Reasons to Dress Well at Work
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In this day and age, there is a lot of liberal thinking, which is fine. But, when it comes to work and what to wear or not to wear, it is important to think conservatively. Obviously, consider the industry you work for. If you work for a strip club, that is a totally different story. So, specifically, I'm talking about the office-type workplace. This includes working in schools, hospitals, law-firms, architecture firms, financial institutions, etc. Nowadays, "we don't like to put any importance to appearances" - we always try to teach kids not to judge a book by its cover - but we don't always follow this ourselves. And, this is especially true in the workplace.
It is in our nature to get a first impression from the way someone looks. We assess their attributes based on appearances - their grooming, the clothes and shoes they wear (ie. the "older generation" tends to look down on flip flops), the accessories they use if any (ie. we might think lowly of people wearing fake gold), the habits they have at that point (ie. if they don't cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze), distinguishing characteristics (ie. if they have any piercings, we might be a little "scared" of them), and the way they greet us. This pre-judgment always happens in the workplace and that first impression will be what your colleagues will carry with them about you until something significant changes or they really work closely with you. Of course, your true "working potential" does not just show from what you wear and your grooming, etc.; you obviously have to prepare for your reports, presentations and know what's going on in meetings. You need everything - knowledge, preparation, and appearance - to make a good impression in meetings and presentations and to get that promotion. But in the everyday workings of an office, where you may only work with another department for a short time, a good first impression is important (and of course your follow through). Just as an aside, why should you care about the impression another department has of you if you are only going to work with them for a short time? Simple. References. That department's manager might come in handy when looking to get references from the work place. If they liked and loved you and your work from the beginning they will be happy to use you again and give you that all powerful reference should you need it for your next job interview or promotion. You've always got to think ahead. Don't be satisfied with just pleasing your immediate supervisors - gain friends outside too.
When considering what to wear, think about the firm you work for - are they reputable and conservative or does even management wear jeans and tank tops? When you work for a more casual work place you may look out of place if you dress too business-like and conservatively, so be aware of your company's culture. And, as much as we all "like" to look at cleavage or 6-pack abs, it isn't office-appropriate.
The financial sector, any human resources type positions and those working just below management tend to have to dress well. IT professionals tend to have a more casual dress code, but again the firm you work for matters - so dress for your company and industry.
Simply, here are some reasons to dress well.
Employers often require their employees to dress well because they may be seen by clients and higher-up management visiting the workplace. It doesn't mean that just because your job description doesn't include meeting face-to-face with clients that you won't meet face-to-face with clients.
2. If you care about your appearances you must also care about other aspects in such detail (including your work).
Employers tend to think that those employees that care about their appearances must also put as much care and attention to detail in their work (even though this may not always be reality). This impression is an important one because if you appear sloppy, they think you are also sloppy in work execution.
3. Colleagues and employers find it easier to converse and interact with those that are "good-looking."
This, some would say, stems from when we were babies - even they are attracted to "beautiful faces" than to scary and not so "attractive" faces. When you talk to someone it is easier to look at and therefore interact with attractive people than people that might repulse us (the clothes they wear, their smell, dental hygiene, etc.) It sounds mean but this is reality.
4. It is a status symbol.
Being well-dressed gives others the impression that you must be well-off and of a decent or even high position. In the financial services industry this is an important impression to give off especially to clients because it means that if your employees are well-off that must mean the company is well off and therefore doing well and therefore a good place to invest in.
5. Well-dressed employees are more likely to be promoted.
If an employer is choosing between two people with similar credentials and experience but one happens to be more attractive (not necessarily that the employers are attracted "physically" to the employee, it's simply that they are dressed better, pay attention to grooming, etc.), whatever the gender, that more attractive individual will be chosen. And they can be chosen for the reasons listed above.
So dress well at work on a daily basis so you can take advantage of that moment when your employer needs you to be the one to make the presentation to that all-important client or the big boss. If they can depend on your well-dressed-groomed self everyday, without second-guessing they will call you.