You often hear people say that you should not dress for the job you have, but for the job you want to have. This basically means that you need to dress up professionally at work, but how does this actually reflect in your job and can you really get a promotion just by dressing better?
Many people like to believe that in the work field only competences, talent and hard work matter and that, if you check these three points, there is no way you won’t get promoted or get a good job. After all, the most qualified person for the job will get it, right?
In actuality, while talent and hard work do matter, dressing up badly can keep you in place for a very long time. This thought might seem frustrating to some, but it actually is a very logical one.
First of all, if you are anything from a junior at a company to a performer who sings in bars, what you want to do is to get noticed by people who will help you or be interested enough in you so that they help you get from 0 to 1, from 1 to 2, from 2 to 3, etc. Since the world is full of professionals who all have something to offer, why should anyone engage and help you?
Being approachable and a presence with which people want to surround themselves is the thing that gets you there. And your looks speak play a huge part in that. Even if you have great skills, a great resume or a great project, if you want people to pay attention to you, you should present yourself well.
Obtaining a deal, a customer or a promotion is all about being connected to the right people and you cannot be connected to the right people if they don’t want to deal with you.
Moreover, it is rare that poorly dressed people get promotions. In the end, the people who have very important roles at a company are those who represent the company, and a CEO will always want the company’s image to be a good one.
Of course, many people say “Well, Mark Zuckerberg is a billionaire and he dresses up like a college guy”. The answer to that is “Yes, Mark does wear casual clothes, but he is a world-renowned person with a brand that is popular world-wide”. He is the connection. Unless you have a brand such as Facebook to associate with your professional life, you should look your best at work. Furthermore, Mark Zuckerberg has created an image for himself that works well and by which he is recognized by the public.
Looking your best does not mean dressing up as if you are going to attend a very high-end event. Dressing well at the job simply means following certain rules. Besides knowing a few basic office style rules, which apply to any job (even if you are a performer, when you meet with possible investors, you should always dress up sharply), one needs to follow a few rules of fashion common sense.
Looking decent and not showing too much skin, wearing clean and pressed clothes and putting on only pieces that fit you well will convey the message that you are a person who pays attention to detail and who is interested in being part of valuable work groups. Take the smallest steps of dressing better and you will notice the difference right away!
Your exterior should make you noticeable and should act like a small business card for your capacities and abilities. However, these days anyone can buy good clothes and have them tailored so that they have a perfect fit. And this is where you should have something extra.
And that something extra is your attitude. The way you stand, the way you sit, the way you walk, your posture, your poise and your tone are all indicators of who you really are. Some people feel so stressed out about the non-verbal language that they always deliver a series of faux-pas’ when they talk to someone. The trick is to relax, to be honest (trying to be something you are not will most likely show) and to show genuine interest in the things around you.
You might not know this, but your clothes have the ability to make you feel better about yourself, so investing in a high-quality suit that you take to a tailor can be considered an investment in your attitude as well.
Moreover, knowing your self-worth is important: people who believe they are above everything are often seen as smug, while those with very low self-esteem tend to make people uncomfortable.
What you always need to remember is that fashion is not a goal in itself. Your clothes and the way you style yourself (always wash your hair, take care of your nails, skin, beard, etc.) should be the means through which you express your abilities, your capacities and your personality.
Dressing well will result in better interactions with people, which will determine a domino effect, as these interactions will lead to knowing more people, obtaining more money and getting the promotions you wish to get.
P.S. What style rules do you follow at work? Do you work in a company that has a dress code? Share your feedback, questions or thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook or Twitter!