How To Dress Better for your Career Success?
There are people who turn successful in business or at work, there are others who have a career that can be described as mediocre, still, others turn out to be low performers. It is true that educational levels, skills, knowledge, experience on the job or business and attitude have an important role in shaping your career.
However, recent research indicates that how to dress better at work or in business meetings may have an important influence on how others perceive you, your ability to win or close deals and get ahead in your career.
How to dress better and whether you are handsome or beautiful are not in your hands, it is determined at birth, by parental traits, ancestry, and several other factors. But you can make a difference by dressing yourself for the occasion and see miracles happen. How to dress better at a workplace, in client meetings and in job interviews have a great impact on your career prospects.
Here are 8 tips on how to dress better for career success:
Do some background research
When you are joining a new organization, it is better to understand whether the business environment is traditional, conservative or modern/contemporary. Finance, Law, banking, accounting, educational centres may require a more formal attire compared to advertising, movie production agencies and fashion design or clothing firms.
The best way to assess the nature of the work environment is to look at the brochures, websites, and employees you may know there.
There is a fundamental reason why adhering to the dress code makes sense for the organization and the employee. It fosters team, spirit, and productivity. Most companies except perhaps small consulting or content production companies these days rely on individual talent. IT, Software, logistics, marketing, music production, insurance, banking or any other verticals depend on teamwork. If non-adherence to dress code impacts the bottom line, why go for it?
Wear the role
Just as in a drama or a movie, imagine that you are performing a role. You may be a marketing executive, administration manager, finance manager and you need to slip into it while you are on the job. An executive should not appear like a blue-collar worker or dress shabbily.
Jeff Haden, writer and speaker, author of transform, recalls one instance where he was working in a manufacturing plant. The department store manager asked him what his career aspiration was. He said he wanted to become a supervisor to which the manager replied you must look like one. At that time Jeff was wearing ratty jeans with holes in it and wearing a cut-off tee shirt. His manager advised him such attire won’t make an impression however talented Jeff was.
According to new research, how to dress better has an impact on how your co-workers perceive you, your confidence levels and your capability to think abstractly.
In a study done in Yale in 2014 which involved a group of people in mock buying and selling negotiations, those dressed in suits amassed $2.1mn while poorly dressed ones only earned $6,80,000 while average dressed ones earned $1.58 mn.
Dressing like a boss could influence the leadership qualities of the employee which in turn could influence others in the organization.
A dressing is not about clothes alone
Dressing for success is not buying expensive clothes, belts, ties or shoes. A complete personality is revealed also through your hairstyle, eyelashes, moustache, beard, watch and so on. If you are in an executive role try to have the hairstyle that confirms to the rest of the crowd, is clean, simple and elegant.
Not too flashy, fashionable. How to dress better and maintain your fingers, nails, toes, their cleanliness also has an important bearing on how others perceive you. Having dandruff or itching on the hair and constantly scratching your head can leave a bad impression, according to career experts. Hair should be clean, trimmed and combed neatly. The same applies to moustache and beard. Fingers and nails should be clean. If you haven’t taken bath due to illness, don’t try to cover it up with too much perfume, use mild deodorant.
According to Jeff Haden, confirming stereotypes of a particular role or function would help in being accepted by the peers and making a good impression- that includes hair grooming, posture, hairstyle, manners and so on. The success lies in observing others in the same role and conforming to it. Therefore, take a close look at how your peers and boss dress and decide on your clothing style.
Personal hygiene is also important. In some offices, people wearing foul-smelling socks end up being ridiculed or sidelined.
Pay attention to uniform
Some companies have implemented dress code or uniform for various categories of employees. Some firms such as Maruti Udyog Ltd and Air India have the same dress code for all the employees. This gives uniformity and identity to the employees in the organization. Here again, those who wash, iron properly and wear it spotlessly clean make a better impression than those who don’t.
Take care to choose the same uniform material your peers are wearing- if it is 100% unshrinkable cotton or terry cotton, don’t prefer a polyester blended one. Stitch new uniforms every year as frequent washing and ironing may make them appear worn out and old.
Dress one step ahead of others but not overstep the boss
While conforming to a style may be the minimum that you should do, the better option sometimes is to dress one or two levels up. This is true when appearing for job interviews or for business meetings or negotiations. If most people in your company are wearing button-up shirts, you can think of a blazer, if all are wearing blazers why not a suit. However, take care not to overshoot your boss in looks.
In a manufacturing unit, a mechanic or a fitter may be wearing work clothes and maybe greasy or dirty most of the time. But when appearing for the interview he or she should clean shirt, pants and be groomed appropriately. According to career consultants, dressing one step or two steps above show how you care about the job and the company.
Women, avoid too much of a good thing
The basic guide for clothing in the office on how to dress up in the office is no jeans, flip flops or visible tattoos. Trouser style suits are better for women. Women should avoid too much makeup, jewellery, fragrance, sky-high stilettos and showing too much skin and tattoos. In the Indian scenario wearing a saree or churidar works fine in most situations but avoid fancy or trend clothes in this category and should appear more formal in the choice of colours and design, experts said. If women use skirt suits, it should be knee-length and below and avoid too tight or too loose clothing. Pay attention to the neckline, blouses should be neither low-cut or revealing. Shoes should be well-toed and avoid flat footwear. Avoid leggings, stretch pants. Pantsuits are suitable for business casual events.
Adhere to dress code in meetings, conferences & how to dress better
How to dress better is the important point because Dress code is not only important for job interviews but for your career growth as well. You may be invited to attend an important seminar or workshop related to your industry. It is better to ask the organizers beforehand if there is a dress code. If you are a speaker, you could ask them beforehand about the dress code as wearing a casual shirt and pants may look awkward while all the other speakers are in suits or blazers. That can leave a poor impression on you as well as the company you represent. In case, you don’t have the money to buy a decent suit, you can as well get one for hire or get the help of a colleague who may be willing to lend.
If you are appearing in TV as an expert in your industry or vertical, use bright coloured shirts for better effect even as trousers can be contrasting with grey, off-white or blue but it should not look gaudy. Since you are appearing as a professional or expert on your own, you are as well representing your company, a good attire will make a good impression among your stakeholders.
Keep casual clothes for annual meetings or get-together
Most companies have annual meetings, employee get-togethers or trips to some tourist destinations by way of incentives or motivating employees. That is the occasion to wear your jeans, t-shirts, skirts or Bermudas but if there is an official training session along with, keep a pair of formal clothes for attending them and the rest casual attire.
If you are wearing formal clothes during informal sessions or get-together that could create an impression that you are not friendly or communicative. Also, it will not put you at ease with the rest of the crowd.
Some companies allow informal clothing during the summer months but that is no license for wearing tank tops and shorts. In such a situation, crocs, flip flops and five finger barefoot shoes may be preferred but not quite professional. Wearing shoes without socks is a no-no even in the summer months. Some companies with flexible working hours or those on overtime in the night have the option to go home and come in casual wear such as shorts or jeans as no clients are likely to come to office in those hours.
According to Jeff Haden, quoted the beginning of the article, most often well dress and groomed candidates to turn out to be the poor fit for the roles they were chosen for, while an improperly dressed person may turn out to be a better performer as his skills and knowledge are better suited for the job. However, the mindset of the employers or decision-makers can’t be changed easily, they have only a few minutes to assess a candidate and easier way is to go by looks and appearance overlooking the skills, knowledge, and experience of the employee or candidate.
Even if you are talented, skilled and intelligent, also give importance to your appearance and grooming as improper grooming can impact your career chances which you may regret later on.
In some companies, a brilliant employee may be denied a better assignment or project just because he appeared casual in a meeting or appraisal. According to analysts, they may appear as not serious or mature enough to handle higher responsibilities. Some people are offered higher jobs on condition that their clothing style should change. Even Chief Financial Officers (CFO) are asked to adhere to dress code as they often have to sit in negotiation tables with clients and sellers.
Some studies have given clues as to why it is better and safer to adhere to the dress code of your peers and how to dress up in the organization-
1)it creates better team spirit and
2) it was shown to improve overall productivity.
But there is a more fundamental reason- threat. Somebody, who dresses differently in an organization may be seen as a threat and not safe to associate with. It also signals that he may not be collaborative or communicative.
There is a saying that you must dress for the job you want and not for the job you have. A UK survey revealed that majority of employees may not seek fashion advice from their bosses but career counsellors say confirming to dress code can only be beneficial and not harmful for the career.
Dirty and un-ironed clothes are sure recipes for failure but as the saying goes when in Rome do as the Romans do. If in Google, people wear shorts or jeans to work there is no harming conforming to it even though it may look unprofessional by your standards.
When recessionary trends swept across many nations and unemployment figures grew, many couldn’t get back to employment due to poor dressing. One agency run by women in Australia provided free consultation and guidance to the unemployed so that they appeared well-groomed for interviews. They urged well-off people to empty their wardrobes of unusual good clothes which were donated to the unemployed for appearing in job interviews.
This has been a guide on how to dress better in the workplace, in client meetings and job interviews have a great impact on your career prospects. These are the following external link related to how to dress better.