Does what you wear determine what type of individual you are? No, certainly not, however perception driven determinations are made on such. Co-worker perceptions could determine how well you work together with someone else and trust them on a project or just want to work with them. Client perceptions could result in loss of sales contracts or revenues. Furthermore, that perception could determine if you get the job over another or if you are selected (among other factors) for a school or organization. Uniforms take care of the confusion but are not so fun sometimes!
I would like to just say you should dress appropriate for the environment but again, this is subjective and some just don’t get it. I don’t want to walk in to my gym and see the guy checking me in wearing a full suit, nor do I think the trainers would be comfortable in such attire. On the contrary, in an office setting, yoga pants are hardly acceptable, yet I have seen it. I do like variety and my environment lends itself to this, in the past I was in a much more strict environment having to wear pantyhose everyday, not even a peep toe on my shoes and certainly never in sight without a suit jacket. Does it make you more productive to wear certain outfits? No, it does not however, it does change how you feel about yourself and that makes you more productive or not- the power suit when you need to make a statement, jeans when you need to connect and be down to earth, and a dress or chinos when dealing with sensitive issues. I always chuckle when someone is pretty consistent in what they wear daily then you see them in a suit and instantly everyone asks if they have an interview. You realize, the perception of you may be just that, a suit is associated with making an impression.
So let’s do away with the stereo-types and explore what business attire means. This image from Executive Image Consulting is a great visual:
When getting ready each morning I always want to wear what makes me feel best on that day but always keep in mind what your attire is saying to the world.
What are your thoughts on workplace attire? I would love to hear in the comments.