Rising Pro

You Are What You Wear

What do you wear to work?

The answer is a little bit different for everyone.

Just looking around on your way to work, you can see dozens of different looks. Some professionals are suited up, others are upscale casual and some are rocking a T-shirt and jeans.

Even though some people are a little less polished than others in the workplace, they are usually just as smart, productive and successful, if not more, than their pencil-skirt, collared-shirt wearing counterparts.

But like it or not, what you wear at work can impact how others perceive you.

Who would you respect more?

I can still remember meeting one of my first managers who didn’t care what he wore.

Before we were introduced, I imagined meeting someone who was put together and wearing something that made others respect him, like a tailored jacket, a crisp button down shirt or some nice dress shoes. But I was met with something quite different. He was wearing a sweatshirt, jeans and running shoes. I remember thinking; ‘How can I look up to someone who’s wearing a hoodie?’

Harsh, I know, but it really was my first thought.

As time went on, I came to respect him for his experience and management skills, but that initial meeting made a big impact on my perception of him.

Every time you walk out your door to go to work, think about the statement you’re making with your clothes and ask yourself if you’re ok with it.

My rule of thumb is this; if I’m not coming into contact with anyone outside of my organization, i.e. conducting a meeting, job interview or meeting a business contact for lunch or coffee, it’s alright to dress down for the day. Although I also like to dress professionally around my colleagues, they’re less likely to judge me on my outfit compared to a client or potential new hire.

Even though you may not care what others think about your work outfit, sometimes what they think can affect your career.

Do you think what you wear at work matters?

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