype can see you wearing a pair of slippers rather than high heels, so today you will be just fine for work….as long as a client isn’t dropping by.