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Feb 01

Dress for Success

Posted by: Steve Marr

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I may be dating myself with this article and I know many younger workers will not agree with my premise. Years ago John T. Molloy wrote a best-selling business book, Dress For Success, which I believe is out-of-print. The theme of the book was dress for the job that you would like not the one that you have.
I’ve counseled a number of younger workers about their business career. One piece of advice that I always provide is to upgrade their wardrobe.  I’ve heard the same response many times, “It’s not how I look; it’s what I know and do.”  I usually respond by saying, “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’" (1 Samuel 16:7, NIV) My point is that most people do look at outward appearances.In today’s workplace environment most workers will tend to drift to the lowest acceptable standard of dress, often pushing the limit downward. The advantage to others who dress at a higher level is that they will stand out. If you work in an environment where everyone wears tattered blue jeans, shorts or a T-shirt; then, slacks with a good-looking dress shirt will stand out without going overboard. If the work environment is more slacks with a dress shirt, then consider wearing a suit or sport coat with a tie. Again, your goal is to stand out not to stress what you want.
I work most of the time in my home-office and obviously I can dress pretty casually without having any effect on clients.  However, I attend a business network meeting each week and many participants wear pretty casual clothes. I do understand when the plumber or electrician attends the meeting before going directly to their job sites that their work attire is quite acceptable.  Since I’m representing myself as a professional business consultant, I wear slacks, a collared shirt and frequently a sweater or sport coat.  Even though I know the other members quite well, I believe it’s important for me to always present a professional appearance.
Your personal grooming is also a part of upgrading your appearance.  If a male chooses to grow a beard, keep the beard neat and trim. If you go for a shaved look, don’t let yourself get scruffy.  Hair and personal grooming should be done well.
I also tend to dress upscale when I’m traveling for two basic reasons. First, you never know who may be sitting next to you on a plane. I have started business conversations with people with whom I may possibly do business.  I believe if I’m in dress casual instead of blue jeans, I make a better impression.  Also, if my baggage is lost I can at least wear the same clothes to a business meeting without having to appear in jeans.
I realize that many reject my view to become the best dressed person in a business environment. I believe you tend to work better and feel better. Besides, professional dress will get you noticed. For those who read this article, I would encourage you to embrace the concept for at least 90 days.  I believe you’ll see the difference.
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P.S. A company shirt, or tee shirt also goes a long way in establishing a professional look.

Comments (1)add comment

Ivy said:

Thank you so much for sharing this because i have been thinking about changing my wardrobe and. Dress up for the job i want, not the one that i am having now....
February 08, 2017
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