Have you ever heard someone say ” Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”? It is a useful statement, especially if you are looking to get promoted or move up the career ladder in general. However, this also depends on the work that you do and the company that you work in. For example, you will not be wearing a suit and tie to work if you are part of a start-up company. On the other hand, you will not wear jeans and a t-shirt to an investment firm. Be wise about how you choose what to wear. Your appearance does matter. Even if you think it is wrong to judge someone based on their style or general appearance, at the end of the day, what you dress like and how you present yourself does matter. This is especially true if you are in a customer service work or have to interact with clients on daily basis. Dressing for the part is not just about a fashion style, it is about whether or not you spend time preparing your outfit. If you appear in a baggy shirt and out of style jeans, it is like you are saying to the world “I don’t care” and this is not the message you want to send. Preparing your outfit shows people that you take care of yourself and you prepare accordingly for meetings with clients, etc. Would you want to do business with a lawyer who doesn’t care to brush his/her hair and shows up to a meeting wearing jeans and sports shirt? Or would you trust an investment banker who looks like the 80s dressed him? I doubt it. Therefore, dress accordingly to your work and your client base.
Another reason to dress accordingly is promotion. Your colleagues and senior management might not care what you wear for the most part, but when the time comes to fill a managerial position, they will remember your dress code habits. This might stop them from promoting you because as a manager and a leader you have a responsibility to represent the company that you work for and set a good example to others in the workplace. That being said, if you wear ripped jeans to work because it is “in style” on the streets, chances are you will not be considered ready for the managerial role. This varies from company to company, but for most corporate businesses business casual dress code is the minimum. Understand your work culture and dress appropriately. Too many times I see people speak up about how they should be a manager or how they deserve more opportunities to interact with clients, but they can’t even put effort into dressing appropriately for their regular day at work. For insight about your company’s dress code, look at how senior management dresses and how they present themselves in different situations.